As of this writing, AMC’s The Walking Dead has become the number one show on television. Let me rephrase that for dramatic effect; a show about a world overrun by shambling zombies is now more popular than any of the myriad CSI’s, NCSU’s, SVU’s, or any other acronym one can come up with. Over seven million people tune in each and every week to watch Rick, Lori, Carl, T-Dog, Daryl, and the rest of the beleaguered survivors of the zombocalypse fight to survive, not only against the hordes of undead, but against the equally dangerous pockets of humanity that they happen across on a regular basis. So popular is the series that it’s not only spawned its own half-hour talk show (Talking Dead), but also two toy lines, a growing number of video and board games, several novels, and assorted ephemera ranging from calendars to bookends (modeled after zombie hands). This is all in addition to creator Robert Kirkman’s still-running comic book series that started it all. And now, thanks to the fine folks at Titan Books, Walking Dead fans have yet another way to feed their jones for all things zombie, with the debut of the bi-monthly The Walking Dead: The Official Magazine!
Much like the glossy periodicals once dedicated to series like Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Walking Dead: The Official Magazine offers up a treasure-trove of articles, interviews, and sneak peeks into the future of both the series and the comics. We’re also treated to previews and reviews of Walking Dead related merchandise, ranging from the aforementioned bookends to toys and knick-knacks, including McFarlane Toys two separate figure lines (one for the television series, and one based on their comic-book counterparts), Walking Dead Lego sets, bobbleheads, and just about anything you can slap a zombie face on.
In the inaugural issue, we get a highly entertaining interview with the funny and always self-deprecating Kirkman, where he discusses his “overnight” success, and the challenges of maintaining both a television show and a still enormously popular comic book. We’re also given a very handy rundown of what’s happened so far in the comic series, for those just coming aboard, and, seeing as how the events of the comic book differ in places from the series, we’re presented with sidebars detailing the major differences. There’s also an article dedicated to looking into the future of the television show, prognosticating what will and won’t be carried over from the comic books (will Rick lose his hand? Will Lori and her baby die in the prison standoff with The Governor’s men? Will half of Carl’s face get blown off?). We also get a cover gallery featuring the several alternate versions of The Walking Dead issue #100, an exclusive short story that fills in the gaps between this season and last, an interview with the book’s artist, Charles Adlard, an interview with Danai Gurira (Michonne), and much, much more.
Like many of periodicals of its ilk, The Walking Dead: The Official Magazine doesn’t come cheap, and some may balk at its $9.99 cover price. However, when one considers that the magazine contains very little by way of advertising (save for the occasional Walking Dead related goodie), it’s really quite a bargain. There’s also a subscription deal through Titan ($49.99 for six issues), where potential subscribers can not only save $10 bucks off of the cover price, but get themselves a nifty T-shirt as a bonus!
Obviously, this magazine is geared toward diehard fans of both the show and the comic book, and, if you’re one of those, well, you’ll most certainly want to at least give this first issue of The Walking Dead: The Official Magazine a look. I’m guessing (and Titan’s betting) that you’ll be back for more, as the magazine is a lavishly illustrated, beautifully put together rag that’s chock-full of fan-centric goodness, and the perfect compliment to all things Walking and/or Dead. Highly recommended!