The Walking Dead: Slaughtering Zombies and Breaking Records
October 9th 2013 marked the 10 year anniversary of Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore's provocative and trendsetting apocalyptic new cult classic, The Walking Dead. Avid fans of the emotionally enthralling zombie comic book turned controversial hit AMC television series had an appetite to rival that of the flesh-eating objects of their admiration; A hunger that was near insatiable, as was all too evident in their response to this highly-anticipated issue.
"The Walking Dead #115 instantly sold out at the distributor, selling over 352,000 copies on the day of release, " Image comics blogger Ron Richards announced in a post on imagecomics.com on October 11th, 2 days after issue #115's official release. "This makes The Walking Dead #115 the top selling single comic issue of the year to date," Richards confides.
As it turns out, he was half right. Not just the top selling comic book of the year to date, Richards; the best selling comic book of the year period (as seen in photo 1).
Diamond Comic Distributors indeed announced January 8th, 2014 on their affiliated site Previews World that Walking Dead #115 was the outright best-selling comic book of 2013, outranking various 1st issue launch titles from both Marvel and DC Comics alike, such as Guardians of the Galaxy #1, Superior Spider-Man #1, Justice League of America #1, and Superman unchained #1 and #2.
Unsurprising to those who love The Walking Dead, this isn't the first time the franchise has set records.
In October of 2013 " the 'Walking Dead' [season] premiere drew 20.2 million total viewers, " the largest amount of live viewers to tune in to a non-sports program on cable tv, according to thewrap.com. Thewrap.com also goes on to excitedly exclaim that this means Walking Dead had beaten the previous record holder of this title, "the August 2007 airing of 'High School Musical 2' with 18.2 million total viewers."
The 4th season of the series had been highly anticipated, to say the very least.
Even without considering the time shifted playback for those who were watching the premiere "live" across different time zones, the premiere was watched by 16.1 million viewers beating its own series record of 12.4 million viewers which was set by those who tuned in for the season 3 episode finale.
Impressive records aside, few can argue that the franchise as a whole was propelled to frightening heights with the remarkably ecstatic reception of the television series when it premiered October 31st, 2010 on AMC. Of course, the comic book series was always popular with those who knew their niche; the television series merely opened the eyes of a whole new audience who previously was unaware of just how much they were intrigued by their love for the undead.
Both the comic books and television series follow the same general premise and concept: the lives of those who were lucky (or unlucky) enough to have survived the onslaught of a world-wide zombie apocalypse, the relationships they form, and their struggle to exist in a world of constant conflict, where death isn't merely consequence, but a conflict of ordinary day-to-day life.
On both sides of the franchise, the story revolves around main protagonist Sheriff deputy Rick Grimes who awakens from a coma-inducing injury he received on duty only to find that he is not only unsure where he is or what has happened to him, but that he is isolated in an apocalyptic reality where the dead walk the Earth (as seen in photo 2).
Lacking much knowledge or back story of how these events came to be, but armed with the skills he cultivated from a life in law enforcement, Rick sets out not to understand the "how" or the "why" of this troubling new world, but the "if" and the "where"; as in if his son and wife are alive, where are they now?
As both readers of the critically acclaimed comics and viewers of the corresponding AMC television series would tell you, there is a deeper, more intriguing theme prevalent throughout the progress of the franchise on both sides beyond that of excessive gore and intense violence: the zombies aren't the "walking dead"-- we are (as seen in photo 3).
The zombies themselves are not the focus of the story, but rather, they serve as a sort of catalyst to reveal the beast in each of us; a situation that sheds light on the ravenous monsters we become in the face of fear and uncertainty. Sure, there are those who will stand up for what they refuse to become-- then there are those who will willingly accept it.
Fabulously introspective, but not entirely obviously so, The Walking Dead is in the perfect position to connect with individuals on any number of levels of depth. Both the comics and show provide satisfactory entertainment for the average viewer, but additionally offer deeper perspectives should you feel inclined to search for it.
Photo 1: "Walking Dead #115 Cover Art" (Photo: Charlie Adlard/Image Comics) http://walkingdead.wikia.com/wiki/Issue_115
Photo 2: "Rick Grimes" The Walking Dead (tvseries) AMC, developed by Frank Darabont
Photo 3: "Zombies"The Walking Dead (tvseries) AMC, developed by Frank Darbont