Next Tuesday, August 28th, we’re launching a new A.V. Club feature, a weekly Crosstalk-style column where two AVC writers read a comics series one trade collection at a time, and discuss one arc each week. In celebration of The Walking Dead’s 100th issue (and the TV success of AMC’s live-action TV adaptation, which returns for its third season in October), we’re starting with The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye, the series’ first trade paperback, which includes issues #1-6. The plan is to cover the first four trades (or, depending on your edition, the first two hardcovers, or the first deluxe hardcover) in four columns over the next month.
The other part of the plan is for AVC readers to participate. Whether you’re new to the series or have well-thumbed, tear-stained copies on your shelves already, this would be a great time to brush up and come to the discussion. Think of it as an online book club for eerily violent pictorial zombie soap operas. And keep in mind that there’s a TV version for those who want to try to fake their way through the book report—although the series has departed radically from the comics, so we’ll know who’s cheating, and you’re only embarrassing yourselves, you know, and those grades are going on your permanent record.
Why participate, and why read The Walking Dead? Because it’s an Eisner-winning, landmark series with a huge ongoing fandom. Like the best George R. Romero films, it focuses equally on monster horror and human-relationship drama, using zombies not as a generic threat, but as a symbolic one with strong reflections of our real-life zombie-free society. It’s also an exciting, cliffhanger-packed action series, and its success helped put creator/writer Robert Kirkman on the comics map. Besides, if the feature takes off, everybody will be doing it, and zombies go with slavish, imitative horde behavior like cinnamon goes with sugar. Come for the Walking Dead, stay for the discussion. Hope to see you there in a week.