Did you guys know that the TV show started as a comic book? Whoa! A comic book being adapted into a different medium in hopes of entertaining the masses? UNHEARD OF! Sorry kids, the Hollywood machine is once again taking something that you love, which obviously you are so cool for liking, and turning it into something that more people can enjoy. That’s what I’ll never understand about remakes or adaptations. When someone doesn’t like it, they act all butthurt like they are the only person out there who knows what it is, and that everyone else has taken crazy pills. Well, guess what, the remake/adaptation couldn’t really move forward if someone somewhere who was somehow attached to the project said, “Sure! Go for it!”, and if they are willing to take a chance, then so should you. I got the opportunity to see the series premiere of The Walking Dead, which starts TONIGHT on AMC, but before I get to that, let’s talk a little about the comic book.
The poor guy doesn’t even have any panties on.
In the first few panels of the comic book, we see a police officer getting shot in a firefight and fall into a coma. He wakes up in the hospital much later, but healed. He can’t seem to find anyone, and the only people he sees are dead bodies. The first sign of movement is actually from a corpse that was presumed to be dead, and just like that, it’s off to the races. The story follows our “hero”, Rick Grimes, in his attempt to find his family and put together some sort of semblance of life. What happened? Why did it happen? Are there more people out there? These are all questions posed in the pages written by Robert Kirkman and artists Tony Moore and later Charlie Adlard. Well, spoiler alert, yes Rick finds his family very early on, as well as a few other survivors that are asking themselves the same questions.
Just drive the tank on top of them, you dipshits!
Obviously I am a fan of zombies, so I started reading this series back in 2005 and have been buying it monthly for years now. The black and white images combined with the talented writing of Kirkman is what makes me keep coming back, month after month. What really separates this story from the plethora of every other zombie stories ever told is its longevity. The comics have been published for seven years now, and there is still the familiar core of characters. No other zombie movie/comic/show/book has been able to do what Kirkman has with Walking Dead. Let’s compare to Romero‘s “Dead” movies. They all take place in one universe that slowly decays into oblivion, but it’s different characters throughout. Once the credits roll, we don’t see those characters in that universe ever again. Add to that the fact that the films seems to jump years, and even decades, with each successive film, and you get an idea of the universe, but not all the details. That all changed with Walking Dead. You have one group of characters and we have seen them at their highest and lowest moments. We have seen them succeed and fail. We don’t know what their future holds, which is why we come back every single month to see what is happening. The series is about 80 issues in, and Kirkman has yet to resort to giving a cause for the zombie apocalypse because he doesn’t have to. It’s not about wanting to know why these things happened, we want to see how these characters pull through and find reasons to go on. With every issue we question who The Walking Dead really are; are they the zombies who got up and started walking around, or are all of these characters just delaying their inevitable deaths and are the dead objects that are still on their feet?
AMC’s Walking Dead glamour shot. Or, promo shot. Whatever.
The words “Walking Dead TV Series” sent chills down the spines of everyone who has ever read this book. Bad chills. In the months to come, however, more and more details emerged that sent the good chills. This show was going to be on AMC, the cable channel responsible for such shows as Mad Men and Breaking Bad, some of the best shows on television in the past decade. Robert Kirkman being as involved as he is in the whole process, making sure everything was done correctly. The series being helmed by Frank Darabont, director of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, and the criminally underrated The Mist. In-depth videos of behind the scenes footage that showed you just how close to the comic the series will be, even down to the detail and time spent on one single zombie. All these things started to send good chills down people’s spines. As I mentioned, I got a chance to see the first episode, and it’s as good as you can imagine. People were worried about a horror comic book show being on a cable channel, but take it from me, the violence is not at all tamed down. The comic never really relied on cursing to get their point across, so just because they can’t yell, “HOLY FUCK IT’S A ZOMBIE,” doesn’t mean you won’t get to see a zombies brains get splattered everywhere after it explodes. However, keep in mind, that the episode that debuts on Halloween is merely a starting point. They have already approved a second season, so get prepared for the long haul. You might, like me, watch the first episode and wonder “I waited this long for that?“, but it’s only an indicator of things to come. This might go down as one of the best horror TV shows since Tales from the Darkside or even Are You Afraid of the Dark?.
Wolfman Moon Scale