A now infamous series, this was a long-running saga originally started by American comic-book author Rober Kirkman back in 2003. Producing a whole franchise, Kirkman had previously been known for his witty and irreverent takes upon the comic-book genre. Creating vibrant and funny landscapes and premises, he was well-regarded for his insightful yet easily accessible brand of literature, as well as progressing the graphic-novel as a form. In this series he charts the progress of a group of survivors in the wake of a zombie apocalypse, or ‘walkers’ as they’re referred to in the comics. With the help of artists Tony Moore and later Charlie Adlard, he managed to bring to life this story of the walking dead that now roam the earth. Headed by police officer Rick Grimes, they stay together as a group whilst attempting to overcome the potentially fatal politics amongst them all.
Now a hugely successful AMC television show, it has been running for a long time bringing in a wide global audience. As Kirkman also helps on the show as well, he’s manages to produce media of his own too, as he maintains a production company too. With the series becoming a set of video-games too, it will continue to carry on for long time yet.
Days Gone By
The first episode setting up all that action that was to come, this was originally released on May the 4th, 2004. Being comprised initially of six episodes, this was to be the first and foremost volume that would help to establish all of the action. Starting with character of Rick Grimes, it slowly builds upon his predicament following the wake of a zombie apocalypse.
Officer Rick Grimes is the central protagonist overall and the leading crux of the novel as he finds himself amidst events beyond his control. Strong-willed and determined, he provides a sense of stability to the overall arc, something which is threatened though as he’s put to the test later on. A somewhat reluctant leader, he’s made to prove himself as he tries to keep himself and his family alive. His wife and son, Lori and Carl Grimes, are also integral to his development in that they’re initially what he’s looking for and set to protect. Lori Grimes, his wife, will do whatever it takes to keep her son safe, being a strong maternal presence within the story. The son, Carl Grimes, takes after his father in that he wants to protect his family and fight for what he feels is right. Then there’s the supporting cast who come into fully fledged characters of their own, in that the overall storyline is not dominated by any one single person. With it’s heroes and villains, and those in-between, the reader is left unsure as to where the true threat really lies. Meeting up with people along the way, Rick Grimes comes into contact with a variety of different people, each with their own various skills and attributes.
Starting out in a hospital, Rick Grimes wakes up on a hospital bed with no idea how he got there and, looking around him, finds everyone else gone. Getting up he finds he must break his way out the hospital whilst surviving the undead that are now roaming around looking to eat anyone that gets in there way. Not knowing what’s happened to his family either, he aims to go and find them and learn whether or not they’re still alive. Upon finding them though he learns that, after believing him to be dead, Lori had taken refuge with Shane, the ex-police partner of Rick, so as to ensure protection for her and her son. This obviously leads to tensions between the two, and ultimately between the group of survivors they are with overall. They then must work together to get past their disharmony and fight the danger that lurks beyond the walls of their temporary encampments, whilst learning the truth behind the outbreak. Can they come together and discover the truth of what has happened, or will their differences end up tearing them apart? Will they be able to survive for the duration and what will happen as they go onto the face the Walking Dead?
Miles Behind Us
With the first issue released on the 4th of November, 2004, this was to follow on directly from the last volume. Picking up where it left off, it continues to tell the story of the group of survivors over the course of twelve issues. This managed to develop their characters and their narratives as it looks deeper into how they operate as a unit.
Coming across a small farm, the group of survivors must continue to deal with the undead threat, whilst managing their internal problems as well. The owner of the farm, Hershel Greene, doesn’t want them in there, as they’re left to fend for themselves upon the highway. Over time they manage to talk him into it, whilst continuing to deal with their own troubling group dynamics in the process. Will they ever be able to make a true home for themselves, and how will they fight against the growing menace building in their own ranks? Can they survive the horror beyond their borders, along with the danger that is also growing within? What will become of them as they look towards discovering the truth about what lies ahead of them as they decide to put miles behind us?
The Walking Dead Series
As the series is adapted across platforms, from comic-book to television to video-games, this particular franchise is running strong. Each format has its own set of strengths that Kirkman works upon as a writer, continually maintaining a high level of quality throughout. Overseeing everything he keeps a close eye on all the on-goings of this now small industry that’s become hugely profitable. With more readers and fans coming to series everyday, it continues to grow all the time building and building upon the source material. This is something that shows no signs of stopping anytime soon and will carry on into the foreseeable future.Book Series In Order » Characters » The Walking Dead