Book Review: The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 1

Obviously, this is not your standard book review, as I have never before reviewed comics on this blog. But if you are to know Bookabye Baby, then I must tell you that there are many things I love in this world, but two that I have loved since childhood are comics and zombies. I never actually collected comics despite my love of them, but would read the odd one here or there as I came across it. Mostly my love of comics grew through cartoon series, especially that of X-men. Anyway, when the TV series The Walking Dead began and quickly became one of my favourite shows ever, I just had to find the comic that started it all, so picked up The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 1 to make a start. If you have not read the comic and intend to, or have not seen the TV show and intend to, do not read any further, as this will contain spoilers…

Oh my wordy lordy what an amazing comic book series! This is definitely directed to adults rather than young children as it contains swearing, adult relationships (i.e. sex), and zombie gore. I can absolutely see why this was such an attractive project to produce into a film or television series. The writing is great, the characters are quite well developed, and there is an excellent mix of tension, action, and emotion. The artwork is lovely, too, with the comic entirely in black and white. This means there aren’t the vibrant pages you might expect from a comic, but it works with the genre and therefore pulls the focus more on the story. What kept me turning the pages of this tome was the storyline, which differed immensely from the television series. Here are just a few examples of the differences (as there are many):

  • There is no Darryl. Darryl is my favourite character on the show, and I missed him.
  • Tyreese comes into it way earlier.
  • Shane dies very quickly.
  • Sophia never disappears.
  • Andrea and Dale are a couple.
  • Carol is much weaker and eventually kills herself.
  • The time on the farm is very short, meaning they find the prison a lot quicker.
  • Rick loses a hand thanks to the Governor.
  • Lori doesn’t die during childbirth, but dies in another way much later.
  • Lots more!

Despite these major differences I still can not pick one medium over the other. The changes made for television work extremely well for that medium, and the decisions made by Robert Kirkman in the comic series fit well with the story and the characters, too. It felt like I was reading some parallel series to the world with which I am familiar, but I enjoyed every page. I can’t wait to read the second volume!

The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 1 by Robert Kirkman – 4 out of 5 stars.

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