For those of you who have never heard of this landmark series, let me fill you in on the basic plot: Georgia Deputy Rick Grimes was shot in the line of duty and fell into a coma, only to wake up in an abandoned hospital. Stumbling on weakened legs, he discovers that it’s not just a case of nurses falling asleep on the job. The hospital, and the surrounding area have been overrun by zombies. Making his way back to his home, he finds it equally empty and his family gone, with no idea what happened to them. Eventually, he meets a fellow survivor and his son, who tell him what he’s missed. A zombie plague has wiped out human civilization and what remains is a day-to-day existence where you have to hide or fight to stay alive. This is a world where human comfort no longer exists; no television, no computers, and no cellphones. After arming himself, Rick sets out to find his missing family, or die trying.
There is more to the story than that brief synopsis of course, but if I said more, I’d be blowing some of the surprises. The Walking Dead isn’t just another zombie tale, it’s also an analysis of what makes us human; of how far we are willing to go, not only to survive, but to simply retain our humanity in the face of an inhuman world. What Rick faces will force him to confront his darkest fears and nightmares, and in the end, will what he encounters change him? If you’ve seen the series up to this point, then you already know some of the answers to those questions, and if you’re smart enough to have read the comic up to now, you’ll see how much Rick has changed, and it’s not all for the better.
Although the television show is first-rate, the comic book is by far and away, superior. It kind of makes the show seem watered down, in my opinion. I don’t read the single issues- I read the trade editions that come out every six months or so. Whenever one comes out, I buy it, race home, and mind-gobble it up like a fat kid with a gift card at 31 Flavors. Sorry, I know that’s a horrible and insensitive analogy, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
The advantage to reading the series is that it takes place far in advance of where the show is, and though there are a few differences, such as (SPOILER ALERT!) Dale dying earlier than he was supposed to. But that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Being a life-long comic book geek, there are few series that I have enjoyed as much as The Walking Dead. If you’re not watching the show, you should be slapped. If you’re not reading the comic book, you need a good ass-kicking.
That being the case, Mike said that he ‘didn’t have the time to read the comic.’ I guess that means I need to fly down to Georgia and give him a good, swift kick in the rear. You think?