The Walking Dead #6
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Tony Moore
back in 2000, a friend dragged me into a comic shop, kicking
and screaming. Of course, I'd done the same to him two hours
earlier at a video store, but the difference was that I now
had half the DTS-encoded DVDs the shop offered and nobody's
damn X-book binge was going to stop me from blowing out my
home theater system. Lo, I had no choice in the matter, so
I moped around the indie comics while he drooled over 18 different
titles with Wolverine on the cover.
caught my eye. It looked like the classic lightning-silhouette
cover from The Dark Knight Returns, but, strangely,
the silhouette was wearing a funny pope hat and appeared to
be dragging another, far more emaciated silhouette behind
him. This was the rear cover of Battle Pope #4; my
first exposure to the mad, genius, pairing that is Robert
Kirkman and Tony Moore.
years later, the boys have arrived.
Walking Dead is easily one of the best new series in years.
It's an injustice to simply call this a "zombie book,"
and even saying it's high social drama isn't appropriate.
This is a story that grabs you deep inside, tension rippling
through the panels; every turn of the page raising your pulse,
every surprise taking your breath away. It chills you, it
warms you, it rattles your very bones. THIS is a comic.
month's chapter, we feel the aftermath of the "things'"
attack upon the camp outside of Atlanta. The survivors bury
Amy, the only immediate casualty of the fight, and each say
their piece, including Jim, all but silent since he escaped
Atlanta (the only person known to have done so). Of course,
Jim's own death isn't far off, having been bitten in the struggle,
and, despite their best hopes, they know it's only a matter
of time before he turns.
Shane has finally realized he was wrong about spending the
winter near Atlanta, but he isn't about to admit that to Rick.
Even though it's obvious that the cold weather is too harsh,
the likelihood of the army rescuing them is remote, and the
chances of the "things" raiding their camp ever
more likely, Shane has nothing else to hold onto and the last
thing he wants to do is admit that Rick knew better than him.
as a last request, Jim has the group leave him by the outskirts
of the city. He knows it's only a matter of time before he
turns, but he figures that, at least this way, when he comes
back, maybe he can be with his family again. "Maybe they
came back, too. Maybe we can be together again."
then ends with such poignant scenes
but I'll leave that
for the reader. And if you're not reading this book, there's
something wrong with you.
Walking Dead drew comparisons to 28
Days Later when it first came out, and, indeed, it
owes much to the zombie film genre in general.
unlike 28 Days, The Walking Dead never gets
confused as to whether it's a zombie story or an examination
of humanity; it blends both concepts together so seamlessly
that you never consider whether it's one or the other. Kirkman
also has the good sense not to explain how any of this happened,
but instead fades into the background, leaving us to absorb
the story. And, man, how he fades into the background! There's
no narration, thought bubbles, titles, story arc titles, "to
" addendums or anything. He just sits
back and lets the story tell itself with the kind of control
rarely seen among comic writers. You'd almost think that style
makes it perfectly suited for translation to the screen, but,
again, it's the extremely subtle use of the tools of the medium
that make it such a powerful comic.
it was Frank Miller who once said that time is the greatest
enemy of graphic storytelling. Comic authors have always needed
to find ways to force the reader to linger on certain panels
and race through others. Brian Michael Bendis has proven himself
a master of this, but his methods draw a lot of attention
to themselves; using two page spreads and very precise arrangements
of panels to control the flow of the story. What Kirkman and
Moore do is all but invisible.
brings us to Tony Moore's work on the series. So many black
and white books always seem like just that: black and white.
It often seems they lack color just because the publisher
couldn't put enough money into them. But Moore's work is stunning.
Like Mike Wolfer's work on Warren Ellis' Strange Kisses/Killings
books, he'll render scenes of such horror they would be hard
to stomach in color. But the mood Moore creates is unique.
Like great black and white photography, there's a precision
that would be lost if colors intruded onto the stark scene.
The vast white stretches of the snowfields and high contrast
scenes around the campfire are able to shift moods in an instant
without the near mandatory manipulation of color we usually
see in comics today. His characters are so complete that it
brings to mind the old conceit that "All the great performances
were done in black and white".
it was confirmed last month that Moore will be leaving the
series and Charlie Adlard will take over. When posted, Kirkman
quipped, "I believe it was Augie De Blieck over at CBR
that said 'Tony's art 's almost too good for this series.'
I guess he was right." Sad, but true
what the future may hold, The Walking Dead has become
one of the greatest comics on the market (as might be reflected
by the Eisner award nomination) and Kirkman and Moore have
finally risen to the A-list (as reflected by the ungodly amount
of job offers they're getting).
been following this series, stay with it. If you haven't,
raid your local comic shop for back issues. If they don't
have any, scour eBay for them. If you can't find any there
well, I guess you're allowed to wait for the TPB.
damn well better start subscribing, fanboy.