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On The Walking Dead
A Zombie Among Men
Rick Grimes and the Lessons of Undeadness
Robert Kirkman’s epic comic book series is called The Walking Dead.
Not The Whiny Humans.
Can we agree on that much? Can we all accept that this, at least, is fact and not just “my opinion”?
Because there’s a reason he gave it that title.
Kirkman’s phenomenal series makes perhaps the strongest case in contemporary fiction for the superiority of the zombie over the human. It is on the positive traits of zombies that Kirkman has chosen to focus his narrative, and rightly so. In the dark and apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead—so expertly limned by Kirkman—it is the zombies and not the humans who consistently find ways to persevere, who succeed, eventually, in obtaining their goals. Wherever they are and whatever they are doing, zombies always have the advantage. They triumph where humans fail. They endure in situations that would leave living persons totally obliterated. These dynamic, ever-stalwart, and supremely self-assured wonders are an inspiration to us all—but never more than to Kirkman’s own characters.
I could, if I so wished (and if space would allow), make this point by producing a litany of instances in which capable, strong, and resourceful human characters are bitten, killed, or otherwise defeated by zombies. The Walking Dead provides no shortage of illustrative examples. Time after time, the zombies prevail and feed while the humans die, flee, or fight each other.
Yet it is not this consistent tactical dominance that provides the most persuasive evidence for the superiority of the zombie over the human in Kirkman’s world. …
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