It’s a weird experience when you hear mothers talking about zombies. And not just their children’s interest in zombies but their own interest in zombies – particularly AMC’s The Walking Dead. Workplace conversation usually reserved for Gray’s Anatomy or Lost has been replaced by AMC’s trinity (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead). The Walking Dead is such a phenomenon that it has its own after show (Talking Dead), action figures, an upcoming Xbox game, and now a magazine.
That’s right: The Walking Dead has a magazine. In the digital age, where information flows quite freely (for the moment) and one can find out almost anything, The Walking Dead has a magazine. Like Star Trek before it or the cacophony of fan magazines out there (Doctor Who, The X-Files, etc.), The Walking Dead has reached that status. How interesting that a comic book I’ve been reading for years, and is probably one of the best books going today, has reached a truly mainstream audience. Being a zombie fan since I was a child, and feeling a bit uncomfortable about it for years because of people’s reactions, I’m not sure whether it’s refreshing or annoying – kind of like when Green Day became big and ruined punk.
My hesitation about The Walking Dead: The Official Magazine doesn’t seem unwarranted. After all, I’m a bit pretentious and skeptical of what seems like a cash-in. Yes, The Walking Dead: The Official Magazine is a cash-in but that doesn’t mean it’s without merit. At first glance (and by that I mean reading it on the toilet in less than five minutes) I wasn’t impressed. However, after picking it up again about an hour later and actually reading it I found it filled with information about both the comic book and television series that was interesting. For instance, did you know that TWD artist Charlie Adlard doesn’t work digitally, feeling that it would “slow him down?”; how about the fact that Danai Guirira (Michonne on the television series) lived a good deal of her life in Zimbabwe? Now, I know these aren’t exactly interesting for the layperson but for a fan of the show it’s always fun – finding out something about a series you’re fascinated with. I’ve done this countless times (yes, I read Star Trek magazine!).
This issue features interviews with series creator and writer Robert Kirkman, artist Charlie Adlard, Danai Gurira, showrunner Glen Mazzara, a short story about The Governor, and much more. For those familiar with the series but not the comic the issue features a litany of information about the printed version, almost as a primer for somebody wanting to jump in. For that alone the book is worth the price.