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The Walking Dead and its' Various Medias

Updated on November 28, 2016

Comic Book/Graphic Novel

When venturing into any series; whether it be in books, comics, or on television, one should consider all of the different avenues the author could take. In a world where the various medias one has at their disposal the opportunities are endless. But why pick only one? Why limit your series to one universe, one story-telling medium? Instead why not travel Through the various sources of media in order to tell similar stories, but with different characters and unexpected twists along the way. This venture allows the author to satisfy a wider variety of fans/viewers/readers and reach a greater amount of people.

A favorite and popular series that strikes my interest is Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead. In this series, which was first launched as a comic book or graphic novel, we follow characters through a zombie apocalypse and watch as they learn how to adapt to this new horrific world. The comic book series mainly focuses on Rick Grimes and the group that he becomes a part of, and eventually a leader that they look to for answers on what to do and where they should travel. Now in this group there are a wide variety of characters that join and some that even die along their journey to discovering a place where they can live unafraid of the undead lurking in the shadows. This series does show various characters that Rick's group comes into contact with, but those are typically antagonist that are trying to take something from Rick's group whether it be someone's life, supplies or even the dwelling that they have secured the antagonists are a big part of showing how this group has to constantly battle with other elements other than the zombies.

The book does release side stories from time to time and this allows the readers to catch up on characters that didn't become part of the group like Morgan, or there are times where we are allowed to read the origin of a character like Tyreese or Michonne, to name a few. I like these spin off cause it gives me a sense of the different dimensions of this world and just what it could be, how other people survive, die, or lose themselves completely. You get to know these characters on a more personal platform that I don't think you would be allowed if Kirkman didn't think of this world on a greater scale. Kirkman could even go into great detail on characters that have already died, a sort of revisiting their origin and who they were before the dead started to rise or maybe where they were and how they survived as long as they did.

The comic books or graphic novels as some call them, was my first introduction to this series and I am not a fan of many graphic novels, but this one captivated me and sucked me into the world of the undead. It was great to have the dialogue and a picture of the character to go along with it, that aspect really brought the book alive for me and helped me play all of this out in my head.

This is a picture of Compendium One of The Walking Dead graphic novel. It is sold in individual comic books. I choose to show this one because it gives you a visual of what some of the characters within the graphic novel look like. Here you see Tyreese, Lori, Rick Carl, Michonne, and Glen. What I like is these characters sort of resemble the characters in the television series. I like how Kirkman kept some of the characters in mind when he was doing his casting for his television series.


Cast of the Television Series The Walking Dead
Cast of the Television Series The Walking Dead

AMC TV Series

Another media source for The Walking Dead is the hit AMC series. This series brings the world Kirkman created on paper to life and allows him to take creative liberties and create a universe that overlaps the comic, but introduces new twists or ideas within the graphic novel even new characters.

One interesting twist Kirkman added to the television series was the community of Terminus. This I'm sure was an idea taken from the graphic novel when Rick and his group come across a group of cannibals in the woods, of course in the graphic novel it wasn't as complex and there certainly wasn't a big community of people. I loved how Kirkman took the idea of cannibalism and incorporated it into the television series because it showed that the group must always have their guard up even when walking into what appears to be a peaceful and safe community. It also made it more realistic showing that their are a variety of communities out there and as the series goes on each community Rick's group comes across seems to be much worse then he last. It started with the Governor who controlled Woodbury and was a sick and twisted individual and when he clashed with Rick's group who had secured the prison the battle was on for control of the prison. That battle lead to the prison being destroyed to them finding Terminus, then to them rescuing Beth from the hospital, to where they are now Alexandria which they will come to find has issues of a different caliber.

One interesting spin off that I would love for Kirkman to venture is how exactly did Terminus turn into a place that lured people in for livestock. They do a good job of briefly explaining what happened, but I want to know the story from the start. How did it become a community? How did they become cannibals? What it takes to turn someone into a vicious person who preys on others? That's a story that should be told in a television series or even the Governor and how he became the character who battled Rick.

Another interesting aspect of the television series would be the much loved character Daryl Dixon. Daryl is played by Norman Reedus a well known actor and his character quickly became a fan favorite. Fans go so far as to say 'if they kill off Daryl we riot'. He is dynamic character that every viewer is dying to know more about. What's his story? Where was he when all of this went down? Why is he so mysterious and withdrawn? We know a few details, we know there was some abuse in his past and we know he is a difficult character to get to know once you first meet him, but once you have him in your corner he will defend your life against anyone dead or alive. Daryl is a kind of character that could have a successful spin off if he ever left the group, sure no one wants to see him leave the group or even die. But Kirkman has said no character is safe anyone of them could die.

Novels

Now if you're wondering hey what is the Governor's story? Don't freak because Kirkman has taken care of that one as well in his novel series. Kirkman's novels are by far my favorite source of media. The television series does allow everything to come to life, but to read a novel without pictures and play it all out in a movie you created in your head is the best way to experience something like The Walking Dead, in my opinion. And here is why...your mind is an endless pool of imagination and how you read the novel and visualize it is totally up to the reader. So my interruption could be entirely different from another's. It's as if the readers of his novels are able to create their own comic strip of the places and characters they imagine based solely on Kirkman's descriptions. I absolutely love how the mind works and how one's imagination can take them places where no one's dared to venture. Out of all of the novels he's written thus far my favorite was his first the Rise of the Governor. I enjoyed this book the most because I read it after reading the graphic novels and after already having a face in my head of what the Governor looked like I was shocked to discover who he really was, because when I first started reading the novel I saw the Governor as this one strong character when in fact it was the weaker one. And that's what I loved! The fact that I went in thinking the Governor was the strong main character of the novel when in fact it was someone who barely survived and made so many mistakes along the way. As I watched this character unfold through the chapters I began to understand why the Governor became the heartless character we see on screen and in the graphic novel. However, the Governor and town Woodbury that was portrayed on television is very G-rated compared to the one you read about in Kirkman's novels and graphic novels.

The other novels in the series go deeper into Woodbury and how sadistic some of the people are. Woodbury is a place where men and women must do certain duties or chores in order to earn a ration of food, clothes, shelter. Women even trade their bodies to get such things. It's a barter system where the strong take what they want and the weak or unwilling get crushed under the rule of a crazy man. Now in the television series we weren't shown this side of Woodbury, in fact Woodbury appeared to be a post-apocalyptic Pleasantville compared to what we read in the graphic novels and novels. Sure everyone in the town had to do their part in order to survive and keep things going, but they had block party picnics and everyone seemed willing to help each other without anything in return. Now they did show how the town took pleasure in watching zombies and humans try to survive in what is called an arena, but it wasn't at the same caliber that was portrayed in Kirkman's literature. The television Woodbury was more tamed and controlled probably for viewing purposes.


Closing Thoughts

The Walking Dead series has become a favorite of people from all walks of life and in various different medias. Whether you read the comics or novels or tune-in to catch the series on AMC, the readers/viewers are stepping into a universe with endless possibilities that are forever changing in a post-apocalyptic zombie world. Kirkman does a fantastic job of delivering this story in a variety of medias in order to reach a huge audience. He gives you something different from each of these medias and there is something special within each.

No story is exactly the same which allows for a different ending, twists, and even characters that didn't exist in the other medias. Kirkman delivers the zombie apocalypse in a way that almost makes it real because in reality something like this wouldn't be the same for everyone.

Interview with Robert Kirkman

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