ZOMBIE SUPER BOWL
THE WALKING DEAD Volume 1: DAYS GONE BYE (Image Comics, trade paperback) . . . Robert Kirkman, writer. Tony Moore, Art.
THE WALKING DEAD (AMC television) premieres Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 10 p.m. EST
I can't remember being this excited about a new television series for a long, long time. I'm very happy to see THE WALKING DEAD adapted for the small screen and invading homes nationwide this very Halloween night. I'm happy on a number of levels:
1) This well-deserved body of work should find a bigger audience through the medium of television, bringing more recognition to the team of Kirkman and Moore and also broadening the market for 21st century horror. There's been a renaissance of horror titles in the comics field in recent years - - - and the first zombie entry from comics to transition onto cable television could possibly open the doors for still more in the years to come.
2) Just as Hollywood has been mining the comics field for years and developing excellent and exciting films - - - now television is beginning to explore the possibilities further. But it's not that in itself that excites me so much - - - it's the type of properties they are working on - - - like THE WALKING DEAD for instance, which is even more of a serious commentary on modern society than it is a horror tale - - and higher quality works (while maybe not quite so serious) like THE HUMAN TARGET. And are there others not far behind?
3) It's the character-driven story behind THE WALKING DEAD that has sustained it for 80-plus issues (unheard of for most serialized horror works, HELLBLAZER being one notable exception). I can't wait to see how some of the characters and story lines are portrayed in the television series.
4) Frank Darabont is the director. Who better for this work? I've seen some advance previews and the visuals are just amazing. It's also exciting to see that Darabont isn't trying to re-invent the wheel - - he's depicted some of the scenes from the comics just as if they walked off the pages onto the television screen. (Moore's fantastic art is like looking at storyboards for a movie anyway). It appears to be a very, very faithful adaptation. Darabont is also a master at bringing out the best in his actors.
5) There are so many powerful and emotional scenes in the comic that I really look forward to seeing them translated on the screen. I'm thinking viewers are goign to be moved by these characters and what happens to them. This could get talked aabout in the same way that LOST made viewers relate to the characters.
THE WALKING DEAD is about family, and trust, and teamwork, and breaking down the barriers and myths of modern society. Kirkman seemed to always work in situations that remind you of societal concerns and current events. One storyline that I'm really looking forward to seeing depicted is the training of seven-year-old Carl in how to handle a gun, and the sad consequences of what that means to his rapid development ("children grow up too fast") and an unfortunate incident that occurs when he feels his family is threatened. (Reminds me of the argument that the killing in video games desensitizes youth so much that some of them change their values regarding human life - - or worse yet, fail to understand that death is permanent).
Zombies have been incorporated into popular culture and media so much over the last several years. But THE WALKING DEAD series on AMC could be the ultimate triumph - - the equivalent of the Zombie Super Bowl.
(I just started out wanting to remind everybody that this show starts tonight).