In situations like these, maybe you're the type who'll be overheard exclaiming "Oh! I love The Walking Dead!" Maybe you're more inclined to ask "What is The Walking Dead?" Both are legitimate sentiments; but depending on when they're expressed, they can easily mean any number of things.
Here's a quick primer for newbies and fans alike to the many facets of this ever-expanding post-apocalyptic zombie-verse.
The original format for the story is a black and white series that was introduced to comic book readers in 2003 and, as of February, numbers 107 issues. In it we follow Georgia State Trooper Rick Grimes and his family as they and those they meet try to survive a post-apocalyptic world. Unlike other mediums, they are truly no-holds-barred when it comes to (no pun intended) graphic material. They are, in a word, the purest version of all the mediums -- an unfiltered, uncensored representation of the creators' vision.
Nominated for a Best Television Series- Drama Emmy in its first year, the TV show doesn't always parallel its comic book roots, often deviating with its characters and plotlines. Examples for those familiar with one but not the other: Graphic Novel Dale's story arc varies significantly from his TV counterpart and takes a really interesting turn. Tyrese, a character just introduced this season on TV, has been a fan favorite of the graphic novel readers for a long time. And if you think the Governor is tough on TV... whew!
Two of what will eventually be a trilogy that has been overseen by the series creator, Robert Kirkman but actually written by horror novelist Jay Bonansinga, are already on the shelves. In The Rise of the Governor, we meet the man behind the monster -- how he was with his family. In The Road to Woodbury, we primarily follow a young woman named Lilly Caul who eventually does appear in the graphic novels but has not (yet) appeared on the TV show. In both, the writing achieves a perfect balance between character development and driving plot, demonstrates a true talent for cringe-inducing description and sprinkles in some darkly humorous elements.Of all the mediums The Walking Dead has spread to, the novels are probably the best place for non-zombie fans to dip their toes in as these two purely prose stories stand excellently on their own. And for fans of the show and/or graphic novels, they offer some significant insight into character backgrounds.
Though the art is absolutely in keeping with the graphic novels, this five-episode series features totally different characters and no overlap of plot. The game puts the player in the role of the lead character who has to make some pretty intense decisions with some pretty intense consequences, but also offers the opportunity to play mutliple games and see what happens when a different decision is made. Debuting with its own first "season" December 2012, it earned excellent reviews from publications such as The New York Times and USA Today and such game sites as IGN and PC Gamer. It's already been greenlit for a second season and is available for multiple platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Mac, PC as well as for Apple devices through the iTunes store.