The Walking Dead Issue #95

“Rick, we’re trying to make new friends.  Could you maybe stop killing people for five minutes?” -Carl, Michonne, Glenn, and Andrea.

Tension keeps building as we creep toward Issue 100.  How could Issue #100 not be HUGE?  Much like the TV show of the same name, getting the Walking Dead comic in small chunks at a time often makes it seem like nothing’s happening.  For instance, the show’s search for Sophia took a few days in their time, but six to seven episodes of a show representing a week plays out in the real world as literally months.  In this digital age of having everything now, this seems more annoying than it might have in the past.  If the show is taking forever, the comic seems to move at an even more glacial pace.  I can’t even remember who some people are half the time and they’ve now been at their home in DC for years real-world time.

Anyhoo, having said all that, I was pleasantly surprised to find that in this latest issue, stuff happens.  The comic has a habit of showing us absolutely everything in real time, so as much filler as it was, Issue 94 was dedicated entirely to the road trip to our new frienemy Jesus’ house.  Snore.   In Issue 95, we’re there!  Let the good times commence.

As if a dude calling himself Jesus and pretending to stay handcuffed in order for you to trust him isn’t weird enough, we quickly learn that perhaps the place he came from was rubbing off on him.  The Hilltop should be named Wacky Town.  Ooh, cause it’s wacky.  Two watchguards who are kind of anxious to try out their spears.  The leader of the town who uses Rick’s name correctly, then calls him Nick two panels later.  The tone of this issue is so oddly…funny.  I’ve always enjoyed the gritty apocalyptic ride this series has taken me on, but I can never remember laughing at it before.

Until now.  It took 95 issues to sprinkle in some humor.  Our introduction to Wacky Town culminates in Rick inadvertantly getting caught in the middle of a conflict with  Gregory, the aforementioned town leader, and a returning citizen ordered by another group to kill Gregory so they will give back the people they kidnapped.  Obviously, things don’t run as smoothly between factions as Jesus implied while recruiting Team Grimes.  Rick, always the cop, steps in and ends up killing the attacker in self-defense.  None of this seems all that funny, I know, but in the end, all the townspeople are left staring jaws agape at this stranger covered in the blood of their presumed friend.  And all Rick has to say is “What?”  And that was the first time I ever put down an issue of The Walking Dead while I was laughing.

Good times. Even though we haven’t gotten to the big shocking stuff yet, it’s always a good thing when the filler and build-up stuff is interesting in and of itself.  Looking forward to 96 and of course 100.

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AMC’s The Walking Dead

One of the best and worst things about living in the internet and social media age is that we have the ability to make our voices heard more readily.  Even if no one cares.  In the 80’s if you thought Bill Cosby’s sweater was ugly, you told your family and friends and that was it.  Today, you can tell everyone you know!  And everyone you don’t know!  You can probably go on Twitter and tell Bill Cosby himself (that special still holds up btw).  Or The Cosby Show costume designer.  It’s amazing.  Like I said, it’s not always a good thing, but it is amazing; you have to admit that.

I’d like to think that this extrarodinary ability for the masses to complain has recently affected our favorite zombie show, The Walking Dead.  The second half of the season since it came back post-Christmas and NFL Playoffs has been every bit as phenomenal as the first half was sucky.  There aren’t enough zombies, you say?  BAM!  There’s been a herd in just about every episode.  The stakes don’t seem high enough, you say?  BAM!  Two main cast credits gone in two weeks!  The pace is too slow, you say?  Well, yeah, they’re still at the farm but at least stuff is happening and it looks like the finale action is going to finally chase our heroes out of their sanctuary.

I came on here last fall to complain about how I didn’t enjoy the season premeire of The Walking Dead.  (because I can!)  I thought in the interest of fairness, I should return to the subject and say that it’s pretty awesome now!

 

PS:  If you’re not going to the AVclub.com’s sub-section, the TV Club, to read about and comment on every show you watch, then you are really missing out.  While I’ve found that even well-graded episodes are still picked apart and perhaps a bit too overanalyzed, the comments sections are where complaining about things on the internet is at its hilarious best.  Last week’s episode of Walking Dead just hit 1000 comments.  Most people are really funny and sarcastic and right up my alley in terms of sense of humor.  And best of all, there are almost no trolls to speak of.  Nobody starts a flame war over differences of opinion.  Every one just chats and makes jokes and Simpsons references.  I like it a lot and encourage TV fans to check it out.

http://www.avclub.com/articles/better-angels,70352/

Here are some of my favorite comments so far this week:

“Aw right naow Cahhrrrrl, you lissen here.  Dis here pee-yano music means we’s gon have a real meanin’ful conversation, ye hear?”  -‘RantersGonnaRant’

“So, T-Dog, you want to have the opportunity to speak in this episode? Well, in that case, we’re gonna need you on double work duty. And no, you can’t have the couch. Also, please carry this heavy crate around for most of the next hour. Oh, and just FYI, when we assault the zombies, you get the hammer. Sorry, all of the weapons with long handles are already spoken for. What’s that? Oh, you DON’T want to talk? That’s what I thought.”  – ‘Media Entusiast’

“Don’t come back, Shane.” -‘WeaselsRippedMyFlesh’

“The funniest thing tonight was that when we were watching this episode, they showed one of Herschel’s kids (The guy who I don’t think was named). My parents immediately spouted, “Who the fuck was that guy!?” and we had a good laugh over it.”  -Michael Nagle

“I’ve created a Walking Dead drinking game: take a drink every time T-Dog says something of significance. Best thing is, you don’t actually need any alcohol to play!” -‘Senor Pants’

“Shane not the best planner.  What would he have done if Rick split them up differently by sending Shane off with Glen?  Just earlier in the day Rick was going off with Daryl instead of Shane.” -‘Movie Mike’

“I bet the abortions from that hospital Rick got out of must have been fussing like crazy in that dumpster.” -‘Renoroc’

“Why must Daryl be stuck on the ground with those turkeys when he could soar in the sky on the wings of his leather vest?” -‘Amirite Shyamalan’

 

The Last Mailman 2 Sweepstakes!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this here, but The Last Mailman 2 is happening.  Real, legally binding contracts have been drawn up and signed by all parties.  So sometime in the next year, the sequel will be hitting the market.  It’s still a long way off.  It’s only partially written and my deadline is August 2.  Then there’s all the other stuff like editing and cover-making and junk.  But let’s be excited NOW!  Whoo hoo!

Obviously, a sequel would not be warranted if the first novel wasn’t so well received. So if you are one of the billions upon billions* of people who read and enjoyed The Last Mailman, first I’d like to thank you and second, I’m announcing a contest just for you.

*- estimated

As I teased on facebook last night, the contest involves the cinematic homages I made over the course of the novel.  I will have to eventually go through it with a fine-toothed comb, but off the top of my head, I can think of at least 8 movies and 10 references that are hidden inside the story.  Not all of them are zombie-related either.  All you have to do is name as many of these references as you can.

The person with the most correct answers** will win the following grand prize:

-I will send you an autographed copy of the The Last Mailman 2 once the paperback becomes available, right out of my stash of official publisher-provided copies.

-Also, I will put your name in bright lights when I announce you as the winner on this site and on facebook.  🙂

**- Correct answers are open to my interpretation.  There may be similarities to things I wasn’t aware of or maybe you notice something I didn’t even think of…I’m going to do my best to judge with an open mind.  I have my answers that I’m thinking of, but it may be possible for you to score even more points by opening my eyes to something.

Good luck!

 

 

Zombie Movie Night March ’12

Last night I noticed, as we watched another two movies with bleak, depressing failures as endings, that the zombie genre really isn’t a happy one. Your story is either going to have the hopeless ending, the kind of hopeful ending but we’re still probably screwed or the old stand-by, NON-ending.

Once you go zombie, it’s hard to go back. The world just isn’t going to get better all of a sudden, and if it does that’s the WORST cop-out ending EVER! So what I’m saying is that if you want to be a zombie fan like me, hopefully you’re not already clinically depressed because it’s not always fun to do this.

If magic was real, the outcome of WWII might have been different because those Nazis had their hands in everything! Outpost tells the tale of a modern day crew of mercenary soldiers, led by Ray Stevenson, aka the good Punisher, as they accompany their latest client into the bowels of an old war bunker. It seems the Nazis had been working on a machine that could unite all natural forces or something which would in turn create a breed of super soldier who could be invulnerable, invincible and invisible. As our heroes will soon come to learn, it totally worked!

Kind of. The Nazis, while powerful, seem to be stuck haunting the bunker with no other aspirations but to kill since that’s what they were bred to do. It comes up that the mercenaries can’t leave because the investors have secretly staked out their families but even after they decide to leave anyway, it is said that the place won’t let them leave. Except they don’t even try. The Nazi ghost zombies have shown no power to haunt beyond the treeline but our heroes for some reason just accept their doomed fate anyway and decide to go down shooting.

My brother put it best when he said Outpost is a better movie than it is a zombie movie. It really is more in line with Predator or a haunted house romp. The Nazis fit my previously-mentioned loose definition of “zombie” but they could also very easily be called “ghosts.” It’s not a bad thing. It’s just that I would call it a horror movie before I called it a zombie movie.

Also of note, the mercenaries are so ethnically diverse, we had to turn on the subtitles to understand all their mumblings. There’s British, American, African, Irish and Russian all represented. Nice to see they can all get along in the name of killing for money.

Outpost’s grade as a movie is B+ but as a zombie flick it’s a C.

Next up was The Dead and with a name that original and exciting, it has to be good!

Well, no.

It starts off strong as we join the action pretty much in the middle of the fall of Africa. This movie never ever stops having zombies in it. They are always on the attack or on their way from the background. And they are a well done, creepy effect. Which is why it’s so frustrating and inexplicable that this film is a snoozefest.

I think the problem is that there’s no plot beyond “trying to survive.” We’ve seen this problem before and what it leads to is that for every truly great and tense scene there are 3 others that are boring and pointless. There’s not much time for character development when you’re running for your life. I’m pretty sure our hero didn’t utter one single word of dialogue for the first half hour. But that was okay, turns out, since when he did talk, he was a terrible actor.

The movie never really fleshes out the ideas it has either. The perfect example is when a dying mother gives our hero her little baby to take care of. He doesn’t want to mercy kill the mom, but he does. He doesn’t want the burden of a baby, but he takes it. A tough, raw emotional scene, right? What’s he going to do with that baby while he’s trying to survive??

Umm, in the very next scene, he’s going to hand it over to a bunch of people driving by on a truck and then walk away. Emotional impact- gone! And why didn’t he get on the truck too? Instead he decides it’s a better idea to wander around the desert dying. Huh wut? Whatever. The Dead is a dud. D+