There’s the good, the great, and then there’s the BEST. Welcome to MTV Geek’s Best of 2012 — what we thought were the cream of the crop this year in the world of GEEK!
2012 was the year that Robert Kirkman’s creation “The Walking Dead” peaked. The comic book broke records in monthly sales, the graphic novel collections of which topped the New York Times bestseller charts. The series even reached the upper-echelon of the secondary comic sales market, a copy of its first issue reaching $10,000 on eBay.
“Walking Dead” display at San Diego Comic Con, where you can pose as a zombie
Meanwhile, the AMC TV show maintained its high ratings and mass-market appeal, its imagery dominating San Diego Comic-Con (with even SD’s Petco Park transformed into a “Zombie Obstacle Course” in tribute). And “The Walking Dead” provided no shortage of OMG Moment for fans, killing off beloved characters and in general ratcheting the stakes up to 11.
But to me, the most interesting thing about “WD” this year happened outside TV and comics — it happened in real life.
During the summer a bizarre string of what the media dubbed “zombie attacks” took place — seemingly normal citizens suddenly freaking out and biting/eating their fellow human beings. The most striking of these attacks was the so-called “Bath Salts” face-eating dude — his gory (though obscured) actions, caught on a grainy video feed, becoming viral on the Internet and looking almost indistinguishable from a “found footage” horror movie.
Let’s let that sink in. A man suddenly goes insane, tears off his clothes, and eats the face off of a stranger in public like a wild animal.
The more cynical pundits regarded this “zombiemania” in the news cycle as being “viral” — albeit unintentional –advertising for the new season of “Walking Dead.”
But that is all very silly, comparing apples (scary insane cannibal dudes and dudettes) to oranges (just a fake TV show). I mean, who’s going to take any of these seriously?
Enter the Center For Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC created a whole section of their official website on the topic of “Zombie Preparedness.” Here’s a sample:
“There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”
You know, a real emergency. Like some stranger running up to you and trying to eat your head.
2012 winded down with a news story about a guy who shot his girlfriend with a rifle because of an argument over “The Walking Dead” ; he felt a zombie apocalypse as portrayed in the TV show was a realistic possibility, and she did not.
In the end, maybe “The Walking Dead” reached the heights of popularily this year, in part, because it encapsulated the Zeitgeist of a nation obsessed with guns, terrified over imagined apocalypses, and basically going a little out of its mind. As I wrote in the post “Walking Dead Culture: Why Are We So Obsessed With Zombies?” :
“Is it really about the putrid armies of the undead? Or is it really about ourselves — the “survivors”?”
Next time in MTV Geek’s Most OMG Moments of 2012, we examine the most controversial prequel since that one with Jar Jar Binks in it…