Why does the world love a comic book about zombies? Well, The Walkind Dead isn’t just about zombies. The Walking Dead is about living, breathing individuals in a difficult world with complicated relationships and surrounded by hazardous adversity. Everyone on planet Earth can relate to this to some degree or another. The vicious, destructive zombies are in fact, window dressing at best. Which, quite honestly, I don’t know anyone that can relate to a world full of zombies. Unless of course, we’re talking about zombies as a metaphor… like in George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead.
In The Walking Dead, it is the humans that stand center stage and serve as metaphors for our own lives, those of us breathing and reading. With previous zombie incarnations, it was the zombie that represented something about the other, those people in society that we wanted desperately not to be like, E.g. swarms of sheep-like biters trying desperately to get into a mall where a small band of “normal” people are hunkered down, working desperately to not just stay alive but to live life. The Walking Dead takes the long road to exploring the frailty of humanity and culture and social norms and how quickly they could break down in a post-apocalyptic, or even ruleless world.
In The Walking Dead, Rick Grimes, his family and the other breathers around them have, through more than 100 issues now, transformed from easily recognizable archetypes into deep and complex individuals that are still just as recognizable. We can understand and feel a deep connection with these characters because they are through the use of smart details, reflections of ourselves, metaphors for the complex lives that we all live. I look forward to The Walking Dead lasting as long as some of the more mainstream titles but maintaining its integrity of character, developing them as long as they stay vital and interesting.