The Walking Dead: The Pop-Up Book (Book)


WalkingDeadPopUp_CoverPaper Engineering by Becca Zerkin and David Hawcock

Text by S. D. Perry

Illustrations by Sally Elizabeth Jackson

I was fortunate enough last Christmas to receive Insight Editions’ Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros, which is really more of a fold-out, three-dimensional rendering of the many realms that comprise the world created by George R. R. Martin than a true pop-up book most of us remember from our childhoods. It is stunning but a bit unwieldy, requiring step-by-step directions of how to unfold (and then re-fold) the interconnected pages.

Thrones‘ follow-up, The Walking Dead: The Pop-Up Book, is more in the vein of traditional pop-ups and a lot less complicated. But, with just five double-page spreads, it also feels less all-encompassing and gives certain iconic (at least to this writer) locations short shrift, especially compared to how detailed its predecessor is. But let’s start at the beginning and assume not all readers will make the same comparisons I did.

TWD: The Pop-Up Book begins promisingly enough. Bicycle Girl reaches out from its first two pages, and we’re reminded of the opening of the TV series when Rick woke up in the hospital alone and unaware of the situation (i.e., there’s been a zombie apocalypse). The central pop of Bicycle Girl is supplemented by several smaller pops depicting other memorable moments and setpieces from the first season. That format continues as we follow Rick’s journey to reunite with his family and form new alliances; they encounter Michonne and travel to the Greene family’s farm, which is where the book takes a disappointing turn.

And things had been going along so well, too. The pops themselves – both large and small – and the supplemental information dispersed throughout are so well done and engaging. They instantly bring back all those good memories from the early episodes of the show. But then, abruptly, just as things are cooking, the fourth spread (which turns out to be book’s next to last) is a rushed mish-mash of five locations… the main pop is an impressive, intricate rendering of the prison accompanied by an out-of-place Dale’s RV; Hershel’s barn, which could have been a central pop all its own; and most disconcerting of all, Woodbury and Terminus, which are conjoined into one mini-pop. Yes, the final spread, a veritable feast for the eyes, is memorable, but it’s small consolation for the missed opportunities.

But this isn’t to say that creators Zerkin and Hawcock’s striking paper work and Jackson’s gorgeously gory illustrations aren’t remarkable because they truly are a veritable feast for the eyes with virtually every inch of available space chock-full of tasty tidbits of trivia provided by Perry. It’s just that I wanted so much more! If the basics are enough for you, however, then The Walking Dead: The Pop-Up Book is right up your alley. And with its focus on the undead rather than the survivors, zombie aficionados will love it, too. I just hope that as the series plays out, we get additional, more comprehensive volumes that continue the tale and take things up a notch or two – give us a dozen pages at least next time, please!

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