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Review: “The Walking Dead” by Robert Kirkman

October 28th, 2010 Comments off

Books one through six have been released, with seven soon to come.

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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Trailer: The Walking Dead (2010)

August 24th, 2010 Comments off

In the world of “I Cannot Fracking Wait” debuts, AMC’s The Walking Dead, based on the graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman is pretty much atop my TV list… at least since the premiere of ABC’s V.  Well AMC just debuted a four and a half minute trailer for the series and announced it’s start date: 10 PM on Halloween night, this October.  Can… not… wait….

Quick Hits: LOST S6, E16 — “What They Died For”

May 19th, 2010 Comments off

Oh, where to start. I like to jump into a semi-developed theory when kicking off one of these Quick Hits, so let’s take a look at Jack Sheppard as Rick Grimes. Who, you ask. Well, anyone with a purported awareness of Zombie fiction or AMC’s upcoming fall lineup can tell you.  Rick Grimes is the Cillian Murphy-like character from Robert Kirkman’s epic comic series The Walking Dead. Grimes wakes up in post-apocalyptic America… a changed world where Zombies have emerged and killed virtually all that Rick knows and finds. Somehow, he travels through the Southeast to discover his wife, son and a small band of survivors who have come together in efforts to merely live on.

As Jack's cut has expanded, the tear in space-time between the Island world and the sideways world has expanded.

A policeman by trade and an alpha male by nature, Rick is to Kirkman’s America as Jack is to the Producer’s Island. He is the natural leader to whom everyone turns and is driven by a passion to survive and try to save those around him. He also is one whose every success comes with a price and who is surrounded by inevitable failures. Much like Jack, his decisions are well intentioned and guided by decidedly benevolent intents, but often stray from moral standards. With Jack, one might point to his torture of Benjamin in Season 2. With Rick, one might point to the outright murder he commits in Book 3. In each case, it’s hard to argue with the reasoning behind each act, but the justification is decidedly dirty.

But what makes Jack very much so like Rick is his self awareness. Jack is torn asunder internally by both his past transgressions and his own self doubt. Both he and Rick feel directly responsible for the repercussions of their actions and eschew leadership roles… but do so only temporarily specifically because they are simply hiding from their true destinies and fated roles as leaders. The thing with both men is that they cannot be convinced of the need to forgive themselves their failures and the importance of their reassuming decision making roles. Instead, Rick tries to push leadership upon Terrence and Dale while Jack does the same for Sawyer and Hugo. Eventually, circumstances dictate their re-assumption of duties.

More on this and my quick hits, after the jump. Read more…