It might have been the beard that did it. Rick Grimes looking like Bergdahl's dad in the new issue of The Walking Dead #128 out today.
But that was just the first inkling. When he visits the building they are using to bake bread, that's when it started to sink in. The Walking Dead is slowly becoming Robinson Crusoe. It took the time jump for it to settle in (and boy everyone loves time jumps right now, don't they? DC, Marvel, HBO…) but we're right there. In Daniel Defoe's novel, Robinson Crusoe, left alone on an island, begins to tame it, to build a small civilisation, and most importantly, to grow wheat, harvest it, mill it and turn it into bread.
Of course, Crusoe has to deal with the natives islanders in the book, violent, primitive cannibals, but even in that there is one he befriends and, well, yes, basically makes his servant. Look, we're not going for PC if we're reading Crusoe, it preaches the beneficial aspects of colonialism for those who will accept them, and a Manifest Destiny, an inarguable right, to those changes.
But is that what we're getting with The Walking Dead? Are the zombies the Aboriginal population now, living a life that the living cannot understand, as much as they try to destroy or tame it? In that eighteenth century novel, Defoe presented Crusoe with some complexity, arguing in moral relativist terms over the island natives customs of cannibalism, before rejecting it as inalienably a bad thing and managing to dissuade Man Friday. Are the living now the colonists, trying to tame this savage land, weak and prone to infighting as they are, with even less consideration for the practices of the zombies before they are slaughtered? After all, despite occasional dalliances with Michonne, there is little likelhood in "taming" them…
But like Robinson Crusoe, is the baking of bread over bullets a sign of that success?
One other big difference is that Crusoe was rescued, albeit by pirates. No one is going to rescue the living here..
Walking Dead #128 by Robert Kirkman and Charles Adlard is published today from Image Comics. Courtesy of Orbital Comics, London. Who are launching the graphic novel House Party by Rachael Smith on Friday at 7pm.