"walking dead" kirkman

CBLDF presents: Liberty!

Every year, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund taps the greatest creators in the business for a highly collectible "annual" full of one-off art and stories celebrating freedom in all its guises. Now, a beautiful hardcover volume collects all these piece from 2008-2012, and it's a strong and bracing tonic.

The book runs 216 pages, and features a who's-who of the greatest names in modern and golden-age comics, from Sergio Argones to Kathryn Immonen, from Mike Mignola to Neil Gaiman.

The stories, most running 1-2 pages, are perfect little bombs of delightful, uncompromising, transgressive material, celebrating sex and sexuality, free thought and freedom of religion, free speech and free inquiry. Sales of the book support the CBLDF, whose work I'm proud to support with donations of both money and time.

LIBERTY is 216 pages total and includes several rare works, such as a The Walking Dead tale by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, 100 Words by Neil Gaiman and Jim Lee, Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, The Boys by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, plus stories from Geoff Johns, Mark Millar, J.H. Williams III, Terry Moore, Howard Chaykin, Jason Aaron, Brian Wood, Stuart Immonen, Kathryn Immonen, Mike Allred, Darwyn Cooke, Paul Pope, and dozens more! LIBERTY also includes incredible illustrations from Frank Miller, Jeff Smith, Tim Sale, John Romita Jr., Mike Mignola, and many more! All proceeds from this collection benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s work protecting the freedom to read!

“This book is bursting with incredible stories and art from some of the finest people working in the field.

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Walking Dead compendium 19: March to War

After an uncommonly long hiatus, there's a new Walking Dead graphic novel: Walking Dead 19: March to War. It's been eight months since volume 18 and its introduction of Negan, a psychopathic villain who makes the Governor look like a pussycat by comparison.

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Deadpool Dead Presidents: Freakazoid-y superhero reboot with evil zombie presidents

Earlier this summer, Marvel published Deadpool, Vol. 1: Dead Presidents, a reboot its long-running character Deadpool, a wise-cracking, horribly disfigured, effectively immortal Canadian mercenary who's been kicking around the periphery of the Marvel universe since the 1990s. The reboot, written by Brian Posehn and Gerry Duggan, was greatly complemented by artwork from Tony Moore, the talented illustrator who created the original art for the Walking Dead, one of the great masters of the grotesque (see, for example, his zombie Alfred E Neumann and black-light zombie posters).

I loved this. Deadpool's always been a funny dude, but the current incarnation makes him over as an ultra-violent avatar of Freakazoid.

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Walking Dead 18: a magnificent villain who makes Hannibal Lecter look like Mr Rogers

When the 17th Walking Dead collection came out last December, I called it "grim," and mentioned that Kirkman and co had introduced some new bad guys that made the Governor seem like a Smurf. Well, now Book 18: What Comes After is out, and the new badguy, a psycho named Negan, is back, and holy. frigging. hell. is he ever evil. Seriously. Hannibal Lector is a comforting Mister Rogers figure next to him. If you like the TV show and haven't read the comics, do. You can get the entire emotional rollercoaster punch of a whole season in one or two volumes you'll be able to inhale in about an hour. By the time you get to book 18, you're basically mainlining it, distilling it to pure granules and letting them dissolve under your eyelids. And book 18 is special, even by those standards.

The Walking Dead 18: What Comes After

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Walking Dead 17: it's grim

This week saw the publication of the seventeenth Walking Dead collection, Something to Fear. Robert Kirkman really is the absolute master of holding out a tiny, frayed thread of hope and then snatching it away from you. For years I've read these books, watching this vivid, gripping world turn to ruin and cruelty and entropy; cheered for the small, bright moments; dared to hope that things were going to improve, the dark give way to dawn.

Yeah, like that's going to happen. If you're following the TV show, you'll have met the Governor, who is a king-hell villain of the first water.

He's not a patch on the bad guys in volume 17.

Further, deponent sayeth not.

The Walking Dead Vol 17: Something to Fear

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Walking Dead vol 16: A Larger World

The sixteenth collection of the astounding graphic novel series The Walking Dead, A Larger World, is recently published, and the creators continue to vindicate my decision to follow this one for years and years and years. As I wrote of the 15th volume, The Walking Dead has sucked me in through several narrative techniques: it opened with the action-packed violence of the zombie outbreak; settled into a long run of stories in which hope dwindled away by a thousand cuts, leaving me in a kind of eternal misery for the plucky, flawed heroes I'd come to love; and has finally moved into a kind of twisted glimmer of hope, though there's still no guarantee that hope won't be cruelly snatched away.

Kirkman has spent his years of zombie storytelling to go to a place where few writers have dared -- a story of a kind of zombie cold war, where zombies move from being "problems" to being "facts." These books are populated by scarred and wildly imperfect people who are trying very, very hard to do the right thing, and even when the reader can foresee their upcoming disaster, it's easy to understand why an intelligent person in the characters' shoes would take the awful course of action. This is horror without the idiot plots, without the "let's split up and run to different secluded places" tropes, in which bad guys and good guys are all all-to-believable. It's the only kind of horror that can really sustain itself at this length, and it's a marvel. Read the rest

Walking Dead 15: We Find Ourselves - a moment's respite after years of grinding, terrifying hopelessness

I've been reading The Walking Dead comic series for years now, with the kind of sick, compulsive horror that is the mark of great dramatic tension in narrative. One of the surest ways to establish dramatic tension is to have a characters in bad situations who are trying intelligently to solve their problems, failing, and falling into worse situations. Key to this is that the characters have to try intelligent solutions to their problems, because otherwise the story becomes an exercise in watching a fly batter itself to death on a windowpane.

The Walking Dead is one of those zombie stories in which the intelligent solutions attempted by each character represents a kind of local maximum, the best action for that person at that minute, but disastrous in combination. In that sense, it's a kind of extended riff on the collective action problem, the age-old conundrum of figuring out how to work together for a common goal that will improve all our lives in the end, when there's always a good, immediate opportunity to pursue one's immediate advantage -- and when, at any moment, someone else in the group might seize on that opportunity and shut you out of it.

So previous volumes of Walking Dead have demonstrated the problems and promise of strong-man authoritarianism, family groups, nomadic collectives, fortress societies, limited democracies, individual autonomy, and every other variation and permutation, presenting the reader with the twin fascination and horror of watching a group of characters each acting (more or less) intelligently, but collectively behaving like a fly battering itself to death on the proverbial windowpane. Read the rest

Walking Dead 14: taking things-get-worse stories as far as they'll go

Robert Kirkman's and company have been producing Walking Dead comics for for eight years now, hewing to a simple and effective formula: put intelligent people in a terrible situation, have them try intelligently to solve their problems, have them fail, and have things get worse. This is a surprisingly effective means of generating dramatic tension, because who the hell can look away when someone is trying to solve a problem, but landing in a worse problem? Generally, there are limits to this sort of plotting: eventually, your characters have nothing left to lose, things have gotten as bad as they're going to get, and it's time to raise the stakes, get to the climax, and wrap things up.

A remarkable thing about Walking Dead: this is a zombie comic where, I'm pretty sure, nothing will ever get substantially better, and yet, somehow, Kirkman hasn't run out of plausible ways for things to get worse for his characters. Every month, a new issue hits the stands in which people who seem to have hit bottom continue to lose in bigger and more meaningful ways. Sometimes, Kirkman has to give them a bit of a reprieve in order to have more to snatch away from them -- this has been the arc in the last couple collections -- but these reprieves are necessarily filled with dread because you just know that things are going to start going downhill any minute now.

And yup, here we have The Walking Dead Volume 14: No Way Out, and things are getting worse for the entirely likable, plucky, hard-working survivors of the zombapocalypse -- without going into spoilery specifics, let me say that if Volume 13 felt a little too talky and not kill-y enough, Volume 14 is going to make you a happy, sadistic reader. Read the rest

Too Far Gone: new Walking Dead collection asks whether survivors can ever be "normal" again

Too Far Gone is Robert Kirkman and company's thirteenth collection of Walking Dead comics, and the long-running zombie/horror/adventure comic continues to fascinate, engross and scare me.

Once again, our plucky survivors have found an oasis in the killing fields of America where biters threaten all that live. But this time, it's not a fortress to hide themselves in, nor a post-apocalyptic tyranny run by heavily armed, sadistic megalomaniacs. Rather, they find themselves in what seems to be version 2.0 of the nice, gate-guarded suburb, a fenced-in, solar-powered town that is trying for a new normal amid the carnage.

This gives the creators a whole new set of tools for smashing apart their poor, maltreated characters: can they ever face civilization again after all the killing, betrayals, and hard choices they had to make on the road? Can they trust the good will of the residents of this sleepy hamlet? And, most importantly, when things go wrong, do you become a marauder, or do you help your neighbors?

The dramatic answers to questions like these are the lifeblood of apocalyptic fiction, and how you answer them says a lot about your theories of human nature (we are beasts, reined in by civilization; we are fundamentally good; we can trust our friends; we can't trust anyone) and Kirkman doesn't have any easy answers. Which is why Walking Dead remains my favorite zombie story of all time, and why I'm looking forward to the fourteenth collection.

The Walking Dead: Too Far Gone  Fan-made opening credits for upcoming WALKING DEAD TV show - Boing ... Read the rest

Fan-made opening credits for upcoming WALKING DEAD TV show

Daniel Kanemoto's fan-made credits for the upcoming Walking Dead TV show (based on the relentless, marvellous long-running comic) is terrifically clever stuff, clearly the output of a trufan of the first water.

THE WALKING DEAD "Opening Titles" (Thanks, RJ!) Walking Dead, Vol. 9: Here We Remain -- grim zombie comic has a ... Walking Dead 8: Made to Suffer -- zombie comic keeps hitting it ... Trailer for Walking Dead series on AMC Walking Dead: scary, engrossing zombie comic Walking Dead 12: Relentless zombie comic offers respite, and its ... Walking Dead 11: zombie comic is a parable about the ethics of ... Walking Dead 7: The Calm Before -- compelling, pitiless zombie ... The Walking Dead Omnibus Volume 2 Read the rest

Walking Dead 12: Relentless zombie comic offers respite, and its own problems

I've just read the twelfth collection in the chilling, gripping Walking Dead zombie comic series, Life Among Them, and as always, I raced through the pages, on edge to discover what happened next.

The Walking Dead is remarkable for both its relentless pacing and its relentless pessimism, a series in which the plight of characters who have endured the unimaginable nevertheless grows steadily and intractably worse. The trick, then, is to write a series in which things get monotonically worse and yet there always dangles the prospect of hope, a glimmer of light deep at the end of the tunnel.

In volume 12, the light grows considerably brighter as the nomadic survivors encounter a model walled community that seems too good to be true; the characters are now tried not by the zombies or homicidal rivals, but by the agonizing questions of trust, of returning to normalcy, of confronting the lives the led while on the road and fighting for their survival.

As always, I finished it slavering for more, and even now am eagerly awaiting the thirteenth collection.

Walking Dead Volume 12: Life Among Them Walking Dead 11: zombie comic is a parable about the ethics of ... Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become, relentless comic on zombie ... Walking Dead, Vol. 9: Here We Remain -- grim zombie comic has a ... Walking Dead 8: Made to Suffer -- zombie comic keeps hitting it ... Walking Dead 7: The Calm Before -- compelling, pitiless zombie ... Walking Dead volume six: scary zombie comic gets even better ... Read the rest

Sweet Tooth: gripping, post-apocalyptic graphic novel off to a killer start

Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth Vol. 1: Out of the Woods is a great post-apocalyptic graphic novel in the tradition of The Walking Dead and Y: The Last Man, featuring likable innocents walking a blasted, ruined America, helped and hindered by good people gone bad, and bad people gone worse.

In Sweet Tooth, we meet Gus, a 9-year-old boy living in a shack in the woods with his dying, deeply (and crazily) religious father. Gus isn't like other boys: he lives in the woods and has never seen a living soul apart from his father (and his mother, who died when he was an infant).

Oh, and Gus has antlers.

Some sort of plague has destroyed the world; a plague that made some children born part animal, a plague that is killing Gus's father. All Gus's father wants from his boy is for him to stay hidden once he is alone, to stay in the woods and avoid the fires of hell that burn outside their woods. But when his father finally dies, Gus is hunted by evil men from beyond, and then rescued by a strange, dour fellow who promises to take him to The Reservation, where other children like Gus are kept.

So begins the road trip, spattered with violence and slow revelations about the hell that has been visited on the earth. This first volume only gets the story started, gets us to a place of extreme and intense suspense, and then cuts off. If you can't wait to find out what happened next, you can try your local comic-shop for the singles that follow, but I'm going to wait for next December, and volume 2 of the bound graphic novels. Read the rest

Walking Dead 11: zombie comic is a parable about the ethics of survival and disaster

The Walking Dead Volume 11: Fear The Hunters came out this month, and I happened on it this weekend and promptly fell into it, emerging an hour later feeling like the world was coming to an end.

For the uninitiated, The Walking Dead is Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore and Cliff Rathburn's superb and terrifying zombapocalypse graphic novel series, in which a band of survivors overcome zombies, internal power-struggles, traumatized family, zombie-bit lovers, and, of course, other survivors who've been turned even more feral by the walking dead.

The pacing never lets up -- something amply demonstrated in this volume, where a new rival group of survivors has something awful planned for our heroes, a plan that involves terrorizing them as much as possible, keeping them off balance.

What makes The Walking Dead so compelling to me is the way it asks you to decide, over and over again, do you bug-out (get away with your loved ones) or bug-in (help your neighbors and let them help you), or both? I've always hoped that I'd be a bug-in person, that in a disaster I'd work for the mutual aid of everyone. But bugging in works best if the rest of the world does it with you -- a few selfish buggers-out shatter the social bonds that make it possible for the most people to survive a terminal prisoner's dilemma. But even for us bug-in types, Kirkman wants us to ask ourselves, how far will you go? Who gets to come inside the shelter with you, and who gets left outside to die? Read the rest

Boing Boing Gift Guide 2009: comics/art books! (part 6/6)

Mark and I have rounded up some of our favorite items from our 2009 Boing Boing reviews for the second-annual Boing Boing gift guide. We'll do one a day for the next six days, covering media (music/games/DVDs), gadgets and stuff, kids' books, novels, nonfiction, and comics/graphic novels/art books. Today, it's comics and art books!

The Wolverton Bible (Basil Wolverton): Wolverton wasn't just a funnybooks illustrator: he was also a member of a millenarian evangelical church called the Worldwide Church of God, a sect that believed in obeying Old Testament lifestyle laws and the literal truth of Revelations. So it was natural that Wolverton ended up with a regular, paid gig illustrating a series of Bible stories for kids and adults published in the Church's magazines like Plain Truth and in booklets with titles like Prophecy and The Book of Revelations, overseen by Church leader Herbert Armstrong, who had converted Wolverton to his faith. Full review | Purchase

Norman Saunders was a prominent illustrator for Captain Billy's Whiz Bang, Modern Mechanics, pulp detective, western, war, and science fiction magazines, men's adventure magazines, and bubblegum cards and stickers, including Wacky Packages and Mars Attacks. Anyone interested in 20th century magazine illustration pretty much has to have this book in his or her library. I devoured the 368 technicolor pages filled with examples of his work from the 1920s to the 1980s. Full review | Purchase

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Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become, relentless comic on zombie apocalypse and the human condition

"What We Become," Volume 10 of the fantastic and wrenching zombie comic The Walking Dead keeps right on shambling relentlessly toward the total annihilation of the human race. I read it in about 30 minutes, shivered for 10, then read it again. Then shivered some more.

Kirkman, Adlard and Rathburn are masters of pacing, and as the survivors push on towards Washington and the possibility of some explanation, or even salvation, the story never lets up once. This volume focuses on the horrors of war and disaster, and what people become through necessity or weakness, and I can't wait for volume 10 11.

The Walking Dead, Vol. 10: What We Become

Link to Volume 9, Link to Volume 8, Link to Volume 7, Link to Volume 6, Link to Volume 5, Link to Volume 4, Link to Volume 3, Link to Volume 2, Link to Volume 1 Previously:The Walking Dead Omnibus Volume 2 - Boing Boing Walking Dead 8: Made to Suffer -- zombie comic keeps hitting it ... Walking Dead: scary, engrossing zombie comic - Boing Boing Walking Dead 7: The Calm Before -- compelling, pitiless zombie ... Walking Dead volume six: scary zombie comic gets even better ... Walking Dead: scary, engrossing zombie comic - Boing Boing Read the rest

Walking Dead 8: Made to Suffer -- zombie comic keeps hitting it out of the park

The eighth collection of the long-running zombie adventure comic The Walking Dead is called "Made to Suffer," and it proves that the creative team of Kirkman, Adlard and Rathburn still have plenty of capacity to scare the shit out of me with grisly, relentless adventure stories that grab hold and don't let go until you've turned the last page.

The Walking Dead is your basic zombie story: zombies roam the land, survivors try to avoid them. Over the past several years, the story has had the plucky adventurers move from cities to campsites to a prison to a walled city governed by a retarded sadist of a mayor who uses blood-sports to keep the population in check.

In volume 8, we see the first major post-zombie war of the story, in which two bands of survivors go all-out to destroy one another, on a battlefield filled with biting zombies who pose a grave threat to both sides. There's some interesting stuff about human nature, mob mentality and so on in this volume, but that's not what I read it for.

I read it because it is so goddamned well plotted that I can't stop reading it. It's the kind of adventure yarn that gives you just enough characterization to get you caring about the people so that you won't be able to look away when they are plunged into disastrous combat. If you're looking to have an afternoon swiftly and mercilessly ripped out of your life, sit down with all eight of these collections and get scared and sweaty. Read the rest

Walking Dead 7: The Calm Before -- compelling, pitiless zombie comic

I've written about Kirkman, Adlard and Rathburn's comic The Walking Dead here before, I know, but I've just finished the seventh collection in the series, "The Calm Before," and I now can't get to sleep. The energy of this zombie comic is just amazing -- relentless, pitiless in its insistence on drawing characters that we truly care about and then destroying them, hobbling them, putting them into situations that there's no answer to.

The survivors of the zombie uprising in The Calm Before try to build a life within the prison they've set up shop in, but they're too scarred by the horrors they've witnessed (and perpetrated) to ever really come to anything like normal. Plus there's the zombies outside the fence, and the possibility of sociopathic loonies from the next town over raiding them, and the impending baby, and the survivor's guilt that gnaws at them when the fighting stops...

It's the pacing, more than anything, the "things get worse" storytelling, that makes this series so freaking compelling that I find myself writing about it in the middle of the night rather than going to bed. It's the secret formula for dramatic tension: characters we careabout, trying intelligently to solve their problems, and ending up in worse trouble through no fault of their own. It's deceptively simple to describe, the devil to pull off, and here it is, in spades. Read the rest

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