So as more and more news about the walking dead TV show starts to dribble out, I’m hoping more and more that it’ll succeed. It’s got a great director in Frank Darabont stewarding the project, it’s lined up a pretty interesting leading man in Andrew Lincoln, and I hope as more and more casting comes in we’ll be treated to more solid choices.
But see here’s the thing: I don’t like Walking Dead.
I think the comic started off with promise, and it has a great team working on it. (Robert Kirkman can be a very good writer and Charles Adlard has these brilliant moments that remind me of Tim Sale at the top of his game.)
The problem with doing a zombie comic – especially one that is not a finite series – is that you can run out of steam very, very fast.
And if there’s one thing that Kirkman has done on this series is spin his wheels. They spent almost ten issues too long at the prison, and the series itself relies too heavily on shock instead of originality.
But I mean – that’s kind of expected. Zombies are an interesting concept and it’s obvious that there’s huge interest in them. It’s just that – well – it’s all sort of been done before, hasn’t it? It’s why our zombies run now, why Garth Ennis’ ‘zombie’ book Crossed has the ‘zombies’ doing deplorable acts, rather than walk slowly in large groups.
Walking Dead rehashes many things that we’ve all seen in the film – be from Romero or any of those who have followed in his footsteps. Again – don’t get me wrong – it’s well written and beautifully illustrated; but it all feels like it’s been done before.
The Best thing the series could do right now is hit some sort of milestone and fade to black – and then restart the series ten years later under a new status quo.
Survival porn is great, but eventually you have to have an end in mind.
At 70 issues it’s time for something different.
Because if it’s done well, if it’s done with reverence for the source material and it’s successful – it opens the doors for television adaptations of 100 Bullets, Y the Last Man, Dark Tower, etc.. stuff that is long-form storytelling.
Lost has proven that you can get an audience for these types of works, The Wire has proven that you can create art doing it. This is something that comic book fans have known forever.
I hope that Walking Dead: the televised series does well – in fact a large part of me thinks that it’s going to be fantastic – I just think that there are better series out there that could benefit from getting television exposure. Hopefully that’s what the (fingers crossed) success of Walking Dead can do.
Pete DeCourcy is EiC of ComicBookDaily.com. He tumbls over at You Practically Rock and writes for The Simple Art of Crime. If you have any questions or demands of him, he can be reached via email at pdecourcy[at]comicbookdaily[dot]com