Horror on the 13th – August 2012

Published on August 13th, 2012

Hey every one and welcome to a brand new Horror on the 13th! My name is Sheldon and I will be taking you through a Zombie filled apocalypse this month! I would like to start out by saying I am by no means the authority on Horror and please keep your hands and feet in the car at all times as I would hate to have to take your head clean off.I don’t want to mislead anyone. For me the Horror genre is a tad old and over used to the point of being saturated and in most cases not very interesting. When I read a comic or watch a film I like to be able to have walked away learning something on a personal level. That to me is what makes a great impression and frankly it is what makes it worth my time. In most cases when I walk away from a horror comic or a film it just seems like a cheap carnival trick to try to thrill or gross me out. I usually walk away empty. However not in the case of the subject I will be covering this month, no sir! This month I thought I would talk about the only consistent horror comic on shelves now that actually gives you more that just a cheap thrill and a easy gag reflex. This month I thought we would talk about The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman. Be warned however if you are not caught up I would venture no further down this scary corridor full of spoilers. Don’t go into the swamp!! Head Back or you will be punished…and all that…..you have been warned.

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I know, you real Horror buffs out there are saying, “But this is so overdone!”, well yes I agree but the comic itself is so much more than just one thing that it deserves to be celebrated again and again. Since we just  got to issue #100 I thought we would look take a look back at how we got there. The beginnings that made us wince and cringe along the way. So right off the bat (haha sick joke there) I wanted to present you with an excellent map resource. This  map gives you the exact, real world locations that Rick and crew have had to traverse to get us to where we are now. This map really is awesome and with what we can do with Google Earth now it shows the amount of real world detail that both artist Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard have put into this series. So here it is The Walking Dead Map. It is a great resource for those of you at home following along…another excellent resource that should not be overlooked is The Walking Dead Wiki. This is great if you want to delve much , much deeper into not just the comics but the AMC T.V. series as well as the video game and character break downs. So let’s get into it and take our trip down a gruesome memory lane to explore the path traveled thus far by Rick Grimes.

thewalkingdead1Our journey begins in Cynthia, Kentucky were Rick leaves the hospital after awaking from his coma and tries to uncover where his family is and if they survived. He is then promptly knocked out by Morgan Jones and taken back to a house where he and his son Duane are trying to ride out the Zombie Apocalypse. Rick is then told to head south to Atlanta as that is where he “might” find his wife Lori and his son Carl. Rick picks up his gear from the local Sheriffs station and promises to check back in with both Morgan and Duane Jones after he has caught up with his family.Rick having now made it to Atlanta and found his wife Lori and his son Carl as well as a group of survivors consisting of Shane (his old partner), Glen, Dale, Jim, Andrea and her sister Amy,Carol, Sophia,Alan,Donna and her twin sons Bill and Billy. It is at this point that this comic becomes something more than just horror. You could argue that this is when this book becomes about both survival and what happens to the mind of someone who will truly do whatever it takes to survive and adapt to a harsh new surrounding. Rick and crew learn a lot of early lessons and we constantly see the pendulum swing back and forth between harsh mistakes and finding a small bit of light in the darkness. By the time Rick and company make it to Hershel’s Farm they pick up two new members of the crew consisting of Tyreese, his daughter Julie and Julie’s boyfriend Chris.

If you are keeping score that is a lot of people to have introduced by issue 10. However by the time they reach the Farm half of the original party has died by either Zombie attack or human mistake. That is when it becomes abundantly clear that The Walking Dead does not refer to the Zombies but the people left. That is highly impactful as at this point we were all to assume it was a run of the mill zombie apocalypse book, it however kept surprising. After reaching Hershel’s Farm and introducing a slew of new people including Hershel, Maggie, Billy, Rachel, Susie, Lacey, Arnold and Shawn as well as Hershel’s neighbors Otis and Patricia.This is yet another in a long line of false starts for the group as they travel. This always seems to be a reoccurring theme in The Walking Dead, false hope. Just when you think they might find that happy bit of life and might be able to ride out this horror book it turns on its nose and proceeds to make matters far,far worse. With the group overstaying their welcome at the Farm they move forward taking with them Hershel’s daughter Maggie who at this point has fallen in love with Glen and once again the numbers get whittled down.

Having left Hershel’s Farm the group discover what could be a shinning beacon on the hill and what ends up being one of the bloodiest most gut wrenching chapters in The Walking Dead thus far. At this point I would like to point out that we are something like 13 issues in and Charlie Adlard has become the full time artist on the book taking over for Tony Moore at issue #7 and continues to be the artist as of issues #101. I would also like to say that this is the point in the story that, at this point, the AMC show is now at. Rick and his crew have reached the walls of the prison and have lost more than they can even begin to count up.It is really at this point that Rick and the rest of his companions decide to make a stand and try to find a place they can make their own.They want to build a community and try desperately to achieve this within the walls of this deserted prison. Of course by this point you are waiting for the proverbial shit to ht the fan and it doesn’t..not right off the bat Rick and company clean out the prison and deal with the remaining alive prisoners, of which there is only four, and then attempt to establish a beach head. Believe it or not you actually think at this point that they might succeed because for the next 35 issues they seem to be succeeding…despite the many obstacles put in their way and believe me there are a lot of them. However there are a lot of happy moments as well, like the birth of Rick (Shane’s) and Lori’s daughter Judith and the introduction of a new character Michonne in issue #19. Ultimately thought the prison become a colossal failure and bedlam ensues. This is all due to a character introduced as The Governor. The Governor truly becomes that almost mustache twirling villain of old that you truly hate to the core and he ends up taking everything but Carl and one of Rick’s hands away from him.

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After escaping the events of The Prison and Woodbury Rick and the few remaining survivors head back to Hershel’s Farm where Carl, Dale, Michonne, Maggie, Glen, Andrea, The long since deceased Donna’s, twin boys Bill and Billy and the now orphaned Sophia stay the night to re evaluate what they need to do to get back on track and find a safer place. The next day they are greeted by three new members to the party consisting of Sgt. Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa, and Dr. Eugene Porter. They like our other survivors are trying to find a place a refuge and claim to be headed to Washington because Eugene knows how the Zombie Out Brake began.The remaining survivors then decide to abandon the Farm and head to Washington only to find heart break along the way. As Rick and his fiercely loyal crew continue towards Washington Rick checks in with his old friend from issue #1 Morgan, only to find that his son Duane has turned and he was keeping him in the house because he couldn’t bear to kill him. Along the road they experience even more heart break with the death of longtime character Dale in issue #66. The road to Washington becomes littered with both lessons and bodies as the group pushes to keep their sanity intact. Along the road they do pick up a Father Gabriel Stokes who joins their troubled band of travelers and move forward to Washington cautiously.

After the gruesome events of the last 20 to 30 issues Rick and company finally make it to the Alexandria Safe Zone. A community run by a man named Douglas. This self sufficient, small community has actually built a wall around itself and relies on both generators and solar power to sustain itself. It is at this point that I swear to you Kirkman must be like some modern day sadistic version of P.T. Barnum trying to sell us on hope only to destroy us with what the outcome ends up being. I want so badly to buy into the fact that this could actually work, that all the crap they have been put through has led them to this town that they can discover the mysteries of this crazy new zombie filled world and find a way to right things. He hints so many times at things like corruption that Douglas has on the small town and the fact that Rick is loosing his grip on how to deal with things that you turn each page wincing and unsure what horror’s lay before the next panel. There is thewalkingdead100even a point to breathe as we see that Rick is trying to get Carl to live like a normal kid and tells him he can’t wear his gun out in public. The town itself looks like a actual normal town from the inside but, as was inevitable, the zombies make a push through the gates and chaos ensues. We lose a lot of the people in the community and Douglas decides to let Rick take charge as he has become incapable of making the tough decisions.Rick’s response is to make a more fortified area around the town and have people proceed out occasionally to thin the heard of Zombies. To make the point even more clear Kirkman even had Carl shot in the face during this chaotic attack. No one is safe. I’m not gonna lie I was worried Carl might not make it but he does with only the loss of his one eye. Kirkman crafts such a gripping story that it becomes hard to tell what is safe and what is not. For a while this new direction seems to work until they are visited by a man known only as Jesus who offers them a unbelievable deal.

This is it, this leads us to the events that are currently going on in The Walking Dead. Rick and crew have now visited the Colony on The Hill Top and found that they are governed by a group who live in fear of their so called protectors. Rick has even run into a small group of these people and has dealt with them harshly and swiftly in order to make his point. This unknown group are on the outside of The Alexandria Community watching and waiting to strike back on command.Rick has made the choice to show these people that they don’t need to have protectors that they fear. This then puts us with the introduction of someone seemingly worse than The Governor named Negan.In issue #100 we see everything falling to pieces yet again. We lose another main character in Glen to a horrifically severe beating with a bat at the hands of Negan and more threats waiting in the wing for Rick and his community.This has been an absolutely heart wrenching trip from Kentucky to now. It makes me wonder why I keep reading it and honestly the answer is I want to see Rick succeed at some point and if he can’t then I would at least like to see Carl do it for his dad. We have had 100 issues of great twist,turns, peeks and valleys that has left us still gripping the wheel to see where it goes. I never would have guessed that of the original group of people that left from Atlanta that only 4 would have survived thus far. That is just crazy to me. I can only hope that these four continue to have a story to tell in the next 100 issues of The Walking Dead and that Robert Kirkman continues to give us the thrills and chills he has been delivering monthly and lucky enough for you, you will be able to continue with the aftermath THIS Wednesday as The Walking Dead #101 comes out.

Sheldon@comicimpact.com

Sheldon Lee