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4.7 out of 5 stars354
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Having let the TV series pass me by for some time, I began watching it and was hooked. After a series of Walking Dead Marathons I had caught up with TV series and decided to fill the time until the next series with the books which started it all.

I was familiar with some aspects of The Walking Dead as I had read interviews with Robert Kirkman in CLiNT Magazine (sadly no longer running) which didn’t give much away in terms of plot, but gave an idea of the overall scope and angle of the series. The fore-word in the book emphasises the fact that this isn’t just a horror comic about flesh-eating zombies, that’s merely the backdrop to the story about Rick. This is a character driven story which happens to be set in a zombie apocalypse, if society were to find itself ‘fixed’, if in time some semblance of normality would return – Rick’s story would still continue.

I won’t use this review to compare the graphic novel with the TV Series as they are both excellent ways to enjoy the Walking Dead. The Walking Dead comics no doubt fed (and continues to feed) ideas into the TV series and it benefitted from being created after the Walking Dead world had been fleshed out (no pun intended). It’s clear early on though that if you came to the comics after watching the TV series, you are going to experience something which is very familiar, but also quite different – even if you remember the episodes well (and I do!), this offers a whole new level of shocks and surprise – no tension is lost and the books are edgier, able to show us the zombie filled landscape in a much darker way. It’s gloriously twisted and always grounded in reality.

Reality here is captured by the realistic interactions between characters, the way they speak and react to each other. Very early on the characters feel multi-faceted and substantial, without this plausability the books would never have been as successful, it invests in great characters and it’s their journey you experience. Having such a feel for the folk on the pages heightens the sense of danger and makes every situation more intense. The story opens with an fairly prescriptive opening, a man wakes up in hospital – his comatose state perversely protecting him from the horrors happening on the streets, this John Wyndham-esque introduction has been copied many times – and post-apocalyptic, zombie filled streets are hardly original. There’s never been a Rick Grimes before though and despite a dangerously formulaic start, The Walking Dead establishes itself as one of the most original and standout pieces of literature for a long time. Kirkman largely ignores the zombies, the fantastic artwork by Tony Moore tells us their story (their clothes and condition hinting at the human life before the ‘turn’) instead we see the quarrels, laughs and concerns of a band of survivors whose future is far from certain.

In a nutshell: Exploring the human condition by placing them in the midst of a nightmare. The genius of the Walking Dead is focussing on the those experiencing the nightmare, those who must deal with the monsters – rather than the monsters themselves. Constant gore and bloody dismembering can be visually stunning, but it can all get a bit ‘meh’ after a while – but seeing how people deal with that level of real fear, seeing how it shapes them is compelling. By the end of this volume the world and the lives of those in Rick’s group will never be the same, and there’s a long way to go yet!
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on 11 January 2007
As stated in Kirkmans opening blurb, just as you get into a Zombie movie the credits start rollin'! So, here, Kirkman has the ability to avoid leaving the viewer/reader wondering if the victims succeed, by charting the life of protagonist Rick Grimes to the bitter end.

The book kicks of with a bang, as Rick, a small town cop, and his partner and friend Shane, are trapped in a shoot out with an (implied) escaped convict. Rick is wounded and wakes up in a hospital bed. From here the story advances, as Rick wakes up to a nightmare situation and must escape, start over and defend his new life from the Walking Dead.

The story stays strong and consistant throughout, with particular attention paid not to the violence and depravity of the zombie subject, but to the relationships and psyche of the characters. This is not to say that gore hounds won't get thier fix, contained are some horrific scenes. Only it's secondary to character development, which clearly shows mental cracks appearing, and conversley minds strengthining and maturing. This leads to behaviour and actions of characters that you don't expect when they are first presented to you, yet feel natural at the time.

Also worth comment is the art style. Volume one is unique as it opens with a slight cartoon feel, which betrays the dark subject matter and actually takes away from the experience. People and objects seem deformed from real life. However, volume two onwards has a better standard of art direction.

Excellent pacing and dialogue means you will reach the last page before you want to, which leaves a long and agonising wait for the next installment.

The wait is worth it though, for the most modern and engaging horror storys I've ever read.
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on 3 June 2004
What happens when a Romero Zombie film ends - when the few dwindling survivors, clutching guns and a backpack full of baked beans, stagg chilli and dirty underwear, head off in a helicopter? This is what this graphic novel is all about. How do you survive in a world where you risk life and limb just to get toilet paper? Where the shambling, ever-hungry walking dead are waiting to snack on you at any moment...
Awesome art and great charachters combine to make a great, gory story. Just wish they'd film it!!
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on 12 February 2014
I watch the TV series and decided to get the comics! They are mega cheap on the kindle and I am now hooked. Onto Vol 2!
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on 30 March 2011
I received this as a gift from someone who knew I enjoyed both comic books and zombies. I was aware of the TV show but have yet to watch it. After reading the foreword by the author about how this is an epic story that left off where films would finish, I'd say I was short changed. This is very much the run-of-the mill zombie story, not far removed from 28 Days later in style or story, with a classic story arc.

It was a fun read, not overly heavy on dialog and full of great drawings, that may serve as an entry into a series that goes on to be great, however solely on the merits of this vol. alone, I'd say it was an average zombie affair with potential to live up to the author's hype.
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on 2 August 2011
If you pay attention to comic book news, forums etc then at some point you would have heard some praise towards the walking dead series. This book deserves all the praisenthat it gets.
From looking at the cover you may be thinking "this is just a comic book about a zombies" well this is not a story about zombies or how zombies took over. The walking dead is about a man who wakes up from a coma in a world where zombies have taken over and he wants to find his family. This is a story about people who live in a world with zombies, the zombies are just a minor part, the meat of the book is the interaction between the characters and the relationships that form.
I could not stop reading this from the second I looked at the amazing art, the book just finds a way to hook you in and keep your attention from start to finish. The characters are well thought out, you care for them, you want to see them survive and when major things happen in the book you feel emotionally attached to it.
if you want to read a volume leave it for a month then read the next volume you can and you will remember instantly what happened when you left making it a very accessible series.

You do not need to be a comic book fan to enjoy this, I know people that only read the walking dead and no other comics.
I cannot recommend this book enough.
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on 16 January 2007
The Walking Dead series is one of the best zombie stories ever told in any form, using the comic book medium to tell a slowly evolving, character based story that would not be possible in a 2hr film. For those who have ever asked 'what would I do if zombies attacked?' this series offers an answer by not just showing the immediate aftermath of a zombie uprising, but also detailing the months that follow, the loss of life, the psychological effects on people, and the slow loss of humanity that people face in terrible situations. It is a series well worth sticking to, as it only gets better as the characters face new challenges along the way, and the slow realisation that it takes more than just guns and machetes to stop the end of civilisation, but the desire to stay human.

The art in the first trade paperback is the best, but don't let the change of artists in the other collections put you off. Charlie Adlard's art is, while less glossy than Tony Moore's, far more expressive of the characters' inner turmoil. While we come to less enjoy the action taking place, the characters' personal stories come to the foreground, giving a more profound and realistic impression of the aftermath of such events.

A must buy for Zombie fans.
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on 5 October 2015
I watched the walking dead right up to season 5 and decided while waiting for season 6 to come out I would have a bash at the comics as a few of my friends said that different things happen.

After reading the first two pages I couldn't put it down and finished it within 6 hours and I immediately ordered volume two! If you're a walking dead fan like me and had the same idea as me then definitely order the first conpendium volume because you won't have to wait like I do! MUST READ!!!
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on 4 January 2013
Here is where it all begins, the end of one world and the start of a new one!

The art work is great, though this artist is only used in this book which is a collection of the first few comics of 'The Walking Dead'! Tony Moore was replaced by Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn who now work together on all the art work for this comic.

There is 'currently' 17 books of 'The Walking Dead' to date, with the next one due out in a couple of months (June 2013 currently)!

This is a fantastic series, quirky, exciting, fast paced and this is a fantastic opening to it all, a true master piece!

Give it a go, you may just fall in love with it as SO many seem too!

Another option is to go for the first and second 'Compendium' of 'The Walking Dead' for a cheaper long term investment, though it is a lot more chunky and these single books are easier to hold and you get to see more art work!

Either way, it is a price worth spending for a story you will want to read time and time again!
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on 31 July 2013
This series is more addictive than crack.
If you are new to comics and only found this through the TV show, then welcome. If you are comic fan then you are in for a treat with this. This book represents the first steps of Rik as he tries to survive with his family in a world of zombies. As a local town sherif he is a natural leader and we follow him as he tries to keep everyone alive.
The best thing about this series is that it deals with the day to day struggle as days, weeks, months go by. Now up to vol. 18 this series still hasn't lost steam and will still surprise and shock you. Kirkman's writing and characterisation is excellent with very few weak spots in such an enduring story, while the stark black and white visuals never overwhelming the reader with the obvious gore and allowing us to pick out the beautiful details that help bring the world to life.
The only down side is the volumes don't come with all the amazing front covers.
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