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Walking Dead Wiki
Walking Dead Wiki
This article is about the Comic Series. For other pages with the same name, see: The Walking Dead Comic Universe

The Walking Dead was a monthly black-and-white American comic that started in 2003, and was created and written by Robert Kirkman with artist Tony Moore. The current artists for the series are Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, Cliff Rathburn and Dave Stewart. The comic is published by Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment.


Story Development

In answer to the question:

Did you have a master plan from the very beginning or you're developing things "on the go"?

Robert Kirkman responded:

As far as a master plan goes--I don't have one. When I started, I had mapped the book up to about where I am now, actually. (Issue 37) I've... changed some things here and there... along the way I've come up with dozens of other things to do with the book that will keep it going and keep it interesting for years to come. I'm constantly thinking of new and horrible things that will happen to these characters. I love them so much, but I love doing terrible things to them.
So... I pretty much write things on the go from issue to issue, but I follow a larger plot I've got mapped out for some time. I like to play things fast and loose, though. That's how life is--we never know what's going to come next. so while I do have a road map--if a side road pops up on the horizon at the last minute, I don't hesitate to go that route knowing that I can eventually get back on the main road at a later date.[1]

Robert Kirkman's updated statement to the same question in Letter Hacks of Issue 104:

I have a solid plot through Issue 200 and general ideas that could continue after that. I'm at a point with the series where I plot in 24 issue chunks, loosely... then I flesh things out as I write. I try to have at least 4 of those chunks planned, but there are times when a new chunk of issues is dropped in and things get pushed back... that's why I have such far reaching plans. Basically, I'm saying this book looks like it will be around for a while.

In response to a question:

You said that the book is plotted a long ways out ... do you ever find yourself straying a bit from your plans but then eventually coming back on track?

Robert Kirkman responded:

Yes, a few [times], but I can't mention some because they haven't happened yet. Dexter and Andrew were originally just going to leave the prison--and not try to kick everyone out. But when I was writing Issue 18, I figured "these guys wouldn't just leave." So I had to change the ending. Originally, Hershel was going to lose a leg, not Allen, but I decided so much bad stuff had happened to Hershel already with losing his kids and all, having him then also lose a leg would seem unrealistic... like I had it out for the guy... so Allen's leg was lost. I also wasn't planning on killing Allen, I loved Allen, until the issue he died in was being written. It just seemed like it needed the extra punch of him dying... and so he died. Seemed like a good idea at the time.[2]

Reddit Q&A:

I do plan on doing at least 300 issues, but if I'm having this much fun then I won't stop there. Also, if I suddenly start having a lot LESS fun, I may end it earlier, but I don't see that happening. I'm in for the long haul, and Charlie Adlard is too. As far as a new group/location... not exactly... although there are some REALLY cool changes coming up in Issue 127.

Cause of Outbreak

Kirkman explained that going back to explain how the government originally collapsed "...doesn't interest me, for the time being... I may change my mind eventually."[3] As to the cause of the zombie outbreak, Kirkman wrote, "I have ideas [about the cause of the zombie plague]... but it's nothing set in stone because I never plan on writing it. So yes... I do know... kind of."[4]

In response to a question:

I think you should elaborate more on how people can turn into zombies without one biting you, or how this whole mess started in the first place. Was it like a plague or a rapture kind of thing?

Kirkman responded:

That starts to get into the origin of all this stuff, and I think that's unimportant to the series itself. There will be smaller answers as things progress... but never will we see the whole picture.[5]


In regard to the timeline, Robert Kirkman wrote in 2007, "The Walking Dead takes place in our world, as if this stuff had started happening in October 2003 and continued from there. Now, (Issue 38) in the book it's still only like... June 2004 at this point (If you're keeping track)."[6] "[The Walking Dead] is set in modern times... but the book started in 2003 and only a year has passed in the book. But that doesn't mean it's 2004 in the book... maybe it's 2009... who knows... who really cares. I don't want to be specific it also smells funny in there."[7]

The Rest of the World

In response to a question:

...are we ever gonna get an idea of what's going on in the rest of the world? Like in Canada, or even overseas?


We'll only see what's going on if the characters we're following go there. So we'd never randomly cut to Canada or anywhere, randomly. So it's likely we're not going to see most of the world.[8]


I'm not trying to scare anybody. If that somehow happens as a result of reading this comic that's great, but really... that's not what this book is about. What you now hold in your hands is the most serious piece of work I've done so far in my career. I'm the guy that created Battle Pope; I hope you guys realize what a stretch this is for me. It's really not that hard to believe me when you realize that I'm diving into subject matter that is so utterly serious and dramatic.
To me, the best zombie movies aren't the splatter fests of gore and violence with goofy characters and tongue in cheek antics. Good zombies movies show us how messed up we are, they make us question our station in society... and our society's station in the world. They show us gore and violence and all that cool stuff too... but there's always an undercurrent of social commentary and thoughtfulness. That's what makes Romero films so great.
With "The Walking Dead" I want to explore how people deal with extreme situations and how these events CHANGE them. I'm in this for the long haul, and I'm pretty sure Tony is too. You guy are going to see Rick change and mature to the point that when you look back on this issue you won't even recognize him. I hope you guys are looking forward to a sprawling epic, because that's the idea of this one.
So, if anything scares you... great. But this is NOT a horror book. I like the term "survivalist adventure." I think that one works well with what we're trying to do. This book is more about watching Rick survive than it is about watching zombies pop around the corner and scare you. I hope that's what you guys are into.
All the story commentary aside, at the very least, even if you hate the thing... you've got to admit... it at least looks good. I've been working with Tony Moore for as long as I can remember. I've SEEN Tony's work, I KNOW Tony's work, and I've got to say... just in case you didn't notice... Tony really pulled out all the stops on this one. I can really tell that he shares my immense love for the subject matter. This book is really a thing of beauty. I couldn't be more pleased with how it's turning out. I hope you all agree.
So let us know, tell us what you liked, tell us what you didn't like. Send praises, gripes, whatever... call us names if you want... but let us know what you of what we're doing. The needed info is somewhere on this page I'm sure, so there's really no excuse. It'll give you something to do while you wait for the second issue, but I promise... It won't be more than a month.
—Robert Kirkman


The series has 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".[9] Among its fans are author Max Brooks.[10]

IGN also ranked main protagonist Rick Grimes as the 26th Greatest Comic Book Hero of All Time in 2011, stating that Kirkman "has an endless supply of ringers [sic] to run Rick through".[11] IGN ranked Michonne, another protagonist, as the 86th Greatest Comic Book Hero of All Time the same year.[12] It ranked the Governor as the 86th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time in 2009, describing him as "a sadistic evil that 'The Road Warrior' forgot".[13]


Title Issues Publication Dates
1. "Days Gone Bye" #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6 October 2003 - March 2004
2. "Miles Behind Us" #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12 April 2004 - September 2004
3. "Safety Behind Bars" #13, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18 October 2004 - April 2005
4. "The Heart's Desire" #19, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24 June 2005 - November 2005
5. "The Best Defense" #25, #26, #27, #28, #29, #30 January 2006 - August 2006
6. "This Sorrowful Life" #31, #32, #33, #34, #35, #36 September 2006 - March 2007
7. "The Calm Before" #37, #38, #39, #40, #41, #42 May 2007 - September 2007
8. "Made To Suffer" #43, #44, #45, #46, #47, #48 October 2007 - April 2008
9. "Here We Remain" #49, #50, #51, #52, #53, #54 May 2008 - November 2008
10. "What We Become" #55, #56, #57, #58, #59, #60 December 2008 - April 2009
11. "Fear The Hunters" #61, #62, #63, #64, #65, #66 May 2009 - October 2009
12. "Life Among Them" #67, #68, #69, #70, #71, #72 November 2009 - May 2010
13. "Too Far Gone" #73, #74, #75, #76, #77, #78 June 2010 - October 2010
14. "No Way Out" #79, #80, #81, #82, #83, #84 November 2010 - April 2011
15. "We Find Ourselves" #85, #86, #87, #88, #89, #90 May 2011 - October 2011
16. "A Larger World" #91, #92, #93, #94, #95, #96 November 2011 - April 2012
17. "Something To Fear" #97, #98, #99, #100, #101, #102 May 2012 - September 2012
18. "What Comes After" #103, #104, #105, #106, #107, #108 October 2012 - March 2013
19. "March To War" #109, #110, #111, #112, #113, #114 April 2013 - September 2013
20. "All Out War - Part One" #115, #116, #117, #118, #119, #120 October 2013 - January 2014
21. "All Out War - Part Two" #121, #122, #123, #124, #125, #126 February 2014 - April 2014
22. "A New Beginning" #127, #128, #129, #130, #131, #132 May 2014 - October 2014
23. "Whispers Into Screams" #133, #134, #135, #136, #137, #138 October 2014 - March 2015
24. "Life And Death" #139, #140, #141, #142, #143, #144 March 2015 - July 2015
25. "No Turning Back" #145, #146, #147, #148, #149, #150 August 2015 - January 2016
26. "Call To Arms" #151, #152, #153, #154, #155, #156 February 2016 - July 2016
27. "The Whisperer War" #157, #158, #159, #160, #161, #162 August 2016 - January 2017
28. "A Certain Doom" #163, #164, #165, #166, #167, #168 February 2017 - June 2017
29. "Lines We Cross" #169, #170, #171, #172, #173, #174 July 2017 - December 2017
30. "New World Order" #175, #176, #177, #178, #179, #180 January 2018 - June 2018
31. "The Rotten Core" #181, #182, #183, #184, #185, #186 July 2018 - December 2018
32. "Rest In Peace" #187, #188, #189, #190, #191, #192, #193 January 2019 - July 2019


For the storyline of each comic issue, see Storyline (By Issue).


For the Comic Series Cover Gallery, see Cover Gallery.


  • Robert Kirkman promoted the Comic Series as "the zombie movie that never ends".[1]
  • Originally, the name for the comic was "The Night of The Living Dead". The pilot for the comic was also set in the 1960s. Additionally, instead of being set in Georgia, it was to take place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • Kirkman revealed that he planned a different end to the Comic Series and the TV Series. Furthermore, he originally hoped that the Comic Series would last longer than the TV Series.
  • Robert Kirkman estimated the comic series to last about 300 issues. However, as stated in Issue 193, he and Charlie Adlard got to Issue 142 and Kirkman realized the Commonwealth storyline, and thus the end of the series, was quickly approaching. It was then Kirkman realized that there was no way the comic would reach 300 issues.
  • Kirkman has expressed interest in an animated adaptation of the comic series.[14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Issue 37, page 25, Letter Hacks, Interview with Andrea Voglino for Italian magazine Alias/Il Manifesto.
  2. Issue 43, page 31, Letter Hacks, see also Issue 48, Trivia section
  3. Issue 50, page 33, Letter Hacks.
  4. Issue 54, page 27, Letter Hacks
  5. Issue 46, page 27, Letter Hacks.
  6. Issue 38, unknown page, Letter Hacks.
  7. Issue 58, page 25, Letter Hacks.
  8. Reddit
  9. "Walking Dead Omnibus Review: It's a slice of fried gold.", IGN, January 10, 2006
  10. "Baltimore: Image Comics Panel". Comic Book Resources (September 28, 2008).
  11. "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes: Rick Grimes - #26". IGN.
  12. "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes: Michonne - #86". IGN.
  13. "Top 100 Comic Book Villains: The Governor is number 86". IGN. Archived from the original on August 13, 2012.
  14. The Walking Dead Creator on Potential Animated Adaptation on comicbook.com