Introduction:This first volume of The Walking Dead series is now a classic in the world of comic books. This graphic novel is the first five issues of the series that launched the career of Robert Kirkman with his most popular comic book title to date. His work on this series and others would bring him to his position today, as a partner of Image Comics.
VitalsTitle: The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone By
Creators: Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Tony Moore
Content: The Walking Dead is for mature readers and contains graphic violence, language, sexual situations, and gore.
Publisher: Image Comics
Story:The story centers around police officer Rick Grimes, who awakens in the hospital after being shot while on duty. What would be a thankful time of joy in being reunited with friends and family, escaping death and mending on the road to recovery becomes a nightmare when he discovers that he is alone, except for the roving bands of undead creatures whose only desire is to feast upon the flesh of the living.
His journey is almost cut short time and time again until his prayers are answered and he finds a band of travelers waiting for government aide. In that group of travelers is his wife and son, whom he had been seeking for since he awoke from his coma.
Rick’s reunion time is cut short when threats from outside the group in the form of the ever hungry undead converge upon them and threats from inside the group in the form of a jealous ex-partner bring the ragged group to a crossroads. Rick has to do everything he can to save himself, his family, and his new found friends from dangers once thought as only fiction.
Review:It’s easy to see why this comic book took off the way it did. Many horror themed comics tend to focus on the gore, action, and creatures themselves as the main piece to draw in readers. While this comic certainly has its share of those aspects, the main core of the comic is centered around human interactions with each other and how they are coping with this nightmarish landscape they have been thrust into. Kirkman has a lot of dialogue between the cast of characters sharing their lives, dreams, hopes, fears, and concerns. It’s these connections between the characters that is driving the story forward and the zombies are not quite the centerpiece.
One thing that Kirkman sets up right off the bat is how you can’t truly get too attached to any one character. In real life, no one would be safe in this scenario, and this is equally true in The Walking Dead. Characters you just meet can die as easily as main characters to the plot. I think this is why this comic has truly become so popular is that not only are the character plot lines well done, but the reality that no one is safe is continually put forth in this first volume and in others. This creates a great deal of tension in the reader as it could be any issue where their favorite character dies.
The art by Moore in these first few issues is quite well done and detailed. Being a black and white comic book, there needs to be extra attention to the penciling and inking jobs to truly set forth the horror that the characters meet. Moore does a superb job with the art chores here and even without the use of color to drive home the graphic nature of the store, these zombies are quite gruesome and horrific.
One critique of this first volume is that the first few issues are a bit slow in developing things. The end of the issues left me with a bit of an "Is that it?" feel, but things certainly pick up in the latter three issues. Being that this was Kirkman's first big series, it shows in these first few issues about his pacing, but later on we see him hitting his stride.
Conclusion:The Walking Dead is one of the top selling comic books in recent years and has now broken the one hundred issue mark. It has a very nice track record overall of being done on time and the brand is hotter than ever with the series produced by AMC which has brought the comic to the screen and become a runaway success.
If you haven’t checked out this comic book series than this first volume sets the stage for the kind of story you would be getting into. It is well crafted and has made Kirkman a superstar in the comic book industry. Horror fans should definitely check this comic series out as well as fans of comic books everywhere.