While we’ll all be talking about the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead over the holidays, lets also remember that before Rick, Micheonne, Tyresse et all were coming to life on the small screen thanks to AMC, it was already an excellent comic book from Image/Skybound and creators Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard. The ongoing tale of survival horror is getting close to 150 issues, and its been compiled in numerous ways, from hardcovers to oversized hardcovers to storyline softcovers and arm-straining omnibuses.
The latest and arguably most unique collection is the recently released Artist Proof edition of the All Out War storyline that ran through issues 115-126. In it, Rick and company go to battle with Nagan, the leader of The Saviours, a powerful group of survivors that have taken control of an inhabited are of land. Throughout the twelve issues battles ensue and live are lost.
If you’re just getting into The Walking Dead comic book, this is definitely not the place to start; go back to the very beginning, folks. However, if you’re a lapsed reader, or more importantly, someone curious about the comic book artistic process, this is an extremely interesting read. There are no inks contained – this is Charlie Adlard’s raw pencils, only augmented by the required speech bubbles. And believe me, this work is raw, much like the world Robert Kirkman has created. Adlard’s work has always been somewhat simplistic (in the best way possible, the term isn’t a knock), and that’s even more obvious in the Artist Proof edition. The work isn’t trying to overshadow the story; instead, it compliments it with its subtly. A different writer and artist would approach their storytelling in a more majestic manner, but that’s not what’s on the page here. Like I said, it’s raw.
Image/Skybound isn’t the first company to do the Artist Proof release; IDW has been releasing amazing Artist Edition compilations at premium prices and original art sizes; the All Out War compilation is small in size, but the principal is roughly the same. It’s also much cheaper – the book retails for just $35.99 (and is far cheaper at Amazon).
For fans of the television series, this would be a very cool way of experiencing the comic book (though it may also be spoilers for future seasons), while longtime fans will enjoy reading this pivotal storyline in a new fashion. It’s one of the few instances when you can put something dead under the christmas tree and not get in trouble.
You can order The Walking Dead – All Out War AP Edition here.