strange like that

The Walking Dead Volumes 1-12

The Walking Dead CoverOver the past few weeks, I have been catching up on The Walking Dead comics. So far, I have read the trade paperbacks volumes one through twelve. It only took one of them, however, to know I was hooked.

The writing in The Walking Dead reminds me a little bit of stories told by people like Stephen King and Joss Whedon. It may seem like those two don’t have a lot in common, but the thing they do share is unpredictability. Reading or watching their stories, they make it so hard to guess which characters will live or die. No one is really safe, and sometimes even main characters bite the dust. It’s risky, but if done right, it can really pay off.

The Walking Dead is risky and it’s nerve-wrecking. All of the characters are well developed despite the fact it has such a large cast. None of the characters seem to be there “just because”. Every time I reach a story peak and think things can’t get any worse, they somehow do. Very few series of any kind can continuously up the ante.

Where I find the comics faltering (and I mentioned this in another article at Comic Attack) is in their treatment of female characters. This is the second series I’ve read that is by Robert Kirkman, and it seems like he has it out for the lady folk. Intentional or not. So far in The Walking Dead, there has been a serial killer that murders a few female characters, a mother and baby girl shot to death, a woman who is violently raped again and again, three women who try to commit suicide (two succeed) and a back story of a male character whose wife and daughter were violently raped. I find that more than just a tad worrisome.

While the abuse towards woman is not easily overlooked when reading (not by me anyway), I can’t put the books down. The stories are so compelling and the characters so real. If anything, the zombies are a backdrop to the real story. It’s really a series about survival and how the people around you might be the worst thing out there when it comes down to a crisis. It’s the sort of story we’ve seen time and time again, whether it’s the Twilight Zone episode “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street” or the story “The Mist” by Stephen King. No matter how many times we see it, it’s still just as scary. No one wants to find out that those closest to them have the capacity to change for the worst.

Overall, I can’t recommend The Walking Dead books enough. If you have the stomach for zombies eating people that is. (Pun VERY intended.)

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6 Responses to “The Walking Dead Volumes 1-12”

  1. colaboy29 says:

    What do you think of the television show on AMC?

  2. Macabri says:

    I’m actually really behind on the show. I missed the second episode because I was at my mum’s and she doesn’t have cable. I tried to catch up this past Sunday night but had to go to bed early with a splitting headache. I’ll get caught up one of these days.

  3. Flowercat says:

    I think it’s unfair to single out the fact that there is violence against women in this series. Did you not notice that there is violence against EVERYONE in this series? I think it’s down to the fact that, in most popular culture, women and children are usually spared the kind of violence that is easily visited upon men. Not so in The Walking Dead. Everyone is fair game in this brutal world. It would be disingenuous of the creator to “spare the women and children”, when this is a tale of brutal survival, and almost unbelievable horrors are visited upon ALL of the characters.

  4. Macabri says:

    Flowercat – There is most definitely violence against both sexes in the comics. I wasn’t making the claim that there wasn’t. For the most part, the comics are pretty balanced, and I in NO way think the women and children should be spared.

    My point was that there appeared, to me, to be a lot of female-specific violence. There are several instances of rape, three attempted suicides, a man who is a serial killer that targets women and more recently a group of cannibals that prefer to chow down on women. I can think of only one instance where a male character was going to attempt suicide and failed. There was a near rape on a male character, but it didn’t actually happen. The men have it rough, no doubt. I would personally rather lose a hand like Rick than be repeatedly and violently raped and berated like Michonne. (Not that either are great choices.)

    This also seems to be a trend in Kirkman’s writing, and I’m not the first nor only person to point it out.

    As for pop-culture, I find that women and children are not often spared. How many movies have there been where the man is out seeking revenge against the killers of his wife and child? I can’t think of any films off the top of my head where those roles are reversed and the woman is the one out seeking revenge. There is also an exceptional amount of violence and rape enacted on women in comic books.

    Again, this is all my perception based on what I’ve personally seen and what I’ve discussed with others, and I felt it was worth noting.

  5. No, I agree that there is a bit of an issue with how women are portrayed. Frankly, I can understand envisioning violence against women running rampant throughout a world without laws. However, it’s all the little things Kirkman includes paired with that violence that worries me, you know? Still, it is a fun series and I’m still reading along. :)

  6. Macabri says:

    I completely agree. Violence would definitely be an issue and women would certainly get preyed upon, but something about the writing is off-putting at times. Regardless, there is no doubt that I am hooked on the series. :)

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