Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Walking Dead Compendium One

I've attempted to write this up sans spoilers, for anyone who hasn't read the book or seen the show and wishes to do so. 

I normally read the book before watching the show/movie, but didn't get around to the graphic novel until watching the first two seasons of the show. And unexpectedly, I found the show to be much better. Don't get me wrong, I reached the end of chapter eight in a semi-state of shock over the events that occurred in the book, which quite obviously carries the same intensity you get out of the show. The characters in the former hook you, get you invested in them, then rip them from your mind in horrific ways.

And yet. While I don't discount that achievement the book makes, I couldn't help thinking the melodrama was a bit overkill the whole way through, and that's where the show outshines the book. It sounds a little contradictory; of course there's drama, the whole premise of this story is a breeding ground for drama. The show succeeds more at keeping it authentic, though, whereas the book seems to enjoy descending into shock for shock's sake, a circus sideshow with a lineup of torture the writers can't wait to put these characters through.

I went into the book knowing it had different characters and plot elements from the show, but I had no idea how drastically the show diverted from it. Different characters die, different ones hook up, etc. Again, I think the show made some good choices in detouring from the book's plot, and I'd be interested in how they came to said creative decisions. Also interested to see how much the show sticks to the book from this point on, given all the Really Messed Up Stuff that goes down in the book.

All that said, read the book. Melodrama, yes, but it will suck you in.

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