By Kirkman and Adlard
Not so long ago I reviewed a zombie book with it's tongue set firmly in its cheek (or at least someone's tongue), and I mentioned the profusion of such comics and cartoons out there. For me, the only one worth bothering with is Kirkman and Adlard's The Walking Dead, a comic with consistently good writing that went on to spawn the highly regarded TV show.
The reason The Walking Dead is as good as it is is because the zombie aspect is a secondary concern. The book thrives on the human interactions between the group of survivors just trying to get by in a world where the entire infrastructure has collapsed. If you've caught some of the TV series then you'll appreciate that already, but although the two start in the same place, the TV series has taken its own path, so you'd certainly be rewarded if you picked up these collected editions.
By now, Rick and his small group have teamed up with another who have built their own protective compound, allowing them a sense of normality within its walls. But tensions are naturally high and not everyone is coping with the stress and strain of the situation. Added to this, Rick is in a bad way emotionally following his son's accident. Despite all the potential dangers beyond their safe haven petty squabbles, emotional ties, and love triangles threaten to undermine everything they've built, so unless somebody can pull this group together into a working community it looks in serious danger of crumbling.
Artwork is all done by Shrewsbury born Charlie Adlard who has proved the perfect match for Kirkman's writing. There's a glorious sense of gritty realism within the pages and, because this isn't about super-powered fist-fests, the emphasis is often on the emotional response to a situation, which is often subtle, so it takes an artist of Adlard's calibre to communicate this effectively to the reader. The book doesn't use colour, just grey tones added by Cliff Rathburn, which again creates the right sort of bleak atmosphere that allows the story to flourish.
In my 'umble opinion, this is one the best ongoing comic series ever created, still keeping you on the edge of your seat this far into its run. Kirkman's not afraid to tear up the equilibrium and despatch a favourite character or two, so you can never really tell where it's going next. Long may it live.
And if you liked that: There are plenty more volumes out there
The Walking Dead Volume 15 TP: We Find Ourselves (Book)