Friday, March 28, 2008

Marvel Zombies Vs Walking Dead

As you already know two of my favorite things are superheroes and zombies which is why I got so excited when Marvel Zombies as created by Mark Millar and Greg Land first appeared in the Ultimate Fantastic Four 21-23 way back in 05, and again in 06 issues 30-32.

Now while I’d love to see a Marvel Zombie movie, especially if this scene was reshot with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst as directed by Sam Raimi, I’ve lost my taste (pun?) for the books. I really enjoyed the first mini-series as written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Sean Phillips, but after that it became a parody of what made it kinda cool in the first place. Hell, they even fought Ash J Williams in Marvel Zombies Vs The Army of Darkness last year.

Unfortunately I only have one person to blame for my loss of love for the spandex clad flesh eaters.

That person is Robert Kirkman.

Now before you start shouting, wait a minute Charlie, Kirkman’s awesome. He created Battle Pope and Invincible. The man’s brilliant.

I know he is, and that’s the problem.

Kirkman created The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead is probably my favorite comic on the market now. It is easily the greatest zombie apocalypse tale to date. If anything, Kirkman has raised the bar so high for zombie fiction that other stuff he’s written, like Marvel Zombies, pales in comparison.

No other comic has ever given me a WTF moment as last months issue 46 has. Kirkman shows a great affection for Romeros world and makes it his own. He understands that zombies are an obstacle and it’s the human relationships and dynamics that are far deadlier than the 100 or so lurking ghouls camping on your doorstep. He’s intelligent enough to realize that no one, and I mean no one is safe. He pulls the reader along toying with your affections for the characters and filling you with dread at every page turn.

The Walking Dead is a zombie tale for the Lost fans, and if any zombie tale were ever adapted for television (c’mon Showtime, get on it) it should be this one. It almost screams to be filmed.

Without giving too much away, The Walking Dead follows Officer Rick Grimes a police officer from Kentucky who wakes up in a hospital after being shot to a very different world decimated by zombies. Now Kirkman got a lot of complaints about his opening being too similar to Danny Boyles 28 Days Later, but Boyle wasn’t the first either. That honor goes to John Wyndhams Day of the Triffids. (highly recommended)

Rick does miraculously reunite with his wife Lori and his son Carl who are with a group of survivors that includes his partner Shane.

It’s at about this point that those deadly human relationships come into play, and you realize this aint just a zombie story.

People die in this book, some of them you love and others not so much, but the cast has changed dramatically from that first issue and I wouldn’t be surprised if Kirkman decides to change the focal point of the book leaving us loyal readers to lash out in the letter pages about our emotional investments.

Nearly the full run of The Walking Dead can be found in 7 soft cover collections, with the eighth soon to follow. The collections are also modestly priced, normally at 13 bucks a book containing 6 full issues. You can find them online or at your local comic shop, I recommend ordering from Velocity Comics here in Richmond, cause Patrick’s alright.

Now I know I haven’t shown any love for the talented artists on this book. Tony Moore did art for the first 6 issues and Charlie Adlard has expertly handled the interiors since. The interior art is black and white, and I really don’t see the need to add color. If anything the colors I see are probably more gruesome than anything they can actually print. There have been times earlier on where it’s been difficult to distinguish characters, but Adlard has really grown on this book and he’s looking much more polished.

The Walking Dead is fast approaching the 50th issue which Kirkman has hinted at big changes for. This might be a good jumping on point for anyone wanting to follow this book, even Tere is hooked, and she doesn’t read comics. (philistine)

If anything do yourself a favor and grab some of the collected books. We’ll just sit by and wait for you to start searching the bins for back issues.

The Walking Dead is published by Image Comics.


Anonymous said...

Sooooo glad you gave some credit to Walking Dead. It is by far the best comic I have read in a long time. My son, got some flack, then permission to use the series for his 'daily reading log' for school. He is upposed to read for at least 15 min a day and record the pertinent info and a parent signs the stupid form at the end of each week. Well he was WAY non-compliant with this all year until, low and behold, I gave him 2 issues of Walking Dead. (he is the ultimate 9 year old zombie & alien fighter out there). Now realize the closest, decent, comic store is 45 miles away, so I protect my investments wiesly. But he has shown a lot of growth in the 'respecting personal property' dept lately....still working on the 'don't assault your sister' rule, but hey, he's only 9....and she baits him... but back to the school system...was very close to home schooling since I have had A LOT of issues with the up-tight wasps that run that 'school' but since he has a really cool, young, open-minded teacher (who looks earily like the late Dominique Dunne)and he is a 3rd grader in a 4th grade class, I'm letting it run it's course for now. You will appreciate this, Charlie...he told his teacher, when asked what he wanted to be when he grows up, he said "a coroner since the dead interest me". Of course an parent-teacher conference was scheduled. thankfully, we handled that wel and didn't have CSI digging up our backyard. Like I must have mentioned before, people have NO sense of humor up here. Oh well, have a great one.

Charlie said...

Your son sounds great. My mom let me read all the comics I wanted (mostly horror) as long as I read something and I think it paid off. If anything I became too much of a wise-ass.
I get the collected books for Tere, so I don't have to have a stack of issues within cats reach. Hairballs and comics don't mix.