End of another year

Well it is the end of another year and I haven’t managed to spend any time maintaining this blog. So, in what is rapidly becoming an annual tradition, I am posting an image from Goodreads of all the comic books that I have read this year.


Highlights this year were The Walking Dead, The Unwritten, Batgirl Year One and Saga.

I have been reading the first two volumes of Saga over the last few days and will continue till I have finished the currently available issues (24). This book is really good and if you are a fan of Y: The Last Man then you should also love this book from BKV. A highlight of this year will be the publication of the last issue of BKV’s self published comic The Private Eye so that I can finally read the story in one go.

Until the next time – whenever it might be – have a great 2015 if you can.

The Walking Dead: Miles Behind Us (2006)


“I think we’ve hit the jackpot.”


This book continues the story begun in volume 1 and collects issues 7 – 12 of the ongoing series and the story provides the basis for some of what we have seen, so far, in the second season. Again it was written by Robert Kirkman but this time the art was by Charlie Adlard whose work I know from a number of 2000AD series including Judge Dredd and Armitage.

The group decide to break camp in the wake of events at the end of book 1. Finding a gated community stocked with canned food, they think that their troubles are over for a while but have to run for their lives in the morning when they find that it is overrun with zombies. While out hunting on a rest stop, Rick’s son Carl is shot and taken to a remote farm house for treatment. While Carl is healing, the rest of the group arrive and make camp on the farm. Rick again feels that they have struck it lucky until he finds out about the contents of the barn …

This is another great volume in the series. The drama is heightened in the wake of the killing at the end of book 1 as everyone in the group comes to terms with the deaths. A pattern is established of a period of respite, perceived safety and reflection amongst the group followed by explosive outbursts of violence as the zombies make their presence felt.

Spoilers ahead: for those who have seen the TV series but not read the books (or vice versa) I am going to discuss in the rest of this post some of the differences between the two. So stop reading now if you don’t want to know.

The first half of the book deals with the aftermath of the invasion of zombies into the camp, the shooting of Shane and break up of the camp. On the road the travelers pick up three more survivors, who have yet to appear in the series, one of whom, Tyreese, soon becomes Rick’s closest friend amongst the survivors. This further deepens the difference in the composition of the groups that we follow in the comic compared to the TV series.

Also in the first half of the book, they come across a gated housing community called Wiltshire Estates and narrowly escape from it as they find it infested with zombies. This is a standalone episode that could be inserted into the TV series at any time in the future – it is replaced in the series with the disappearance of and search for Sophia.

The second half of the book deals with the shooting of Carl and the group’s presence on Hershel’s farm. The big surprise to me is the pacing of this in the comic having spent most of the first half of the second season in this location. In the comic the arrival, the revelation of the contents of the barn and the zombie barrel shoot is all done and dusted within 3 issues.The pace is slowed down in the TV series to allow for even more character development than is possible in the comic.

The zombie massacre at the end of the book is handled very differently between the two media and it will be interesting to see where the TV series goes now in the aftermath of this as there is a big change in the traveling group, as a result of events leading up to the massacre, in the comics. Right at the end of the book, after being turfed off the farm by Hershel, they find a prison which they hope they can use as a place of safety – but given their luck with safe havens so far is going to to be wishful thinking.

The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye (2007)


“L–Leave me. When I come back … Maybe I’ll find–find my family … … Maybe they c–came back too. Maybe we can be together again.”


While the TV series is on its mid-season break, I thought that I would re-read the comic book collections that I own that inspired it and see how they compare. This book collects issues 1 – 6 of the ongoing series and the story provides the basis for the first season. It was written by the prolific Robert Kirkman who also created the Marvel Zombies series and a number of other books including Invincible and Battle Pope. The art was by Tony Moore who worked with Kirkman on Battle Pope as well as the Vertigo series The Exterminators.

Police officer Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma in a hospital bed after being shot in the line of duty. He finds the hospital deserted apart from hordes of ravenous zombies that he inadvertently sets free. Escaping the hospital, he finds that the outside world has also gone to hell in his absence. Finding his family missing, he sets off to Atlanta determined to find out if they are still alive.

This is a great character driven piece that concentrates on the survivors of a cataclysmic event and the trials they go through day to day. The genius of the work is the way that Kirkman can involve you so completely in the human drama that you almost relax and forget about the zombies until they reappear in horrific and usually fatal interludes. The extremely violent episodes are fantastically drawn by Tony Moore with some additional work on the black and white artwork from Cliff Rathburn.

Spoilers ahead: for those who have seen the TV series but not read the books (or vice versa) I am going to discuss in the rest of this post some of the differences between the two. So stop reading now if you don’t want to know.

As I said at the beginning this book is the basis for almost the entire first season of the TV show. It covers up to about episode 5 – after the attack in camp and the death of Andrea’s sister but before they break camp and head out on the road. To expand the story line into a six part series, the writers have had to expand upon some of the situations in the comic and have had time to explore them in more depth. A good example of this is the death of Andrea’s sister which happens very quickly in the comic but is given a much more dramatic interpretation in the TV series. There is also some new scenes written especially for the TV series such as in episode 4 with the ex-gang members protecting some elderly people and in the final episode with the story line concerning the origin of the plague and the CDC not appearing in the books – at least as far as I have read.

The composition of the surviving group is different between the two media as well – the TV series has less children in the group and a different selection of adults. But the one major cast difference is the killing of Rick’s deputy, Shane, at the end of this book. He of course survives into the second season in the TV series and I always felt that it was an unexpected (given the dramatic opening to the series) cop out not to show Shane’s death. However, the circumstances are coming together now in the series that could lead to this so I will say no more for now. I was pleased that, for the most part, the TV series in season one portrayed a world in which none of the main characters were safe, as in the comics, however they seem to have shied away from that a little in the second season – but may be my memory is faulty but I will find out as I continue onto book 2.