I was born in December of 1989 so I remember watching a pretty decent amount of 90’s television. When I was in my pre-teens I remember watching shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and actually going to the movies to watch Blade. It seems we have gone through a lot of phases in the past twenty years; everything from witches to vampires to magicians and back to vampires. It seems that in today’s times we are obsessed with the end of the world and zombies. Starting with Y2K in the year 2000 and pretty much ending in 2012 (which was terrible by the way) with the movie 2012 and the Mayan calendar ordeal, it seems the end of the world is a very relevant question considering all of the predictions thus far have been wrong. Of all of the zombie apocalypse movies, shows, books, and comics there are, The Walking Dead seems to stick out the most for me. Starting as a graphic novel in 2003 by Image comics and eventually becoming a end of the world drama on AMC seven years later, The Walking dead is quickly becoming one of America’s favorite pastimes. People like myself just cant seem to put the books down and are glued to the television every Sunday, and here are a few reasons
1. Mass appeal
The great thing about The Walking Dead is there is something in the show or graphic novels for just about everyone. The graphic novel series is fast paced and full of action, remaining very elusive in answering how people are turning into zombies and how the infection can be cured. The show is a little more dramatic because considering how fast the graphic novels move, it needs a bit of filler so that the show doesn’t move faster that the graphic novel. Normally I am against a lot of fillers, but it works out quite nicely in this case because it appeals to people who don’t normally read comic books. Either way, the writing in both remain consistent in the fact that the plot is centered around the world being taken over by zombies and how a small group of people are dealing with it. The writing raises the question of how the reader or viewer would react in a situation like that because although there are zombies, the manner of which the characters react in various situations remain fairly realistic.
2. Bridging the gap
It wasn’t really until now that the gap between comic books and pop culture has been bridged. I distinctly remember being called a nerd for reading comic books like spider-man or batman as a kid, but with the rise of popularity in The Walking Dead, it is now consider socially acceptable or even cool to read comic books. Never in my lifetime did I ever think it would be cool to read comic books. Sure there are Superman movies and you have some of the most popular actors alive in The Avengers movies, but to this I’m still shocked at the number of people who have started reading the graphic novel because of the show, or still don’t even know the graphic novel exists. The biggest part of them both is the realism. During these times, people are forced to do things they wouldn’t normally do to survive such as go past home security systems and break into other people’s houses and take whatever supplies they need. It is a weird concept that in end times, things like a seguin home security system are rendered useless because there is no organized police force left, so the alarms continue to ring and no one shows up; except for the zombies of course. Small details like that can really make or break a show, which is why I think people continue to watch it.
I am very pleased the Walking Dead is doing as well as it is and I hope it continues to be successful. Since the show has started, many of other great comics and graphic novels are starting to gain popularity and could be following the same path as the Walking Dead. I’m not sure which phase we will enter next, but one thing is certain, the Walking Dead has made it’s mark on American pop culture.
About The Author
Stephen Hamilton is a writer for Smith Monitoring. He is an avid gamer, movie buff, musician, and comic collector