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Rick Grimes & Vacation Zombie

Walking Dead
by yo go re

Remember last year at New York Comic-Con, when Art Asylum and DST inaugurated the new Maximum Zombies line? Well, forget it, because they're not making it now. Why make generic zombie figures when you've got the rights to make toys based on The Walking Dead?

While he slept through the initial zombie outbreak, Officer Rick Grimes learned quickly how to deal with the undead. But while zombies are pedictable, people are not, and it was another survivors [sic] who cost Rick his hand.

So, uh, "spoilers" I guess, for those of you who haven't read the books and are just following the TV show. Out of consideration for anyone who's in that boat, We won't go into the details of how or when, but if the show follows the comics, in some future season Rick is going to have a much tougher time clapping. But as should now be abundantly clear, AA has the license to the comics, not the show - so don't expect to see a tiny Andrew Lincoln head any time soon.

In the comics, Rick has a tall, narrow head that doesn't really lend itself to the standard Minimate shape. Of course, the only other option is the "tall" head, and that would be too cartoonish. So it falls entirely to the paint apps to sell the likeness. But the apps do their job admirably, using stubble and angry eyes to carry the day.

Actually, despite mainly being a series of thin black lines, the paint details really do look like the art of (series penciller) Charlie Adlard. We're talking about a couple dozen black lines, none more than ⅛" long, and yet you look at them and you can recognize the artistic inspiration behind them. How crazy is that! He has wrinkles and stains on his shirt, and his stump is bandaged (though the density of the lines and the fact that the apps are only on the outside half of the arm conspire to make it look like especially thick arm hair).

Rick comes with a silver revolver, and a brown holster to keep it in. The holster is paired up with a belt, so it doesn't hang awkwardly on the waist. Question, though: why's he still wearing his gun on his right hip if he has to draw with his left? That seems like a recipe for disaster.

Post-outbreak, zombies were classified as either "Lukers" or "Roamers," depending on whether they stayed in one place, waiting for their next victim, or wandered aimlessly, looking for their next meal.

The zombies in The Walking Dead are your typical Romero-grade flesh-eaters: they return after death, they crave living flesh, their bite infects others and they can be stopped by well-placed application of conventional weaponry. This zombie is based on a specific one seen in the comics - it's the one Herschel tried to get into the barn in Walking Dead #11.

The exposed flesh looks horrible (in the best way). It's gray, with thin black wrinkles and spots of exposed red viscera. There even appear to be maggots on him! Eww! The eyes are milky white, and his uneven teeth look like they're barely held in place by his decaying gums. The detail drops off as you move around to the back of his head, but it doesn't look wrong.

The official name of this figure is Vacation Zombie, a name he earns by virtue of his clothes: he's wearing sandals, tan shorts and a yellow shirt with orange polka dots. Like the Marvel Zombies, Vacation Zombie uses bodyparts molded from clear plastic to suggest more grievous injuries than would otherwise be possible: in his case, the torso block is clear, so that the left side of his torso can be missing. His left arm is packaged unattached to the shoulder, too, cluing you in that you can remove bits as you wish. So, now it's time to make up a story: how do you think this guy who was on vacation lost his arm and became a member of the undead?

It's sad that we're not going to get the Maximum Zombies, but getting The Walking Dead instead seems like a fair trade. This is a nice set, and at last we have somebody to mingle with the Luke's Toy Store zombies.

-- 08/25/12


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