The Walking Dead, a black-and-white comic book written and created by author Robert Kirkman, premiered in 2003. Since then, the series has spawned oveThe Walking Dead, a black-and-white comic book written and created by author Robert Kirkman, premiered in 2003. Since then, the series has spawned over 80 issues, 13 trade paperback collections, t-shirts, an upcoming video game adaptation, and a television series on AMC. Not bad for a comic book, something that many people believe only children should read.
The comic follows the story of Rick Grimes, a police officer from rural Kentucky, who wakes from a coma (trite, I know!) to discover himself one of the few survivors of a zombie apocalypse. Chaos ensues. Society has collapsed. Electricity, running water, cellphones, and the Internet have failed. The way of life Rick (and the readers) knew is gone.
Sound familiar? It should. In recent years, Hollywood has produced a number of zombie apocalypse-type films including Zombieland, Quarantine, The Crazies, a remade Dawn of the Dead, and many others. Even Britain has gotten involved, offering the 28 Days Later franchise and the humorous (believe it) Shaun of the Dead.
What makes The Walking Dead different is that it isn’t just about the initial zombie outbreak. That time has past. It is now time for the human survivors to band together and forge a new future, one they never envisioned or expected in their wildest nightmares. Where will they find food? How will they keep warm during the winter months? Can they find the antibiotics necessary to cure an illness we would otherwise consider trivial?
The Walking Dead, you see, isn’t so much about the living dead, called “Walkers,” preying upon survivors (though horror fans will not be disappointed). The story is about life and how precious it is, about how all of us can take technology, safety, and our loved ones for granted. As the comic claims, “In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living.”
Like my post on Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, I encourage skeptical readers and those who do not read comics or the horror genre to give The Walking Dead a fair try. Start with the trade paperback Days Gone Bye (artwork featured), a collection of the first six issues of the comic series. You could be thrilled to discover something you never expected to enjoy.
Note: Do not be mislead by the fact that this is a comic book. It is NOT for children. Very adult content abounds. ...more
What do you get when you combine science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the western? Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, a remarkable, one-of-a-kindWhat do you get when you combine science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the western? Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, a remarkable, one-of-a-kind adventure. The story follows Roland Deschain, the last in a line of noble Gunslingers. Imagine knight-like cowboys who live by a strict code of honor or, more simply, Jedi’s (of Star Wars fame) with guns. Roland’s quest is to locate the fabled Dark Tower, the one structure that connects all of the various universes in existence. The Tower is pivoting on the brink of destruction.
Every fan of Stephen King should read this series. In it, Mr. King includes many characters and themes from his previous novels and stories — from The Stand to Salem’s Lot. The author even appears as an important character himself, describing his battle with addiction and his near fatal accident in which he was struck by a van while walking along the shoulder of a road. Additionally, the series also includes a little Harry Potter and Star Wars. Mr. King is definitely a fan.
How does all of this work in Roland’s gunslinging adventure? You’ll have read the books to find out. The series currently spans seven books, with the eighth installment (The Wind Through the Keyhole) coming soon. All I can say to that is, “Hurry, Mr. King!” I know how our speedy readers feel. Their favorite writers cannot publish fast enough. ...more