- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Zadzooks: The Walking Dead and All-Star Superman
‘Walking Dead’ gratifyingly grotesque
The comic book permeates all levels of popular culture. This sporadic feature reviews some recent examples from the world of digital video (compatible with Blu-ray-enabled computers and home entertainment centers) and also includes a recommended sequential-art reading list to extend the multimedia adventures.
The Walking Dead: Season One (Anchor Bay Entertainment, not rated, $49.99) A zombie apocalypse sets the stage for a human drama that easily was one last year’s best television shows.
I’m particularly proud to report that an ongoing comic series written by Robert Kirkman acted as inspiration and often as storyboard for AMC’s “The Walking Dead.”
Now available on Blu-ray, this all-too-grim-and-gory human experience plays out over a brief six-episode season, brought to disturbing life in the high-definition format.
Although the series boasts the best-looking undead ever brought to any screen, thanks to makeup-effects wiz Greg Nicotero, viewers were riveted to the lives of the survivors, beginning with the Gary Cooper of this modern-day zombie massacre, Deputy Sheriff Rick Grimes (perfectly played by actor Andrew Lincoln).
The guy gets shot and wakes up in a hospital room to find his world has ended. While searching for his wife and son, he eventually finds other survivors. I won’t divulge anything, but he and this band of too-normal humans must cope with one another and an extreme level of hopelessness, desperation, unimaginable loss and those pesky flesh-eating creatures.
It should be noted that series writer, director (first episode), executive producer and macabre muse Frank Darabont pulled no punches in ramping the gore factor as high as allowable for cable television.
Fans of the comic will find glimpses of sequential artists Tony Moore’s and Charles Adlard’s stark black-and-white art faithfully re-created in gritty live action in nearly every episode of the series.
Be it Rick on horseback riding on a deserted expressway into Atlanta, the tragic yearning of Bicycle Girl or a decapitating encounter with the undead, it’s an appreciated adaptation of potent illustrated visuals.
Best extra: Once viewers get past a 30-minute overview of the series and a look at creating the incredibly grotesque zombie Bicycle Girl, they will find an unsatisfying collection of short featurettes that act merely as marketing pablum.
I find it inexcusable that viewers don’t get a featurette starring the creators discussing the comic book or some type of digital comic for new fans to appreciate the original source material. (Even a minicomic in the package would have been nice.)
I fear that now that the consumer is stuck with the Blu-ray format, Hollywood is abandoning many of those great interactive extras that were built to help define the technology.
Read all about it: Since 2003, Image Comics faithfully has published the ongoing Walking Dead series every month ($2.99 each). To read precious back issues, I particularly like the three omnibus deluxe hardcover editions (in a slipcase, no less) that each compile 24 issues of the series into one volume ($100 each). The larger-size format (almost 13 inches tall by 9 inches wide) gives true art connoisseurs giant pages to appreciate the artists’ work.
All-Star Superman (Warner Home Video, rated PG, $24.98) I’ll give DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation’s unholy alliance credit. Despite a string of mediocre to abysmal comic-book-to-cartoon adaptations, they keep trying to deliver a winner.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in communications, Joseph Szadkowski has written about popular culture for The Washington Times for the past 17 years. He covers video games, comic books, new media and technology.
- ZADZOOKS: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze review
- ZADZOOKS: The Last of Us: Left Behind review
- ZADZOOKS: The Lego Movie Videogame review
- Zadzooks: Justice League: War review (Blu-ray)
- ZADZOOKS: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII review
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- EDITORIAL: As jobs vanish, Obama wants more of same
- Stolen European passports on Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777
- Obama engages in Ukraine diplomacy from Fla. resort as Russia digs in
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- PRUDEN: Likening Putin to Hitler on Ukraine shows Hillary's shaky grasp of history
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again