Monday, August 13, 2012

'The Walking Dead'

This isn’t a review on one particular book in ‘The Walking Dead’ series, but rather the volumes I’ve read up to this point.  Sound stupid?  Yeah… so what.  When I tell people about this series I always begin with how I got started.  They have to suffer through it… and now so do you.  I have heard about this series (TV and comic) for a long time now, but I’ve got SOOOOOO many things to read and review that it takes something huge to earn a spot in my “to be read” list.  Enter free issue #1.  Not sure how I ran across the website ‘Comixology’ but I did.  They were offering issue #1 for free so I bit.  And I bit HARD!!

I downloaded the first volume, ‘Days Gone By’ on July 12th, 2012 and as of today (August 13th, 2012) I am on Volume 11: ‘Fear The Hunters’.  In less than a month I have burned through ten volumes!  Unfreaking believeable!!!!  I’ve always been a huge book lover but it’s usually been novels, fiction more than non-fiction, tons of Eric Jerome Dickey and absolutely NO Nicholas Sparks.  I’ve never really been a huge fan of comics or graphic novels, but something about ‘The Walking Dead’ has just grabbed me and will not f*cking let go!  I work at a bookstore, so by definition I’m a po’ ass man with a futile and unappreciated zeal to change the world, one recommended book at a time.  I don’t get paid a lot and I damn sure can’t afford buying the trade graphic novels (eBook) at $9.99 a pop.  Actually ‘Comixology’ only charged me $4.99 for the first three or four volumes and then it went up to $9.99.  But still… over $100 in graphic novels in just over a month!?!? GOOD LORD!!!!

(Quick sidebar: you can get the graphic novels cheaper on Amazon, B&N, Blio, iBooks, and other eBook sites.  Why?  Not sure, but an educated guess would be that since Apple take 30% on all “in app” purchases ‘Comixology’ figured this into the price.  Every other eBook sites has them for around $7.99.  Now… I knew this but still bought them on ‘Comixology’.  Why?  Listen to me because this is big… (are you listening?)… they have a MUCH better format!  MUCH, MUCH, MUCH better!  In their format you can read panel by panel instead of page by page.  This is a major selling point (THE major selling point) for me because the regular print is so small and having the ability to blown it up where it’s not distorted is worth the extra $2.  Reading is fun, but having to squint or adjust the pages to follow the conversations or enjoy the artwork is a pain the butt.  Trust me on this one folks.  The other eReading apps SUCK!  Now it might be different on the actual device (doubtful) because I only have the iPad and use the apps on it.  I did a test and the B&N app is unable (WTF!?) to read this graphic novel through their own app!  That is insanely stupid!  If you are wondering what app is best for reading, I did a blog (here)  a few months back.)

OK… sidebar is over.

What has captivated me so much with this series is the story.  It’s been said that the hardest thing for a writer to do is pen a short story.  I wonder how different that statement would be work for writing a comic?  Whatever the case Robert Kirkman has done a magnificent, and I do mean mag-freaking-nificent job of telling this story!  You have your high brow detractors who look down on graphic novels because they aren’t “true literature” but they miss the whole point.  If someone can tell a story and capture and audience, isn’t that kind of the whole point?  Kirkman does, and he does one hell of a job. 
Another part of what makes this magic work is the artwork.  In a graphic novel that goes without saying, but in my one month professional opinion the artwork is crazy-stupid-good. I don't pretend to understand the dance the writer and artist must do, but they do it well. (Let's just forget about that little lawsuit going on now between them).  It's almost like the artist has been tasked with drawing emotion and not just drawing the scene. That is very powerful. There are times that I find myself reading/ studying the art because I'm trying to sense what the character is truly feeling and not just what I'm told they're feeling. 

I mentioned earlier that there is a dance going on here between the writer and artist. And there is. One leads the other follows and the switch between the two as beautiful as it is subtle. If you've read this series you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you haven't read this series, you should. Really. You should. And I'll say again that I'm only on Volume 11.  Eleven out of who knows how many (no, I didn't check). I'm just so happy that I have so much ground to cover before I catch up with the series. I'm not sure how I'll make myself wait month to month when that time does come. 

Reading ‘The Walking Dead’ is fun.  Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!  I wish I could meet Michonne, Michonne, Michonne, Michonne, Michonne.  Rick will never be able to clap, clap, clap, clap, clap.  Carl is drifting away, away, away, away, away…

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