Category Archives: Robert Kirman

One more agonising day…….Walking Dead 48

WARNING – SPOILERS!!!!

If you get the trades for The Walking Dead, then you will probably not want to read this, as I am discussing some major spoilers from the ‘No-one is safe’ story arc. So if you dont want to know the score, look away……NOW.

This is getting hellish now. I have read the Walking Dead thread at newsarama, and the Kirkman board on Image. Speculation is feverish, and anticipation – well, I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve. I have scrutinised the shadows that hang across Rick Grimes’ impassive face on the updated cover for issue 48 (see above), but I get no further clues. I think it is going to be the end of Lori and Judith, as we saw them, at the climax of #47, helpless at the feet of a mystery assailant brandishing a shotgun. I think Rick and Carl could be the only survivors from all this misery and fighting as the Woodbury community take what The Governer has led them to believe is theirs.

I keep looking at the new cover, and counting the graves. I count 6. That is one for Tyrese, one for Axel, and…..? Are we going to lose four others in this issue? Is the perspective of the crosses misleading to suggest a smaller cross amongst the larger ones? A smaller cross would imply a childs grave. I do not think Robert Kirkman has any qualms about making this story as ‘real’ as a fantasy can be considered ‘real’. The young die and the good die. Characters who have been major players for 40 or so issues die brutally. This next issue is going to (hopefully) resolve a few questions that remain unanswered;

Does Andrea, after arriving like the cavalry, survive?

What has happened to Glenn, Maggie and the others who left the prison with Andrea?

Will the Woodbury fighters hunt down the prison survivors?

Who has the gun trained on Lori and the baby?

Will the Governer meet a (deserved) brutal death?

Where is Michonne?

The answers will come soon, but there is a problem. It is one of impatience. My impatience.

The frustration for me is that I will not get the issue until Saturday at the earliest. I get my subscriptions via the post, from 2 brilliant comic shops, Red Hot (based in Glasgow) and Economic (based in Staines). I have links to their shops at the bottom of this post, and they both have great ebay stores as well. They are thoroughly nice people to do business with. Anyway, getting back to frustration…..my issue 48 will not arrive until the weekend at the earliest. That means I cannot use a lot of my favourite haunts online for fear of reading spoilers, and it doesnt get much worse than waiting for something like this, with such great excitement, to then read spoilers by accident and have the experience ruined.

What is the solution? Sit tight? Turn off all media until the postman delivers?? Well, there is another solution, and that is just grabbing a torrent of it, and reading it (probably) on Thursday. Is this right? Having already paid for the physical issue, I should have few reservations about grabbing an online copy for free, but for everyone who is just grabbing an early look before the paper copy arrives, I am sure there are plenty who are grabbing it for free. Therefore, am I justifiying the existence of these ripped copies, and harming comic creators and comic dealers????

Maybe, if I sit agonise over this for a few more hours it will actually take my mind off the wait for #48……

Economic Comics Home

Red Hot Comics Home

Robert Kirmans site

Kirkman discussing the ‘No-one Is Safe’ story arc

Review of Walking Dead 46

Wiki entry for Charlie Adlard

Wiki entry for Robert Kirkman

Image Comics Home

The Walking Dead – more cover art glory. Issues 50, 51 & 52

Oh my gosh. As the Kirkman/Adlard Zombie epic ‘The Walking Dead’ rushes breathlessly to the closing stages of its latest story arc, we have 3 future issues to speculate over. At least we know one thing with these future covers – Image are still going to be publishing The Walking Dead beyond the ‘No-one is safe’ arc (as if it was in doubt). Currently at issue 47, with 48 due in the next couple of weeks, we have seen deaths of major characters in a way that is probably unprecedented for a major comic book series. Kirkman is unafraid to challenge readers perceptions of what a comic book delivers. The cliffhanger from issue 47 suggests a shocking denouement to ‘No-one is safe’ that will radically alter the relationship dynamics between the surviving characters, and thrust some of the cast onto the centre stage. It is all very exciting, and I can honestly say that it is the best comic book on the market right now, even better than 100 Bullets or The Exterminators or The Goon.

I care about this book, its a monthly(ish) highlight, and when you have spent the 15 minutes or so reading it, you immediately want more. Those readers who just get the trades really miss an important element of the series – the fantastic cliffhangers, followed by the next issue cover printed on the inside back cover, which gives way to the longing for the next issue/fix (can last 3 weeks, can be 2 months, but is always painful in the best possible way).

Anyway, as I did in a post a few months back, let us look at the great work Charlie Adlard does with the cover art;

Issue 50

Brilliant – a gatefold cover that really hammers home the peril that Carl is in. As in the previous issues cover, Kirkman & Adlard are strongly suggesting that Rick Grimes’ young son is going to be the focus of the next few issues at least. He appears to be surrounded and alone, but his posture suggests strength and maturity. He has certainly learned well from his dad on how to hold a pistol correctly, as a wave of the undead bear down on him. Who else would think to put a kid with a pistol on the cover of a ‘mature readers’ comicbook – and get away with it?

Issue 51

Zombie attack from the P.O.V. of the soon-to-be-victim. What we can assume from issues 50 & 51 is that the zombies are BACK. Away from the ‘safety behind bars’, we are being assured that regardless of the end of the last story arc, no-one is safe. Whoever belongs to those hands is certainly not safe. The perspective here, seeing the attack from the point of view of the victim, is in marked contrast to the top down view of issue 50, where we have a full view of Carl and can see his determined posture. The perspective shown in issue 51 is another recurring motif of the series – the ‘tease’ cover. In issue 49, Rick is shown in a shambling Zombie type pose, his face obscured by shadow, the suggestion being he is infected. We are ‘teased’ with the suggestion that the hero is with us, but in a radically altered way. With issue 51 we know that someone is about to be devoured by the undead, but who is it? The fact there are two hands outstretched in a defensive pose certainly rules out Rick…….

Issue 52

Probably the most intriguing and thrilling of all three of the covers. We can now assume that Carl survives the onslaught from issue 50…. Apart from that, what I love about this cover is the tease – it looks like the Katana that belongs to Michonne, and whoever is holding it looks to be threatening Carl (the tightly clenched fist around the Katanas handle, the way the blade seems to be raised towards the young boy). Who could it be? The Governer? Michonne? If it’s Michonne, why would she be threatening Carl? You can see Rick Grimes son put his hand over his gun, but the facial expression, though one of surprise, is not one of fear….

So many questions. These covers, superbly rendered by Ardlard, pose as many questions as the clues they give us to what could be happening in the future. With Kirkman seemingly on top of things with publishing deadlines on this series, we should find the answers to all these things and more in the next few months.

Walking Dead covers 1 to 30

The Walking Dead at Wikipedia

Robert Kirkmans site

The Walking Dead – the power of Cover Art

I have mentioned Robert Kirkmans ‘The Walking Dead’ (published by Image) a couple of times now. I love it. Set in a future where there has been a Zombie Apocalypse, there are pockets of civilisation left, and the focus of the story is on Policeman Rick Grimes, his family, and the other survivors he meets and forms a community with. They are currently in a prison, holed up and ‘safe’, while the undead roam the perimeter fencing. However, the nearby survivor community at Woodbury (a fortress-like town) has become aware of the prison, and led by ‘The Governer’, a psychopathic villain, they aim to take it by force.

This current story arc is subtitled ‘No-one is safe’. It is one of the series strengths that major characters can meet sudden death, reflecting the dangerous, unpredictable environment they are in. This arc also moves the threat away from the undead, and onto the Woodbury survivors. The implication is that we (humans) are our own worst enemy.

Robert Kirkman is producing some great writing for this book, and has to be considered as one of the very best writers of the genre (up there with Alan Moore, Stan Lee, Pat Mills, Frank Miller). His work is full of drama and emotion, and knows how to pace a story, even giving the reader superb cliffhangers at the end of each issue.

With any comic book, you need the visuals as much as you need the story. It’s an alchemy, and only the best titles and/or best writer &artist teams have it (for the obvious, think of Stan Lee & Jack Kirby on The Fantastic Four, or Stan Lee & Steve Ditko on The Amazing Spiderman). Charlie Adlard, the artist for ‘The Walking Dead’, has a style that suits the gritty, sometimes violent nature of Kirkmans writing. He is a British artist, and started out on 2000ad, working on Judge Dredd. He has been working on ‘The Walking Dead’ since issue 7. He has been doing the covers for each issue since #25. The covers I am showing here are from upcoming issues (#47,48 & 49 – the ‘no-one is safe’ arc finishes at 48). Not only do they give tantalising glimpses (and nothing more) of what will be happening, but they convey so much drama and emotion. I find the ‘mother & baby’ cover (of Rick Grimes’ wife, Lori, holding her infant daughter) particularly moving – the facial expression (anger? fear?) and position of surrender of the Mother, the way she is trying to shield her child, the movement of the baby in her arms, the aggressor standing mainly off panel, shotgun ready. The prison perimeter fence looks devastated, the feeling is one of desolation and finality.

The next issue is stark and foreboding – we know there will be major characters who will not survive, and this reaffirms this – it reminds me of images of makeshift war graves on the field of battle. Again, the prison perimeter fence is devastated, showing that the former ‘safe’ area has been broken down and is at the mercy of the undead and any other invader;

Finally, this is the most intriguing cover. Issue #49, Rick Grimes (part covered by shadow) being led by his young son, Carl. Ricks posture suggests one of 3 things – he has either become undead (as he is drawn in a typical ‘Zombie’ pose – think ‘Flyboy’ in Romeros ‘Dawn Of The Dead’) or is weak with injury, or overcome with grief and is incapable of doing anything – even escaping from danger – without the aid of his son. They certainly are not in the confines of the prison any more – this is open space, bristling with threat. Carl looks determined, intent on leading his Father to safety.

The comic book cover is the first impression, and Adlards art for ‘The Walking Dead’ is the perfect selling point for Kirkmans brutal survival tale. It demands your attention. It demands to be read. Can I have all these issues now please???

Links;

Robert Kirmans site
Kirkman discussing the ‘No-one Is Safe’ story arc
Review of Walking Dead 46
Wiki entry for Charlie Adlard
Wiki entry for Robert Kirkman
Image Comics Home