After watching the first episode of 'The Walking Dead' on AMC & deciding I liked the story better than the show itself, I went to Midtown Comics to pick up the first compendium.
Allow me to have an aside here for a moment: I love Midtown Comics. The place is well-organized, bright, & well stocked. Their staff are friendly & helpful (& also I kind of have a thing for nerds). When I was trying to decide whether to buy the individual 4-episode volumes or the 48-episode compendium, a cute staffer helped me do some simple math to figure it out, & when he found out I had never read it before, his praise bordered on the obsessive.
"It's the greatest comic book series of all time. I bet you couldn't find anything better within a ten-foot radius in this store."
I pointed to the Alan Moore display we were standing right next to:
"Is it even better than Watchmen?"
"Erm... no. Nothing is better than Watchmen. It's the second greatest comic book series of all time.
So, yes. The staff is knowledgeable & friendly. Also, their customer rewards program is brilliant: $20 free after each $100 spent in-store. That's like a 20% discount all the time.
But back to the series. I read a lot of Manga as a little girl, including getting Smile magazine delivered to my house just before it entered its death throes. So I'm not totally unfamiliar with "how" to read & absorb the visual information, & the lack of color really doesn't bother me- in fact color comics always seemed kind of overwhelmingly gaudy.
I am only a little ways in, but the story is clear & suspenseful. It's not really a story about zombies, it's about humanity & what it does under stress. I feel not uncomfortable comparing it to the Sci-Fi version of August: Osage County or The Grapes of Wrath (but maybe a little faster-paced).
It has also inspired me to add a little more comic book - schlock style back into my drawing. Sure it may be cheesy looking, but it's clear & communicative as anything.
So far I would recommend the series, although if you can manage to borrow it from somebody do that instead of sinking all of your drinking money for the next two weekends in to the Compendium.