The Walking Dead

 

One of the best graphic novel series ever (and one of my personal favorites) is Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. In the very competitive world of comics, it has managed in ten years to not only survive, but thrive. It has become one of the most popular series ever, with a loyal following and even spawning a TV series. 

In case you have been living on a desert island in all that time, The Walking Dead is about the survivors of a zombie apocalypse. That’s right, zombies, lots of them. It starts off as a cross between Night of the Living Dead and 28 Days Later. Our protagonist, Rick Grimes, is a police officer recovering in the hospital from a near-fatal gunshot wound. He emerges from his coma to a world run rampant with zombies. How’s that for a hello and good morning. He eventually comes across other survivors, his wife and son among them. 

What follows is the result of a total societal collapse, a world with no T.V., no phones, no government, and no authority, nothing of the modern world we’ve become totally dependent on. From then on, it is a constant fight for food, shelter, and safety, all of which are in short supply. Characters come and go in brutal ways, some at the hands (or teeth) of the walkers (the term zombie is never actually used), but many at the hands of other survivors. If you ever wanted to know what could happen to the world if everything fell apart, zombies or no zombies, this is for you. People, including Rick, are forced to make difficult, often unpleasant, decisions in order to survive. 

At one point, he tells the group, “We are the walking dead.” They are surviving, but not really living. As they move from one location to another in their search for sanctuary, they come across other survivors, many of whom don’t play fair. That’s what makes this series so interesting. Sure, you have zombies to worry about, but it’s the human element that really is the focus. They have more to fear from other survivors than from the walkers. It’s the struggle to survive when everything we take for granted is gone, to rebuild something that was lost, to have some semblance of normalcy, even sanity, when everything has gone insane.  

It’s certainly not for the squeamish. There is violence, lots of it, and (for the prim and proper) language, but if you’re willing to give it a try, you’re in for great story of survival, love, loss, and of course, zombies.

Heather Seaton