‘Walking Dead’ swarms comic shops, TV setsWritten by Jim Beard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Though AMC is set to unleash “The Walking Dead” on unsuspecting viewers this Oct. 31, the concept is celebrating seven years as a comic book success story. Local comic shops are gearing up for what most likely will be a new wave of zombie interest, spurred on by the new TV program and fed by the more than two dozen collections of the comic in print.
“I would have to say it’s the best damn comic currently out there,” said Jim Collins of JC’s Comic Stop. “I feel it’s unlike any zombie comic that’s been produced before.”
Paul Shiple of The Game Room concurs, noting the title “has proven itself to be one of, if not the, most consistently ambitious series of the last five years. [Writer] Robert Kirkman has taken many of the most worn tropes in horror fiction and pushed the boundaries to such a degree where the narrative seems almost completely new.”
“It’s the zombie story that never ends!” said Monarch Cards & Comics’ Ed Katschke. “Kirkman has done a great job of not only creating a convincing post-apocalyptic landscape, but also of introducing us to a series of characters with whom we can’t help but become emotionally engaged. His masterful juggling of domestic drama and stark horror is perfectly balanced and his adherence to the rule ‘No One Is Safe’ creates moments of such jarring violence and death that can cut you to the core.”
“True, you have the zombies to worry about, but you know what you’re up against with them,” Collins said. “The ‘normal folks’ you run across … you know nothing about. They can be a thousand times more dangerous, since they have their own agendas.”
The upcoming TV production also has our local comic vendors charged with interest.
“The writers and directors handling the first season of the series have contributed to some of the smartest and most sophisticated television of the last decade,” Shiple said. “Their combined resume includes work on ‘The X-Files,’ ‘Dexter,’ ‘The Shield,’ ‘The Wire,’ ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘24.’ Personally, I can’t imagine that the show will be anything but excellent.”
While Katschke feels the comics’ “open-ended episodic nature and soap-opera narrative easily lends itself to television and the zombie hook makes it irresistible to those of us with a penchant for horror,” it’s Collins who boils it down to basics. “It looks like they got it right,” he said. “So bring out your dead; I got my popcorn and I’m ready.”