This Sunday, AMC will debut their brand new series The Walking Dead, based on the Robert Kirkman comic book series of the same name. I don’t actually know if you’re supposed to call them graphic novels or comics. It is more sophisticated that the cartoon books of my youth and it is easily closer to literature than one would associate with an Archie or X-Men book, so I’ll go with graphic novels.
I don’t quite recall what drove me to pick up TWD for the first time. It may have been on a recommendation from G4TV’s Blair Butler or some interweb publicity, but I’m darn glad I did. I’ve had a long-time fascination with the zombie genre of film-making that has extended beyond the George Romero staple to be highlighted by recent movies (be they comedies such as Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland, or action thrillers such as 28 Days Later) and even the under-exposed Max Brooks tome World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.
The Walking Dead is a tale that starts off a bit like your typical zombie fare, but it evolving rather quickly into something more akin to literature. That is not a knock on any of the movies in the genre (particularly 28 Days Later, which film’s beginning is quite aped by Kirkman in Book 1), nor is it a hack at World War Z, which very much so is a piece of unique literature, trading the oral history motif from the documentary to the sci fi. The key, distinguishing element of TWD is that it doesn’t focus on the zombies. The story is, instead, about the humans in their endeavor to survive.
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