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The Walking Dead #1-8

The Walking Dead: Compendium One

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Introducing the first eight volumes of the fan-favorite, New York Times Best Seller series collected into one massive paperback collection.

In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally start living. With The Walking Dead #1-48, this compendium features more than one thousand pages chronicling the start of Robert Kirkman's Eisner Award-winning story of zombie horror, from Rick Grimes waking up alone in a hospital, his band of survivors seeking refuge on an isolated farm and the controversial introduction of Woodbury despot, The Governor.

1088 pages, Paperback

First published May 19, 2009

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About the author

Robert Kirkman

3,014 books6,281 followers
Robert Kirkman is an American comic book writer best known for his work on The Walking Dead, Invincible for Image Comics, as well as Ultimate X-Men and Marvel Zombies for Marvel Comics. He has also collaborated with Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane on the series Haunt. He is one of the five partners of Image Comics, and the only one of the five who was not one of the original co-founders of that publisher.

Robert Kirkman's first comic books were self-published under his own Funk-o-Tron label. Along with childhood friend Tony Moore, Kirkman created Battle Pope which was published in late 2001. Battle Pope ran for over 2 years along with other Funk-o-Tron published books such as InkPunks and Double Take.

In July of 2002, Robert's first work for another company began, with a 4-part SuperPatriot series for Image, along with Battle Pope backup story artist Cory Walker. Robert's creator-owned projects followed shortly thereafter, including Tech Jacket, Invincible and Walking Dead.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,676 reviews
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,574 reviews5,908 followers
January 6, 2015

I had no clue that the books to this were so much different than the show. You have some completely different characters and different endings for so many of the characters.
If you haven't read the books because of being afraid to spoil the show..don't worry. It's different enough that you don't know anything about anything.
Some of my favorite characters don't exist in the books

and yet I still loved this book.

There is a darker feel to the books. More sex, more dying, more fighting between the people that should be helping each other. Just like real life!

The governor in the books is the freaking devil. I completely now understand the hatred between him and Michonne.

Then guess who is bad-ass in the books but was a whimpering idiot on the show?

Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,127 reviews3,551 followers
March 4, 2015
The world we knew is gone...

...now we live in the world of The Waking Dead!!!

This is the first volume of “Compendium Edition” of The Walking Dead, collecting the comic book issue from #1 to #48 (including the Christmas Special story). This is equivalent to the first 8 regular Trade Paperbacks of the comic book series.

My general rating is an average result of the sum of the ratings of each chapter in the collected edition.

Creative Team:

Writer: Robert Kirkman

Illustrators: Tony Moore (Chapter One) & Charlie Adlard (Chapters Two to Eight)

Additional gray tones to inking: Tony Moore (Chapter One) & Cliff Rathburn (Chapters Two to Eight)

Chapter One


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

Rick... Officer Rick Grimes at your service.

This chapter is the epic beginning of the mega popular franchise of The Walking Dead that first was comic books, then expanded to a TV series and now there are even prose novels.

This first chapter has the great artwork by Tony Moore that certainly made it iconic. The work of Charlie Adlard in the rest of chapters is really good too, specially on the details of things and backgrounds, but definitely if I’d be able to choose, my pick would be on Tony Moore, it was sad that he won’t keep doing the illustrations on the rest of the comic book series. As additional info, Tony Moore remained in the creative team for a while doing the covers of the first twenty-four issues and the covers of the first four regular TPBs.

A good thing about The Walking Dead, if you want to enjoy it in comic books along with TV series is that both storylines are different, sure there will be connecting points here and there, and you will meet the same names of characters (in some cases) but they aren’t the same persons, and trust me, while this is my first compendium in the comic book’s storyline, I have been watching the TV series since its own beginning, and both stories are different, both truly great, but different, so don’t afraid of spoilers in any of both formats, since the events are developed quite different. You may think of the “other storyline” of any format, comic books or TV series, as “the road not taken”.

But truly loyal to the spirit of the franchise.

Officer Rick Grimes, from the Sheriff Deparment in Cynthiana, Kentucky, suffers a shot injury on duty and he falls into a coma. When he wakes up in a hospital bed, after several weeks, he finds himself alone in the building, or at least he thinks that he is alone. Soon enough he meets several “things”, walking “things” that only a word, not matter how nonsensical it sounds, is able to describe those walking “things”...


And if things aren’t bad enough, Rick doesn’t know the whereabouts of his wife and son!

Rick’s first stop on his own home leads him to meet Morgan and his son, Duane. Morgan explains him how the world gone to hell while Rick was in coma.

The US Government was asking population to go to big cities to be defended there by the army, and since Lori, Rick’s wife, has family in Atlanta, Rick decides to go there to search for his wife and son, Carl.

On Atlanta, he finds Glenn, an Asian-American young man, who explains him how the world works now.

Rick Grimes’ world would never been the same anymore!

Chapter Two


Rating: **** ( 4 stars )

Okay... What the hell are we going to do now?

The body count started on the first chapter making them to realize that ANYBODY may be the next one to fall.

Ammo is scarce, so that’s why that being able to shoot and doing it with precision becomes a vital skill where, Andrea, a young blonde woman, is showing to be the best shooter of the group.

Rick’s group is on the road, trying to find some safe place to survive in this nightmare that it’s their reality now.

However, that seems to be an impossible goal since there are zombies everywhere!
Any potential paradise reveals a hidden biting snake.

Chapter Three


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

I ain’t gonna bury you again you son of a bitch.

In our society, you never would want to go prison, but in an apocalyptical dystopia plagued with zombies, a prison would look like the logical choice.

Rick’s group finds a federal penitentiary, that it seems to be the place to expiate their sins, but also they can be a site with its own kind of sinners.

A shocking revelation will expose a new facet about their life-and-death condition.

And also, they will find soon enough that zombies may be deadly, but men are evil. Zombies aren’t guilty of their actions, men are quite aware of theirs.

And men are able to do more horrible things than any zombie.

Until now, you haven’t seen anything yet, the really gruesome things starts here.

Chapter Four


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

Cry me a river.

Enter: Michonne...

..., mysterious Afro-American woman with a samurai sword. ‘Nuff said!

Rick’s group has troubles in all fronts. Menaces outside and inside of the prison.

Rick finally realizes that any sentimental sense of righteousness is long gone in this insane world and now he is taking the hard choices if he really wants the survival of his group.

Some decisions will pay out, some don’t, but nevertheless, Rick needs to call them.

Chapter Five


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

Wait... you’re feeding them? What the hell are you feeding them?

Enter: The Governor...

..., no time to introduce him! Run, everyone! RUN!!!

Rick’s group is finally establishing a secure place in the prison when a falling helicopter in the sky making to go out to investigate.

Rick, Michonne and Glenn while checking out the helicopter, they reach a fortified town.

Welcome to Woodbury.

The Governor rules the town of Woodbury, and the lives of Rick’s group would never been the same anymore!

They would wish to face a legion of zombies instead rather than The Governor!

Chapter Six


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

Don’t you know what people is capable of?!

Rick, Michonne and Glenn are trapped in Woodbury.

And each one of them never would be the same anymore.

Zombies are merciful, they kill you quick and you aren’t aware of a single thing anymore. You cease of thinking, hearing and feeling.

Men aren’t merciful at all.

However they are similar in an aspect...

...they have to be dealt in the same way.

Chapter Seven


Rating: **** ( 4 stars )

I just don’t need to hear you say it. I can’t hear you say it.

Rick’s group is reunited again and they remain in the prison.

However, Woodbury’s people is out there.

This is only the calm before the storming arrival of the dwellers of Woodbury to the prison.

It’s not a matter of “if” but a disturbing certainity of “when”.

Rick’s group is doing their best to keep on with their existence along with doing their best to be prepared for the unavoidable confrontation.

Chapter Eight


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

I don’t think we can do this.

This is it!

The showdown that you all have been waiting for, during the entire compendium!

Woodbury’s people versus Rick’s group!

Now we’re cooking...

Villains will rise, heroes will fall. Characters that you have been thinking that they are irrelevant will prove their value in key moments of survival. But don’t you get mistaken...

...This is a war...

...And in war, disgusting unspeakable sad things happen.

This is...


Special Bonus


Rating: *** ( 3 stars )

A brief side story showing again Morgan and his son Duane, the first people that Rick Grimes met after his recovery from the coma.

Christmas is coming, or at least their calculations say so.

Morgan does his best to bring a momento of peace and joy to his son, Duane, at least for one day in their uncertain existence of survival.

Profile Image for Noah.
178 reviews43 followers
February 23, 2023
I was one of those people who were big into The Walking Dead show for a long time (I dropped off around season 7, if you know, you know), so I figured I'd check out the source material. I remember everyone kept saying that the comic was leagues above the show in terms of pacing, writing, and story. And this could very much be nostalgia talking, but I’m not so sure if that’s true. This comic is just so grim and depressing that I had a hard time connecting to it in the same way I might have if I were still an edgy teen. Overall, I liked this, but I think the genre as a whole is somewhat limited in what it can say. I mean, literally every zombie story’s main message is “humans are the real monsters.” The ones that immediately come to mind are The Walking Dead (show), The Walking Dead (comic), The Walking Dead (games), The Last of Us (Part 1 and 2), and Train to Busan. All of which I enjoyed, but what else is there to say? Endless cynicism isn’t any more realistic or poignant than having a happily ever after, it’s just… more cynical.
Profile Image for ❤Ninja Bunneh❤.
263 reviews173 followers
March 1, 2014
If you watch The Walking Dead aka stalking Daryl Dixon, throw any notions you may have about the show paralleling the comics right out the fucking window.

This version does not have this:

Or that:

I may have even missed this a tiny bit:
 photo merv_zps3641841a.gif

It does have this:

And that:

Although our friend the Governor on the show is rated G compared to the comic version.

Now take all the sick, twisted, and fucked up things that happen on the show and multiply the fucked-upness by a gazillion. Throw in some added gore and psychologically damaging events beyond human comprehension, and you get this book. Fucking WIN.

I still miss seeing this a bit a lot.

5 Ninja-Bunneh-Zombies-Munching-On-Brains
Profile Image for Miltos S..
119 reviews50 followers
February 19, 2020
Ένας φίλος μου το πρότεινε ως εναλλακτικό του Watchmen. Ιεροσυλία!
Παρόλα αυτά, το Walking Dead έχει τη δική του αξία. Είναι καλοσχεδιασμένο, απρόβλεπτο και με καλή ανάπτυξη χαρακτήρων.
Αν είστε φίλος των comics αξίζει οπωσδήποτε να το δείτε.
P.S. Διάβασα το βιβλίο σε ebook κάνοντας χρήση του feature "Guided View" της εφαρμογής comiXology. Δεν έχω μέτρο σύγκρισης με την έκδοση σε χαρτί για να πω τι θα ήταν καλύτερο, πάντως σαν εμπειρία ήταν αρκετά ικανοποιητική και θα το ξαναδοκιμάσω.
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,416 followers
December 9, 2012
This is my second go-around with this sprawling, epic compendium in preparation for tackling the follow-up. I'm so glad I did a re-read because there was a lot I had plain forgotten and much more I had gotten tangled-up with the television series. Only reading the source material again, did I realize just how much the producers of the show actually changed from Kirkman's comic. The fundamentals of the story are essentially the same, but the devilish details have undergone quite a makeover. I have to say, as much as I'm a fan of the comic, most of the changes I approve of and in some cases, even prefer.

Carol's character is much more likeable and awesome on the small screen (certainly not as needy and neurotic as comic book Carol). The invention of Daryl (my favorite on-screen character) and his uber-violent, redneck brother Merle (played oh-so-convincingly by Michael Rooker), have been magnificent contributions to the ensemble cast.

So that's it -- on to Compendium 2!

Original review 10/27/2011:

The Walking Dead launched in the fall of 2003 and shows no signs of wrapping up. Kirkman has created a post-apocalyptic zombie soap opera, where the soap is made out of lye. The story is harsh -- almost nihilistic in its way -- extremely violent, and peppered throughout with characters hooking up in almost sure to be doomed relationships. Because really, no one is safe, and you come to terms with that pretty quickly. Kirkman is not fucking around here. He has a vision and you just know it’s going to involve a lot of gore and heartbreak. No one should feel safe with zombies gnawing at the door and the world collapsing in on itself -- and you will not feel safe reading this series.

Rather than take years to ingest this story -- painstakingly patient -- issue by issue -- I gorged unapologetically over a gluttonous three days. This 1088 page compendium weighs nearly five pounds, and it was a bitch to maneuver in bed at night, but to get so much of the story so quickly was worth it. I’m not one of those people that can eat her chocolates one a day; quite often it’s the whole box in one sitting stomach ache be damned! This first compendium collects up to issue #48 (Book Four in hardcover or Volume Eight in soft).

The Walking Dead is archetype apocalyptic zombie horror. The story gripped me, shook me, unsettled me and left me panting for more, but make no mistake, there is nothing original here (at least not yet). The zombies are your average grasping, gnawing, slow-moving creatures seen in any Romero movie. The survivors are shell-shocked, hardened, weary and a bit mad (as you would expect). At the collapse of civilization as we know it, people begin doing whatever they have to do to survive, and that ain’t always pretty. The strong begin preying on the weak, and when the worst of human nature begins to reveal itself, survivors realize the zombies are the least of their problems in this new world order.

I thought a graphic novel about zombies cast in black and white would look dull and lifeless on the page. I now think color would have been overkill in this case, detracting from the story. The art is simply outstanding – emotions and action, both subtle and in your face, are captured perfectly. The violence is extreme and I was not prepared for that (don’t ask me why). It takes a lot to shock me these days, and there are sequences that did just that.

While the unrelenting nature of the story appealed to me, I cannot say I’ve fallen in love with any of the characters. Don’t get me wrong – these are well-developed, flawed beings whose actions and motivations seem all too real. However, for me, there is a coldness present that prevented me from really warming up to anyone, even the “hero” of this story, Rick Grimes. I felt the same way when I read Stephen King’s The Stand – epic story by a master, but no character stole my heart.

This won’t keep me from reading on in the series though, because I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Everything ends on such a OMFG note that I felt assaulted and struck mute. Sweet.
Profile Image for Madeline.
775 reviews47k followers
September 26, 2012
I really, really love zombie movies, and anything really that involves zombies. (Yes, even Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. If you can't like that idea at least a little bit, then I can't like you.) But pretty quickly after my zombie obsession started, I realized that what interests me about these stories isn't the zombie killing aspect at all. Instead, what really fascinates me about zombie apocalypse movies is how they portray the breakdown of society, and how people deal with this. Blowing zombie heads off with shotguns and slicing them up with machetes is fun to watch (because zombies, like Nazis, can be slaughtered in the thousands and you don't feel even a little bit sorry for them - even when there's a really heartwrenching moment when someone has to shoot their zombiefied mom, it really doesn't make me feel that bad because she's not your mom anymore, she's a zombie who's going to eat you and there is a big difference) but what always interests me more in these stories is what happens when the normal rules of society no longer apply. If the world collapsed tomorrow and all that mattered was survival - not morality, not family, not religion - what would you do? When the zombie apocalypse happens, all bets are off and society crumbles. Once this happens, once we pretty much do whatever we want because everything has been destroyed, how do we react? Who do we become when we lose everything?

If these questions interest you more than simple zombie killing, The Walking Dead will make you very happy. Yes, there are zombie killings aplenty (drawn in super graphic detail, to the point where you probably shouldn't be eating anything while you read this), but the zombies are not the problem here. These aren't 28 Days Later zombies (which, if we're going to get technical, weren't really zombies at all) that are smart and run scary fast. These are slow, dumb, lumbering things that hunt mainly by smell, and whose strategy for finding food is basically to wander around and hope to stumble within grabbing distance of something edible. The zombies in The Walking Dead are not a huge threat. The threat is the people left behind, trying to make a life in this disaster wasteland aftermath.

Let me warn you right away: it ain't pretty. Even our good guy main character, the former police officer Rick, cracks under the pressure and becomes significantly less heroic than he wishes he could be. People kill other people. They torture and rape other people, and do similarly awful things in order to survive. This isn't a zombie movie, where the tight-knit group pf heroes find a safe haven or maybe even a cure and then the credits roll. There are no credits here, and even when our main characters find a relatively secure place where they can live, things aren't over. They still have to push the zombies back every day, and find a source of food, and keep other people from attacking their hiding place. And they still have to deal with each other. To paraphrase Sartre, Hell isn't a zombie apocalypse, Hell is other people.
Profile Image for alluu.
1 review
January 14, 2013
Wow. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement.

Where to begin? I really enjoy reading comics (or graphic novels, if that's the term you prefer) and am constantly on the lookout for something new to enjoy in the genre. For the most part, I tend to read classic, well known stuff like Alan Moore's work or Maus or things like that. Recently I got the itch to try out something a bit more, well, recent! Something new and fresh.

It seems like everybody's reading The Walking Dead nowadays, and also raving about it. This compendium holds an average rating of 4.44 here, which isn't half bad, and there's a lot of very positive reviews on here. So I decided to pick it up. Now, having read through it all, I'm confused. I just don't get the praise the series gets.

I like the concept. I like the dark no-one-is-safe atmosphere. The art is fittingly bleak and gritty, if not particularly inspired.

The problem with The Walking Dead is that it's boring and badly written. Nearly all of the characters are either shallow, plain or outright annoying, especially the women (except Andrea). Dialogue is awkward and clunky, riddled with cliches, worn phrases and forced exposition. It just sounds unnatural, which is *pretty* problematic for a comic that centers around conversations and social relations.

So the series is basically about about character development. And that's great! But if you do it badly, you end up with a cheap soap opera. And that's what The Walking Dead really is: a mediocre soap opera. With zombies. Even the zombies are kind of lame and serve primarily as an excuse to include mindless action scenes, which do little to break up the monotony of it all.

Rarely does anything too exciting happen and the plot moves forward at a snail's pace. People die and argue violently with each other all the time, but it all lacks dramatic punch. After the a while, you just stop caring.

This review may sound harsh, but reading through the compendium has been a frustrating experience. I really wanted to like this and there were some good bits here and there, but I expected something much better based on all the positive reviews.

What is it about The Walking Dead that I just don't get?
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,724 reviews673 followers
April 29, 2011
I cannot believe the dark places this graphic novel delves. No one, and I mean no one, is safe in this ongoing saga. It takes place after the dead have risen and destroyed everything and follows a handful of often rotating survivors as they try to get by in a frightening new world. It starts out a little slow as everything is set up but once it gets going I didn't want to put it down.

It is less focused on the zombies than its core of characters and their interaction and relationships but there is plenty of gore to go around. It's horrible, sad and unputtdownable. This volume collects issues 1 - 48 of the long running series and man is this sucker heavy!
Profile Image for Francesca.
100 reviews101 followers
March 31, 2017
My actual rating is 4.5 stars.

It's unfair to compare the comics to the TV series. The two are very different from each other and I am coming into it from the wrong side, having watched and fallen in love with the show first and then discovering the comics. However, comparisons are inevitable as they still share so much in common. They have the same basic plotline's, the same locations, and a lot of the same characters (even if these characters can sometimes be very different). I admit that I do slightly prefer the series but as I watched it first my bias was already directed towards it. Despite that, I still loved the comics and was absolutely gripped from start to finish and I appreciate the fact that they're both using different mediums to tell the story and what works for one doesn't work for the other. The main difference which I felt was necessary was the pacing. The comics move at a very fast pace and in this format it works. People would not buy comic after comic of nothing much happening and little action and drama, it would make for a very dull read and people would get bored. The show moves at a slower pace because it has to. If the show moved at the same pace as the comics, people would lose interest because there's nothing to really hold onto. As soon as one thing happens, it's straight onto the next and the comics have characters dropping like flies. A show couldn't do that. The pacing also means that a similar thing happens to the characters. In the comics, the characters have to develop quickly and this can sometimes result in moments that seem completely out of the blue or sudden but it works because they keep the entertainment going. In the show, the characters are able to develop at a slightly slower and more realistic pace which allows the viewer to get more attached to them and invested in them. I realised about half way through reading this compendium that the reason I slightly prefer the show is because the slower pacing works better for me and for my tastes. However, I'm sure there are many who would feel the complete opposite as I have definitely seen complaints about the shows slow pace before and I think some people would be better suited to the pacing of the comics.

I found a lot of the differences interesting in the general plot of the story. Andrea was pretty awesome in the comics and while I didn't mind her in the show, I can see that her character was done a huge disservice. On the other hand, Carol was vastly improved on in the show. Michonne was still just as badass in both but I felt glad that she didn't have to go through the same trauma. The Governor was on a whole other level of evil in the comics than the show. He has always been my most hated 'villain' in the show because although we were shown people that technically did worse or more insane things, I found him incredibly creepy and unnerving because he's the kind of manipulative bastard that I can't stand. The show gave him some episodes that seemed like they were trying to almost redeem him which I hated so I was so glad that the comics showed him as truly vile throughout. Some of the characters from the show don't exist in the comics and vice versa and while I missed the presence of some of the characters (Read: Daryl and Merle) I wasn't fussed about the exclusion of others. On the other hand, I could understand why they'd left out some of the characters from the comics as they really just felt like spare parts and extra bodies with no real purpose besides getting killed off. Maggie remained in the show but Hershel's other kids (there were 5 others besides Maggie) were condensed into the character of Beth, who I admit I wasn't the biggest fan of but I think having just her instead of trying to squeeze all the others into it made a lot more sense for the show.

There were certain plot lines that I felt would've been great had they been added to the show but there were also others that I thought were probably best left out or altered as some of them were. I'm glad that the Andrea/Dale relationship was portrayed differently. I was glad that Shane .

I loved the fact that because the two vary in the way that certain plot points play out, and they change up who dies and when, it made the comics completely unpredictable. I had no idea what was going to happen and it was fantastic.

Over all, I did really enjoy the comics and will definitely be reading the rest because I am hooked. Despite the fact that I do prefer the show and explained some reasons why above, I still thought this was excellent. I feel bad rounding down to 4 stars because I am aware that my opinion is affected due to the show and if I had read this first I would probably have different feelings towards a lot of it, but I just can't do it. Both hold up on their own, but also kind of compliment each other. The artwork is amazing and really draws you into the story (pun unintended), and I have to say I think the show got the casting spot on. I highly recommend this comic series to anyone, whether you're a fan of comics or a fan of the show who's intrigued.
Profile Image for Brett C(urrently overseas again).
784 reviews167 followers
March 13, 2022
There isn't anything new that hasn't already been said. The graphic series is different from the show but that doesn't take away from the originality. In my opinion Robert Kirkman created something much darker than the show and that makes all the difference. The pacing was pretty even and wasn't overdrawn in any subarchs or subplots. The show generally follows the graphic series but obviously with creative embellishments. I think the producers of the show did a great job of creating a visual representation of the series. Overall a great, quick, and entertaining read. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loved the show but expect lots of differences. Thanks!
Profile Image for Gregsamsa.
73 reviews343 followers
January 16, 2015
The increased public awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder has had a positive effect on zombie comix.

Before recent wars and criminal adventures and subsequent psycho-medical research and publicity, PTSD was all but ignored by zombie comix.

Characters would be terrorized by zombies, displaced from their homes by zombies, see friends, loved ones, and coworkers die and then become zombies, but with the exception of some tears and wailing there were no real emotional consequences to zombie-related events that would have to be profoundly traumatic.

OK, I could be wrong, never having read any zombie comix (comix is the wrong word, but graphic novel? Does that describe an incomplete collection of separate issues?). But I'm just assuming zombie comix were pretty much like most action comix, movies, novels, and television shows where it is commonplace for characters to witness the most disturbing things and experience fallout for only twenty or so scripted seconds or less: "Oh my God that was terrible!" "Yeah, but it's over now." "You're right. We have to move on." In action fiction of most media people get over emotional trauma even faster than bullet wounds.

My favorite television series The Walking Dead is not like that. I read the first compendium of the comix it was based on to see if they were like that. They are not. They are full of rich post-traumatic goodness. Er, badness. This is about people who are so messed up by the zombie apocalypse that you realize the title may really be referring to them.

But how else could there be 1,088 pages of comix about a zombie apocalypse if it were all: "Oh no! Zombies are coming! Let's fight and/or run!"? These comix are less about zombies than they are about interpersonal dynamics among individuals under an inconceivable amount of stress with all familiar support and comfort erased.

I've always had a taste for fiction that highlights the fragility of society. It is so easy to let ambient convention sink so deep into your skin that you are utterly of the mass illusion that the way things are is natural, inevitable, given, reality. Good fiction (Blindness) can deliver the nice nasty shock it takes to wake up from that dull dream, but unfortunately the bad fiction is, in that sense, soporific.

The Walking Dead is good fiction, though not unconventional enough to provide a broader scope of such wakey-wakey shock beyond the post-apocalyptic PTSD thang. [I love that sentence, if I may say so myself.] The art is typical of any broody paneled story of this very established genre, and laid out with a formal strictness that makes the 19th century novel template look like a Rorschach blot. Wares are rare, as are Clowes. (If you know of more, please say. It's about time more folks were giving graphics an overdue modernist kick in the ass).

But as far as reliance on tradition goes, you could do worse than Shakespeare. Yes, I said Shakespeare: 1)Conflict one. 2)Conflict two. 3)Violence, resolving one of the above, complicating the other. 4)Discourse on ethics 5)Repeat.

On Ethics and Zombies

So, does The Social Contract get seriously edited, redacted, remixed, or tossed on the fire when the implied society of "social" is relegated to a nostalgia you'd best not indulge? If random chance and arbitrary tragedy are the only reasons a group is thrown together is there an obligation to defend the group, and from what does this obligation arise? On what grounds do you harm outsiders for this obligation? This is just a slip of the mighty wads of ethical issues that erupt and are handled mostly badly by the characters, but you should expect nothing less, er I mean more, from the irrevocably traumatized.
Profile Image for Madeleine.
Author 2 books861 followers
December 4, 2013
(Some spoilers for both the show and the graphic novel herein. I tried not to include too many. You have been warned.)

Okay. Forget everything you know and hear me out: Zombies are the great equalizing scourge.

One of the first books my younger self fell hopelessly in love with (which probably explains an awful lot) was Stephen King's "The Stand." The book's been out for, like, more than three decades, so it's your own fault if this is a spoiler but all you need to know for this review of an entirely different creature is that a government-wrought super plague has wiped out something like 99.4% of the population, leaving the American survivors to be led by moral compasses/epically fucked-up dreams to their fated good-or-evil faction. Having watched society repeatedly crumble away so many times through this particular King-colored lens has left me kind of immune to dispatches from the end of the civilization as we know it -- y'know, in the literary sense.

Being one of the most affecting reads of my formative years, "The Stand" is also, for better or worse, what I can't help but measure other end-of-days fiction by. I've mentally revisited it quite a bit in the past few years (the stuff of that tale is lodged in my brainmeats for always because, whatever your opinion of Sai King is, the guy paints some uncomfortably visceral, lingering images) as my own longstanding zombie fascination has invariably led me to books like "World War Z" and (somewhat regrettably) "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and I suppose "Night of the Assholes" counts, too, since bizarro zombies are still zombies and dozens of undead-themed flicks and marathons of "The Walking Dead," which ALWAYS end in a few nights of zombie-related nightmares (just once, there were kitties to make the whole nocturnal shebang less horrifying).

The thing about the apocalyptic scenario in "The Stand" (and other media that take the disease route to decimating humanity) is that there's no cure, no battle plan, no hope of survival beyond sheer, dumb luck. And that's too fucking terrifying for our control-freak culture. Just like a natural disaster, a weapon of mass destruction, a meteor strike or whatever other cataclysmic event that could be the end of life as we know it, widespread, airborne pestilence fucks up everyone's game with no hope of fighting back. But we still like to pretend that we have some control over both our environment and the course of our lives. Enter: the ravenous dead, or the strangest occurrence of entertainment zeitgeist I've ever watched gain momentum.

Zombies are the enemy you actually have a fighting chance against AND come with the bonus of an annihilated societal infrastructure. Hate your job? Hate your neighbors? Hate your family? Hate your first-world problems in general? Want to kill some folks without any real repercussion (you know, other than waving goodbye to the simple hassles of life before the dead claimed the apex-predator role)? ZOMBIES ARE THE ANSWER. Man gets to fall back to his more primitive nature (as society becomes increasingly bizarre and stifling, the sweet release of all-out chaos is a welcome fantasy, is it not?). And I think, with our actual times being as strange and stressful as they are, it's cathartic to imagine oneself in a world where all those mundane problems are obliterated by tending to the daily survival we've come to take for granted in our coddled state. It's a weird return to less civilized ways without losing the safety that our civilized facades allow.

So. "The Walking Dead." I am so happy that a friend hoisted this 1,000-plus-page monster on me during the show's third season because reading this and then coming to the show would have me so terribly disappointed in the necessary changes made while translating this gorefest into less blatantly offensive fare for a television-watching audience. I don't necessarily condone excessive violence but, c'mon. When shit gets cray-cray, it's ridiculous to expect that people will behave as anything other than the humanimals they are once all of society's safety nets are effectively obliterated and that taking the nonviolent high road will result in anything other than becoming a victim with no law or legal counsel to help reclaim your once-idle existence.

Overall, the characters in the graphic novel seem less like caricatures than they do in the show. I know it's easier to get into a character's head to understand their thought processes and motivations in a book but they actually seems less interchangeable and predictably dramatic in these pages.

I originally said that the Woodbury residents are so much more glaringly psychotic here but it's really just Philip who's got his wires in knots. The Governor (who looks like a more intimidating Danny Trejo, which I didn't think was possible even in an artist's rendering) is... Ew. Just.... ew. It reinforced the notion that when the dead roam the earth, the living are the real enemy. And then it made me want to start digging a moat around my house. Just in case.

The art wasn't really earth-shattering in originally or anything but it was still pretty damn good. I did like the black and white inking, which was totally a metaphor for something. The starkness of such an approach certainly meshed well with the tone of the story. What struck me hardest was how the kids, especially Sophia and Carl, frequently look like miniature adults. Whether it was intentional or something I imagined entirely on my own or whatever, it was definitely a nice, subtly rendered touch.

All told, I'm not really sure how I feel about this eight-book collection, honesty. I think, like a lot of things that straddle multiple representations across different media, it's hard not to compare one to the other, which took away something from both the show and the book for me. I mean, it was fun and disturbing and I couldn't tear through it quickly enough but it was missing something. It's certainly the first thing I've read that really dealt with the survival aspect of the zombiepocalypse as it's happening and how people's reactions would obviously run the gamut of emotions in the aftermath of such an event but I would have loved more post-zombie psychology and less hanging around waiting for the shit to happen. I guess, obviously, in a real-world situation, there WOULD be more inaction once a haven (like a reclaimed prison) was secured, and I can't really fault it for attempting to make such an unbelievable scenario more credible and less outrageous but... meh, better pacing would've been nice. Not like that'll stop me from reading more, though. I actually do like the characters and the way this one ended was just fucking brutally awful. I have a very real need to know what happens to these fictional people because I am more emotionally invested in them than a mentally healthy person ought to be.

Good, viscera-strewn fun, this. But I really wouldn't recommend reading it in tandem with the show -- not because of the potential for spoilers (they're certainly different enough animals for that to not be a real problem) but because it is bloody confusing when things are just similar enough to create confusion in keeping the specifics of each "Walking Dead" straight.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
643 reviews4,264 followers
December 17, 2016
As a huge fan of the show, I decided I wanted to read the Walking Dead comics and this was actually my first real encounter with comic books. These comics are absolutely awesome!! This compendium covers issues 1-48, which is also equivalent to the first 8 regular Trade Paperbacks of the comic book series.

I knew that the show had deviated from the comics in a number of ways, but there were FAR more differences than I anticipated. Lots of new characters, characters having storylines that were very different from the show, characters having storylines that other characters in the show had...missing characters! The list goes on.

The comics are literally BAM BAM BAM. So fast-moving, characters dying within pages of each other. The storyline moves at a relentless pace, it is so easy to get caught up in reading without realizing how much time is passing by. My only issue is that when characters die in the comics, I don't really feel that much of an emotional impact, whereas with the show, I sometimes needed counselling after certain characters' deaths. I think it's maybe because comics are such a fun, quick read, that you don't have the same amount of time to get emotionally attached.

The illustrations are insane. I love how quickly you can recognize each character just by their characteristic traits. I was deliberating over whether or not I want to read beyond where the TV show is, but given how different the comics are, I might just read ahead. This compendium finishes with the wrap-up of the Governor's storyline, so there's still a bit to go before I reach the current timeline in the show.

Luckily my brother has Compendium two just waiting for me...
Profile Image for Jamie.
1,398 reviews1,104 followers
May 19, 2016
Originally read in early 2012.
Reread May 2016

I started to read this series after watching the first season (however short it was) of The Walking Dead tv series. I had head it was based off a comic series but knew little else. When I spotted this massive comic at the library, I just had to check out out. So glad I did!

The book is similar to the tv series yet there are lots of differences. I don't want to spoil one or the other by saying too much. But a few things include: No Darryl. Tyrese has a daughter, not a sister. Hershel's personality is quite different. Some characters live a lot longer, others die much sooner. So if you have seen the series and are thinking that since you have, there is no need to read this, then you are very wrong. Although Rick, Carl ans Glenn are probably the most stable of all characters.live in this that died in the series and vice versa. The beginning is basically the same but it does take some different routes and the focus is sometimes different.

I loved comparing the two. Some of my favorites here I don't like in the tv version For example I love Andrea in the comics but nearly despise her in the series-although I do like the actress). But bottom line, there is a lot that can be new.

This gives up the first 48 volumes of the comic series You can read this compendium or just read them one at a time or there are in-between sized volumes to read. It is a very in-depth series that is worth taking your time through it. Lots of small details in the art especially. it is a gritty style that I am not normally a fan of but in a zombie apocalypse I think I'd be hard-pressed to find better.

This series is zombie fan MUST!
Profile Image for Lolly's Library.
318 reviews88 followers
February 27, 2013
I was going to write reviews of the first three volumes of this series, but I decided to save my creative juices (and they are so little) for the compendium. So here we go...

First off, a general overview: The story concerns a local cop, Rick, who wakes in the hospital to discover the world has gone to hell. All the people have been turned into the walking dead. (I know, overtones of 28 Days Later, but go with it.) We then follow him as he struggles to find out what has happened, where all the zombies came from, and if his wife and child are still alive. In later chapters (volumes), Rick gathers a rag-tag group of fellow survivors and we are further drawn into their story of how to survive in a world gone mad. As Simon Pegg pointed out in his afterward to Volume One, reading Robert Kirkman's tale makes you start to question yourself: Would I be able to survive a zombie apocalypse? Would I be willing to do whatever it takes, even if it reduces me to a savage, to protect those I love? Heady stuff.

Now we come to the most controversial aspect of the series, the artwork. In Chapter (Volume) One, all the art and grey tones were done by Tony Moore. His artwork gave life to the series, giving us clear and beautiful images, done in a simple yet at the same time intricate style. Every character was unique; the zombies were disgusting in their realism; light and shadow had the starkness of a well-made black-and-white horror film. In short, Moore set the bar high, a bar which the next illustrator, Charlie Adlard, fell quite short of. I still don't know why Moore left the project, but I truly wish he hadn't. Once Adlard steps in, the drawings go to hell. Everything's rougher, without the grace of lines Moore had; characters are so poorly drawn that it's hard to tell them apart, which goes for both male and female characters. The shading is the worst, though; it's so heavy-handed that it almost feels claustrophobic and while I can appreciate that one might want a claustrophobic feeling for a horror comic, you want that feeling to come from actions and situations, not from a lack of detail in your scene. At times, panels were so dark it was hard to tell what the action of the character was. I'm used to seeing excessively dark lighting in movies, in fact I've come to expect it in horror movies, the kind of lighting where you can see some movement, but have no clue what's really going on. I don't expect it in graphic novels and, in fact, if you'd asked me, I wouldn't have known that excessive darkness was even possible in the realm of drawing. Well, other than taking a panel and coloring it in with a black marker. However, despite my poor opinion of Adlard's drawings, I have to be fair and say that they do get a bit better in later volumes, as he gets more sure of his characters and the storyline.

The storytelling helped come to grips with the post-Moore artwork. To be brutally honest, if this were not a graphic novel, I'd have to wonder how Kirkman managed to get published. Taken alone, the story is rather poor, especially the dialog, which can in turns be idiotic, banal, cliched, overwrought, nonsensical, and occasionally just plain painful to read. However, this isn't as bad as it sounds. First off, the graphics add depth to the ordinary writing, propelling it along when it might've stuttered out if it were merely a print novel. And secondly, the bad writing has actually captured the reality of the situation. After all, people say stupid things; they stutter, they get emotional, they put their foot in their mouth; they're inelegant in their conversations. In a zombie apocalypse, who has access to a speech writer, someone to whom they can turn to coherently and eloquently express their every thought? No one. Hell, only the slick bastards up in Washington have speech writers and they still manage to generate sound bites of them saying something moronic. Having awkward and not-well-written dialog gives The Walking Dead a depth and sense of reality not encountered in many other graphic novels, which, despite the later artwork, earns the Compendium 5-stars in my book.

Many people are put off by the Compendium, complaining about its lack of portability. Weighing in at nearly five pounds, they are right, it's not a book you can read on the commuter train into work. However, it's not put me off buying Volume 2 when it comes out. Not only will a matched set help me work out my biceps, when the zombie apocalypse does come, their heft will make them ideal weapons. I'm sure they'll be able to take off a rotting zombie skull or two, making them not only informative but useful as well.
Profile Image for Asghar Abbas.
Author 4 books188 followers
July 5, 2017

Heck yeah, this will get you in the mood. Lovely corpses, all those bones, that skull, mermaid skeletons and skeletal trees. All the cranium juice for you to drink, delicious.

What I am saying is, I loved this huge ass volume. It was everything I expected it to be and more. Everything I look for in a source material. This graphic novel has eluded me for so long, I've been meaning to read it for such a long time, so this felt like homecoming to me. In more ways than one.

This also gave a nice not so little tangible form to a beloved show, an event really, that I love watching with my other brother. Makes me happy.

All the images have left me feeling rather hungry though, so succulent and titillating, yum. So, I am gonna go to this restaurant on the waterfront here, and order a zombie drink. See ya.

And of course, it will always be about that one Capistrano Birds song. This volume is so good that Daryl's absence wasn't even conspicuous, even though I missed his presence.

Addendum : I have always been a huge fan of the show, but this volume it's badass. The evolution of Rick and his group is always interesting, a bit contrasting from the show, the differences are subtle and constant but they are there.

The group is more vulnerable in the comics, they are just trying to get by without attracting any undue attention from the real threat ; other survivors. When they fight back, it is only because they are pushed into a corner and have no choice. And they are not even good at it, not really, even Rick. Only Andrea is a skilled kickass warrior here. Sure, Rick does what is necessary, always making the hard decisions. He often times does the unthinkable precisely because he's thinking clearly. But he is less godlike, and have zero messiah complex. While his TV counter part is an absolutist, which translates well on the screen. But here, the more humane Rick is more suited for this settings.

Both worlds are ugly, but in the comic books, Rick Grimes doesn't have to be. One of the more startling changes were Dale and Andrea thing, she's way much hotter here, and what she has with Dale is not platonic, not by a long stretch. Not an ageist, just something I was not expecting at all, due to how in the show, they have this emotional connection, physical is always better is what I always say.

The key difference would that Rick and his group not only adapted in the show but thrived in their bleak environment. All in all, the comic books are great, and the way they handled the Governor's storyline gives me hope that the Negan chapters will be great. Because let's face it, the show is stale now and they have dropped the Negan's storyline ball or bat. Oh, and Glen and Maggie are still the sweetest thang, even here.

P.s watch out for the Jamie Lannister thing. Haha,
Profile Image for Brad Carl.
Author 15 books196 followers
February 7, 2017
Knowing that the AMC TV series is based on these books/graphic novels made this an even more entertaining read. For as much as it is like the TV show, it's also NOTHING like the TV show in SOOOO many ways. While reading, you really won't know for sure what's coming next even if you've watched the show, to date. These books aren't cheap, but they are worth the price of entertainment and insight into the TV series.
Profile Image for Chris.
341 reviews959 followers
December 18, 2010
Zombies are boring.

There. I said it. And I'm not ashamed.

They are, though. Zombies have no real motivation, they have no goals other than to kill all humans. They are mindless, a kind of twisted force of nature whose great terror lies in their sheer numbers and their unstoppability. As a concept, zombies are interesting, and as a symbol or a metaphor there's a lot you can do with them, but the zombies themselves are kind of dull. They lurch about, slowly decaying, looking for people to devour. No one ever made a best-selling book or a hit movie with a zombie protagonist. [1]

Think about it: every zombie story rests on the same basic plot. The dead have risen and a small band of living survivors tries to find safety in a world that is actively trying to kill them. That's it. Sure, the details may vary - fast zombies or slow ones, a cure or no cure, they eat brains or they'll eat anything, trapped in a mall or a farmhouse - but the foundation of the story is the same, and woe betide the writer who strays too far from the formula. Writing a zombie story means agreeing to adhere to a set of predetermined set of rules, which allow only a little room for straying.

So what is it that makes zombie stories so popular? Why do people love books like this one, or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or World War Z? Why do movies like Shaun of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead and even Resident Evil get people so excited? It certainly isn't because of the zombies, although it is always fun to see the special effects improve.

We read and watch zombie stories because we love the survivors, and it is they who make or break a zombie story. The more closely we can identify or sympathize with a survivor, the more interesting and horrifying the story becomes for us. They are a great demonstration of the variety in the human condition, and illuminate new and interesting aspects of humanity every time. In this case, we are given Rick Grimes as our protagonist, a police officer from a small town in Kentucky who gets shot on duty and wakes up a month later in the hospital to find the world has been given over to the dead.

As he looks for his wife and son, Rick finds himself leading a band of survivors in their search for a place of safety away from both the dead who wish to devour them and the living who wish to kill them.

What makes this a really fun - and terrifying - read is that Kirkman carefully paces the plot so that we never really get much time to rest. A pattern quickly starts to emerge in the story, with Rick and his people finding safety, a kind of equilibrium between running for their lives and resting, only to have that equilibrium disrupted. Each time the interval gets longer and longer, both in terms of page count and story-time, but each time you know what's coming. The hardest moments are the most peaceful ones, when they have found a refuge from the horrors of the world because you know it isn't going to last, and you know that when the balance is finally undone, it's going to be worse than before. Kirkman uses this pattern and this expectation to his advantage, creating a tight and tense narrative.

He also provides us with a look at some of the ethical problems that arise from a world where the dead outnumber the living. In nearly every zombie story ever written, the living immediately start killing the zombies, but is that the right choice to make? We don't know all the facts. We don't know what caused this outbreak, whether it can be cured, or even whether the people affected might just get better. We just start taking head shots in ignorance, but might it not be worth it to try and learn something about these "monsters?" [2]

There's also the question of how to organize a post-outbreak society. What kind of person or people should run the survivors' societies? Is this an opportunity to remake civilization, or should the old ways be adhered to? How much leeway to we have in restarting the world, and what will that look like in the end? The characters in this story have to deal with how to define a family when one's partner or parents or children could die at any time. They have a chance to redefine what is lawful and illegal, to toy with the notions of what is right and wrong, and to re-evaluate the role religion plays in their lives. It's a chance to rebuild the world from scratch, and the characters in this story test those limits in interesting and sometimes unsettling ways.

And that's assuming that the living will actually survive and thrive in a zombified world. This is a world where death is always only moments away. It is only a matter of time before the living survivors join the ranks of the undead, and the awareness of that fact is the classic existential puzzle with a little extra twist to it: how do you live when you know that you will die, and especially when you know the horror that your death will entail? One of the more heartbreaking moments is when one character gets killed, and Rick has to break the news to his young son, Carl. When he asks his son if he is upset, Carl replies, "No. People die, dad. It happens all the time. I'll miss [him]... but I knew he was going to die eventually. Everyone will. Everyone."

That is an observation that, frankly, no child should ever have to make.

The characters in this story make hard choices and sometimes do terrible things in the name of survival. But, with very few exceptions, there are few characters that we cannot truly come to understand and identify with. Their decisions and their reactions make them richer, more interesting, which is what truly makes for a fascinating and engaging story.

The zombies are really incidental to all that.

As this is a comic series, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the art, which is overall quite good. There were a few times when I had trouble telling some characters apart, but the high rate of attrition generally took care of that problem. The detail in the artwork is very impressive, though I can imagine there were more than a few times that Charlie Adlard cursed Robert Kirkman for setting a large part of the series in a locale with a prominent chain-link fence that couldn't easily be ignored. As this is a horror comic, the art is sometimes horrifying, very graphic and quite satisfying without being gratuitous. Well, mostly without being gratuitous....

It's a really excellent book, though I do have one caveat if you're planning to buy the compendium edition: get a reinforced reading harness, or rest the book on a solid piece of furniture with a low center of gravity. This is one of the densest books I've ever read, packing nearly five pounds of book into less physical volume [3] than the last hardcover installment of The Dark Tower, a fairly hefty book. I think the ink may contain uranium or something. So, take measures to prevent back injury and hernias when you read this and you'll be just fine.

Many thanks to my brother Michael for knowing I would enjoy this, and I look forward to watching the AMC television adaptation.

"But honestly... I just don't know what anyone's thinking. To me, that's scarier than any half-rotten ghoul trying to eat my flesh."
- Rick Grimes, The Walking Dead

[1] Cue angry email pointing me towards exactly that book or movie in 3... 2... 1...

[2] Short answer: no.

[3] It comes out to 1.147 grams per cubic centimeter, which isn't nearly as dense as it feels when it's making the straps of your bag dig into your shoulder....
Profile Image for Metodi Markov.
1,304 reviews297 followers
December 15, 2022
Отдавна ми беше в плановете този комикс, но все не стигах до него. Когато разбрах, че издателство "Артлайн" ще пуснат първите 8 части в едно общо издание, нямах вече никакъв избор. :)

Като голям почитател на графичните новели, аз ги подкрепям винаги когато мога и се надявам от издателството да продължат своята мисия за популяризиране на жанра в България.

Хареса ми историята, малко е смешен на места превода ("въздъх") и е доста обемно и тежко книжното тяло, но карай - бели кахъри. По-наивна се оказа и от историите в любимите ми комикси от френско-белгийската школа.

Надявам се да се продаде добре и скоро да видим и втора част на български. Нещо, което обаче май няма да се случи, за съжаление...

P.S. Сериалът се оказа доста читав, довършвам 4 сезон (11.03.2019). До тук всичко беше близко до тази част от комикса и ми предстои да нагазя в непознатото. ;)
Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,989 reviews194 followers
March 18, 2015

I am a fan of the show, a serious fan. I found myself looking for something to hold me over between show/seasons so I looked into the books. I'm not a big fan of many comics so I went for the novels on Woodbury and the Gov. Oh my, if you haven't read this get to them, fast. I finished those 6 books quickly so time to try the graphic. I should have known these aren't a best seller for nothing. I am now officially a Robert Kirkman fan.
This is what a zombie book should be, gross, bloody, gore plus and full of heart stoping moments. The illustrations are wonderfully detailed I spent time just looking at pages drawn with intricate parts, amazing. I can't tell you anything about the deaths the, back stabbing the love, and torture that would ruin it. These semi follow the TV series, there are differences that will surprise. Read it
Profile Image for Sud666.
1,939 reviews158 followers
January 30, 2016
Truly amazing. It is a far grittier concept than the show (for obvious reasons) and it makes for interesting reading as the overarching similarity is there but there are many differences. Characters who are dead in the show are still around and vice versa. Overall the black and white art is quite appropriate to the series and well done. The dialogue as well. It is far darker than what tv shows and is certainly more graphic. If you like zombies or the show I would highly recommend this series.
Profile Image for Chris.
340 reviews2 followers
March 22, 2011
Okay, I'm going to say this right up front, and everyone can get as huffy as they'd like: it's all true.

The Walking Dead is highly overrated.

The writing is melodramatic as all get-out. I didn't get the impression that the writers had any idea what characters they had intended to survive - it's an amateurish device to kill off your characters, particularly given how dependent the story becomes upon characters constantly dying. Sure,it's meant to convey the new reality - but we all know how zombie movies and post-apocalyptic scenarios work... lots of people die, because it's no longer a friendly world in which everyone can survive without a thought. Killing off so many characters, when you've already got a very small cast, just strikes me as emotionally manipulative. In a movie, it's cool with me; your commitment is two hours or less and it doesn't really matter if the entire character cast ends up butchered or eaten alive. In a long-running series of books or comics, it's cliched and awful.

Consider this: the human body cannot tolerate constant adrenaline. Similarly, the average reader is not interested in persistent drama! When there is absolutely no down-time, you cannot make an impression. It's why popular music structure is as it is - you can't have constant choruses because it would be tedious and boring. As such, I found the constant action and drama in The Walking Dead rather droll.

The dialogue is awkward and often very poorly written. The only time I found myself thinking, "I really liked that dialogue" was when Lori finally tries to come clean with Rick - it was the only part that seemed even mildly true to how a conversation works, and how people really interact. What really bothered me about the writing was how flippin' awkward it could be - it's riddled with sentence structure issues and redundant phrasing. I frequently had to re-read dialogue bubbles just to figure out what had been intended.

I hated how the characters were penciled so inconsistently. Glenn in particular is either a fairly good-looking Asian kid, or a chubby and unattractive white boy. What the fudge? He's not a difficult character to draw - I mean, he doesn't even have hair. C'mon - a little more effort, please?

I was really psyched to hear about this series - I love Romero-style zombies and I've always been a very big fan of post-apocalyptic literature. Generally, I liked elements of The Walking Dead, but the particulars are just sloppy and distracting. I've mostly lost interest in the television show since picking up the comic. Maybe I'll come back to it after finishing the entirety of the comic.
Profile Image for Joshua Batson.
4 reviews
January 19, 2012
I took the all to trite path of tv then book. The series was amazing and I couldn't put the story on hold while they filmed the next season so I picked up my first comic book since pubescence.
First off the two are not the same. They are similar in a few keeps points and milestones but the events and characters diverge greatly from the separate story lines.

Thankfully the one thing the televised version got right was that the Zombies are only a minor part of the story. The writing focuses more on the characters and how they react to the world than the world itself. The dark elements ( really dark) are mostly born from the monsters that the characters become, not the monsters that might be eating their mother.

READ IT! Even if you don't like graphic novels, even if you think zombies only matter in the bible; just read it. The emotion and drama that unfolds in each character is written better than most any other "legitimate" piece of literature and you won't regret the time you've spent following a group a zombie survivors.
Profile Image for Lashaan Balasingam.
1,361 reviews4,619 followers
August 4, 2020

You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.

Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if it was overrun by zombies? What if there weren't any more law enforcement to assure peace and order? What if you had to strive to survive on your own, looking for food and shelter, and to always be compelled to look over your shoulders? The world would be an ugly place. The people in it would be worse. Writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore thus had an idea and offered fans around the world the chance to discover a post-apocalyptic world where survival instincts are mandatory and a kind heart isn't enough. Now a critically-acclaimed New York Times Best-Seller, The Walking Dead is the quintessential and definitive zombie horror tale. It has successfully delivered a highly successful live-action television series (although it progressively withered and is approaching its end) and paved the way to multiple other spin-offs.

What is The Walking Dead: Compendium One about? This behemoth of a book—I swear, you could use it as a weapon—collects the first eight volumes (issues #1-48) of the beloved post-apocalyptic comic book series and follows the story of Sheriff's Deputy Rick Grimes who awakens from a coma after having been shot on patrol. Oblivious to what is going on, he quickly discovers that an apocalyptic epidemic has swept the world, awakening the dead and destroying society in the process. Looking for answers while trying to stay alive, he rushes out into the city to find other survivors and gradually becomes a leader who will help everyone find an iota of respite no matter the costs. While the dead lurk and roam around them, Rick Grimes and the community he builds move forward, discovering various locations, from farms to prisons, as well as individuals who are either ready to help or ready to introduce them to a nightmare like none other.

If you've been following the show, let me start off by saying that the comic books are whole other beasts. There are significant changes in how events take place, how people die, who dies, and especially how dark, disgusting, and gory it all gets. This compendium has a lot to offer (going all the way up to the Governor story-arc) as it delivers a thrilling, page-flipping, and continuously-mind-blowing adventure where you'll crave for more with each chapter passing by. As you progress through the story alongside Rick Grimes, you meet a lot of new characters who often get an impressive amount of characterization with so little dialogue exchanged. While you might be inclined to get attached to some, many will die along the way, never giving the reader any assurance that the future is a safe place for anyone. Alongside the rapid and perfectly-paced story and character development, it is also impressive to see this story reveal the one fact that is scarier than death itself: humans are monsters. And sometimes, this series does a majestic job in proving it, almost making the roamers and lurkers seem like the good guys. This is not for the faint of hearts and guarantees some of the most disgusting and messed up things that humans are capable of.

The black-and-white artwork greatly helps in conveying this tragic story filled with death, misery, and deception. The subtle facial expression hints at various emotional states that are never a good sign for what's to come. Although artist Tony Moore only does the first six issues, both he and artist Charlie Adlard do a fantastic job in terms of consistency and plot twist revelation throughout their artwork. The splash pages to highlight major character deaths are unpredictable and incontestably shocking, making sure to remind us that the sky is the limit when it comes to the horror that a post-apocalyptic world has to offer. I also can't help but emphasize how the artwork brilliantly captures the character development, unveiling so much more than anything spelled out to the reader, and giving us a good grasp of the mindset of these characters as they grow accustomed to their lives and how the world now works without law and order. While survival is key to a good life, it is also the bonds you create, from blood ties to friendship, that can save you from a swift death or a bite on the ass. The creative team behind this franchise knew exactly what they were doing and explores countless themes, from religion to love, through excellent characterization and distinctive artwork, to deliver an unforgettable survival story.

The Walking Dead: Compendium One is a phenomenal and definitive post-apocalyptic horror adventure where a group of survivors attempts to find hope in a world filled with unhinged or deceased monsters.

Yours truly,

Lashaan | Blogger and Book Reviewer
Official blog: https://bookidote.com/
Profile Image for Crystal Starr Light.
1,350 reviews819 followers
August 31, 2014
Bullet Review:


This compendium is a monster. If I were doing this whole Walking Dead thing again, I would have AVOIDED the compendium all together and just stuck with the trades. Because the compendium is HUGE. Seriously, I was afraid I'd break a limb just dropping it from the top of the bed to the floor. It's heavy, it's awkward to hold (particularly if you are the type to take it to bed to read before going to sleep), it's non-transportable (good LUCK taking this on an airplane!) - about the best thing was that I got this for $30.

I honestly have mixed feelings about this. There were so many characters, cardboard cutouts, that faded in and out of the story. I could barely remember names of some of these people - oh, no worries, he/she is dead now! WHEW!


I really don't like Rick. Really don't like him. I really don't care for Lori. REALLY don't care. Glen was great before he got all snuggles and bubbles with Maggie. Cue projectile vomit.

Also, the book tends to be more than a bit sexist, particularly in the beginning as all the wimminfolk are content to sit around the camp and watch da bebies while the Strong Manly Men seek out adventure. (Fortunately, Andrea and Michonne really kick that in the @$$ towards the end.) And, just curious, but does anyone have a lick of common sense in this book? Anyone? No? OK, fine, cool. Just checkin'.

Oh and the endless dialogue bubbles EVERYWHERE was obnoxious. I wanted to tell these people to STFU every so often and DO SOMETHING. I almost wanted some narration text, just so I didn't have to listen to Rick give another of his Protagonist Sermons.

I would probably stop here (even though I am *FINALLY* getting around to enjoying this - what, after like 6 chapters/volumes?!), but I have a kind benefactor who has generously lent me his trades up to volume 18! So yeah, we ain't done yet, baby!!
Profile Image for Meghan.
41 reviews
May 12, 2011
* How I found it: a friend recommendation
* Type: Paperback
* My initial thoughts: A comic book? Am I a prepubescent 13 year old boy? This book is THICK.
* Why I said "yes": Show is great (which was also recommended from above mentioned friend) and pure realization that I need to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to entertainment. ((You mean I can't read dirty romance novels and period pieces for life?))

This was the only comic book I have ever read before. AMC based a show (which is fantastic) off the series, so I had a decent base knowledge of the plot to the story prior to opening the book. I'll admit, I was taken aback of how large the book was and simultaneously looking at photos and words seemed daunting at first. After the first chapter, however, I felt like a super reader, as I read half of the book in one sitting. Yes. It is that good. And yes, it is that quick of a read. Con: no page numbers.

Overall the book was great. There was a lot of sex, cursing, and actions that should test one's morals. Not enough about zombies, as the book was more about the characters and their relationships/struggles to stay alive for an uncertain future. The book was not linear, which I found to be an added bonus. I get bored easily when it comes to novels, so the frequent change in scenes were pleasant to my reading experience.

The plot differed from the show, at least to my knowledge so far. DISH Network canceled AMC, so I am still waiting to watch the last 3 episodes. If you're reading this, don't spoil what happens on the show. I will bite you. Ha. Zombie humor. Anyway, this book and show have given me a new found love for zombies. My next embroidery project is going to be zombie tea towels and I'm convinced I'm going to be a zombie slut for Halloween next year.
Profile Image for Wren (fablesandwren).
675 reviews1,501 followers
September 17, 2020

com•pen•di•um (kəmˈpendēəm) noun.
noun: compendium; plural noun: compendia; plural noun: compendiums

a collection of concise but detailed information about a particular subject, especially in a book or other publication.

Compendium 01 of The Walking Dead includes:
Collections of Issues: #01 - #48
Collections of Volume: #01 - #08

Overall Thoughts:

It's a pretty great read. It could have been an amazing read if the women weren't portrayed as incapable idiots 75% of the time.
Profile Image for Samantha A.
199 reviews52 followers
March 11, 2014

Oh. My. God. I can't even. My feels are completely broken after reading this.. How can I possibly wait until MONDAY to get my hands on Compendium 2? EVERYTHING I LOVE DIES. It's like, I heard some of these things were going to happen, but WHEN they happened I couldn't help but cry.

This was my first experience with graphic novels and it's not going to be my last!!

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