Who has not at least heard of The Walking Dead these days? Maybe you are a fan of the show, or maybe you are trying to figure out what all this hype is about. Well we are here to give you a hand.
The Walking Dead started in 2003 by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore ( he was later replaced by Charlie Adlard from issue #7 onward). It is a black and white comic that follows Rick Grimes through the zombie Apocalypse. Almost 10 years later The Walking Dead comic is still going strong, with issue #150 being released in January 2016.
AMC’s The Walking Dead is loosely based on the comic book. Many people ask if reading the comics will spoil the show. We wholeheartedly say no! While there are many of the same characters, the comic book has a much larger cast. The ways characters are introduced and “removed”, how they behave, and their relationships can vary greatly between the show and the books.
So with over 100 issues, how and where do you start to read The Walking Dead? Well the simple answer is at issue #1. But since that issue is almost a decade old, and selling on ebay for over $10,000 US (you can see our post about those sales here) it is not an option for most people. So that leaves you with the collected works: trade paperbacks, hard covers or compendiums. All three formats collect the exact same story, they simply vary by size and price.
There are currently 26 trade paperbacks, and they each collect 6 issues (so volume 26 gets you up to issue #156). There are two trade paperbacks released every year. Most people choose this format because they are the lowest price per book, at a low $14.99 US* (but not the best value, we will get to that) and come out the most frequently. Breaking that price down per issue (remember this format collects 6 issues), you are paying approximately $2.50/issue* when you buy a trade paperback.
If you are looking for something that looks a bit nicer on the shelf you might be interested in the hard covers. There are currently 13 hardcover volumes, and each collects 12 issues (so volume 13 gets you up to issue #156). There is only one hard cover volume released every year, so you have a bit more of a wait. These volumes are also larger than the average graphic novel, so the artwork is nice and big. This is a very popular choice because of the sleek shelf appearance they have, and because they do contain more issues than the trade paperback. The hard cover format costs $34.99 US* ($2.91/issue* when you break it down), so it is the most expensive per issue format.
If you prefer to have as many issues as possible in as few volumes as you can, then you want the compendium. The compendium collects 48 issues (so it is equal to buying 8 trade paperbacks or 4 hard covers). However, because it collects so many, it means it is also the format that is released least frequently. There is one compendium released every four years, and the third compendium just came out in the fall of 2015 so we won’t see another one until 2019. On the plus side, if you are willing to wait that long, you are getting a lot of content to read at the very best possible price. The compendium costs $59.99 US*, and when you break that down, it is $1.25/issue*.
Of course once you get all caught up you can always pick up the monthly issues if you do not want to wait for the next collected volume to be released.
So, you may think that is it, and you are all caught up on the world of The Walking Dead. But I have a couple last curve balls for you. In addition to the monthly issues, and the three different collected formats there is a one-shot and a couple of novels.
First is the Michonne one-shot (an issue that is not part of an ongoing series). It gives a more in depth look at Michonne’s character, and shows how our favourite katana wielding, stone cold killer started out vulnerable, scared, and as alone as we all will be when the zompocolypse begins. It is definitely not necessary to enjoy/understand The Walking Dead, but is a story that any Michonne fan will want to read. This issue was released in October 2012, so it may be hard for you to find.
The three novels are Rise of the Governor (released October 2011 in hard cover and June 2012 in soft cover), Road to Woodbury (released October 2012 in hard cover and June 2013 in soft cover), and Fall of the Governor (released October 2013 in hard cover and the soft cover is due out in June 2014). They are novels (actual novels, not graphic novels) written by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansing. Rise of the Governor reveals how he became the man we all learned to hate in the comics. Road to Woodbury continues the Governor’s story, showing his determination to turn Woodbury into a haven and to what extremes he is willing to go. Fall of the Governor combines the threads and mysteries of the first two books will come together in a tour de force of action and horror with The Governor and Rick Grimes face off in an epic reimagining of their legendary conflict.
Of course we at Big B carry more than just the books. At any given time we have a selection of toys, shirts and housewares that allow you to show off your love of The Walking Dead.
*Please note that all prices are quoted in US dollars, due to the low Canadian dollar there is a conversion rate. Please visit your local Big B for more details