Saturday, April 18, 2015

WALKING DEAD Comics vs. the TV Series: Those Poor Child-Killing Cannibals Are Just Victims of Soy-Com-Stance

And so they did. And they saw that they were tasty-good, and therefore set forth for more.

In the original The Walking Dead comics, Gareth and the Hunters weren’t from Terminus, but a gang of survivors who came more or less out of the woodwork, or, more precisely, the woods. Their story was that they were once perfectly normal, scared and hungry survivors who just happened to break down and kill and eat their own children during a particularly peckish week. Having gone about as low as a human can go, they figured, shoot, why not hunt and kill other survivors? It beats sitting around being hungry and scared. 

In case you already didn’t hate them enough for being so depraved, the Hunters enjoyed terrorizing their victims before going in for the kill. Like the Terminus survivors who turned cannibal on the TV series, the idea is that the Hunters were somehow victims of circumstance. They went crazy and killed and ate their children—and, having realized, oh my God, they just killed and ate their own children, they stayed crazy. I can see how that sounds reasonable to some people. That’s because they’re depraved themselves.

The graphic novel collection (Vol. 11) with the Hunters storyline.
Some dumbasses in the Colorado state legislature made noises
a few years back about taxing Internet sales, so Amazon doesn’t do
the affiliate program here, so, therefore, no link from me.
In reworking the Hunters story line from the comics, the TV show writers wisely made the Terminus cannibals one-time good guys who were victimized by a rape gang who took over their camp, until Gareth got it in him to orchestrate a necessarily bloody and successful reprisal. And it turns out Gareth’s people were hungry, on top of raped and traumatized, and they had all these dead rapists lying around, and, gosh, it just doesn’t pay to be nice in this post-apocalyptic world, does it? You’re either eaters or the eaten. So, instead of taking down the signs advertising sanctuary, reinforcing their walls, fences, gates, etc., and setting up 24/7 sniper posts with shoot-to-kill orders for any outsiders causing trouble for the gate guards, they kill and eat desperate survivors looking for the sanctuary advertised on the signs. 

Like Dawn and her cop shop/slave labor/rape camp, they’re “just holdin’ it together.” Yeah, right. I get that circumstances are going to push people over the edge. But how one is inspired by said circumstances is a matter of personal choice. You can be a hard-edged hero or an excuse-making zero. Blaming your problems on “we were hungry, and those people were mean to us” puts you square in the latter camp.

What I liked about the TV show’s adaptation of the comics story is how closely it followed the Hunters’ capture of one of Rick’s people. One of Rick’s crew goes out in the woods, presumably to urinate, mostly to get away and be alone. He’s hit on the head and knocked out by an unseen assailant. When he wakes up, he finds himself lying by a campfire. The lower part of his left leg is gone, the stump wrapped in bandages.

There are others around the campfire, and they’re eating. They’re eating his leg. Once the leader of the group realizes Stumpy is awake, he begins taunting the victim.

“You mean I could have been
working through Season 5?”
In the original comics, though, instead of Bob getting his leg cut off and mocked while the Hunters ate it in front of him, the victim was — Dale. Yes, he of the fisherman’s hat, who perished all the way back in Season 2 of the TV series. As Bob did on the TV series, Dale laughed to inform the the Hunters that they were eating “tainted meat.” Dale, like Bob, had been bitten. That’s why he was alone in the woods by the church. He had a lot on his mind, knowing he was dying. 

I was disappointed in both cases that we never found out if eating the flesh of an infected would cause one to sicken and die. It stands to reason, but I still wanted to see it. I’m weird that way.
“I was bitten by the corpse of Joan Rivers. She was NAKED!”

In the comics, the Hunters were caught and hacked to pieces outdoors, and off-panel. It was implied that Rick and the gang were way too enthusiastic about killing these sickos, which horrified poor, weak Gabriel to the point that he would complain about this to the people of Alexandria—which, as we know, he also did on the TV show. On the TV show, Gareth’s Hunters were hacked to death inside of Gabriel’s church, which, I’m guessing, made Gabriel’s revulsion a wee bit more plausible, if only to the writers. 

Except that it didn’t. Gabriel’s a whiny degenerate who has yet to take responsibility for the death of his congregation. He knew what the Hunters were about. With all the metaphorical blood on his own hands, he had no business fussing about the blood on the floor of his church—which, as was pointed out to him, was no longer a church, merely four walls and a roof. I suspect he needed it pointed out to him that his church ceased to be a church when he made the decision to stay locked alone inside the building while walkers tore and ate entire families outside begging him to let them in.

Me, I would have tied Gareth and his crew to some handy trees and let the dead have at them. For all the passion Rick and company put into their bludgeoning and hacking of the Hunters, the Hunters still got off easy. The dead would have given them the agonizing death they deserved. If there are any deaths worse than being eaten alive one small, slobbering mouthful at a time, I don’t want to hear about it.

It’s why we love those ugly stinkers, right? For me, they just make more sense than the surviving humans.

Friday, April 17, 2015

THE DEAD SILENCER Digital Remasters: Ultimate Editions in Production!

If you’re a movie buff, you’re aware of the Criterion Collection. You’ve likely seen the trailers on their discs, in which they show identical frames of film side by side. One side is fuzzy pre-Criterion restoration, and the other is pristine and clear. 

I had a cute idea to do something like that with my current “remastering” of Bleeding Kansas, but why bother reminding people that stuff still gets by me after so many readings? It’s painful enough for me without subjecting innocent people to this.

Bitter Dark:
Available only in paperback.
It took me a solid Sunday-through-Sunday week, but I finished my second full rewrite of Bleeding Kansas based on the original “Bitter Dark” first edition. I saved myself a lot of time and grief by abandoning my idea of making it a hybrid of the second “Plain Dark” edition. Ignoring the second edition fit better with my primary objective, which is to ensure that the tone and feel of the narrative is on a par with the writer of The Wrong Kind of Dead. The L. Roy Aiken of 2015 is several orders of magnitude removed from the early 2013 model who wrote that Bitter Dark first edition of Bleeding Kansas. Why not give my first published novel the benefit of that experience?

Although the Plain Dark second edition of Thanksgiving Week 2013 is smoother, I—and most readers, it seems—preferred Bitter Dark’s edge. My third book does a lot of reaching back to Bleeding Kansas, and The Wrong Kind of Dead is very Bitter Dark all by itself. As it should be. The zombie apocalypse is not a pretty place. It is not fair. It is not nice. It brings out the worst in people. It’s a Crapsack World crying out for a hero, but sometimes the best you can do is a survivor you’ve known for longer than most, and therefore more or less trust.

Poor bastards don’t stand a snowball’s chance.
From here, I’ll move on to the remaster of Grace Among the Dead, which I’ve always felt could have benefited from one more reading before it was published. This will be the last time for it, though. Which means The Wrong Kind of Dead needs to be done right the first time. As much as I love Derek Grace and his extended family, 2015 is the year my SAGA OF THE DEAD SILENCER series is put to bed, once and for all. My take on the zombie apocalypse will belong to the ages. It will be time to move on to the Next Thing, whatever they hell that may be (and I have a few ideas). 

That’s what I’ve been doing in lieu of Facebook and Twitter and blog posts. I’ll be mining old Facebook posts to use here, as I need something to entertain my new audience with. The summer is coming on fast. I’ve got to be there for it, with the very best I’ve got.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Thoughts I Should Probably Keep to Myself Regarding the Season 5 Mid-Season Finale of THE WALKING DEAD

First of a series in which I review episodes of The Walking Dead in no particular order. WARNING: SPOILERS OUT THE YING-YANG, because, seriously, I’m among the last people in the solar system who has just started watching this latest season on a bootleg channel online. If you’re weird like me, give this post a pass.

Not this one, alas.
In the course of binge-watching this season’s The Walking Dead up to the mid-season finale, I’ve come to wonder: Is it so wrong that I’m on the side of “Screw these people, kill them all” when it comes to things like saving members of my zompocalypse survival group from other groups? If everyone had gone with Rick’s original plan to infiltrate, slit throats, then grab ‘n’ go, Beth would still be alive. As it is, I would have had my people empty their magazines into those dirtbags in the hospital before Beth’s body hit the floor. 

Tyreese and his weak-sister act are one thing — I’d have him hang back at base camp if all he’s going to do is come up with stupid ideas that don’t involve decisive eliminations of known threats — but when did Daryl Dixon become such a wuss? “[The slimy, passive-aggressive psycho running Rape and Slavery Memorial Hospital] is just tryin’ to hold it together,” is NOT an excuse to go easy on anyone. The Governor was “just tryin’ to hold it together.” So was Gareth and his crew at Terminus Flytrap Cannibal Camp, where Rick uttered my favorite line of the whole series: “These people don’t get to live.” This would be my standing policy with anyone who so much as steals a can of beans from my people — and stealing my people puts everything into the “with extreme prejudice” zone, i.e., you’re going to die, and I’m going to make sure it hurts.

Swear to God, this Dawn character reminded me of a supervisor
at a hospital I worked at. Screw “passive aggressive,” the foul hag
was slimy. Nothing was her fault. Especially when it was. That
some regard Dawn sympathetically as some poor dear in over her
head when she put those marks across Beth’s face—honestly,
what’s wrong with you people?

I wouldn’t have wasted a bullet on that cop Rick hit with the car, either. Let the walkers coming up behind do the clean up on Aisle 7.  

Oh, but what’s that? Lamson was one of the good cops? Right. One of the good ones who stood by while his fellow cops raped and abused the “wards,” because Thin Blue Line and all that. Everyone of those filth should have been shot in the legs and dropped down the elevator shaft for the misery they enabled, when they weren’t outright perpetrating it. 

Make no mistake, the zombie apocalypse is all about the misanthropy for me. Enough of this hand-wringing over “What kind of person am I becoming in this time of deadly extremity?” Damned if they didn’t make the Daryl ‘n’ Carol ATL Adventure episode boring for all of that. 

On the bright side, all of this murder in my heart will put a proper edge to my own zombie apocalypse books, now in rewrite. This tired “let’s not become the bad guys while fighting the bad guys” trope always drives me crazy. Mel Brooks said it all for that in Spaceballs: “Once again, Evil triumphs, because Good is dumb.” Holding one of my people against their will? You don’t get to live. Full stop. It’s not a Mensa puzzle.
Hey Daryl, if you’d supported Rick’s original plan instead of Tyreese’s, she’d still be alive.
Just sayin’.