I have been enjoying these tales as thoroughly as their serially-published predecessors ( in 44 Scotland Street, which I've yet to review). Based on bI have been enjoying these tales as thoroughly as their serially-published predecessors ( in 44 Scotland Street, which I've yet to review). Based on books 1.5, I'd recommend the Scotland Street series to just about anyone. The burgeoning independence of Bertie, the emergence of Big Lou's smug yet admirable personality, the bluster of Bruce, the incorrigible wisdom of Domenica and her pseudo-motherly relation to Pat - it's all wonderful candy reading. Sadly, now that I'm back at university I had to leave it in my Newfoundland library and await the fortuitous day I'll find it here in Sackville. A full review to come, eventually …. ...more
**spoiler alert** On this lonely Sunday evening, I plucked The Walking Dead: Vol. 1 from the stack atop my bed's built-in shelves and devoured read it**spoiler alert** On this lonely Sunday evening, I plucked The Walking Dead: Vol. 1 from the stack atop my bed's built-in shelves and devoured read it cover-to-cover. Funny, you know – I bought this purely on impulse when I had some giftcards to fritter away at the bookstore, and it was the last line on the back cover that grabbed my attention: "In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living." As someone who certainly doesn't always feel alive, I'm a big fan of ideas that propose we get people to finally start living.
Later, I felt sheepish doubts that I'd misspent my twelve-fifty. But that was last Christmas; since then I've kept glancing at the spine with interest, and now that I've finally read the thing, all doubts have been transmuted into a zombie-esque hunger for more. I knew as soon as I read Kirkman's introduction that this was the right zombie lit for me. And I quote, again: "To me, the best zombie movies aren't the splatter fests of gore and violence with goofy characters and tongue in cheek antics. Good zombie movies show us how messed up we are, they make us question our station in society ... and our society's station in the world. […] The Walking Dead will be the zombie movie that never ends." Don't turn to this graphic novel if you don't want to read, or think, further than the glorious gore of most post-apocalyptica. Kirkman takes his characters and their relationships just as seriously as he promises to.
I was impressed, for example, by his attention to the gender dynamic in the survivors' camp. Rick's attitude is recognizably sexist at times, such as after a near-fatal attack: "Nobody was prepared for this, Shane. You think those girls know how to fight?" The thing is, almost none of them know how to fight. Rick and Shane are cops, and Jim is trigger-happy. All the others, male or female, appear quite lacking in fight skills. Also, in Rick's analysis of Donna: that she's "just an old housewife who doesn't have soap operas to keep her small mind occupied." I don't find Donna an appealing character – say, in her Victorian disapproval of Dale's "living with" two young girls (more below), but on the other side of the gender line, there's her fury about the women being stuck with laundry duty "while they go off and hunt. When things get back to normal I wonder if we'll still be allowed to vote." She's a bit of an inconsistent figure that way, but she's strong if nothing else. Besides, its revelation of human hypocrisy is key to the novel's excellence.
One of my favourite elements is old Dale's fatherly care for Andrea and Amy. The recently-made widower has welcomed them to sleep in his camper, and instantly for some characters – and readers – Scandal Must Be Suspected. Because that's how we think. As minor a detail as this is right now, though, I can't help trusting Dale completely. He's simply a big-hearted man who isn't willing to let an insidious taboo stop him from offering kindness to a pair of orphans, when their world has gone insane. The page of four panels showing Dale trying to comfort Andrea will guarantee heart-ache.
There is, of course, the lurking unfaithfulness of Rick's wife and police partner. AAAND in Volume Two, will Rick (and the drooling eager reader) find out WHAT exactly the short-lived bond was between Shane and Lori? And will Lori's resentment of Rick, for turning their son into a sharp-shooter, grow into a more serious rift as her buried feelings for Shane broil toward the surface? The plot congeals thickens.
I can't leave out the appropriateness of the graphics. Everything is black-and-white, only nothing is black-and-white anymore. And you realize as you read that even outside the book nothing is black-and-white, nor was it ever meant to be. At its deepest, this story succeeds in scrutinizing who we all are and why we live (or fail at living) like we do. This volume ends with a death for which the zombie epidemic is blameless, a death at the hands of a terrified seven-year-old protecting his father from Shane's murderous jealousy. "It's not the same as killing the dead ones, Daddy!" he weeps, in the arms of a father who can no longer shelter him. And the truth staggers into view.
The end of what we optimistically call 'civilization' doesn't start with the zombies. Quite by itself, that madness is alive and well in us.