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This article is about the Comic Series character. You may be looking for his appearance in the Novel Series, or his Assault, Escapists, Road to Survival, TV Series, No Man's Land, Our World, or Social Game counterparts. For other pages with the same name, see: Brian

—Brian Blake to his men as they approach the prison.[src]

Brian Blake, better known as Philip Blake or by his epithet "The Governor", is a main character and an antagonist first encountered in Issue 27 of Image Comics' The Walking Dead as well as the protagonist of The Governor Special. He takes his brother's name after Philip dies, and even adapts his personality through an out of body experience, and never revealed his real name to anyone in Woodbury. He served as the primary antagonist from Volume 5: The Best Defense to Volume 8: Made To Suffer.


Prior to his arrival at Woodbury, Brian Blake was nothing like the villain he would become. He was a meek, insecure, and generally good-natured man. Weak and cowardly, he relied of the protection of his cold younger brother, Phillip. His insecurity took it's toll on him as days grew darker and humanity crumbled, and he ultimately succumbed to carnal instincts. To assure he would never be weak, he assumed his brother's identity as Phillip Blake.

As the Governor, Brian drowned in self induced psychopathy. He became utterly convinced that only the Phillip Blakes of society could make it in the world and that the Brians were destined to die. Against his internal ethics, he forced himself to commit atrocities to harden himself for the new world and repress the man who he once was. His true self emerges occasionally against his will, and he struggles with this severe internal conflict throughout his life as the Governor, rendering him insatiably callous, vengeful, belligerent, and paranoid. His thirst for power and blood to constrict the good within him is the dominant driving force of his character. He also showed intensely sexually perverted behaviour, such as raping Michonne and a sexual attraction to his dead niece. Despite his savage and perverse actions, he was a charismatic and well loved leader among the survivors of Woodbury, and was a skilled manipulator, as he never really cared for any of his people and only used them for his own benefit, even when they were attacking Rick's group at The Prison. However, his selfishness and sole goal of seeking revenge on Rick's group and sacrificing many of his own people ultimately led to his demise at the hands of one of his own people, Lilly Caul, who saw Brian for what he really was: a sadistic monster.


Rural Georgia

For The Governor's whereabouts prior to or as the outbreak began:

Main Article: Brian Blake (Novel Series)


For The Governor's whereabouts after the outbreak began:

Main Article: Brian Blake (Novel Series)

The Best Defense

When Rick Grimes, Glenn, and Michonne Hawthorne reach Woodbury, Martinez hands them over to The Governor. The Governor appears friendly at first, but, soon reveals that he intends to feed them to Woodbury's group of captive zombies if they don't tell him where they've been hiding out. Rick, Glenn, and Michonne continually refuse to disclose this information to The Governor. Frustrated over their lack of cooperation, The Governor cuts off Rick's hand to try and intimidate him into giving up the location of their base camp. Seeing The Governor's horrific act, Michonne retaliates by biting off a portion of his ear. After Bruce pries Michonne of him, The Governor has Michonne and Glenn locked away and sends an unconscious Rick to the infirmary.

After having his injury treated by Stevens, The Governor is informed by Bruce that Michonne is ready for interrogation when he wants to proceed. The Governor asks Bruce to immediately show him to Michonne's location so they can begin. After getting Bruce to tie Michonne's legs to the walls, The Governor proceeds to rape and torture Michonne. After finishing up with Michonne, The Governor informs her that he will be back to continue torturing her later before heading back to his apartment. After he arrives, he is rushed by Penny and retaliates by giving his zombified niece a backhand. The Governor apologizes for his actions and notices that Penny has knocked over her food bucket, fixing it for her. Afterwards, he is visited by Gabe who gives The Governor the items he wanted brought to him earlier, including Rick's hand and the zombified heads of some of his victims. The Governor feeds Rick's hand to Penny before adding the zombified heads to his collection of them contained in fish tanks.

Much later, The Governor begins to interrogate Glenn. After Glenn refuses to give in to his demands, The Governor has him moved to a cell adjoining Michonne's cell so he can listen to her screams while The Governor tortures her. After finishing up with Glenn, The Governor resumes his torture of Michonne, once again raping and beating her, all while Glenn is forced to listen from the adjoining room. After finishing with his torture of Michonne, The Governor heads over to Woodbury's clinic to see how Rick is recovering from the loss of his hand. When he arrives, The Governor informs Rick that he will be fighting in the Woodbury arena as soon as he has fully recovered and lies by telling Rick he has let Glenn go free. Rick asks him why he would do such a thing and The Governor responds by telling Rick that Glenn told him everything about his group, including that they are based in a nearby prison, horrifying Rick. The Governor then leaves a speechless Rick to himself in the clinic and discusses his strategy with Bruce and Gabe outside, his men telling him they don't think Rick fell for it. However, The Governor tells them both that he definitely did, saying the expression on Rick's face was more than enough of a giveaway to indicate that his group is indeed based at a nearby prison.

This Sorrowful Life

The Governor later pays another visit to Michonne's holding cell. While he is there, instead of torturing her, he gives her a choice to make. The Governor tells her that if she replaces one of his arena fighters, who was murdered, in an upcoming arena fight, he may help her, suggesting a bullet to her head would be his way of saying thanks. If she were to say no, her torture would continue for each day until she could find a way to kill herself. The Governor also informs her that he will even let her use the katana she wields in the arena and then leaves, telling her she has twenty minutes to decide upon her answer. Michonne eventually agrees to The Governor's idea and enters the arena to fight against one of the regular fighters, Eugene Cooney. Much to The Governor and the people of Woodbury's surprise, Michonne decapitates Eugene once the fight starts and kills all of Woodbury's captive zombies. She is eventually subdued by Bruce and Gabe and The Governor, in a rage, almost kills her but relents at the last second. During this time The Governor also has Martinez help Rick and his other group members escape so that they may reveal to location of the prison to him.

After arriving back at his apartment in order to feed Penny parts of Eugene's corpse, he is ambushed by Michonne, having been freed by Rick and Glenn during their escape with Martinez, Stevens, and Alice. The two have a brief standoff before scrambling over Michonne's sword. Michonne manages to gain the upper-hand and knock the Governor unconscious, then proceeding to strip him naked and tie him to his apartment walls ready for torture. From there she proceeded to graphically torture the Governor until near-death: drilling through his shoulder blades, nailing his penis to the wooden flooring, shoving a spoon into his rectum, gouging out his left eye, nearly severing an artery, pulling out his fingernails and cutting off his right arm. Michonne relented upon taking his life, however, wanting the eventual chance to meet and torture him again. Not before long, Bruce and Gabe almost catch her in The Governor's apartment, Michonne escaping just before they could. Not knowing what to do in light of Steven's death and Alice leaving Woodbury, Bruce and Gabe have Woodbury's drunk town medic, Bob Stookey, begin to work on healing The Governor's grievous wounds.

The Calm Before

After eventually healing from his wounds sustained by Michonne, The Governor discovers the location and recruits almost everyone from Woodbury to launch an attack on it. He and many citizens from Woodbury drive an armada of vehicles, including a tank, towards the prison and The Governor orders his men to "KILL THEM ALL!".

Made To Suffer

In a flashback shown in Issue 43, The Governor is shown still recovering from the wounds he suffered at the hands of Michonne. It is during this recovery that he is informed by Bruce of Martinez's death at the hands of the prison group, having uncovered The Governor's plot of using Martinez to spy on them sometime earlier. The Governor has Bruce recover Martinez's body and remove the reanimated head from his corpse, which he presents to the people of Woodbury during one of his speeches in order to rally them to his side against the prison group.

During the time Woodbury was searching for the location of the prison, The Governor uses a tooth plier to remove Penny's teeth, rendering her unable to bite him. With her new found state of harmlessness, The Governor kisses his zombified niece, only to vomit seconds later from the repulsive taste, apologizing to Penny for his actions. Moments later Gabe informs The Governor of an explosion and sounds of gunfire nearby Woodbury, also telling him that Bruce and three other men went to investigate the explosion. The Governor, believing the prison group are responsible, orders Gabe and a few other men to accompany him to the explosion's location. When The Governor, Gabe, and the other men arrive, they find that Bruce and the other Woodbury soldiers have been killed by the prison group, Bruce confirming this in his dying moments. The Governor shoots Bruce in the head to prevent him from reanimating and immediately orders Gabe to follow the prison group's tracks so that they may finally discover the prison's location. Gabe returns to The Governor later that day at Woodbury and informs him that they now known the location of the prison, demanding they go and attack now. The Governor berates him for this strategy, saying their guard will still be up after the shootout with Bruce and the others, making an attack against the prison foolish.

After many weeks of waiting and amassing supplies, The Governor decides to attack the prison, leaving Bob to guard Penny before he makes one last speech to the Woodbury Army and travels with them towards the prison. Once The Governor and his army arrive at the prison he orders them to "KILL THEM ALL!" before they open fire on the prison. After his army unloads a rally of bullets at the prison, The Governor orders them to cease fire. He gives the prison group one last chance to make it easy on themselves and surrender, but this strategy quickly fails as the prison group maintain their ground and return fire at the Woodbury Army, Andrea almost killing The Governor in the process. Noticing that the prison group is using a wall of zombies to surround the prison fences, The Governor devises that while they may not know how to fire the tank, they can use it to clear the amount of zombies around the fences.

Still losing too many of his men at the hands of Andrea in the prison's guard tower, The Governor is forced to retreat from the prison and regroup with his forces. While devising a new plan of attack against the prison, Gabe brings a captured Tyreese to The Governor, telling him that they caught him in the woods after he and Michonne had killed three of Woodbury's soldiers. The Governor demands Gabe tell him what happened to Michonne and he informs The Governor that he blew her brains out. Gabe then presents The Governor with Michonne's sword as proof of this, but the Governor is still sceptical despite the proof.

After briefly interrogating Tyreese, the Governor decides he has no further uses for him and has bound and placed inside once of Woodbury's trucks for transport back to the prison. When The Governor arrives at the prison he immediately hails the group's attention and presents them a bound and gagged Tyreese from outside the prison's fences. The Governor demands the prison group surrender in exchange for Tyreese's life, but they refuse, knowing full well The Governor plans to kill them no matter what. Frustrated over the prison group's decision, The Governor uses Michonne's katana to gruesomely decapitate Tyreese in front of the prison group before hastily retreating back to the rest of his men.

Back at the Woodbury camp near the prison, the Governor is ambushed by a surviving Michonne, holding him at gunpoint before the rest of his men. Gabe fires off a shot and she quickly tries to move out of the way, causing the shot to pierce through the Governor's face inflicting a minor wound. Unable to locate Michonne and out of time to devise another plan of attack on the prison, the Governor rallies his surviving people for one final attack.

Once the final attack on the prison begins, the Governor's forces are met with harsh resistance from the prison group, with Gabe being killed almost as soon as the attack starts. Feeling he is losing too many men, The Governor resorts to desperate tactics and uses Woodbury's tank to ram through the prison fences, allowing both his men and dozens of zombies access to inside the prison. The Governor and his men quickly begin to kill of members of the prison group, with The Governor personally finishing off a wounded Alice. The Governor orders Lilly Caul to fire upon Lori Grimes and she does so with the shot killing her instantly. The Governor then proceeds to finish off Hershel Greene who begs him to end his life after the death of Billy Greene. Lilly then begins to frantically panic, realizing she also killed Judith Grimes after shooting Lori. This causes her to hold The Governor at gunpoint, but not before long a large group of zombies knock her focus off him and he manages to disarm her rifle. The Governor then tries to rally his people to follow him to fight off the zombie horde, but Lilly pulls out her pistol and shoots him in the back of the head instead, kicking his still living body into the zombie horde not moments after to allow herself and the other surviving Woodbury soldiers time to escape. With Brian's death, his madness as the Governor is finally put to an end, avenging the deaths of everyone who died at the prison and allowing the citizens of Woodbury live in peace.


Killed By

Enraged with the Governor for making her kill a newborn baby, Lilly shoots him in the back of the head and shoves him into the horde of walkers, which proceed to devour him.

Killed Victims

This list shows the victims Brian has killed:


Penny Blake

"Give daddy a kiss"
—The Governor to his niece before kissing her on the mouth[src]

The daughter of his brother Philip Blake. Although his niece has turned into a zombie, The Governor seems to ignore it. He loved her and tried to keep her undead form safe, and feeds her with dead or alive survivors (he kills the alive survivors for her, if possible). Still, if she tries to attack him, he slaps her in the face, or just tells her not to attack. It is revealed that he has kept her in his house for months. He still cares about her and is able to tell when she is upset. He notably fed her Rick's right hand and later on (after being tortured by Michonne) he removed all of her teeth and kissed her on the lips, showing a deeply disturbing hint of necrophilia.

Bruce Cooper

The Governor seems to respect Bruce more than Gabe, his other right-hand man. He praises Bruce often, usually of his strength. When he died, The Governor seemed surprisingly more upset, than usual.

Gabriel Harris

Gabriel was The Governor's other right hand man and took over after Bruce had died. The Governor, despite not treating Gabe very well, has stated that he values his loyalty. He appeared to have been incredibly shocked and upset to see him being gunned down by Andrea.

Bob Stookey

When Bob arrived in Woodbury Brian took a special interest in him, he told him a lot of his secrets even revealing the undead Penny to him. Brian came to see Bob as a father figure, and was one of the few people he really cared about. Bob sometimes feared Brian, but, still respected him, he would later go on to save Brian's life after his mutilation by Michonne. When Brian went to attack the prison he asked Bob to watch Penny for him, until he returned.

Lilly Caul

She seemed to be another one of The Governor's brainwashed citizens, until she killed Lori and Judith died from the fall. She then shot The Governor because she saw him as evil and blamed him for Judith's death.

Rick Grimes

While initially appearing nice and kind towards Rick when they first met, such as giving him a tour of Woodbury and showing him the caged fight arenas, which is what they do when they're entertained, this immediately changed when he is left alone with Rick, his men, Glenn, and Michonne and even went as far as cutting Rick's right hand off and feeding it to Penny. They both hated each other bitterly after Rick escaped Woodbury and murdered some of The Governor's men, which caused an assault on the prison in Issue 48, but this ultimately led to the destruction of the prison and The Governor along with his men and presumably Woodbury.

Michonne Hawthorne

"I'm--I'm not crying for me. I'm crying for you. I think about all the things I'm going to do to you and it makes me cry. It scares me."
—Michonne to Brian, after he raped her.[src]

Michonne and Brian had a bad relationship. When Rick, Glenn, and Michonne encountered Woodbury, Brian came out to greet them in a pleasant manner. However, when he reveals his true self by cutting off Rick's right hand, Michonne lunged herself at him and tore his left ear off. Enraged, Brian had Michonne locked up in a garage. The Governor then proceeded to rape her and beat her twice. When finished Michonne tearfully states that she's afraid of what she's going to do in retaliation. This comes to fruition in Issue 33 when Michonne goes to Brian's apartment and mutilates him. When Tyreese died during the battle with Woodbury, Michonne became vengeful, but did not manage to kill Brian.



  • The Governor is the first major recurring antagonist in the Comic Series, the second being Negan and the third being Alpha.
    • He also has the shortest lifespan out of the three major antagonists.
  • Brian is one of the few characters Robert Kirkman misses, and even regrets killing.
  • Robert Kirkman revealed that he named Philip (at the time of his first appearance as he was known) after a bully with the same name who used to pick on Robert during his childhood.
    • Brian was originally going to be named "Noah".
    • The Governor was also going to be referred to as "The President".
  • In 2009, Brian was ranked as IGN's 86th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.
  • In a Comic Book Resources interview, Robert Kirkman jokingly said: "A lot of different characters have aspects of my personality, I think, but for the most part, I'm just making people up. Not one character is exclusively based on one person. Except for The Governor, who is exactly like Joe Quesada [editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics]. They are literally exactly the same."
  • According to Rise of the Governor, Brian is "barely" 5'7" in height with his boots on.
    • Ironically, his TV counterpart is one of the tallest characters in the series.
  • Regarding the torture and medical care of The Governor, Robert Kirkman wrote: "It wasn't that Bob was such a good medic that suddenly came out of nowhere that saved Governor's life-although he certainly did save his life. The idea is that Michonne was keeping The Governor alive, so she could torture him more. His wounds were bad, but not impossible to heal from."
  • Brian, along with Rick, Andrea, Michonne, Abraham, Negan, and Alpha have killed the most named characters, either as a zombie or as a living person.
  • Brian had mentioned that he had attempted cannibalism.
  • Brian's kiss with Penny shows one of several incidents that survivors can not turn by exchanging body fluids.
    • The kiss was also an indication to show the reader how bad things could get within his story arc, mentioned by Kirkman.
    • He also shows necrophilic, incestuous and pedophilic tendencies by kissing Penny on the lips.
  • Brian has survived most injuries than any other character. These injuries include such as:
    • Gunshots (shot to the chest and head)
    • Amputations (arm, ear, fingernails, both eyes and penis)
    • Scalds (nubs of amputated limbs burned in order to stop a bleeding)
    • Stabs (drilled to shoulder, rectum violated)
    • Hits, kicks, dislocations of limbs (beaten almost to death by Philip and Michonne)
    • Bites (to neck and ear)
    • Heavy blood losses
    • Long falls
    • Explosions
  • Brian is one of six characters in The Walking Dead Universe to receive an eye injury, the other four being his TV Series counterpart, Carl Grimes (along with his TV Series counterpart), Kenny and Violet (Determinant) from the Video Game.
    • The Governor is one of the two people in the Comic Series to lose an eye, Carl being the second.
    • The Governor lost his left eye which is opposite of Carl who lost his right.
    • Interestingly enough, the Governor lost his left eye in the comics, whereas his TV counterpart lost his right eye.
  • Brian is the last character to die in the first compendium.
  • Brian is one of two characters in The Walking Dead universe confirmed to have raped two people, raping both Megan Lafferty and Michonne Hawthorne.
  • Brian was referenced in rapper Eminem's song Rap God, one line reading "I'm the Walking Dead, but I'm just a talking head, a zombie floating" referring to The Governor's habit of keeping decapitated heads in fish tanks.
  • The Governor is briefly referenced in The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners.