Obsession: The Walking Dead
New regular feature! When I love something, I quickly sink from appreciation to obsession, and from obsession to inspiration. And then I want to talk about my new obsession. With everyone.
It finally occurred to me that instead of harassing my poor coworkers, I should take them to you guys, where we’re already all looking for that next thing to inspire us. No regular schedule to these, I’ll just be posting them as obsession strikes me.
Do you have an inspiring obsession? Come over here and learn how to share it with the rest of us.
And now without further ado, today’s obsession:
The Walking Dead.
As a geek, I love this comic simply for the cool monsters. Zombies always win. As do vampires, werewolves, demons … you get the idea.
But I became obsessed because The Walking Dead is much, much more than a zombie fix.
It’s got a hell of a compelling group of characters at its center. And, as a result, a hell of a plot driving it forward. As a writer, I just can’t get over how incredible the storytelling is.
You’d think that after a while, zombies would become a one trick pony … Oh no, zombie! … Aim for the head! … Whew, that was close … Onward.
But instead of relying on the zombies to do the work for him, Walking Dead writer Robert Kirkman uses the zombie apocalypse motif to explore the brightest and darkest corners of humanity. And he puts this struggle between the good and the bad in every single one of his characters.
What does that get you? A sympathetic, basically good crew of heroes who are desperate and flawed enough that they just might do anything under the right circumstances. And an ongoing series of villains who are just mind-blowingly rotten. We’re talking far worse than zombies here … psychopaths … cannibals … disturbed children … brain-bashing self-appointed dictators … I’ll stop there. I don’t want to ruin it for you.
This leaves the series field of possibility wide open, and Kirkman doesn’t think twice about taking us to the darkest, sickest corners of humanity. What’s more, you can tell he thoroughly enjoys every awful, gory moment of it. And I love him for it, because so do I.
But Walking Dead is more than a spiral of depravity—and herein lies the real genius of the series. It also exposes the best of humanity. The group at the core of the series continues to protect, love, and look out for each other no matter what comes their way. They call each other out when they start to tip toward the dark side, and always, always have each others’ back. Sometimes it starts to creep toward my touchy-feely-emotional overload, but because it can quickly turn to such extreme darkness, it’s never too much. And it’s never predictable.
Kirkman’s ability to always hold onto this balance while stringing me along threads of suspense is absolute storytelling genius. And of course the artwork is also just amazing.
And, also, you know, the zombies.
What are you obsessed with right now?