The Walking Dead started as a comic, then it began to plunge its infected fingers into a few different pies. There has been a novel (another is coming very soon), currently we’re all chomping at the bit to see how series three of the T.V show will pan out (After viewing the first episode I’m very much looking forward to see the rest of the series), and there has been a computer game that has come out in parts and is nearly reaching its climax.
But out tomorrow – October 23rd 2012 – is a magazine dedicated to The Walking Dead. Think of it as Games Workshop’s White Dwarf, but a little more like a video game/film/book magazine in that it has vast swathes of editorial within its covers and although it obviously advertises its products within, it isn’t a walking billboard.
One couldn’t judge how good this magazine is going to be fully in one copy. One thing I would be concerned about if I was involved in the project would be how I could fill a 100 page magazine every month with interesting and engaging articles and not end up becoming a catalogue of products.
However, there have been over 100 issues of the comic so far, we’re two series in on the show, and there’s soon to be a video game made revolving around one of the TV show’s unique characters. It seems that, given the franchise has developed quite substantially, the editorial team will have enough to be working on. They certainly got a good bit done for the first issue.
And I don’t reckon they’d put a lot of time and effort into producing this if they didn’t think it was going to take off as another victim of their manically violent and brutal alternative reality of the zombie apocalypse. My only worry would be that, in dealing with a TV show that is catching up with written and drawn material, there will inevitably be spoilers for those who don’t already know what’s going to happen. Though the series has diverted from the comic significantly enough to keep all of us guessing, so I’m sure the editorial team’s handlers will have a vice like grip on their spoiling ability.
TWDM has the usual skeletal structure of a conventional magazine. Tit-bits of ‘news items’ at the front, some articles in the middle, lots of photographs (and because lots of it’s about the comic – drawings too), then an article showing off the artwork of all the 100th issue variants. Then towards the back there is a ‘regulars’ section where products relating to the Walking Dead will be reviewed and there will be lots of information about past, present and future issues of the comic. There’s even a letter section where we from beyond the continent of north America can complain about not getting a free tee shirt (more on that later).
Danai Guriri – who plays Michonne on the TV show – is interviewed and features as the magazine cover’s main attraction. Well, her and her two undead friends.
There is a short story relating to the Governor, and he features quite a bit in the magazine as a whole – a shot of him sits on the final page, a grim reminder of what violence we’re going to see in season three.
There are also interviews with the legendary Robert Kirkman, someone called Chris Hardwick (I don’t watch American Television, I had no idea there was a Talking Dead show dedicated to the Walking Dead.) not to mention behind the scenes information about series three and some other zombified goodies.
I would consider the Americentric nature of the magazine as a flaw (Probably because I’m Northern Irish and I have to find a flaw in everything). Mr Kirkman himself uses the word ‘gotten’ on the very first page – no offence to the man – we all have our colloquialisms.
Those wishing to subscribe to the magazine anywhere other than America or Canada do not benefit from the free and very cool looking Walking Dead tee shirt (below). Nor are they allowed entry to the competition of seriously awesome looking stuff.
That I feel is rather harsh, given the Walking Dead obviously has an international appeal. However, given that I have in my possession the US/Canadian copy of the magazine it could be that their European/UK and other versions may have separate subscriptions/competitions.
None of this is the end of the world, but it just feels as though this is a very American magazine for a very American audience.
All in all, it seems a well put together publication. If you’re not into The Walking Dead you’ll probably not have any idea why you’d buy it. I don’t really have any idea why you’d buy it either. Personally, I think even the £25.50 for 6 issues subscription is a bit steep. And that’s with 15% off the normal price. You can get the graphic novels (The ones called books) for around £7 each.
So, if you’ve never read anything about the Walking Dead, you’d probably be better off buying a few of those graphic novels, or the first season of the series before you go near this. However, if you’re entrenched in the Walking Dead universe and want to hear about upcoming developments, read exclusive stories and look at nice art work then this magazine is for you… For quite a high price in my view, but compared to other magazines, I do suppose you are getting brains for your buck, as they’re all pretty expensive these days (magazines, not brains…).