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Walking Dead Wiki
Walking Dead Wiki

Issue 1 is the first and the debut issue of Image Comics' The Walking Dead and the first part of Volume 1: Days Gone Bye. It was originally published on October 8, 2003. It was re-released in full color on October 9, 2013 as a special edition to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Walking Dead. An artist proof edition was released on August 26, 2015. The deluxe colored version was released on October 7, 2020.

Plot Synopsis[]

The story opens with Officer Rick Grimes and his partner, Shane Walsh, in a standoff with Reggie who has escaped from prison. Rick tells Shane to cover him while he flanks Reggie. The escaped con, however, manages to shoot Shane's gun out of his hand, then proceeds to shoot Rick.

It immediately cuts to Rick in a hospital bed waking up. He tries to get up but falls to the floor. He yells for a nurse, but no one comes. After waiting for several minutes, he gets up on his own and gets dressed. He explores the hospital, but finds it deserted. After riding in an elevator to another floor, he is startled when the door opens and a corpse falls into the elevator. Once again, he yells for help, but no one answers. He discovers the cafeteria door blocked with a board and decides to investigate. Once he opens it, he finds the room full of zombies. He is attacked, but is able to get away unscratched after tumbling down the stairs. He attempts to find some means of transportation but only finds a bicycle which is guarded by a half-eaten zombie. After stumbling back in disgust Rick grabs the bicycle and pushes it down the road. Overwhelmed, he falls to his knees and briefly cries before getting up and riding the rest of the way. When he arrives at his house he finds it ransacked and deserted. Upon exiting, he is hit over the head with a shovel by Duane Jones, and knocked unconscious. Duane's father, Morgan, comes running up and scolds the young boy, telling him that Rick is alive and not a zombie.

Rick wakes up in the Jones' residence and, and is invited to have dinner with Morgan and Duane. Rick is confused and starts to panic, but Morgan calms him down and is surprised to learn Rick is clueless about the apocalypse. Rick reveals how he was shot, put in a coma, and doesn't know what is going on. Morgan tells Rick that not much is known about what caused the outbreak, but, that the media was informing everyone to relocate to large cities so that everyone could be protected. Morgan decided to take his chances in a small town, and says the power has since gone out and he knows nothing else. Rick mentions his wife, Lori, had family in Atlanta and that she may have gone there with their son, Carl.

After talking, Rick, Morgan, and Duane go to the police station where Rick works. Morgan cautiously asks Rick if he minds him and his son taking residence at his neighbor's house, but Rick tells not to worry about it. Rick thanks Morgan for driving him to the station, and takes him to the armory. He leaves him to choose weapons while Rick goes to change into a police uniform. Rick equips himself with guns and a car. He also gives Morgan a car. Morgan proceeds to thank Rick before they are interrupted by a zombie pushing up against a chain-link fence. Rick wants to shoot it, but Morgan stops him, since the zombie can't get them and he might need that bullet later. Morgan and Duane plan on staying in the small town, so Rick and Morgan wish each other well and Rick mentions he will come back later for the two. Before Rick leaves for Atlanta, he walks over to the bicycle zombie and tearfully shoots her in the head.




  • First appearance of Rick Grimes.
  • First appearance of Shane Walsh.
  • First appearance of Morgan Jones.
  • First appearance of Duane Jones.
  • First appearance of Lori Grimes. (Photograph)
  • First appearance of Carl Grimes. (Photograph)
  • Only appearance of Reggie. (Alive)
  • As an April Fools' Day 2012 joke, Robert Kirkman and Chris Giarusso announced a new project at Emerald City Comicon: The Walking Dead for Kids. This announcement including a new issue one cover. To see the cover, see the Volume 1: Days Gone Bye/Gallery.[1]
  • This issue sold for $10,100 on eBay on November 14th, 2012.[2]
  • This is the first issue to be released in full color.[3]
  • Wizard World has revealed Michael Golden's exclusive The Walking Dead #1 variant cover, to be given to attendees at the first ever Wizard World Comic Con Indianapolis (February 13, 2015 - February 15, 2015)[4][5]
  • With Rick's death in Issue 192, no character that physically appeared in this issue is still alive.
  • This is the first issue to show nudity. Namely, the bicycle zombie's half eaten breast is shown.
  • For the Motion Comic, no further episodes were made despite it saying "To Be Continued" at the end of the short.
  • When Morgan stops Rick from killing the walker behind bars and says that he will need this bullet later. Which in the future will be one of the main rules of this world “To save the last bullet for myself.”.

Issue Highlights[]

  • Rick is shot and wakes up from a coma roughly a month later, only to find the hospital abandoned and the world overrun with zombies.
  • He finds his wife and son missing from their home.
  • He meets a survivor named Morgan Jones and his son, Duane, after being knocked out by the latter. Morgan explains that how the apocalypse started and that most people sought refuge in bigger cities.
  • Rick takes Morgan and Duane to the local police station. After stocking up on guns, he gives some to Morgan as well, along with a police cruiser, before leaving for Atlanta to find his wife and son.
  • Before leaving Cynthiana, he stops by the side of the road and shoots a partially-devoured zombie he saw earlier when he left the hospital.

Cutting Room Floor[]

  • The page with the zombies in the cafeteria was originally going to be a two-page spread.
  • The zombie that Rick tumbled down the staircase with was added during scripting.
  • The bicycle zombie was originally intended to be a kid.
  • Rick was originally going to be in Morgan's house on page 17, but instead happened two pages earlier.



  • Rick's shirt is colored beige instead of blue as seen on every Tony Moore cover.

External Links[]

  • The Walking Dead #1, Image Comics. Full copy online.
  • Melrose, Kevin. The star of April's sales charts: The Walking Dead, Comic Book Resources, (May 18, 2010). "The Walking Dead #1, the debut entry in Image Comics' "Image Firsts" campaign reprinting the first issues from 10 popular series, sold more than 59,000 copies, seizing the No. 15 spot on the April chart."