Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Zombies on the brain

Over the last decade or so, zombies have become somewhat of a fad. It used to be that zombies could only be found in relatively cheesy horror movies, but now it seems liking zombies is the cool thing to do. I hate people who insist that they liked something before it was cool, so I won't say it here. (Even if it's the truth.)
Anyways, the benefit of such a surge in popularity is an increase in zombie related stories, across many mediums. This is a good thing with any subject, until said subject is over-exposed and then it becomes annoying. I fear that this may happen to the zombie genre (?), even more than I fear an actual zombie outbreak. But, until either of those things happen, we might as well sit back and enjoy the various forms of zombie fiction that ensue.

Like Zombie Strippers!

And there's a lot out there. Of course we are all aware of the movies. You can't talk about zombie movies without mentioning George Romero, who is pretty much credited with the creation of the zombie genre. His first movie, Night of the Living Dead (1968) is famous for not only scaring the crap out of us, but being a relevant social commentary as well. And there lies the true nature of a good zombie story. Zombies aren't the scariest monster ever imagined, but the effect they have on our society, and what people will do to survive, is what really draws our attention. World War Z is a fantastic book by Max Brooks that serves as an "oral history" of an all out war between humans and zombies. It really is a well written and fun book, I highly recommend it. But if I list every bit of interesting zombie-media, this would be a very long entry. There is an impressive amount of stuff out there, ranging from webcomics to music, and I just don't have time for it all. So I'm just going to cut to the cream of the crop.

Perhaps you've heard of this, The Walking Dead is an amazing comic book by Robert Kirkman. Yes, he's the same guy who writes my favorite superhero comic, Invincible, but that's not why I like it. This book follows a group of survivors across America during a zombie outbreak. Well duh! you might say, that's what they're all about! There's some truth to that, but this book is just so well written. Kirkman has a way of making you like his characters and then ripping your (and their) heart out. This book, which has gone over 70 issues, just keeps you guessing as to what will happen next. I tell you, I am more emotionally involved in this book than I have ever been towards any movie. But you're a comic geek, of course you're going to like it, you say? Well first of all, that's insulting, and you don't have to be such a jerk. Second, this book has hooked a lot of "non-comic" readers, including my wife and sister. In fact, my friend just bought the first compendium for his father for Father's Day and not even he reads comics. It's just that good. Still, you say, comics are expensive and for kids and I don't care enough to go buy this. Well, my lazy ignorant friend, you're in luck because T.V. once again will save the day!

Television, you magnificent bastard!
It turns out that AMC is currently filming pilot episodes of The Walking Dead to air in October. Naturally, I was a tad nervous when I heard this because live action television and comics haven't always made the best pairing, but I have faith in a) the source material, and b) the channel. AMC is home to two of my favorite shows, Mad Men and Breaking Bad (Yay alliteration!). Both shows are based on concepts that could easily be portrayed as cheesy. The former is about chauvinistic advertisers in the sixties (starring this guy), and the latter is about a high school chemistry teacher who, upon learning he has cancer, decides to cook and sell crystal meth (starring this guy). Both are incredibly addicting shows because they have such strong acting and writing. Were this show being made by a station like FOX, I'd be worried (FOX does occasionally make good shows, they just don't know what to do with them), but I have a lot of faith in AMC, so I am really looking forward to this show. Just don't let your baby watch:

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