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They are the least of your problems.

The Walking Dead is a Zombie Apocalypse Comic Book, written by Robert Kirkman with art by Charlie Adlard, featuring an ensemble cast (which is constantly in flux) of survivors struggling to survive over the long-term duration of the zombie uprising. The de facto main character is Rick Grimes, a police officer who was shot in the line of duty; when he wakes up from a Convenient Coma, all hell has broken loose. Rick goes in search of his family and safety, both of which end up being more tenuous than not.

While most Zombie Apocalypse comic books focus on More Dakka and Improbable Fighting Skills in order to showcase Big Damn Heroes, The Walking Dead focuses more of its action on Survival Horror and the psychological and personal relationships which result from the stress of being constantly on guard.

The writing seems to have taken a number of things from the The Zombie Survival Guide to heart, although the two works were published within a month of each other (The Zombie Survival Guide predates). This seems to be a coincidence, as Kirkman has said he hasn't read it yet.

There is also a Live Action Adaptation television series based on the comic; it has its own page. There is also an episodic Adventure Game series by Telltale Games set in the same universe. It also has its own page. Kirkman has also co-written a planned trilogy of prequel novels to the series, the first one being Rise of the Governor. The second, The Road to Woodbury, is set for release in October 2012.

There is a Shout Out page here.

Now has a character sheet.

Tropes used in The Walking Dead (comics) include:


  • Abandoned Hospital Awakening: The first issue starts with Rick getting shot, then awakening weeks later to find thing have changed.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Michonne's blade. Starts as an Aversion - it gets stuck in a skull once, when we first meet her - but then cuts through anything like a hot knife through butter. Rick's hatchet, on the other hand, is as sharp as the plot needs it to be at any given time.
  • Action Girl: Deconstructed in the case of Michonne. The Zombie Apocalypse has honed her into a stone-cold badass, but at the cost of most of her sanity and compassion. Instead of straight-up killing the Governor, she tortures him and leaves him alive, allowing him to mount an attack on the prison and kill the vast majority of the folks there. Following that, she leads Tyreese on a two-person counterattack that results in his beheading. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Affably Evil: The leader of the cannibal gang. There's really nothing personal about cutting off your leg. After all, a man's got to eat.
    • The Governor is also pretty charismatic and well-liked by his people.
  • Anyone Can Die: The comic lives on this trope. Mauve Shirts are in high number.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Rick has his right arm hacked off by the Governor. Then, The Governor himself loses an arm, among other things, when Michonne tortures and mutilates him.
  • Artificial Limbs: Dale gets a makeshift wooden leg after a zombie bite forces them to amputate one of his real ones.
  • Ascended Extra: Lilly, who only appeared for a couple of pages during the end of Made to Suffer, is the protagonist of the novel The Walking Dead the Road To Woodbury.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The Governor thinks his superior numbers and a salvaged armored fighting vehicle will give him a quick victory; instead his mooks get slaughtered as they can't get past the prison fences and their marksmanship isn't as good as those holding the prison (Rick has made a point of training everyone). The prison only gets overrun when the tank is finally used to knock down the fences, but this also lets the zombies in.
  • Axe Crazy: Several people.
  • Badass: Quite a few characters, especially if they've survived for a good while. The most notable examples are probably Rick, Michonne, Andrea, Abraham and Tyreese.
  • Break the Cutie / Driven to Suicide: Carol, Hershel, Maggie.
  • Celebrity Survivor: Subverted by Tyreese—he used to be a pro football player, but he was already washed up by the time of the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Carl does this to protect his own parents.
  • Cold Sniper: Andrea can be this when she has to be.
  • Comic Book Time: Averted. Everybody ages.
  • Cozy Catastrophe: The devastation isn't as complete as one might expect and the ecosystem seems generally intact. Also, the zombies are mostly opportunists - they usually don't actively hunt the humans.
  • Covers Always Spoil: The "Compendium" cover shows all the characters wearing prisoner uniforms, and Rick missing a hand.
  • Crap Saccharine World: Woodbury.
  • Crapsack World: Unusually so, even for the Zombie Apocalypse genre.
  • Creepy Child: Ben. Possibly Carl as well.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The battle between the Washington community and the raiders; the raiders are all killed moronically attacking the fortified community.
  • Daylight Horror: Discussed in issue seven. Rick complains when it begins to get dark and cloudy. Glenn welcomes the clouds because he considered the previous bright, sunny weather to be "a contradiction" to the terror around them.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: At one point Dale tells Rick that he believes the following day is Christmas, and Rick instructs him not to mention it to the others: "I don't want to have to explain to my son that on top of all this other shit, Santa can't find him."
    • In issue 61, the group finds a van with mattresses in it, and Andrea comments on how it's like early Christmas time, then Carl asks nobody in particular if they skipped last Christmas... The question is ignored.
  • Disaster Democracy
  • Doorstopper: The Compendium version of the comic is one of these.
  • Driven to Suicide: Quite a few characters, some even to the extent of letting themselves be eaten alive by zombies.
  • Drop the Hammer: Tyreese. A lot.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first bunch of issues are, for the most part, decidedly non-indicative of the overall feel of the series. Aside from the Art Evolution, as noted above, the overall tone is more optimistic, and the action more fast-paced, than later volumes. (Though, as in the case of Kirkman's other series Invincible, the early optimism may be intentional.)
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Philip,or rather, Brian, better known as "The Governor".
  • Evil Counterpart: The Governor is arguably one of these for Rick.
  • Eye Scream: Michonne scoops the Governor's eye out with a spoon while torturing him. When we next see him he's donning an Eyepatch of Power.
    • Douglas tells the story of when he first realized the depths humanity could sink to, when he saw a news report about a man who got stoned and ate his four year old son's eyes.
    • Carl gets shot in the eye by a lost bullet; the shot blows a part of his head. It's still unknown if he'll make it.
      • He survives, and become increasingly creepier, to the point that Rick thinks he's lost his son.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Inverted, as Michonne always makes her spot checks.
  • Foreshadowing: "For all we knew, you guys could've been a pack of roving cannibals."
  • Genre Blind: The characters aren't very familiar with zombie tropes, but they learn fast enough.
  • Genre Savvy: On the other hand, they manage to be reasonably good survivalists.
  • Heroic BSOD: BSODs are in high number, given the massive psychological stress the characters are under.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Issue 71 subtly paints the protagonists as this with a very creepy and disturbing final line spoken by Rick. Though this was hinted at as far back as the Prison story arc. The Fear the Hunters story arc really pushed the group into some serious dark territory as far as behavior... and sanity.
  • Hide Your Children: Averted. Several of the principal characters are minors. Also several of the background zombies.
  • Hope Spot: The potential cure for the plague waiting in DC? Eugene made up that story just so he could have a group protecting him. He's not even a scientist.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Rick vs Tyreese.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The residents of Woodbury, by and large, realize that the Governor is a Complete Monster but are willing to tolerate him because he keeps them "safe", and entertained. (What Do You Mean It's Not Political?)
    • The inevitable Zombie Apocalypse "humans are the real threat" has been used a couple of times; the Governor does far more damage to the cast than the zombies have, Thomas decapitates two children, and then there's Abraham's back story.
    • When Tyreese is first introduced, he tells Rick that a man he knew attempted to rape his daughter when his back was turned for a second.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Pretty much everyone. Rick, most commonly.
    • Egregious example: Rick runs over the most sympathetic citizen of Woodbury to stop him from reporting their position back to the evil Woodburians. Martinez claims he was sent as a spy but is really going to bring the good civilians to the supposedly safe shelter of a county jail. Rick doesn't believe him and strangles him.
    • Another one from the "Fear the Hunters" arc; After the groups has been attacked by a group of cannibals, (who in their minds, were only doing what they had to do) Rick goes to parlay with them. When it becomes clear that the hunters aren't going to leave them alone, Rick reveals that he didn't come alone, and the others are all armed. They disarm the hunters, then hold them down over a picnic table and hack them apart one by one. Gunshots attract zombies, you see.
    • And of course, Carl taking it upon himself to execute Ben, when no one else was willing to.
  • I Want Them Alive: After Michonne bites the Governor's ear off, one of his goons subdues her and offers to break her neck.

The Governor: No! Don't do a fucking thing to her! I don't want this girl to get a bruise that doesn't come from me. She'll suffer for what she's done--she'll wish she was dead.

  • Infant Immortality: Averted very hard. All the child characters besides Carl and Sophia have died so far. However, their deaths are not seen.
    • And now that has been averted. Ron, an 8-year old child who was still grieving over the loss of his dad, is pulled into a group of zombies and eaten alive in full detail. While screaming "MOMMY!" the entire time.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Maggie.
  • Invincible Hero: Lampshaded with Michonne; after a while everyone just calls on her whenever they encounter a stray roamer.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier
  • It Got Worse: It always does. Pretty much the main point of the series.
    • This especially applies to Hershel. He starts off with seven kids. By the time he dies, he's down to one. And as pointed out further below, two of the deaths are his fault.
  • Jaw Breaker: Martinez is currently the page image.
  • Karmic Death: The Governor.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Michonne. Somewhat inverted as she's shown to be skilled with them, but guns still win out.
  • Kill'Em All: By the time the eighth arc was over, a large chunk of the cast had been killed off. Of the original group, the only ones left are Rick, Carl, Glenn, Andrea, and Sophia.
    • Same thing seems to be happening with the new arc So far Morgan, Ron, Jessie, Douglas and possibly Carl have died.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Its more of a revolving door of characters, usually a couple of characters dies or leaves, later the main group may discover some new survivors.
  • Made of Plasticine: Selectively used. The combat is generally realistic, but zombie skulls occasionally get penetrated WAY easier than they ought to...the human skull is one of the hardest biological substances on earth. Rick's hatchet? Yes, that could do the job. Tyreese's hammer? Sure. Thinning out the zombies by the fence by driving kitchen knives through their skulls? Doubtful, but not impossible. Driving a pitchfork through a zombie's forehead? Pretty sure that's physically impossible, big muscles or not.
    • In the comics, the kitchen knife isn't driven into a zombie's head by muscle power—the procedure is "poke blade through hole in the fence until the tip rests against the skull, then slam the base of the knife's hilt with a hammer". It's the same sort of general physics that make a chisel a viable method of cutting or piercing stone.
  • Mauve Shirt: It's hard to care for some of the characters when you know that they will inevitably pick up the Idiot Ball and get themselves eaten or shot somewhere down the line.
  • May–December Romance: Dale and Andrea. Surprisingly non-squicky.
  • Meaningful Titles: See Zombie Infectee.
  • The Mole: Martinez, at least until he tries to return to Woodbury and Rick kills him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Rick verbatim.
  • NameDar: Averted, every group encountered has a different name for the zombies. From Biters to Ghouls to just plain Zombies.
  • Nice Hat: Rick's sheriff's hat, which he gives to Carl; Dale's fishing hat.
  • Nominal Importance: Averted constantly.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Rick to Thomas.
  • Off-Model: A very subtle occurrence. Look at Rick's non-hand when he's taking the medicine in the bathroom of the abandoned house.
  • Off with His Head: Done to quite a few of the zombies. Also to Rachel and Susie Greene by Thomas and to Tyreese by the Governor.
    • The Governor also does this to Martinez after he's already dead, in order to impress the Woodbury people with a subsequent Decapitation Presentation.
  • Oh Crap
    • Rick seeing the ALL DEAD INSIDE sign outside the 'safe' gated community.
    • After months of quiet the inhabitants of the prison look up to see the Governor advancing towards them on a Bradley IFV screaming Kill'Em All!
    • Driving over a hill straight into a 'herd' of hundreds of zombies.
    • Finding that 'herd' of hundreds of zombies just outside the walls of the community.
  • One Steve Limit: Deliberately averted, due to Kirkman finding it unrealistic that various random groups of people wouldn't feature anyone with the same names.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The zombies are intentionally identical to the George Romero style, with the one difference being that they simply rot over time, as opposed to gaining more and more intelligence.
  • Papa Wolf: Rick goes absolutely BERSERK on a pair of bandits when one of them tries to rape Carl. He tears one's throat out with his teeth, then chases down the second and brutally stabs him to death while he begs for mercy.
  • Retirony: Averted so far, but they love to set the table for this every time Glenn kisses his family goodbye for one last supply run (including an extended period of covers that showed him in near death situations that did not appear in the books).
  • Room Full of Zombies: Happens when Rick and the crew find a seemingly safe gated community.
  • Rousing Speech: More than one attempted, none really come off very well. The Governor in particular immediately gets shot in the head from behind and kicked into a zombie swarm.
  • Scars Are Forever: Upheld constantly.
  • Second Love: Rick and Andrea, for each other.
  • Shoot the Dog: Lots of characters. Frequently. Another reason why cast keeps on changing.
  • Shout-Out: The helicopter crew from Vol. 4 are from "some news station... the one with the asshole weatherman" referencing Romero's Dawn of the Dead.
  • In A Coma During The Apocalypse: Rick
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The characters frequently struggle with exactly where they should be on this scale.'
  • The Sneaky Guy: Glenn.
  • Start of Darkness: The Governor gets this in the novel The Walking Dead Rise of the Governor.
  • Invisible to Gaydar: Aaron and Eric.
  • Tempting Fate: The characters are all surprised about how smooth their escape from Woodbury is going and comment on it. After they get over the wall, Dr. Stevens exclaims how relieved he is that things are going so well, only to be bitten by a zombie a few seconds later.
    • In the first issue, one of the characters tells another, "Oh, bite me." Guess what happens a few pages later?
  • Title Drop: Done epically by Rick.
  • Too Dumb to Live: As with Genre Blind, the characters fall victim to common mistakes of the genre which usually just serves to reinforce them.
    • Most Egregious example would have to be at the beginning of the second volume, when the group finds a fenced off housing development, don't see any zombies in the streets, and immediately decide it's their new home. While they do check a few of the houses before going to bed, no one sees the obvious method of just driving the RV into the street and laying on the horn to see if any guests show up for dinner. The fact that only one of them gets killed that evening is a freaking miracle.
    • An even more egregious example is Patricia deciding to help Thomas escape. Most. Inexplicable. Decision. Ever.
    • I think Hershel keeping a barn full of zombies ON HIS PROPERTY was pretty damn stupid. I mean, that just can't end well.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Andrea starts wearing Dale's hat after he dies.
  • Undead Child: At least three parents, Hershel, The Governor and Morgan, keep their children around after they turn. See What Happened to Mommy? below.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The cannibals make this mistake when they follow their usual tactic of scaring their victims before they attack them. Unfortunately these victims include a Handicapped Badass, a katana-wielding schizophrenic, and a crack markswoman.
    • The bandits who tried to intimidate their way into the Washington DC gated community really didn't consider the possibility that the residents were far better armed and skilled than they were.
  • Verbal Tic: Axel's "you follow me?"
  • Villain Decay: happens very sudden between episode 80 and 90. The walking dead themselves make a sudden turn to "manageable threat", in Rick's words. Turns out all you really need to beat a herd of them is about twenty people with melee weapons and some self-confidence.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: A few in the first volume. You'd lose your lunch too if faced down with a shambling pile of rotting flesh and muscle.
  • Weapon of Choice: Rick's hatchet, Tyreese's hammer, Andrea's hunting rifle and Michonne's katana.
  • We Can Rebuild Him: Averted in most cases. Except for the Governor.
  • Wham! Episode: Issue 48 may just be the whammiest episode of anything ever, essentially cutting almost all of the evolving plotlines dead in their tracks, and putting all of the rest on long-term hiatus, and killing off several major characters that the audience had come to take for granted would be the core cast in the long run.
  • What Happened to Mommy?: Hershel, when we first meet him. Harboring his zombie son eventually results in the deaths of two more of his kids. And then...
    • Morgan has taken this path as well.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After their introduction in issue #1, it's a long time before we see Morgan and Duane again.
  • What Year Is This?: none of the protagonists know what the exact date is after a year of events. The date is never mentioned by the residents of Woodbury, Christmas is approximated, and even the residents of the Alexandria Safe Zone have lost precise track of the date fourteen months after Z-Day. Digital watches did not survive the apocalypse.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Lori Grimes' pregnancy. Kirkman has confirmed that it was Shane.
  • Word of Gay: According to Kirkman, Martinez from the Woodbury arc was gay, but he never found a good moment to reveal it before he died.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Duh.
  • Zombie Infectee: Duh, again.
  • Zombie Gait: Naturally, since they're based on Romero's shamblers.