Kereesa's Reviews > The Walking Dead, Vol. 01: Days Gone Bye

The Walking Dead, Vol. 01 by Robert Kirkman
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's review
Aug 07, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: manga-and-graphic-novels-class, graphic-novels, 2011, hype-fail, zombies, whiny-heroes-that-piss-me-off, books-i-ll-never-read-again, apocalyptic, nic-s, we-are-never-getting-back-together
Recommended to Kereesa by: Friends and the internet.
Recommended for: Not me.
Read from November 27 to December 01, 2011

I haven't read or watched a lot of zombie related material. I mean there has been a fair amount of zombie movies, including the dreaded Resident Evil films (which I understand after experiencing the games-the dread I mean, not the actual films), and some novels, Carrie Ryan's YA trilogy in particular, but I haven't really read/watched a lot of the more popular outputs of the genre. Which is why I was excited to both watch and read The Walking Dead.

Especially with the massive amount of hype generated not only by the media/internet, but by my friends.

You suck, friends! Kidding.

Anyway, so I actually read the first volume to The Walking Dead after watching the first complete season of AMC's adaptation of the series. Which was fine with me since I was told there were quite a few differences between the both of them anyway, so it wasn't like I was re-watching the same scenes/plots...mostly anyway. And for the most part I liked the TV show. It wasn't spectacular, but it was okay in my books.


And then I read this.

So, The Walking Dead is basically a series about this guy named Rick god I hate Rick who wakes up after being in a coma and discovers, to his surprise, his neighbors and friends are a bit too hungry for his flesh. He soon finds out that the world has been taken over by an infestation of zombies/the dead, and that people are out on the road hunting and scavenging for any means of survival. He sets off to look for his family, and *slight spoilers* does manage to find them, and teaming up with a band of survivors searching for a safe place to live away from the walking dead.

The Walking Dead is like a mix of all the worst things I could think of in relation to the stereotypes surrounding Americans. Anti-Feminism/sexism, anti-multiculturalism, gender roles, GUNS!, the list continues. But I could've gotten over these bad qualities to the piece, somehow, if Kirkman didn't add on to these tropes with large cups of flat characters, dead dialogue, and a large dose of typicality that so killed my love for the idea behind this series: the everyday lives of people caught in a zombie infestation.

I'm not going to really get into the sexist sentiments I found so apparent throughout this graphic novel, there were a number of other reviews that pointed it out, but I think it's sufficient to say I, with all my obliviousness (and any number of my friends can attest to that), noticed it. (I remember facepalming during an especially terrible scene where Lorie basically says she has to do the laundry because her husband had never been able to understand how to use a washing machine, hahah-NO.) The usual boys shoot guns, girls clean and cook gender roles and stereotypes was another thing I quickly noticed as being both in the graphic novel and the TV show (though AMC's version thankfully wasn't quite as maddening), as was the lack of any sort of ethnic diversity other than Glen. All of which made me want to strangle the graphic novel for being so stereotypically American.

Personal feelings aside, I wouldn't have minded this typicality if Kirkman hadn't used these stereotypes in creating his characters. I think the best example of this is Lorie, Rick's wife, who becomes angry after Rick wants to teach his 7? 9? (he looks like he's five) son how to use a gun, but suddenly is okay with it (even though the kid WAS using the weapon regardless of her opinion), and tells Rick he's right when the boy saves her from a zombie.

My response for this entire incident? Why not give Lorie the damn gun? Then she can protect her son instead of possibly turning him into a psycho.

But I suppose she was too busy doing laundry or some other gender-suited activity

The rest of the characters are kind of the same in how they stick to the stereotypes Kirkman lays out for them, and essentially become cardboard cutouts that I could neither empathize with nor care about. The dialogue Kirkman gives them is even worse than their empty character traits, and lies dead on the page as it provides nothing insightful or useful in my opinion, and instead is just so...typical. So ordinary, so EXPECTED, nothing they ever said ever suggested personalities, emotions, or something other than this...lifelessness that I couldn't get past.

Besides all this, one of the things that really killed the graphic novel for me was the portrayal of Shane (Rick's BFF who's been lusting after his wife, and is an antagonist in the series). As an antagonist to Rick, Shane is portrayed negatively to an extreme. He freaks out over EVERYTHING (And I mean EVERYTHING, even things that are in no way associated to him-it's quite odd) Rick says or does, and essentially becomes this raging troll that goes "Well fuck screw you, Rick!" every time the guy opens his mouth.

In other words, Kirkman demonizes him. He allows Shane to become a raging antagonist that no one (even Lorie) likes, is a negative influence on the group, and has no other point except to provide an interesting finale to the first volume. I won't spoil it here, but it does provide more evidence for something I suggested earlier (view spoiler).

So negative things aside, I DID like one part of this graphic novel:

The art was very, very lovely with a lovely mix of realism, and interesting use of color. That alone was absolutely superb.

All in all, The Walking Dead was a graphic novel that made me angry and disgusted. Though I hear the series gets better, and many characters grow, I'd rather pass. I have better things to do with my time. 1.5-2/5

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Reading Progress

11/28/2011 "Jesus Shane, stop freaking the heck out. And the crying? Urk. Not to mention the sexism...."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Vicki We have the compendium one with like the first 6 or so volumes in it. Are we reading this for the class? I didn't see it on the unb list when I checked.

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