The Walking Dead #1 – Reviews Of Old Comics
With this column, I try to highlight comics before the year 2000. I also try to switch up the comics I review in a order by publisher, DC, Marvel, and Independents. Of course, I throw Legion comics in there at roughly every fourth review because I’m a huge Legion fan.
I wanted to tell you that because I’m going a little more recent with this week’s review. The last time I did this, I called it a Review of an Old-ish Comic. Of course, that was four years ago, and the comic was the same vintage as this week’s comic, The Walking Dead #1.
I don’t care for zombies. Zombie stories tend to be a series a cheap horror, jump scares, and showing off how good a zombie you can create. The Walking Dead TV show looks to be a lot of that, and given much I hate jump scares, I’ve admittedly never watched a single episode. I started watching the pilot, but the first scene looked to be building up to a jump scare. I wasn’t having it.
Today the thought reached me to try to read the comic. Jump scares are a little less jarring on the page, Tony Moore’s artwork also doesn’t have that style that urges the over-rendering of dead and undead bodies. I also want to be fair when criticizing zombie comics, so here we go.
Writer, Letterer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Tony Moore
Rick Grimes, Sheriff of a small town in Kentucky awakes in a hospital. Comatose after being shot while on duty, Rick finds the world abandoned of all things living and is faced with walking undead, who attack him on sight. He returns home to find his family, son Carl and wife Lori, gone. He meets his new neighbor, who points him towards Atlanta. After retrieving supplies from the abandoned Police Station, Rick sets off to Atlanta to search for his family.
I really didn’t hate this. I’m not kidding either when I say I hate zombie stories. However, this reminded me more of Y The Last Man more than it did anything else. Rick wakes up into a world where he’s a survivor, and he takes a moment to completely break down upon seeing the bicyclist. That scene is my favorite part in this issue. Rick seems entirely human in his reaction to this horror of a situation. His resolve in preparing for a trip to Atlanta is a turnaround that only a police officer could do. I doubt if Rick were in any other profession, he could have set himself on his path so quickly.
The restraint in using the zombies shows a use of long-form storytelling. I have seen Kirkman use that in Invincible. I like this form of storytelling, since it’s something that I grew up with. It’s odd that when that was the standard, I yearned for more contained stories. There’s a place for both. Sometimes, the story will necessitate a longer form of storytelling. The Walking Dead may just be that type of story.
The art is refreshingly restrained for a zombie story. Had this been created ten years earlier, it would have been a lot gorier, with zombies having an unrealistic amount of decomposition. I don’t even have a problem with doing a close-up of Rick’s eye as he sees the biker. The focus isn’t on the eye, but on the tear coming from it. The shading technique can get a little distracting. It looks a little too digital for my taste. I get immersed in the story and find myself taken out by a highlight or shadow that is obviously computer generated.
The neatest part of this issue is how easy it is for you to read it for yourself. You can get a digital copy for free at Comixology. It’s been reprinted in the Image Firsts collection, making a reading copy affordable. Of course, you can also get it collected in The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye and The Walking Dead Omnibus Vol. 1.
Final Rating: 8.5 (out of 10)