This month’s recommended read is something that many people may not have either heard of or come across in the graphic novel format. I only started reading this thanks to a recommendation from my good friend Ben Eidam from the NerdsChatting Podcast. NerdsChatting Link
This month, I’m recommending it to you … The Walking Dead Vol 1 Days Gone By.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past seven years you will be aware of the massive hit TV show The Walking Dead, which is getting ready to return in the autumn with season eight. You may, however, be unaware that the hit TV show is based on a successful comic series by Robert Kirkman. The story in a nutshell: A man wakes up from a coma to find the world has been overrun by zombies. It starts with volume one “Days Gone By”. This is a collection of issues #1-6 of the comic series, which is essentially the beginning of season one and tells the story of a man waking up alone in an apocalyptic wasteland. This book really conveys the feeling of being alone, the loss of your family, and what happens when society breaks down.
We join Officer Rick Grimes on his journey, during which he will meet some very interesting characters as he struggles to make sense of this strange new world. Kirkland does a wonderful job of establishing the basis of the story in this first volume. What strikes me is that the story is more about Rick and his finding other survivors along the way with, of course, zombies in the background. That’s the main difference with this story – it’s not about the zombies. They are almost a dull background noise. Ok, so they will kill characters when you least expect it, or give you a fright when you see the undead hordes coming for you, but that’s just an aside.
So, if this book isn’t about the zombie hordes that have taken over the world hungry for brains flesh and limbs, what is it about? The people. It’s about the small groups of strangers that have overcome social and economic boundaries to band together as survivors and look out for each other almost like a family.
This story tries to depict the importance of a family unit, trying to help each other to solve the inevitable problems of food and shelter. Also, to a lesser degree it covers the subtle things that go unmentioned, like who’s the leader, the strongest, and while this becomes a story in later issues, the scene is set here.
The first thing that will become apparent when you read this book is that it’s all black and white. Where is the colour? In my humble opinion, this book would not work half as well as it does if it were in colour. The way that Tony Moore has brought the Robert Kirklands story to life without needing to rely on colour says a lot about his talents; he has managed to really capture the individuals and emotions perfectly with just black ink and shading.
I highly recommend this series of graphics novels to you, whether you’ve seen the TV series or not.