By Tyler Lamb
*POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD*
The following article and pictures may contain gore and violence.
The Walking Dead is a television show and comic book that features strong violence. However, both go deeper than just the violence depicted towards the zombies. The story is more about a group of people not only trying to just live together, but to survive together, and the path they take to get there.
The Walking Dead has been taking TV by storm over its past couple seasons and the rage continues in its new third season on AMC. Usually very highly rated by fans and critics alike, this is one of the most talked about pieces of zombie lore to date. What most may not know is that The Walking Dead first planted its roots in the comic book world, where it has been steadily running since 2003, and just recently hit its 100th issue. Due to the growing exposure, those who are fans of the show may be thinking of picking up the books. Considering the release of compendiums containing nearly 48 issues compiled into them, it has been a lot easier for fans to catch up. The questions some of you may have are, ‘Is the comic worth reading?’, ‘Which is better: the show or the comic?’, and ‘Is the show itself even worth watching?’ Well, ask no more, for I shall answer.
To start off, yes, the comic is more than worth reading. I got into the book late, by the time the first compendium was out, but I made it a point to catch up with the monthly book. I am now completely enthralled in the fantastic story and characters that Robert Kirkman has created in his zombie-riddled world. There are more twists and turns than you could ever imagine any story could have. One of the most amazing things to me is that there are no boundaries and no character is safe. Rick, the main character, gets his hand chopped off. Most recently, in the 100th issue, a character that had been there since the beginning was brutally murdered. As I said, no one is safe. Even with this aspect of the book, you still can’t help but be connected to the amazing and eclectic group of characters, wishing and hoping for their survival. Not only is it fantastically written but the art is equally amazing. The book keeps a gritty, black-and-white look, which, after reading the first issue, is the only way you would want to read it. Even if you are not into comic books, I would highly recommend starting to read this series–especially if you are already a fan of The Walking Dead television show.
After so many great words about the comic book, there are nothing but bad things I have to say about the TV show. Granted, adaptations of books are never better than the source material. That being said, I have, on multiple occasions, gone into viewings of The Walking Dead TV show thinking of it as its own entity, and that’s exactly how I view it. Given the differences in characters and most of the story, I don’t consider the TV show an exact interpretation of the comic. Creator Robert Kirkman has even said that he not only uses the show for ideas and stories he couldn’t do with the comic, but that, although present during writing sessions, he doesn’t exactly head the writing staff of the show. He mostly sits back and lets the TV people do their thing; being that his ‘Will Forte’ is comics, he isn’t sure what is good for the show and what isn’t.
All this being said, no, I do not believe the show is worth watching. I bought the first season when it was released on Bluray for my first viewing. I was so excited, but was immediately disappointed upon finishing it. The acting is nothing but slightly above average, and sometimes, one particular episode in mind, the show is snooze worthy. After this, I still had faith in the show and wanted to give it a second chance. Just recently I found time to sit down and watch the second season, which was newly added to Netflix. I couldn’t finish the first episode. Within just the first 10 minutes, the show destroyed the previously set continuity, and that is very bothersome to me. One thing in particular, in the first season you’re told that the zombies may be stupid, but can smell. This is how they know who to eat, because the zombies obviously don’t smell like living creatures. The crew covers themselves in dead zombie parts to make it through the crowd of stammering zombies. In season 2, the group sees a horde coming their way so they all hide under abandoned cars. The bumbling zombies stumble past them, only reacting to noise when it had been previously stated they can smell where living humans are. The episode did nothing but continue with moments where you would ask yourself “Why are they doing that?” or “Why would they do that instead of just doing this?” and so on and so on.
I still see commercials for the show that state how well received it is. I also constantly hear faculty and friends praising it and saying it is their favorite show on TV. Sometimes I ask if they read the comic and I usually hear a plain “no,” but on occasion I’ve heard, “It’s a comic?” Every month I patiently await the new issue of The Walking Dead to hit the shelves, but the same can’t be said for the show every week. When it comes down to it, I would say the comic wins this match hands down, any day of the week.