Wednesday Comments – The Quality that is AMC & the Glory of The Walking Dead

Wow. I’d totally planned on doing a comic book version of this for the column this week. I’d even started writing it. I’d decided what my 21 were and I’d broken the list down into two columns.

And then a friend called and we got caught up talking about two amazing television shows; Breaking Bad and Mad Men. We theorized about the fall of Don Draper and how Walter White could possibly save his own skin. It ate up an hour of golden writing time.

Literally when I started writing this column, three minutes ago, I had no idea of what it was going to be about. Since the Baltimore Comic Con is almost upon us I was tempted to make it the focus of the column again. I’d done an ample amount of reading last weekend so I was equally tempted to write my thoughts on what I’d read.

And then, just before I started the previous paragraph an idea struck me that would be able to tie everything together; The Walking Dead.

Y’see on Saturday I finally read the first trade for The Walking Dead. I’d heard lots of glowing praise for the title and the fact that it’s a long running indie speaks volumes. But I’m not really a fan of zombies. I’m not a fan of horror as a genre so zombies never really piqued my interest. I don’t even appreciate them as a critique on society and culture.

In fact the only reason I decided to try out The Walking Dead is because it’s AMC’s latest foray into scripted television. As a guy who loves the aforementioned Mad Men and Breaking Bad, I see AMC as a paragon of cable original programming. As such I’m willing to try out whatever they’re offering.

So when AMC throws their support behind The Walking Dead it means more to me as a consumer of pop culture than an endorsement from Wizard Magazine. It means more to me than consistent praise from Soak over on the Comics Nexus forums. It also means more to me than the word of mouth from my LCS owner or fellow patrons. The fact that AMC is making it a television show means that The Walking Dead is something that I should be reading.

I know, I know, it doesn’t really make that much sense. But that’s how high I regard AMC’s scripted programming. Don’t believe me? Feel free to come keep me company in the threads devoted to Mad Men and, where I’m consistently waxing the cars of everyone involved with either program.

And the weird thing is that while I was reading Days Gone Bye, I kept imagining how things would play out on the small screen. I thought how cool Rick’s initial shooting would play as a cold opening for the show. I wondered exactly what happen in the first episode and how much of the story would play out. It was almost distracting the way my mind wandered.

When it wasn’t wandering I was marveling at how much The Walking Dead actually lived up to the hype. It was atmospheric without really trying too hard. The exposition was never unbearable and the foreshadowing wasn’t ham-fisted. The action was thrilling while the suspense intense. The characters were people that I cared about and I fully believed every emotional outburst and everything that was internalized too.

By the time I’d finally put the trade down I was trying to think of a) who I could loan it out to so I could share the story with someone and b) exactly how many hours until the Baltimore Comic Con was here, so I could get the rest of the trade and be caught up with the series.

(Feel free to offer up your thoughts on the best way to catch up; omnibuses, hardcovers, trades or single issues.)

It’s really weird that a tv show that hasn’t even aired yet, has the power to get me excited about a comic book that I’d never read. I can’t recall the last time I was this excited about what lies on the horizon.

And there you have it I tied Breaking Bad, Mad Men, what I read last weekend with the Baltimore Comic Con and pulled it all together for an almost readable column. And all thanks to the gloriousness that is The Walking Dead.

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