Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Walking Dead Comic and TV Series - What You Need to Know

Article by Bill Bedlam

Here we are, just a few days before the premiere of The Walking Dead television series on AMC, which debuts Halloween night at 10pm EST. For those of you who have lived in a cave for the past year, here's what you should, strike that, NEED know about The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead started-out as a black & white indie comic published by Image Comics and was created by series writer, Robert Kirkman (Invincible, Battle Pope, Brit, The Astounding Wolf-Man) in 2003. Originally, the art duties were handled by Tony Moore, but were taken over by current regular artist, Charlie Adlard, since issue #7.

The story revolves around lead character Rick Grimes, a small town police officer, his son, Carl, and an ever changing cast of survivors dealing with the trials and tribulations of life during The Zombie Apocalypse and the threats that come with it.

Kirkman has crafted one of the most compelling stories in comic history. His characterization of the human players and their relationships with each other and personal struggles are so intriguing, you almost forget that you're reading a comic about zombies. Don't be fooled though, the zombies are ever present and provide the element of danger and uncertainty that creates the uneasy and frightening backdrop to the series.

The success of The Walking Dead has truly been an example of a grassroots movement. In a day where superhero comics dominate the industry, mostly by the "Big Two" publishers Marvel and DC, The Walking Dead's meteoric rise in popularity has no other examples to compare to. The series has won numerous awards and nominations and continuously sells-out every issue to this day. Kirkman was made a partner of Image Comics and launched his own imprint, Skybound.
With all the success and buzz about the series it wasn't surprising that Hollywood would come a calling. Originally, Kirkman was approached by several movie studios offering deals to adapt the series into a feature length movie, but Kirkman held-out in hopes of an offer that would help ensure the integrity of the series.
Eventually, a deal was reached with televison network AMC to develop an adaption into a TV series.

Now having a home, AMC quickly attached critically acclaimed director Frank Darabont (THE MIST, SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE GREEN MILE) as writer/director and an executive producer along with Gale Anne Hurd (THE TERMINATOR, ALIENS, THE ABYSS) and Robert Kirkman himself. The pedigree of The Walking Dead is expanded even further with veteran special effects and make-up master Gregory Nicotero (DAY OF THE DEAD EVIL DEAD II) leading the FX team.

With a powerhouse of behind-the-scenes talent secured, the on-screen talent was not far behind. The announcements came quickly with notable cast members, including Andrew Lincoln who's acting background consists of mostly European television and film roles as Rick Grimes, John Bernthal as Rick's partner, Shane, Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break) as Rick's wife, Lori, and Jeffrey DeMunn (THE MIST, SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE GREEN MILE) as Dale.

Almost instantaneously after the news broke that The Walking Dead was being picked-up and developed for AMC, the buzz on the internet became more and more feverish with speculation and anticipation with every announcement.

Taking a page from the word-of-mouth movement that brought The Walking Dead comic such notoriety, AMC utilized viral campaigns on social networks like Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about the upcoming show, almost as quickly as a zombie outbreak!

AMC increased the frenzy among the media and fans alike with production stills of zombies for the show, blog videos of zombie actors attending "Zombie School", interviews with Kirkman and Darabont about their insight and passion for the series, and driving the fans rabid with video footage and trailers at both the San Diego Comic Convention and Spike TV's Scream awards.

Coming from such great source material, and having a creative team who not only has extensive experience in the Horror/Sci-Fi genre, but who are enthusiastic and care about the project, not to mention having the series creator as an executive producer, it seems like The Walking Dead is almost certain to be a hit with both fans old and new.

As a fan of The Walking Dead who was there from day one, I'm excited for the series premiere! It'll be nice to revisit how it all began, and will be interesting to see some new twists and turns that the show will introduce. So barricade the doors and windows, and stock-up on provisions and ammo, for the "Roamers" are coming and not everybody is going to get out alive!



This was a great series cant wait for it to resume.

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