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We are the Walking Dead!
Some 11 years after the first issue of The Walking Dead was published by Image Comics, Robert Kirkman's undead phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down. The comic, which has now published over 130 monthly issues, remains a top seller and still manages to shock with new surprises hitting Rick Grimes and company at every turn. The show is the most-watched program on cable television and ratings have improved for every one of its five seasons. It's even beating the NFL in the ratings!
Oh, yeah. There's some video games, too. Telltale Games surprised everyone and went from 'notable adventure game team' to 'game of the year-winning developer' thanks to 11 gut-wrenching episodes surrounding a new group of survivors constantly beset with worst-case choices. The Walking Dead is hitting on all cylinders right now, so there are plenty of ways to enjoy its world--from DVDs to crossbow mugs!
The Walking Dead comic collections
If you want to get caught up on the comics in a hurry, there are plenty of collections that will help you on the journey. The most cost-effective way is by picking up the first and second compendiums, which collect a whopping 48 issues each into their beefy tomes. If you're looking for something a bit smaller and classier, there are five 24-issue Omnibuses that have a higher cost per issue but come in a hardcover and include covers for the comics in each collection. Here's the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth volumes.
The Walking Dead novels
The Governor was one of The Walking Dead's most interesting characters, and readers who crave even more of the eyepatch-wearing sociopath can read a quintet of novels focusing on his history. The series starts off with his inauspicious beginnings in Rise of the Governor, shows his rise to power in Road to Woodbury, ties into the comic's gigantic clash with The Fall of the Governor Part 1 and Part 2, and explores the aftermath of his reign with Descent. The first three books were co-authored by Kirkman himself, with the other author, Jay Bonansinga, tackling the most recent duo on his own. If you want to know every detail of the Governor's reign, these books are vital.
The Walking Dead Telltale games
The first season of Telltale's The Walking Dead was a revelation, earning GamesRadar's 2012 Game of the Year award. The Walking Dead Season 2 was pretty darn good too. If you ask us, the best way to play this series is by snagging them on a disc so you can marathon each season and then give it to your friends to compare moral choices. You can get Season 1 (with the in-between-seasons 400 Days episode) and Season 2 for a variety of platforms, from the PlayStation Vita to the Xbox One. It's a fantastic experience regardless of your preferred platform, so don't worry about where you play it... you'll have way tougher decisions to make once you fire up the game.
AMC's The Walking Dead on DVD and Blu-ray
Fifteen million viewers can't be wrong! While it's had a few rough stretches and more than a few showrunners, it's tough to argue that the journey of Rick Grimes in the flesh has become its own phenomenon. Using the comics as a template but delivering twists and additional characters to throw fans off the trail, you can count on the entire internet talking about the latest episode every Monday morning. If you want to catch up, why not do it with style (and special features) by snagging it on disc? Go from Rick's quest to find his family in Season 1, to Herschel's creepy farm in Season 2 to the prison and the big bad Governor in Season 3, to the disparate group of survivors converging on Terminus in Season 4. Even if you've read every issue of the comics and played every episode of Telltale's games, you'll find yourself surprised by the twists, turns, and trauma in AMC's The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead TV soundtrack
A lot has gone into the success of AMC's The Walking Dead, but one factor that often goes overlooked is the unforgettable soundtrack, and you can snag two collections featuring the show's most memorable tunes. The first Walking Dead soundtrack, released in 2013, includes a remix of Bear McReary's haunting theme alongside songs the show made famous, like Of Monsters and Men's 'Sinking Man' and 'The Parting Glass' from Emily Kinney (best known as Beth Greene on the show). The second volume released in early 2014 and has more of the moody pop songs (like Sharon Van Etten's 'Serpents' and Lee Dewyze's 'Blackbird Song' that have underscored some truly heartbreaking moments. If you've found yourself humming some of these tunes after some of the show's more particularly memorable episodes, now you can access them anytime!
The Walking Dead McFarlane toys
Like many hot properties, The Walking Dead has been immortalized via action figures and by the biggest name in collectible figures. McFarlane Toys has done what they do best - create hyper-realistic interpretations of popular characters - with the cast of The Walking Dead TV show. McFarlane has done some of its best work yet with the characters, but three in particular caught our eyes. The Rick Grimes, fan favorite Glenn, and show-exclusive character Daryl Dixon figurines do a great job capturing three of the show's most action-packed characters.
The Walking Dead Funko POP figures
The world of The Walking Dead can be pretty grim, so it's a pretty special occasion when Robert Kirkman's characters its painted in a cuter light. Fortunately, Funko toes the scary/sweet line quite well with its POP figure line. As far as the Funko figures go, we're giving props to the POPs that make the katana-wielding Michonne, the one-eyed Governor, and amputee Herschel both creepy and adowable.
The Walking Dead lights
After watching or playing through a particularly creepy Walking Dead episode in the dark, you're going to want to turn the lights on (so that you can read more of the comic, duh). Believe it or not, there are several choices when it comes to Walking Dead-branded illumination. If you have a child who somehow can handle the show's stomach-churning violence but hates sleeping in the dark, there's a nightlight fashioned out of a zombie head. If you need something creepy you can keep on your side-table, there's a table lamp that resembles a severed zombie arm.
The Walking Dead drinking implements
When you're knee-deep in fictional zombies, it wouldn't hurt to have a pint of frosty beer to cool your nerves or a cup of joe to help intensify your concentration on the page or screen. Fortunately, there are Walking Dead themed cups to help out in both situations. If you plan on having friends over to catch the new episodes, then why not bust out this set of four Walking Dead pint glasses? If you're up until some ungodly hour trying to fix all your old mistakes in Telltale's episodic series, you might want to fill up this crossbow mug with some stimulating coffee to keep alert during the intense QTEs.
Classic board games, Walking Dead-style
Sure, some of the old favorites at your local board game shop are favorites for a reason, but a change of pace every so often can do some good. What better change of pace than, say, changing a game about purchasing real estate to procuring vital supplies to fight against the imminent zombie onslaught? Hasbro has adapted three of its most popular board games to work within the world of The Walking Dead. There's the aforementioned take on Monopoly, a game of Risk where zombies pose just as big a threat as other players, and a version of Yahtzee that's pretty much the same as it ever was, but the dice tumbler is a zombie head!
Walking Dead original board games
Looking for an entirely different tabletop experience featuring your favorite survivors and their undead foes? There's some totally original board games for you. The original Walking Dead board game is a bit on the simpler side, but is filled with plenty of fan service, while more dedicated board game fans might take to Don't Look Back, a dice game where your rolls are vital to stopping walkers and surviving until the end.
Walking Dead trivia games
If you're all caught up on The Walking Dead TV show, you've got roughly 40 hours of deaths, face-offs, and new arrivals to remember. If you're looking to prove the knowledge you've accrued amongst friends, give The Walking Dead trivia game, a whirl. If you're the kind of person who enjoys frequently refreshing your memory, you can spend every day of 2015 recalling moments from the show via the daily trivia calendar. Either way, you'll be using almost as much of your brain matter as you see splattered in an average episode!
Stock up before the outbreak hits
What's your favorite piece of Walking Dead merch? Is it a rare comic? A signed game or DVD? Or is it something more offbeat like a T-shirt or weird zombie statue? We're in-between issues and TV show episodes right now, so we're all ears! Tell us about it below, or hit up GamesRadar on Twitter and Facebook with pics of your Walking Dead swag setup! If you're looking for more gift ideas, head over to our big list of cool stuff. It's there you can find our roundup of the best video game shirts and our favorite hand-crafted video game items.