The Walking Dead (comic book)

The Walking Dead is an American post-apocalyptic comic book series created by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Tony Moore – who was the artist on the first six issues and cover artist for the first twenty-four – with art on the remainder of the series by Charlie Adlard. It focuses on Rick Grimes, a Kentucky deputy who is shot in the line of duty and awakens from a coma in a zombie apocalypse that has resulted in a state-wide quarantine. After joining with some other survivors, he gradually takes on the role of leader of a community as it struggles to survive the zombie apocalypse. Published beginning in 2003 by Image Comics, the series ran for 193 issues, with Kirkman unexpectedly ending the series in 2019. The comic will be republished issue by issue in full color, inked by Dave McCaig, starting in October 2020.
The Walking Dead received the 2007 and 2010 Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series at San Diego Comic-Con International. The series was adapted into the AMC television series The Walking Dead, which premiered in 2010. The television program loosely follows the storyline of the comic book. The franchise has also spawned multiple additional media properties, including video games, a companion television series, webisode series, and various additional publications, including novels.

Publication history

The original pitch by Kirkman and Moore was for a followup to George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, with the series taking place in the 1960s. Image Comics co-founder Jim Valentino suggested using an original concept instead so the creators would own the property outright. The revised pitch became The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead debuted in 2003, published by Image Comics, with art by Tony Moore for the first six issues and Cliff Rathburn shading the art after issue #5. Charlie Adlard took over as artist on issue #7, after he was approached by Kirkman. Moore also created the cover art for the first 24 issues and the first four trade paperbacks. The remainder were done by Adlard.
When the television series premiered in October 2010, Image Comics announced The Walking Dead Weekly. The first 52 issues of the series began to be reprinted on January 5, 2011, with one issue per week for a year.
The series is periodically re-published in trade paperbacks which contain six issues each, hardcover books with twelve issues and occasional bonus material, omnibus editions of twenty-four issues, and compendium editions of forty-eight issues.
In May 2018, Image Comics and its imprint Skybound Entertainment, the company that has driven development of The Walking Dead comic series since 2010, jointly announced The Walking Dead Day. The fan-oriented event has a scheduled date of October 13, 2018 and will coincide with the release of a Walking Dead #1 15th Anniversary Variant Edition, with cover art by Charlie Adlard. A select number of The Walking Dead Day participating local comic shops become part of the comic's story line, with their own special edition of Adlard's anniversary cover, featuring the store's logo incorporated into the cover art. The company also noted that additional limited edition collectibles and festivities would be announced at a future date, prior to the October 2018 event.
On July 3, 2019, Kirkman confirmed through the "Letters Hacks" section of issue #193 that the issue would conclude the series, with no previous announcements or warnings beforehand. Kirkman opted to end the comic on his own terms; he stated in his letter in issue #193 that part of the reason to end was that he feared he lacked material to continue the series for several more issues. He had envisioned the series to end around the time that Rick Grimes and his allies reach the Commonwealth, a large human community protected from the walkers, as this would allow him to give a complete arc. However, he found he got there too soon in terms of issues, with the Commonwealth first appearing around issue #150, and Kirkman feared there was no way he could get to an issue #300 with what ideas he had left. This ending came following the death of Rick Grimes, in issue #192. Kirkman kept the series' end a secret as he worked with Adlard to create cover art and solicitation information for Diamond Comic Distributors for non-existent issues through #196 that would have been released through October 2019, creating a storyline that hinted at the death of Carl Grimes, Rick's son, in the wake of Rick's death. Kirkman said that The Walking Dead comic was always built on surprise, and felt that it was necessary to surprise readers with the end of the series after covering enough of the aftermath of Rick's death in issues #192 and #193.
Image Comics announced in July 2020 that it will be republishing the full run of The Walking Dead in full color, with coloring by Dave McCaig. The first issue of the reprint is scheduled for release on October 7, 2020, with subsequent comics to be released twice a month from November 2020 onward. There are no present plans to release these in trade paperbacks.

Story arcs

Volume 1: Days Gone Bye
Volume 2: Miles Behind Us
Volume 3: Safety Behind Bars
Volume 4: The Heart's Desire
Volume 5: The Best Defense
Volume 6: This Sorrowful Life
Volume 7: The Calm Before
Volume 8: Made to Suffer
Volume 9: Here We Remain
Volume 10: What We Become
Volume 11: Fear the Hunters
Volume 12: Life Among Them
Volume 13: Too Far Gone
Volume 14: No Way Out
Volume 15: We Find Ourselves
Volume 16: A Larger World
Volume 17: Something to Fear
Volume 18: What Comes After
Volume 19: March to War
Volume 20: All Out War
Volume 21: All Out War
Volume 22: A New Beginning
Volume 23: Whispers Into Screams
Volume 24: Life and Death
Volume 25: No Turning Back
Volume 26: Call to Arms
Volume 27: The Whisperer War
Volume 28: A Certain Doom
Volume 29: Lines We Cross
Volume 30: New World Order
Volume 31: The Rotten Core
Volume 32: Rest in Peace


Michonne Special
The Governor Special
Free Comic Book Day Special
Morgan Special
Tyreese Special
The Walking Dead: The Alien
Here's Negan
Negan Lives

List of characters

is the protagonist, a deputy who is comatose when the zombie apocalypse begins. With his wife Lori and son Carl, he joins groups with other survivors. He is joined by former best friend Shane, who secretly has a sexual relationship with Lori. The group consists of firm clerk and college graduate Andrea, her sister Amy, a mechanic named Jim, pizza delivery boy Glenn, car salesman Dale, shoe salesman Allen and his wife, Donna as well as their children, Ben and Billy. Lori and Carl form friendships with other survivors such as Carol and Sophia.
After leaving the camp, Rick gains a right-hand man and close friendship in Tyreese, who is accompanied by his daughter and her boyfriend. They soon find a farm run by Hershel Greene. Among Hershel's seven children is Maggie Greene, who forms a relationship with Glenn. As the group settle at a prison, they become conflicted with a group of surviving prisoners. Otis meets a katana-wielding survivor named Michonne, who is brought into the group, but struggles to acclimate, facing her own demons. Michonne, Rick and Glenn are later held in captivity by The Governor, a leader of a town called Woodbury who plan to take over the prison. Other Woodbury residents include Alice Warren, who changes sides to Rick's group and delivers Lori's baby, Bob Stookey, an army medic responsible for saving The Governor's life and Lilly, one of The Governor's soldiers.
After the prison assault, the remaining survivors regroup at Hershel's farm, and meet Abraham Ford, Eugene Porter and Rosita Espinosa. The group travel to Washington DC where they are hunted by Chris, encounter Gabriel Stokes, a priest, and are then recruited by Aaron and Eric to join the Alexandria Safe-Zone, a city run by congressman Douglas Monroe. Among the residents are Heath and Dr. Denise Cloyd, who quickly become close allies to the core group, and eventually the conflicted Nicholas. Douglas's son, Spencer tries to form a relationship with Andrea. Rick falls in love with Jessie Anderson, an abused wife. Abraham forms a relationship with Holly, a member of the construction crew.
A group of men, known as The Scavengers, tries to conquer Alexandria; the fight attracts a pack of walkers that invades the safe zone, which led to the death of many Alexandrians. After this, Rick and Andrea form a long-standing relationship.
Later, the safe zone starts a trading network with the Hilltop Colony, with help from its scout Paul "Jesus" Monroe.
However, their safety is again threatened by the psychopathic Negan and his group known as The Saviors, who reside in a factory. The Hilltop and Alexandria join with The Kingdom, which is run by King Ezekiel, in a war against the Saviors. The war ends thanks to Dwight,a savior who decided to betray Negan.
After the war, newcomers such as Magna and Dante are introduced into the series. Another community out at sea is established, as well as safety perimeters across the DC area, which are violated by the presence of the Whisperers, a tribe of people disguised as the dead who have rejected the notion of re-establishing civilization. The leader, Alpha, antagonizes Rick as her daughter, Lydia, forms a sexual relationship with Carl. When Alpha's second in command, Beta, takes leadership of the group, he declares war against the communities.

The undead/reanimated

Rick's group classifies the undead as either walkers, roamers or lurkers, the former being more likely to venture toward a loud noise in search of human prey. Other names have been used by characters in the series, including biters and stinkers. The undead follow and mimic each other, which can result in enormous hordes travelling together, "walking nonstop, following a sound they've all forgotten," as Abraham puts it. When asked about the origins of zombies, Kirkman claimed that there was an answer but that it was unimportant to the story-line. At the same time, it was reported that when Kirkman pitched the series he had claimed that the virus was an alien biological attack in preparation of a full-scale invasion but that he had no intention of following this idea. In 2020, after the end of the series, he confirmed over Twitter that the condition had been caused by a "space spore."


The series received critical acclaim, winning the Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series in 2010 and prompting Eric Sunde of IGN comics to call it "one of the best monthly comics available". Among its fans are author Max Brooks. Because of the popularity of the series, which increased considerably when it was adapted into a television series of the same name, artist Tony Moore's original artwork for the series' early issues has gone up in value; on the March 28, 2013 episode of the VH1 reality television series For What It's Worth, Moore's original artwork for Page 7 of issue #1 was professionally appraised to be worth $20,000.

Other media

Television adaptations

picked up the rights to produce a show based on the comic in 2009. It ordered a pilot episode on January 21, 2010 and began filming on May 15, 2010. The series premiered on October 31, 2010 with high ratings. On November 8, 2010, after broadcasting two episodes, AMC renewed The Walking Dead for a second season of 13 episodes, which began on October 16, 2011. The TV show is loosely inspired by the comic, introducing new characters and deviating from the comic in certain plot points.
The fifth season premiered on October 12, 2014, with Scott M. Gimple as the show's third showrunner. Gimple has said that he would stay closer in line to the comic book series events "as much as possible", but ultimately remix stories with certain characters, referencing original characters introduced to the show and deceased characters alive in the comic book as a reason for this. Robert Kirkman himself has mentioned that the series will follow much closer to the comic series with Gimple's run. With the series' ninth season, which started broadcast in October 2018, Angela Kang was promoted to showrunner with Gimple now in charge of all Walking Dead properties at AMC. This also was accompanied by the largest deviation from the comics, with the departure of Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, from the show, though Lincoln will reprise Rick in three feature-length films to be produced as AMC Originals that continue Rick's story with Kirkman's involvement.
A companion television series, titled Fear the Walking Dead, debuted on AMC on August 23, 2015. The series features new original characters, and it is set in the city of Los Angeles, California starting prior to the zombie apocalypse. It explores these new characters as the apocalypse begins. The series was created by Robert Kirkman and Dave Erickson, with Erickson serving as showrunner for the series. AMC ordered the series for a two-season commitment, with the first season consisting of six episodes.

Animation comic

AMC released an animated short of the first part of Issue No. 1 of the comic with animation by Juice Films, voice acting by Phil LaMarr and art by Tony Moore.

Telltale's ''The Walking Dead''

, an adventure game developer, secured the rights with Kirkman to make an episodic video game inspired by The Walking Dead comic book series in 2011. While video games have frequently dealt with the zombie genre, Kirkman said of Telltale's game that "it more on characterization and emotion than action". Telltale opted to take a new approach to the typical adventure game, making it so that players would have to make decisions through conversation trees or through quick time events, that would propagate through the episode and as determinants into future ones, as to give more weight to the character-driven nature of their game.
Telltale's game, The Walking Dead, first released in 2012, and followed the characters of Lee Everett, a former teacher convicted of murder, and Clementine, a pre-teen girl left alone at the start of the zombie apocalypse; it contained tie-ins with the comic by brief appearances of Glenn Rhee and Hershel Greene, narratively prior to their first appearances in the comic series. The series was a critical success, with much of the praise for the characterization of Clementine and Lee, and is stated to have caused a resurgence in the waning adventure game market since 2000. Telltale went on to develop a full-fleded series, with three additional seasons, additional downloadable content for the first season, and a spin-off title based on Michonne. In all but this spin-off, choices made by players in earlier games continued to set determinants used in later games as the stories followed Clementine's continued struggles to survive as she grows up in the years that followed.
In the midst of releasing the planned during 2018, Telltale Games went into bankruptcy, laying off the bulk of the staff and cancelling all projects, including the last two episodes of The Walking Dead. By this point, Kirkman had established Skybound Entertainment and had been eyeing a gaming division. He took the opportunity to secure the rights of Telltale's The Walking Dead properties, and temporarily hired most of the staff that were working on the game so that the series could be finished as well as to close out Clementine's story, which he felt needed to be done. Additionally, with these rights, Skybound took over future publication of Telltale's series, and will publish a remastered version of all four seasons and additional content, featuring graphical improvements that Telltale had made ahead of starting the fourth season.

''The Walking Dead: All Out War''

In January 2016, the Kings of War creator Mantic Games announced plans to release a tabletop miniature wargame based on The Walking Dead, named The Walking Dead: All Out War. The miniatures game was funded through the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter. This product is available for order and first began shipping to backers on November 7, 2016.


A series of novels based on the comics, written by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga, were released between 2011 and 2014 focusing on the antagonist "The Governor". Taking place in the initial outbreak, the books chronicle his experiences from surviving in the newly ravaged world to the establishment of himself as leader of Woodbury, and finally tying up the conclusion to the prison arc storyline in the comics.
Following ', Bonansinga continued the Walking Dead novels as sole author, with Kirkman's name affixed to the title.
TitleISBNRelease DateAuthor
'October 11, 2011Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga
'October 16, 2012Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga
A Walking Dead Short: Just Another Day at the OfficeDecember 8, 2012Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga
'October 8, 2013Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga
'March 13, 2014Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga
'October 14, 2014Jay Bonansinga
'October 6, 2015Jay Bonansinga
'October 18, 2016Jay Bonansinga
October 17, 2017Jay Bonansinga
Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead: TyphoonOctober 1, 2019Wesley Chu

Collected editions

The series has so far been assembled into the following collections:

Trade paperbacks

The trade paperbacks collect story arcs of six issues each, but contain only the story and none of the original cover art from the comics. Each paperback follows the convention of having a three-word title. The zombies in the cover art for each paperback form part of a larger image if placed end to end. This also loops, as the final zombie on Volume 32 connects to the first on Volume 1.
Each story arc is re-released in hardcover books containing two, omnibus editions containing four, and compendiums containing eight story arcs.
TitleISBNRelease DateCollected MaterialIssues PublishedHardcover Book NumberOmnibus NumberCompendium Number
The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone ByeMay 12, 2004TWD #1–6October 2003 – March 2004111
The Walking Dead Vol. 2: Miles Behind UsNovember 24, 2004TWD #7–12April 2004 – September 2004111
The Walking Dead Vol. 3: Safety Behind BarsMay 18, 2005TWD #13–18October 2004 – April 2005211
The Walking Dead Vol. 4: The Heart's DesireNovember 30, 2005TWD #19–24June 2005 – November 2005211
The Walking Dead Vol. 5: The Best DefenseSeptember 27, 2006TWD #25–30January 2006 – August 2006321
The Walking Dead Vol. 6: This Sorrowful LifeApril 11, 2007TWD #31–36September 2006 – March 2007321
The Walking Dead Vol. 7: The Calm BeforeSeptember 26, 2007TWD #37–42April 2007 – September 2007421
The Walking Dead Vol. 8: Made to SufferJune 25, 2008TWD #43–48October 2007 – April 2008421
The Walking Dead Vol. 9: Here We RemainJanuary 21, 2009TWD #49–54May 2008 – November 2008532
The Walking Dead Vol. 10: What We BecomeAugust 12, 2009TWD #55–60November 2008 – April 2009532
The Walking Dead Vol. 11: Fear the HuntersJanuary 6, 2010TWD #61–66May 2009 – October 2009632
The Walking Dead Vol. 12: Life Among ThemAugust 3, 2010TWD #67–72November 200 – May 2010632
The Walking Dead Vol. 13: Too Far GoneNovember 23, 2010TWD #73–78June 2010 – October 2010742
The Walking Dead Vol. 14: No Way OutJune 22, 2011TWD #79–84November 2010 – April 2011742
The Walking Dead Vol. 15: We Find OurselvesDecember 27, 2011TWD #85–90May 2011 – October 2011842
The Walking Dead Vol. 16: A Larger WorldJune 6, 2012TWD #91–96November 2011 – April 2012842
The Walking Dead Vol. 17: Something to FearNovember 21, 2012TWD #97–102May 2012 – September 2012953
The Walking Dead Vol. 18: What Comes AfterJune 18, 2013TWD #103–108October 2012 – March 2013953
The Walking Dead Vol. 19: March to WarNovember 13, 2013TWD #109–114April 2013 – September 20131053
The Walking Dead Vol. 20: All Out War March 11, 2014TWD #115–120October 2013 – January 20141053
The Walking Dead Vol. 21: All Out War July 29, 2014TWD #121–126February 2014 – April 20141163
The Walking Dead Vol. 22: A New BeginningNovember 5, 2014TWD #127–132May 2014 – October 20141163
The Walking Dead Vol. 23: Whispers into ScreamsMay 12, 2015TWD #133–138October 2014 – March 20151263
The Walking Dead Vol. 24: Life and DeathAugust 26, 2015TWD #139–144March 2015 – July 20151263
The Walking Dead Vol. 25: No Turning BackApril 5, 2016TWD #145–150August 2015 – January 20161374
The Walking Dead Vol. 26: Call to ArmsSeptember 14, 2016TWD #151–156February 2016 – July 20161374
The Walking Dead Vol. 27: The Whisperer WarMarch 7, 2017TWD #157–162August 2016 – January 20171474
The Walking Dead Vol. 28: A Certain DoomOctober 3, 2017TWD #163–168February 2017 – June 20171474
The Walking Dead Vol. 29: Lines We CrossMarch 13, 2018TWD #169–174July 2017 – December 20171584
The Walking Dead Vol. 30: New World OrderSeptember 5, 2018TWD #175–180January 2018 – June 20181584
The Walking Dead Vol. 31: The Rotten CoreMarch 12, 2019TWD #181–186July 2018 – December 20181684
The Walking Dead Vol. 32: Rest in PeaceAugust 13, 2019TWD #187–193January 2019 – July 20191684


All hardcovers contain the contents of the comics, including the covers, and in some cases bonus material. The books' trim size is larger than the paperbacks. Each hardcover contains two story arcs from the series. Signed versions of the books are available, each limited to 310 pieces.
TitleISBNRelease DateCollected MaterialCover Character
The Walking Dead: Book OneJuly 19, 2006TWD #1–12Rick
The Walking Dead: Book TwoMarch 7, 2007TWD #13–24Michonne
The Walking Dead: Book ThreeDecember 19, 2007TWD #25–36The Governor
The Walking Dead: Book FourOctober 29, 2008TWD #37–48Lori and Judith
The Walking Dead: Book FiveMay 5, 2010TWD #49–60Abraham
The Walking Dead: Book SixOctober 26, 2010TWD #61–72Carl
The Walking Dead: Book SevenOctober 18, 2011TWD #73–84Rick
The Walking Dead: Book EightSeptember 26, 2012TWD #85–96Andrea
The Walking Dead: Book NineSeptember 17, 2013TWD #97–108Negan
The Walking Dead: Book TenSeptember 3, 2014TWD #109–120Ezekiel
The Walking Dead: Book ElevenFebruary 25, 2015TWD #121–132Paul "Jesus" Monroe
The Walking Dead: Book TwelveSeptember 30, 2015TWD #133–144Rick
The Walking Dead: Book ThirteenOctober 5, 2016TWD #145–156Alpha
The Walking Dead: Book FourteenOctober 11, 2017TWD #157–168Dwight
The Walking Dead: Book FifteenOctober 10, 2018TWD #169–180Juanita "Princess" Sanchez
The Walking Dead: Book SixteenSeptember 10, 2019TWD #181–193Rick

Omnibus editions

Limited omnibus editions collect roughly 24 issues in a slipcase with several extras. The first volume is autographed by Kirkman and Adlard, with 300 copies printed. Subsequent volumes had print runs of 3000 each, along with deluxe limited editions of 300 copies.
TitleISBNRelease DateCollected Material
The Walking Dead: Volume 1 Deluxe HCDecember 14, 2005TWD #1–24
The Walking Dead: Volume 2 Deluxe HCFebruary 17, 2009TWD #25–48
The Walking Dead: Volume 3 Deluxe HCFebruary 2, 2011TWD #49–72
The Walking Dead: Volume 4 Deluxe HCDecember 12, 2012TWD #73–96
The Walking Dead: Volume 5 Deluxe HCNovember 19, 2014TWD #97–120
The Walking Dead: Volume 6 Deluxe HCDecember 2, 2015TWD #121–144
The Walking Dead: Volume 7 Deluxe HCNovember 7, 2017TWD #145–168
The Walking Dead: Volume 8 Deluxe HCNovember 12, 2019TWD #169–193

Compendium editions

Softcover compendium editions collect approximately 48 comic issues each. They are also available as limited hardcover editions.
TitleISBNRelease DateCollected Material
The Walking Dead: Compendium OneMay 6, 2009TWD #1–48
The Walking Dead: Compendium TwoOctober 3, 2012TWD #49–96
The Walking Dead: Compendium ThreeOctober 13, 2015TWD #97–144
The Walking Dead: Compendium FourOctober 8, 2019TWD #145–193

Box sets

Other publications

Several ancillary books and a special edition have also been published:
TitleISBNRelease DateDescription
The Walking Dead Survivors' GuideNovember 1, 2011A detailed guide to every character featured in the comics as of its publication
The Walking Dead 100 Project September 25, 2013One hundred covers sketched by various artists commemorating issue #100
The Walking Dead 100 Project October 8, 2013One hundred covers sketched by various artists commemorating issue #100
The Walking Dead: The Covers – Volume 1October 6, 2010Collection of the cover art for The Walking Dead #1–50 and #51–100
The Walking Dead: The Covers – Volume 2July 9, 2013Collection of the cover art for The Walking Dead #1–50 and #51–100
The Walking Dead: All Out War Artist's Proof EditionOctober 1, 2014All Out War parts 1 and 2, The Walking Dead #115–126, with its original pencil artwork; cover art features Rick and Negan

Comic books