The Walking Dead
The Bad Lip-Reading YouTube channel has blown up over the past couple of years, sending up clips from movies, television shows, music videos and news and sporting events with often-hilarious overdubbing. After targets ranging from Gov. Rick Perry to Beyonce to The Twilight Saga, the anonymous mastermind has now turned to The Walking Dead, AMC’s adaptation of the long-running comic series created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard.
At more than five and a half minutes, the montage is one of the longer videos — so if you think Bad Lip-Reading is best delivered in small doses, you may want to parcel out your viewing. There are definitely some inspired moments, such as when a walker gnashes her teeth, proclaiming what animals she likes (sharks and skunks, for the record), and, just like the original version of the series, Andrea, is really, really annoying.
Also: Nothing in the entire series is more disturbing than Dale telling Shane, “I know what it takes to make you hot.”
Two to three years ago, it seemed inevitable: Single issue comic books, derisively called “floppies,” were on the way out. Graphic novels were the future for most publishers, and floppies weren’t even working as loss-leaders. But over the past year, the single issue is on the rebound and flourishing.
While I love graphic novels, the episodic consumption of comics is one of its unique strengths. Comics can excel in either form, but they aren’t interchangeable. Just as TV shows and movies present stories differently, so too do comic book series and original graphic novels. For a time, it seemed like The Walking Dead was the last great monthly comic book because it knew how to grab with the first issue, it knew how to use the monthly cliffhanger, it knew how to utilize those 30-some odd pages, it knew how to keep the status quo shifting. It still does, and now it’s being joined by more and more comics that are embracing the episodic nature of the format. It wasn’t always that way, though, in part due to creative patterns and economic changes in the industry.
In 2010, only an estimated 69 million comic books were ordered by North American specialty stores, the lowest quantity in nearly a decade. For publishers not backed by large entertainment corporations (i.e., not Marvel and DC), single issues were starting to look like the next horse and buggy, something from a soon-to-be bygone era.
Free Comic Book Day is once again upon us, the day that current and hopefully potential comic fans flock to their local comic shop to sample a buffet of comic choices from publishers large and small. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into this time around, from previews of new or upcoming stuff — like Marble Season and Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 to first issues of brand new comics — like The Strangers #1 and Aphrodite IX #1. There are original comics, licensed comics, kids comics, anthologies … basically something for everyone.
Some retailers will offer all-you-can-eat options, while others might have limits on what you can get … so if you have to make a choice, here are six comics we’re particularly looking to sink our teeth into.
Graphic novels | April was a slow month for new graphic novel releases, so the BookScan Top 20 had plenty of room for some backlist titles. The Walking Dead dominated, of course, but the 10th volume of Sailor Moon was there for a second month and actually moved up a notch. And the first volume of Saga came in at No. 12, perhaps because people were curious as to what all the fuss is about. [ICv2]
Editorial cartoons | Nick Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Houston Chronicle, has responded to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s criticism of Jack Ohman’s cartoon with a cartoon of his own. [Comic Riffs]
Conventions | Jeff Smith, Brian Wood, Sean Murphy and Raina Telgemeier are the headline guests at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland on May 19. [Foster's Daily Democrat]
Graphic novels | Two volumes of The Walking Dead Compendium topped BookScan’s list of the Top 20 graphic novels sold in bookstores in March, and Vol. 60 of Naruto was No. 3, but ICv2 thinks the new Avatar: The Next Airbender graphic novel premiering at No. 4 is headline-worthy. [ICv2]
Awards | With his duties complete, Charles Hatfield describes what it was like to be an Eisner judge. [See Hatfield]
Creators | Gilbert Hernandez talks about his childhood and that influences, from Dennis the Menace to Steve Ditko, that shaped his latest graphic novel, Marble Season. [The Chicago Tribune]
Is the goal for comics to become a mainstream form of entertainment an unattainable goal? That seemed to be the angle Tom Spurgeon took on Monday’s Deconstructing Comics podcast and in his additional commentary at The Comics Reporter. He feels the industry is better served by regaining a few hundred thousand more devoted readers to restore unit sales to mid-six-figure levels. While comics have shown there is longevity in niche markets, that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of also attaining a larger readership.
With March’s estimated direct market sales figures showing yet another double-digit month of growth, manga publishers giving anecdotal reports of the manga market stabilizing, and something of a convention boom going on, there’s no better time than now to re-examine how comics can secure a healthy and vibrant future. Taking advantage of this growth is tricky because, as Spurgeon mentions, no one is exactly sure why the turnaround happened. Although people complain about DC Comics’ New 52 being a mess and Marvel crossovers not having the punch of the Civil War days, overall sales are rebounding. Was it digital comics? Was it the mainstream press for the New 52 or Marvel NOW, or some other stunt? Is it the Hollywood movies?
Conan O’Brien’s weeklong visit to Atlanta wouldn’t be complete without a crossover with AMC’s hit adaptation of The Walking Dead, which calls the city home.
The opening monologue of last night’s Conan was interrupted by a frantic Merle Dixon and Carol Peletier (played by Michael Rooker and Melissa McBride), seeking protection from the herd of walkers outside (not zombies, as Merle noted to the talk-show host).
“Please, please, we’re good people,” Carol pleads, clearly not speaking for the elder Dixon brother. Soon, however, they discover what’s inside Atlanta’s Tabernacle may be worse than what lurks outside.
“I think fans of the comics recognize that this show is a different animal. There are big departures that have happened on the show before and it’s the show’s M.O. at this point. I think people are seeing that it doesn’t really preclude other big storylines from the comic book when we put a death in the show. We are still very much following the path of the comic book and you’ll see a lot of that in Season 4. There are going to be differences from time to time and some big differences. People know the comic still exists, and I want people to experience both and get a somewhat different experience. I think it’s cool that there are differences that are going to make the show as dramatic, startling and unpredictable as the comic book was the first time you read it. That’s really what we’re going after.”
– Robert Kirkman, responding to a question regarding potential concerns that a major development in last night’s Season 3 finale of The Walking Dead might alienate fans of the long-running comic series
Comics sales | The bookstore chain Books-A-Million had an up year, and CEO Terrance G. Finley credited that in part to strong graphic novel sales, including The Walking Dead and kids’ graphic novels. [ICv2]
Digital comics | Wired runs down a handful of digital comics apps, noting both the pluses and the minuses of each one. [Wired]
Creators | Yehudi Mercado talks about his kid-friendly comic Pantalones, TX, which is filled with Saturday morning cartoon-style action, authority-questioning, and risky business: “I did purposefully envision Pantalones, TX as the anti-safety pad cartoon. I see my nieces and nephews growing up in a sheltered and sanitized environment, they don’t play outdoors at all. When I was a kid we shot fireworks at each other while playing in a bayou. I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do, but there should be a balance.” [Wired]
“I just think what he does is really brave. He really loves these characters as well, and it makes it unique that we’re able to do this. We could literally kill Rick at some point. I’m not going to say we are, but why not kill him? There’s no reason. The Walking Dead could easily survive without Rick, and I personally think it would be incredibly interesting. We could do it in some random issue where the reader isn’t expecting it, not like issue #150 or some anniversary issue. I think it would be very cool.”
– The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, talking with Comic Book Resources about writer Robert Kirkman’s penchant for shocking readers in the popular horror comic
Robert Kirkman appeared last night on TBS’s Conan to discuss all things Walking Dead, from his wife’s distaste for his zombie franchise to rejected merchandising opportunities — perfume! energy drinks! — to host Conan O’Brien’s nitpicks, including why there are no undead animals.
“The honest answer to that is, The Walking Dead is based on a comic book,” Kirkman replied, “the artist that draws the comic book, Charlie Adlard, loves drawing people, loves drawing zombies, does not enjoy drawing animals so much.”
Watch the clips below.
If the blockbuster television ratings didn’t already certify The Walking Dead as a pop-culture phenomenon, then a Saturday Night Live parody undoubtedly cements that status.
Over the weekend, NBC’s sketch-comedy show set its sights on the apocalyptic drama with help from host Kevin Hart as Lyle, a survivor who wants nothing more than to join Rick’s group. As they deliberate, Rick is surreptitiously bitten by a walker, exposing some issues within the group.
However, the best part of the two-minute sketch is Nasim Pedrad as a remorseless Carl: “I’m good at killin’, and I feel emotionally fine after I do it!” Watch the video below.
Graphic novels | BookScan’s January list of the Top 20 graphic novels sold in bookstores shows a bit more variety than the previous month, in which 10 of the slots were taken by volumes of The Walking Dead. This time it’s just
six, with Building Stories, Saga, and the latest volumes of Sailor Moon and Fables cracking the Top 10. An adaptation of the Book of Revelation from evangelical publisher Zondervan was No. 9, followed by perennial bestseller Watchmen. (Note: The original version erroneously reported the number of Walking Dead titles in the Top 20.) [ICv2]
Creators | Paul Pope talks about his graphic novel Battling Boy, due out this summer, as well as the prequel comic The Death of Haggard West, which will released in in July. [Kotaku]
If only Lori Grimes and Shane Walsh had been given a little warning, things might’ve ended better for everyone. At least they could’ve gotten poor Rick out of that hospital.
Unfortunately, Montana residents weren’t all that appreciative when the regular broadcast of Great Falls television station KRTV was interrupted Monday afternoon by an Emergency Alert System bulletin warning of an impending zombie apocalypse.
“Civil authorities in your area have reported the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and are attacking the living,” a creepy, distorted voice warned residents in a four-county area. “Do not attempt to approach or apprehend these bodies, as they are considered extremely dangerous.”
Robert Kirkman and Skybound Entertainment will debut a new digital hub for the hit Walking Dead franchise on Sunday, timed to coincide with the midseason premiere of the television adaptation.
According to USA Today, TheWalkingDead.com will contain information about the long-running Image Comics series, the AMC drama and the growing list of games (which include the recent Telltale episodic series, the Walking Dead: Assault app and Activision’s upcoming Survival Instinct). In addition, there will be special-event updates, wikis for character biographies, and, of course, a store for exclusive merchandise. At the moment, fans have to visit multiple websites for that information.
AMC’s The Walking Dead returns Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC. The Walking Dead #107, by Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, goes on sale Wednesday.