AMC’s ‘Walking Dead’ pays homage, improves on book

I have to admit that I’m not really a big television fan and I didn’t start reading “The Walking Dead” comic until the series came out on the tube. However, after reading the first three volumes of the book and the first three episodes of the show, I am hooked.The book has been running since 2003 and the 13th volume, each containing six issues of the comic, is due out next week. The story follows protagonist Rick Grimes as he searches for his wife and son during the zombie apocalypse after waking up from a coma.

The series on AMC follows the story of the first volume of the book. If you have read the book, you know that it’s rather short, taking about an hour to read. So, it was no small feat for producer Frank Darabont, known for directing “The Shawshank Redemption,” to turn the book into a six episode miniseries.

Namely, Darabont added numerous characters and plot developments to the original story, while keeping the core of the story true to the book. Unlike numerous other adaptations, Darabont’s additions give far more depth to the story and the characters.

In the introduction to the book, Robert Kirkman, creator and writer for the book, stated that “The Walking Dead” was not about shooting up zombies or other crazy antics. The heart of book revolves around the people and how they dealt with the end of the world.

Darabont takes this idea and runs a marathon with it. Not shying away from the location of the series, which jumps between rural Georgia and Atlanta, Darabont plays with several issues of the area. The most interesting issue to come to the surface so far has been racism. In a prime example of Darabont adding to the comics, he created two characters on opposite spectrums of the issue. Lawlessness is another important issue, especially pertaining to Grimes’ previous job as a sheriff’s deputy.

I have heard some people complain about the pacing of the show and it can be slow at times. However, by adding the speed of the story to the muted background sounds of series, we get a creepier rendition of the events than possible in the book.

Don’t get me wrong I keep lauding praise on the television series, the books are fantastic in their own right, especially once you get to second volume. Following the finale of the first volume, the story starts a rollercoaster that hasn’t slowed down through volume three. I’ve got the next three volumes lined up at home to read tonight, and I can’t wait.