Erik's Reviews > The Walking Dead, Compendium 1

The Walking Dead, Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman
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Dec 17, 2010

it was amazing
Read in December, 2010

Yes, I have already read and reviewed all of the individual volumes of The Walking Dead that are collected together in this single, two-inch-thick compendium. But with the recent rating-smash hit TV adaptation of Kirkman’s brilliant comic book series this past fall on AMC, I decided to go back and reread the first forty-eight issues. (I got the previous volumes from the library when I read them the first time around. And for those of you who are keen to try this brilliantly written series, might I recommend buying the compendium at about forty dollars a pop through Amazon, as it is cheaper than buying the eight separate volumes individually at about twelve dollars a piece.)

This being my second time through the first forty-eight issues – and immediately after the remarkably engrossing TV adaptation ended its all-too-short first season run – there are still some surprises and insights that I didn’t quite notice or fully appreciate before.

First, I’m even more convinced that Adlard’s art is half of what makes this series so stunningly amazing. Not to dismiss Kirkman’s brilliant writing and refreshingly realistic dialogue, but Moore’s art really does a disservice to the emotional impact. I’ve probably said it before, but replacing Moore with Adlard was a swift move. I honestly have no idea why Moore left – I have actually never encountered an explanation as to why he left after the first dozen or so issues – and I don’t want to know. But the success of the series is in no small part due to his efforts, and I will respect him for being there when The Walking Dead began. But Adlard’s art is far superior, and adds an emotional and visual resonance that is cinematic in quality.

Second, I will be the first to defend all changes that have been made in the TV series, most notably the elongated trapped-in-Atlanta sequence from the first two episodes, the additional characters (other than Dale, Andrea, Amy, Shane, Carl, Glenn, and Lori), Amy’s transformation and second and final death at her sister Andrea’s hands, as well as the Center for Disease Control subplot at season’s end. Not only do they create a better, more realistic plot, but Kirkman -- the executive producer -- calls all the final shots on his creation. So criticisms from some of the diehard fan-base that the series deviates negatively from the source material miss the point that these changes were made and/or approved by Kirkman himself.

In recent weeks since season one ended its run on AMC, director and executive producer Frank Darabont has dropped strong hints that he is eager to bring in Michonne and the Governor in next fall’s sophomore season. And the seamless storytelling by both Kirkman and Adlard are so beautifully realized that I cannot imagine it being difficult to improve what they have already done. Of course, if they can and do, then so much the better. Not only does my second read-through of the first forty-eight issues of the The Walking Dead prove just what an incredible body of comic book story-telling it is, but it also proves that this medium is the perfect source material and companion to cinematic story-telling on the small screen.

Here’s hoping for many more years of The Walking Dead in both print and on AMC.
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