Light reading: The Walking Dead, Compendium 1 (Vols 1-8) by Robert Kirkman

Friday, February 7, 2014


(Photo credit)
I am a big big fan of The Walking Dead show. Before you stop reading, hear me out. I generally have zero tolerance for anything zombies. Zombies disgust me - they look horrid, have terrible table manners, have no concern for hygiene, can't even properly string two words together, and shamelessly ogle at people. Disgusting. Did I already say that?

So when The Walking Dead started making the waves, a few years ago, I justifiably gave it the cold shoulder. I didn't want to watch another teen show, glamorizing the dead. (I really believed it was a teen show making zombies look like lovable creatures.). When my brother started watching this show one evening, I scornfully looked at it in passing. That went for about three episodes. Fourth episode on, I was sitting with him, wide-eyed, engrossed, and all chores forgotten. I have no idea how it got there, and to this day, I still haven't rewatched the first three episodes that I watched snippets of.

All this yada-yada-ing is just leading to this - this show has great merits. Sure, there are zombies and they are super disgusting. But the show has some excellent motifs that it really is not just about zombies. You could take these characters and put them in Cormac McCarthy's The Road, or Suzanne Collins Hunger Games, and their arcs would still make plenty of sense. I loved how the zombies were the scariest things in the first couple of seasons, but after that? You wouldn't believe the things that humans are capable of. Man, I wanted that Governor dead on day one itself - and I generally feel that villains are good to have.

The Walking Dead, Compendium 1 


So eventually, I figured it was time to read the books. The Walking Dead book series is a still-running publication, currently in its 120th issue. My brother had the Compendium 1, which I graciously borrowed (ahem), and whizzed through in just a few days. I said this once before but if you thought the TV show was brutal, the books will get you to rethink that. Fast. There are a lot of themes in there that you would generally not want your kids reading about. Despite an initial sick feeling in my stomach, I began to appreciate how well the writer (Robert Kirkman) has portrayed the crumbling world. There are odd couples forming, ruthless death scenes, and even some scenes that make you go "No, no, no,.." I got so invested in the characters that there was no favorite character per se. (For the TWD show fans, sadly, there is no Daryl in the books and he is one of the best characters in the show.)

The Compendium 1 is really 8 volumes together (out of the 20 released so far), or a total of 48 issues (out of the 120 released). Each focuses on different themes so I'm not going to go about analyzing them, but I enjoyed each volume tremendously. The darling husband got me the Compendium 2 for Christmas, and he was very excited to see me actually whoop in delight (I'm usually more laid-back with my thanks). It is taking every ounce of my perseverance to not pick it up right now because I have made my Armchair reading priority. Both Compendium 1 and the TV show Season 4 mid-season ends at the exact same point, so I really have no idea where the books go from here. That makes it harder to not read the book. Speaking of which, The Walking Dead returns this Sunday. Who's planning to watch?

This book is from my personal library.

6 comments:

Brooke Lee said...

I am the biggest TWD fan...like EVER. Both the comic and show are amazing - both for different reasons. I love how well the show has adapted the source material - both the similarities and plot changes. Can we just talk about that odd moment in the comic where Carol wants to marry both Rick and Lori? Also, Andrew Lincoln (Rick) read McCarthy's The Road before filming season four as a sort of reference and literary guide. I've only read the first compendium as well, but I've been immersed in the fandom so long that I have a general idea of where Kirkman takes the series. And let me just say, we're in for a very bumpy ride!! Glad to see someone else enjoying the show and seeing beyond zombies. One of these days I'm going to make my way down to where they film everything (it's only an hour away from my house). Total TWD dork and loving it.

iliana said...

I tried watching this once and just couldn't get into it but my husband has been watching the series and thinks it's enjoyable. Enjoy watching the return of your show!

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

While I don't do zombies, you do bring up my favorite part of dystopians. What the humans are willing to do is always fascinating to me too. That and how they manage to survive. What techniques and skills make them part of the "only the strong survive."

Kristin Shafel Omiccioli said...

I got (ahem, my husband got ;) ) The Walking Dead: Compendium 1 for Christmas 2012 and I added it to my Eclectic Reader Challenge this year for the "graphic novel" genre. Can't wait to read it! Looking forward to the show starting up again tomorrow!

Sam_TinyLibrary said...

My husband loves the TV show but is unsure about reading the graphic novels. After reading your review, I think I will go ahead and get them for his next birthday.

Ti Reed said...

The graphic novels are not for me but I want to read The Rise of the Governor (that series). I LOVE the show. Did you see the mid-season opener the other night? I came back from wrapping the show and it was like midnight and I had to wake at 4am the next day. What better way to spend my time? I had to watch it. I was a zombie the next day and STILL am, but I am so glad I saw it. What did you think?