June 3, 2011 by musehick
i have been reading a lot this week – the main thing i have been reading is ‘the walking dead’ by richard kirkman and i have also been reading ‘sex,drugs and cocoa puffs’ by chuck klosterman, and i got my regular friday supply of ‘freakangels’ by warren ellis.
‘the walking dead’ is something i was fairly late to the table on, though i had heard about it before. zombies for me have always been the least interesting of the movie monsters. i understand the whole thing about them being metaphors for the state of current culture, in the way that all these monsters are, but they never struck as being that interesting in and of themselves … they were just too darn slow. ’28 Days Later’ changed that somewhat – the added speed was an interesting twist, but the thing it had in common with its comedy counterpart ‘Shaun of The Dead’ which really made it work and resonate was the human element. this human element is likewise the thing that makes kirkman’s story work – the group of central characters (and there is a fairly high turnover in this book) who are lead by rick are the main focus of this story; the zombies are a force of nature that wash through the lives of the living in an unthinking tide, the apocalypse almost incidental to the human drama. another that makes it work, at least for me, is that the writer is brave enough to kill characters off as and when they need to be … namely at points when for them not to die it would be unrealistic. this isn’t to say that the constant death doesn’t grind on you a bit – but the movement of the story creates in the reader a similar kind of feeling … you ease into the lulls in action with rick’s group and when someone is killed the shock hits you just as hard, and the fatigue that settles in, the weariness over the ease with which someone can die becomes yours. the story is expertly told and for me never misses a beat; never gets predictable. i am looking forward to seeing the tv show, but i am more excited to see where the series goes.
‘sex, drugs and cocoa puffs’, thus far, is dealing with the contemporary culture zombie movies used to satirise. computer based virtual reality entertainment, reality tv, and sexual mores, delivered in a self-lacerating comedic style that comes off like woody allen in print … well, kind of. i always wonder with these essayists how real the persona in print is, and how much of an affectation it is for the purpose of creating an effect. anyway, it’s a fun read that i would definitely recommend – he was watching tv and coming from a similar place to myself, at least that’s how it felt.
‘freakangels’ has been a ritual for me since 2007 and it has around ten episodes left before it concludes – it is going to be interesting to sit down and experience the whole thing in one go; it is definitely going to stand as a landmark comic … the first of its model, sure, but also for the storytelling and the masterful pacing. it is going to be something i miss visiting and discovering every week, but it also becomes something else upon completion: a book, a fully fledged myth.
‘freakangels’ is being replaced in the avatar roster by a ‘crossed’ webcomic, which is strangely enough a kind of zombie comic; something a little more extreme sure, and again something likely to peer straight into the dark heart of humanity.
i have a few of my own serials running – one on weaponizer and some elsewhere which i would love to see have this kind of impact; which i would like to think are as brave with their story telling; which i would like to think shine a light into the human head.