Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Penciller: Tony Moore
Inker: Tony Moore
Letterer: Robert Kirkman
Release Date: October 2003 – March 2004
The Walking Dead comic recently came to an end, so getting to go back and review Days Gone Bye, – the first volume in the series, – was an opportune chance to revisit how this pop culture juggernaut came about. The Walking Dead tells the story of Rick Grimes; an Atlanta sheriff who gets flung headfirst into the zombie apocalypse, which throws an overwhelming amount of un-dead corpses his way and exposes the brutality required to survive this harsh new world.
Where most other zombie media focuses on the actual zombies and monsters killing human characters, The Walking Dead instead chooses to focus on the human relationships within the group of survivors that we follow. Although this has become somewhat of a trope over recent years, reading The Walking Dead was the first time that I saw the concept of ‘fight the dead, fear the living,’ actually realised and at the time I thought that it was fantastically original and refreshing.
Unfortunately, we have been somewhat bombarded with zombie media to the point of parody since this book’s debut and the market has become extremely saturated in the years since it released, but credit is still due to the story that started it all. This idea has been parroted many times since because it was an awesome idea to begin with.
Beyond the initial innovative idea though, the writing has to be there to back it up. Robert Kirkman is brilliant at building his universe and really making his characters and settings feel fleshed out. This was also one of the first comic books I read, where I really felt the constantly present threat that the characters had to live with on a daily basis and it honestly does feel like no character is ever truly safe.
Kirkman does somewhat lean on shock value to keep readers engaged in this book, which is not always something that I am a huge fan of. He also isn’t afraid to explore extremely dark themes and sadly doesn’t always do so with the most subtlety or grace, resulting in some tactless excess and some poorly handled choices.
Tony Moore manages to capture a brilliant level of detail and expression in every frame of this volume. I also love the clarity of his artwork; there is never a point in this book where I felt confused as to what I was seeing. The version of the book I read for review had also been coloured, however when I originally read the book, it was in black and white. To be honest, I think I prefer the B&W approach as it fits the horror theme of the book better and doesn’t look as cartoonish.
Admittedly, as much as I enjoyed Tony Moore’s work in this volume, Charlie Adlard took over art duties from volume 2 onwards and I much prefer his work. Adlard’s drawing style is wildly different to Moore’s and it does take some getting used to, but once you settle into it, it is great.
Overall, I really enjoyed going back and reading Days Gone Bye for review. It is pretty amazing when you consider all of the other media that has spawned from this single comic. Some of the writing can be fairly clumsy at times and Moore’s art carries a certain cheesiness to it, but there was enough talent onboard here to bring this franchise to life and the rest is history at this point.
If you enjoyed our Review of The Walking Dead Volume 1 then leave a comment below or leave your own rating.
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