The Walking Dead Comic, Chapter One: Days Gone By

Walking Dead Comic Days Gone By

“The Walking Dead,” created by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tony Moore

Warning: This Walking Dead comic post contains spoilers. Please wait until after reading Chapter One, before exploring further. 

Summary: After he’s shot in the line of duty, police officer Rick Grimes, wakes up to find the world overrun by flesh-eating zombies (aka walkers). A kind stranger named Morgan and his son Duane fill Rick in on what’s happening and help him get back on his feet. Then Rick sets out to find his wife and son in Atlanta, where he believes they’ve found safe haven. He nearly gets overwhelmed by zombies in the city, but Rick is saved by another Good Samaritan Glenn, who brings the weary traveler back to his camp of survivors. One he arrives, Rick finds that his best friend Shane is there and that he has taken care of Rick’s wife Lori and son Carl. The grateful Rick reunites with Lori and Carl, although he doesn’t realize that Shane isn’t willing to give up his new family so easily.

The first issue of The Walking Dead comic, Chapter One: Days Gone By, starts out briskly with only a single page of back story before it throws you into the fray. You see Rick get shot in the line of duty and then the next thing you know he’s jolted awake, alone in the hospital. Because you don’t learn much about Rick beforehand, there’s more fear and urgency to Rick’s situation. It’s very much like the opening to the Danny Boyle film “28 Days Later,” except Rick discovers the flesh eaters quicker.

Unlike a film, the comic doesn’t have sound or music to amplify the anxiety of Rick’s frightening discoveries. It also lacks color, something that would normally add to the disgusting characterization of the zombies you see. What’s amazing about the comic is that even without these embellishments, it’s remarkably successful at telling a grim, unsettling tale. That’s because the incredibly detailed dialogue, spelled out sounds (like “BLAM!”), and facial expressions of the characters compensate for the absence of more in-your-face methods. Lighting and shading are also used to bolster the atmosphere in this tale by establishing time of day and providing another layer of emotional depth to each individual scene.

Stylistically, the layout is a nice mixture of different types of art. There are pages comprised entirely of framed sketches, half-page scenes which have framed drawings woven around them, and in some instances, full-page art. I love artist Tony Moore doesn’t draw the frames straight and crisp. Instead they have a rougher, uneven look that fits in with the comic’s post apocalyptic setting. The most compelling work is obviously the full-page stuff, which can be incredibly gruesome, frightening, or beautiful in a disquieting way.

From a story perspective there are some really entertaining things going on, like when Rick and Glenn coat themselves in walker blood and body parts as a disguise. This wacky plan keeps the zombies from smelling them in Atlanta, and allows the pair to retrieve a cache of guns. It’s one of the better things that The Walking Dead television show lifts from the comic. The traumatizing zombie attacks and deaths of group members are tough to read, but they serve to mentally prepare you for future books in the series, which aren’t shy about killing characters off. The conflict between Rick and Shane is also really intense. When Lori tells Shane it’s over between them in the pouring rain you feel his pain and when Shane’s yelling at Rick you can sense his raw anger.

Probably the best moment in the first chapter of The Walking Dead comic, is the climactic showdown between Rick and Shane at the end. After Carl shoots Shane to protect his father, the issue closes on a disturbing piece of full-page art. Rick and his son share a scared embrace over Shane’s dead body.

What did you think of the first Walking Dead comic? If you watch the show, were you happy with the elements they brought over from this first issue into Season 1?

What Happens When You Assume: Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 4 (Killer Within)

Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori in The Walking Dead

Sarah Wayne Callies as Lori in The Walking Dead Copyright 2012 AMC TV

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 3 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching, before reading further. Similarities and differences between the show and the comic are also discussed, but whenever possible, details of the comic are left ambiguous in case you decide to start it later on.

Summary:  At the prison, things go horribly wrong for Rick and company when a saboteur lets walkers in and sounds the alarms. Meanwhile, Andrea starts to have her doubts about leaving Woodbury as she grows more attached, Michonne suspects The Governor of foul play after does some snooping, and Merle talks about going out to find Daryl. 

You know the annoying expression: When you assume, you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me.’ During The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 4, I felt pretty assy and I bet Rick did too for assuming that Andrew, the axe-toting prisoner from the season premiere, had become zombie chow. Not only was he alive, but he was really pissed, and understandably so, considering he was left for dead.

As they show the mysterious figure carrying a fuel jug, cutting open the prison gates, and using the deer carcass to attract zombies, you get casual hints that it’s Andrew, based on the clothes and his footwear. Later in the episode when he’s revealed to be the culprit who was sneaking around in the woods, it’s not terribly shocking or satisfying however. I was really hoping that someone more fascinating was spying and trying to mess with them.

It was badass though when one of the other prisoners shot Andrew. I’m glad that they were finally able to convince Rick that they’re worth trusting. I was getting really annoyed about how no one was willing to let the decent prisoners join their group. Literally Rick was at the point where he would rather turn the poor bastards loose on the road then take them in, and it was just wrong.

In the melee caused by Andrew’s sabotage, unfortunately we saw the untimely deaths of two main characters: Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and T-Dog (IronE Singleton). Both were sad, but personally I was more distraught over the loss of T-Dog. The moment he got bit, I literally yelled “Nooo!” out loud. He was just a consistently nice, honorable character even down to the end, when he bravely sacrificed himself to hungry walkers so that Carol could escape. And speaking of Carol, it sucks that everyone thinks she is dead.

Lori could be incredibly obnoxious, although it was still difficult to see a mother pass away at a time when her baby would need her care more than ever. At least her character redeemed herself a bit this season. I feel incredibly bad for Carl who not only had to be scarred for life by seeing his mom in labor, he had to ensure that she didn’t become a zombie after she died.

Should be interesting to see how they figure out how to take care of a baby without a mother around to feed it. I’m also curious if Rick will take Lori’s death as hard as he took it in the comic, almost losing a bit of his own sanity.

Nothing at Woodbury happened which was that eventful. Even The Governor was so bored he was just hitting golf balls. Andrea just further proved that she has terrible judgement when it comes to men (i.e. The Governor) and Michonne continues to earn points with me for her distrust of the falsely benevolent leader. Hopefully The Governor will let Merle go looking for Daryl soon. I’d like to see the Dixon brothers reunited.

Which character’s death hit you the hardest? – Take my poll and let me know your thoughts.

How long do you think it will take Rick’s group to find Carol? Do you think Michonne will actually convince Andrea to leave Woodbury? Will The Governor let Merle go looking for Daryl? What else do you want to see happen this season?  

Walking Dead Season 3 Ep. 2 (Sick) Recap

Norman Reedus as Daryl in Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 2

The Walking Dead Copyright 2012 AMC TV

Warning: This Walking Dead Season 3 post contains spoilers. Please wait until after watching, before reading further. Similarities and differences between the show and the comic are also discussed, but whenever possible, details of the comic are left ambiguous in case you decide to start it later on.

Summary: Rick’s team frantically attempts to save the Hershel’s life, while trying to work out a truce with the prison’s other newly discovered inhabitants.

Thankfully, Episode 2 (Sick) of The Walking Dead Season 3, picks up immediately where where Episode 1 left off, so you don’t miss a minute of action. After amputating Hershel’s leg and the encountering the prison’s survivors, Rick, Daryl, Glenn, and T-Dog desperately try to stop the bleeding. They manage to rush Hershel back to their cell block, where Carol, Lori, and his daughters provide care, but without medical supplies his fate is uncertain.

Next, Rick, Daryl, and T-Dog regroup and explain to the cooped up prisoners exactly what has been happening on the outside. I find the prisoners’ inability to digest the situation comical; one of them is so dumb, that he asks to borrow a cellphone. Once everything sinks in, everyone quickly realizes, that an agreement must be formed about sharing resources, since the convicts insist on staying.

Unlike the comic, which gradually builds up tension between these two factions, I dig that the show just drops you right into it. Rick and the long-haired leader of the cons are instantly at odds over their arrangement. Rick continues to be a commanding leader, telling the prisoners how it’s going to be rather than haggling. In exchange for half the food, Rick and his friends offer to help clear out a cell block for the other men.

Again, the prisoners’ stupidity hilariously abounds when they fail to comply with simple zombie killing instructions. Instead of going for the head and staying in formation like they’re supposed to, the idiots scatter and start shanking the undead in the guts. My favorite part of the episode is when the long-haired dude takes a swing at Rick. The punk gets a badass machete to the head in the most satisfying kill of the episode, maybe even of the season so far. Unfortunately another prisoner crosses Rick and ends up becoming zombie chow. I understand why Rick feeds the second prisoner to them, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I like that he lets the two gentle-seeming cons live, however I’m curious to see how they get along with everyone in the long run.

Faster than in the comic, Rick is becoming a darker character who makes hard decisions to ensure everyone’s survival. As the leader, he also appears to be emotionally distancing himself from the group, especially from Lori and Carl. It’s a joy to see Lori eating more humble pie in this episode, when she admits to being a lousy mom and wife on multiple occasions, though it’s kind of sad that Rick still wants nothing to do with her.

I still appreciate that this show keeps me guessing even though I’ve read the Walking Dead comics. Hershel’s situation literally kept me on the edge of my seat and when they showed a mysterious party spying on Carol from the woods, I legitimately had no idea who it was.

Who do you think it was spying on Carol? Are you happy Hershel appears to be okay for now? Do you agree with Rick’s decision to feed the second prisoner to zombies? Do you think Rick and Lori will patch things up at some point?