"The Walking Dead: The Official Magazine #1" Magazine Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Titan Magazines
Released on October 23rd, 2012
The Walking Dead has become a cultural phenomenon. What started as a simple comic book about a group of people struggling to survive the zombie apocalypse has branched out to a TV series, video games, novels, toys, and more. As a fan, it can be difficult to keep up with everything. Fortunately the folks over at Titan have put together an official magazine to provide everyone with a one-stop shop for all things Walking Dead.
The first issue of the magazine, which will be published four times a year, has debuted at a pretty convenient time. Season three of the AMC TV series has just premiered to huge numbers. Everyone has zombie fever. It is packed with information about the show, the comic, and everything else you might want about The Walking Dead.
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After a brief introduction by creator Robert Kirkman, the magazine gets into full swing with interviews with showrunner Glen Mazzara, Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick, Danai Gurira (who plays Michonne in the show) and Kirkman himself. Articles feature behind-the-scenes looks at the upcoming season of the TV show, recaps of the San Diego Comic-Con events, reviews on toys and more. There is an insane amount of coverage in these 100 pages.
In the midst of all this, there's an exclusive short story by Jay Bonansinga. He co-writes the Walking Dead novels with Kirkman, published by St. Martins Press. The first book, The Rise of the Governor, came out last year while the second one, The Road to Woodbury, has just hit shelves. The short story, entitled "Just Another Day at the Office" bridges the gap between the two novels and is only available in the Walking Dead: The Official Magazine. It's not something that provides any important pieces of the story, but it helps cement just how badass the Governor is when it comes to protecting his new home of Woodbury. Phillip Blake has been working pretty quickly after making his presence known there.
The writers of this magazine were also careful to avoid spoilers throughout the issue. They understand that a chunk of the people that would be picking this up are doing it after only seeing the TV show. There are over a hundred issues of the comic that many people may not be exposed to yet. There's a great recap of the comic that's broken up by story arc, so anyone that's just starting to read them can get up to date quickly. If they want to read further and spoil the story so they can catch up to the current issues, they can do that too as the lines are very clearly drawn. Other spoiler warnings pop up throughout the magazine too and they came in handy for someone like me who has read some of the comics but is not currently caught up.
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My only real qualm with The Walking Dead: The Official Magazine is that everything is positive. Granted, this is a title that's made by fans and for fans, but there is not one negative thought about anything related to the Walking Dead. I know they're out there. I created some of them. I felt the second season of the TV show was dragging. I've read that the later issues of the comic felt aimless. I was bored out of my mind playing the video game from TellTale. Again, I understand that this isn't some Internet message board, but I would have liked a more balanced opinion about the works. I'm a fan of the comic and the show, but I can admit its faults when they arise. It's not perfect.
The Walking Dead: The Official Magazine is something that any fan of the comic and/or TV show should pick up. It should be mandatory reading. In the era of instant information online, it was surprising to find so much content that I hadn't seen before in a magazine. The writers worked tremendously hard to make this a worthwhile read. The cover price is a little steep at $9.99, but it's worth it if you're a fan of The Walking Dead.