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Kaia

Kaia

Feminist Killjoy. Badly Behaving Bookliker. Writer and reader of all things speculative. 

Currently reading

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Michelle Hodkin
Diablo III: Storm of Light
Nate Kenyon
Progress: 133/341 pages
Neuromancer
William Gibson
A Taste of Blood Wine
Freda Warrington
Progress: 380/501 pages
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
The Enemy (The Enemy #1)
Charlie Higson
The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
Perdition
Ann Aguirre
The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye - Tony Moore, Robert Kirkman Yesterday my husband and I sat down and watched the entire first season of The Walking Dead (not difficult, it was only 6 episodes). I shouldn't have to tell you that we really enjoyed it, I think, since we watched all 6 episodes in a day.So today while we stopped at the bookstore to pick up his copy of Ghost Story, I figured I'd grab the first volume of The Walking Dead. I'd heard it's quite different from the show, but I figured some things would be intact. Weeeeeellllllllllllllll....One of the things I really loved about the show was the sheer amount of ethnic diversity. How often do you get to say that about American TV? It's not often you get to see anything, including an apocalypse, that has black, Hispanic, and Asian people in it as anything other than cannon fodder. (Or stereotypes, but you knew that already.) And the show dealt with a few of the hard issues that come with that. I imagine there were parts that made people feel extremely uncomfortable, in fact.The comic? One Korean guy (I'm assuming, since his character in the show is Korean) amid a flock of white people. Same shit, different zombie apocalypse. I guess most zombies prefer--no, actually, I won't make that joke. I certainly wasn't expecting all the sexism. I mean, maybe I shouldn't be surprised, since the only women who seem to get to star in zombie fiction are ex-military/cops or Milla Jovovich. But while the show takes a bit of a look at this sexism, the comic dismisses it with a "Hey, pragmatism trumps all" response. And if it were as simple as the men doing the hunting and the women doing the laundry, maybe I could swallow it. But it's not. The women can't handle it. The women freak out and freeze up when the zombies show up. An older man has taken in a couple of sisters whose car broke down, right? While he and the protagonist are on a manly hunting outing, they have basically this conversation:"That stereotypical judgmental bitch keeps complaining about you and those girls living in your camper.""Yeah. I saved her life. Ungrateful shrew.""Hey, we'd be screwed without your camping gear. You deserve a couple of hot young blonds in your life.""Well, I can't get it up anymore, but they do all the cleaning, which reminds me of my wife. So that's nice."Paraphrased, obviously, but you get the gist. Women, they clean stuff. Men? They do all the manly stuff like killing zombies.Aside from nearly dissolving into fits of the vapors when things get squicky, the women are often so one-dimensional. Rick's (the protagonist's) wife Lori makes me cringe. She wigs out whenever Rick wants to do something remotely dangerous, and this is clearly shown to be a bad thing. "Honey, I want to go into the zombie infested city and grab a few guns, 'kay?""No it is not okay! It's crazy! *devolves into stereotypical henpecking*""Yeah, whatever. I'm going. Bye."Nice. The very worst was the guns. Rick decides everyone should learn to shoot, even his seven-year-old son. Naturally, Lori isn't convinced that a seven-year-old boy should be carrying around a loaded weapon, zombie apocalypse or no. Rick makes the big parenting decision for them, while Lori storms around being a stereotype.And because we can't possibly have her "overreaction" (yes, he fucking told her she was overreacting) be justified, what happens? When the camp is attacked by zombies, Lori wigs out and drops her gun, only to be rescued by her seven-year-old Billy the Kid. After the attack is over, Lori throws herself into Rick's arms, bemoaning her stupidity. Heaven forefend the kid should accidentally shoot himself in the foot, proving that a modicum of parental concern is not unwarranted in the situation.Can't have the man being wrong, can we?Considering how beloved this comic is, I guess I was expecting more. Even without the white-centralism and the sexism, it's not that terribly well written. For all Kirkman's harping in the introduction about this being about the people and how they react in the situation, everything gallops forward at such a pace that we don't get any knowledge or insight to the characters at all. How can you write about people when you don't know how they tick?And that's to say nothing of the snow in Georgia or the magical wonder horse that survived, hale and healthy, being shut in a barn without food and water for a month.