Implicit Religion, Vol 17, No 4 (2014)

We Are the Walking Dead: Robert Kirkman’s Zombies and Buddhist Body Image

Peter Herman
Issued Date: 12 Dec 2014


Robert Kirkman’s popular horror comic The Walking Dead offers the basis for a constructive Buddhist reading of the identification of the body with the authentic self. By applying both traditional Buddhist readings of charnel ground meditations and theorist Julia Kristeva’s understanding of “abjection,” this article argues that the comic can be read in a socially progressive mode, destabilizing the identification of authentic personhood with specific and particular bodies.

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DOI: 10.1558/imre.v17i4.433


Buddhaghosa, Bhadantācariya. 1976. The Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga). Translated by Bhikku Ñyāṇamoli. San Francisco, CA: Shambhala.
Gethin, Rupert. 2008. Sayings of the Buddha: New Translations from the Pali
Nikayas. New York: Oxford University Press.
Kirkman, Robert. 2008. “Letter Hacks.” The Walking Dead 54: 27.
Kristeva, Julia. 1982. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Translated by Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press.


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