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The Walking Dead

Robert Kirkman (author), Tony Moore, Charles Adlard (illustrators)

> Review by Carolyn Marcille

While zombie narratives have existed in almost all cultures for centuries, in America they have been utilized as a spectacularly gory way to explicate our innermost terrors at being alive in the 21th century. The shambling form of the zombie can be coded as almost anything: fear of infectious disease, distrust of the government, fear of loss of autonomy, etc. Most tellingly, the zombie presents us with a physical reminder of our own mortality, a corporeal manifestation of the fear of death itself. The constant shadow of death clearly lurks over Kirkman’s Walking Dead; readers often complain that no one besides George R.R. Martin kills off so many beloved characters. But that’s the reality of life in an apocalypse; the only day-to-day certainty is death. Knowing this, The Walking Dead takes its time; not every issue contains the creatures, and the narrative does hammer home the old chestnut that “man’s worst enemy is himself” on a fairly regular basis. But Kirkman’s bold choice to tell a blood and guts story in black and white is a special risk; by not privileging the usual Technicolor splatter of the zombie genre, readers are allowed to focus on the massive cast of characters and their interactions. This fact gives The Walking Dead its legs, even if those legs are often running from the undead.

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