Review: The Walking Dead Volume 3 (by Robert Kirkman)

[Some Spoilers Within]

Safety Behind Bars is the third collected volume of Robert Kirkman’s excellent The Walking Dead comic book series from Image Comics. This volume collects issues 13 through 18 and it continues that journey and travails of surviving in a world overrun by the undead. As the tagline of the books proclaim, in a world ruled by the dead we are forced to finally start living. This is so true in Safety Behind Bars as Kirkman and returning artist Charlie Adlard tell the story of Rick Grimes and his band of survivors as they come across what they think will be their salvation from the threat of the hungry dead: an abandoned prison complex.

The last we saw Rick, Tyrese, Lori and their ragtag band of survivors they had just been forced off the the presumably safety of the Herschel farm after the tragic events which transpired within its fences. But Safety Behind Bars starts off with the group discovering an abandoned prison complex that may just solve their shelter, safety and food problems. Once again, Kirkman’s writing is tight and to the point. The characters of Rick and the rest of the survivors continue to evolve as the days and months pass by in the journey to survive. What they find in the abandoned prison is both safety and danger, but not in the way of most people thought it would come in. Sure there are still zombies both inside and outside of the prison’s security fences, but as the enormity of the crisis finally crashes on everyone — that there won’t be a rescue — the survivors reach the threshold of their breaking points to the detriment of everyone involved. It’s especially tragic for Tyrese as a tragedy pushes him to act on his base instincts in an act of vengeance that is both understandable and horrifying.

More people are introduced to the group in the form of surviving group of inmates left behind by fleeing prison guards. This new group acts to change the group dynamics and even add more conflict to what Rick and his group thought was going to be safety from the dead. Instead, human nature — as Kirkman sees it — causes more problems and danger than the dead represent. The events of The Walking Dead has really changed everyone involved and we lose more people to both living and the dead.

The volume ends in an even bigger cliffhanger than the previous two collected volumes. Like the best drama series on TV, The Walking Dead hooks you in with great writing, well-drawn characters and a great hook that pulls the reader in and doesn’t let go. Whether the upcoming AMC and Darabont-produced tv adaptation of this series follows this particular story-arc is still up in the air. To deviate from the prison would definitely involve a new story-arc that surpasses what Kirkman has written in these 6-issues and that would be quite a tall order.

10 Reasons Not To Sit In A Theater Full Of Old People

This is the most difficult post I’ve ever had to write.

This is largely because I wore my glasses (instead of my contacts) last night because I knew I was going to be sleeping over at Jeff’s place.  Now, it’s the morning and we can’t find my glasses.  So, while he continues to search, I am sitting here trying to write despite being blind.  Seriously, as I type this, my face is less than half-an-inch away from Jeff’s monitor.  If I squint real hard, I can kinda sorta make out the letter-shaped blobs that are blinking in front of me.

In other words, there might be some typos in this post.  Sorry — I’ll correct them once I can see again.

This post came to me last night as we were watching the new Robert Duvall film Get Low at the Regal Keystone Park 16 in Richardson, Texas.  Get Low is a good movie and Duvall gives a brilliant performance but, from the minute we first found our seats, I realized that I was literally the youngest person in the audience. 

I suppose I should define just what exactly this article’s definition of “old” is.  Originally, I was thinking of old as being anyone who is older than me (that is, anyone born before 1985).  However, that would include Jeff, all three of my sisters, and just about every other contributor to this site.  So, I revised my definition. 

From now on, old is anyone over the age of 40.

With that cleared up, on to this list:

1) Old people never show up for the movie on time.  Seriously, the first 20 minutes of Get Low were pretty much dominated by fat old people wandering around in the dark, searching for a seat.  Considering that movies never actually start when they’re supposed to and even then there’s about 15 minutes worth of commercials and trailers, there’s really no excuse for being that late.  Beyond, I guess, the arrogance that comes from being old.

2) Old people are mean.  It’s true!  And who wants to sit in the dark with a bunch of mean people?

3) Old people reek of buttery popcorn and stale nachos.  Listen, I like popcorn and I like butter on my popcorn.  And I like nachos too though I prefer the real thing as opposed to the lukewarm American version.  And, sometimes, I’ll get some popcorn to eat during the movie.  That, in itself, is not a sin.  That’s just being American.  However, I don’t use popcorn as a substitute for any of the major food groups.  But my God — what is the deal with old people who come waddling into the theater late and, of course, they’ve got a giant tub of popcorn in one hand and a giant tray of nachos in the other.  And since they waddle, what that means is that every step they take means that popcorn is going to be flying everywhere.  And then, once they do find a seat, they seem to feel the need to shake their giant tub of popcorn every few minutes as if to remind the rest of us that they’ve got a giant tub of popcorn and we don’t.  I mean, seriously, it’s time that the obese old people of the world accept the fact that not everything has to revolve around them.

4) Many old people are obese.  Before anyone says anything, I don’t feel good about writing that.  Obesity is a legitimate health concern and it’s often more the result of low self-esteem than anything else.  If I had enough money to get every obese old person liposuction, I would.  But I don’t and it doesn’t change the fact that obese old people make it difficult to enjoy a night out at the movies.  Whether it’s the fact that it takes them forever to find a seat and sit down or just the fact that they remind me of death, the grotesquely obese can be an issue.

5) Old people can’t drive.  This is less an issue when you’re watching the movie but definitely a concern when you’re trying to leave the theater afterward.  I mean, I understand that cars worked differently back in the Middle Ages but  seriously, we’ve reached a point where the engine’s not going to explode just because you tap the accelerator a little.

6) Old people can’t hear.  I love movies that are full of twists and turns.  What I can’t stand, however, is when I have to listen to the person behind me explaining all those twists and turns as they happen just because her companion is too freaking stubborn to get a hearing aid! 

7) Old people always want to do the whole Roger Ebert thing.  By this, I mean that after the movie ends, old people always want to sit there and go, “I didn’t like that…” or “The plot was too predictable.”  Okay, good for you, you’ve got an opinion.  So do I.  But I, at least, try to express my opinions in an interesting way.  “That plot was too predictable.”  Seriously, with all your years of life experience, you can be more witty than that.

8 ) Old people make weird noises.  Seriously, if you have to clear your throat that many times, you should probably be at the ER instead of the movies.

9) Old people don’t respect your privacy.  Seriously, what me and a friend choose to do while the movie is playing is our own business.  Keep your eyes on the screen, you old perverts.

10) Old people create awkward situations.  Seriously, no disrespect is meant by this but if someone in the audience dies while the movie’s playing, what is my obligation here beyond calling 911?  Is it acceptable for me to then watch the rest of the movie once I’ve called 911 or would that be considered a faux pas on my part?  I mean, what if it’s a really good movie?