Mon. May 16th, 2022

There’s no doubt that “The Walking Dead” has become one of the biggest shows on TV.  Personally, I hear people talking about it everywhere.  I think the apocalypse is a universal interest, and many people even have their own ways and strategies to survive in case something like the events in the show were to actually happen.

A good amount of people already know this fact, but the show is based off of an independent comic series which debuted in 2003 under Image Comics.  I know what most people think when they hear the word “comic”: superheroes in tights, running around and saving the day with ridiculous superpowers.  Although there is a huge fan base for that thanks to Marvel and DC, independent (meaning creator-owned) companies have really made comics into a different format of storytelling not too distant from TV or movies.  In fact, you’d be surprised at the amount of movies that are based off of comic books, and not just superhero movies like Avengers and Spiderman.  Just to name a few: Men in Black, 30 Days of Night, Alien vs. Predator, and 300 were all based off of comic books.  I can pretty much guarantee if you like the “The Walking Dead” show you’ll enjoy the comics (even more if you’re like me).

Since the fourth season just ended, to hold over your excitement until season five, right now would be the perfect time to give the comics a try.  Now, I know over ten years’ worth of comics sounds like a lot…and it is.  The average release schedule for The Walking Dead is one issue a month, and it’s now up to issue #125.  That said, the show’s season four finale pulled inspiration from issue #57 and #64.  So if you read 64 issues before October, you’ll be all caught up to the TV show.

Let’s break that down.  Each issue is about 22 pages of story.  It’s not like reading a book, as there are speech bubbles for dialogue and in action sequences obviously there’s no dialogue at all, just pages of just art.  This means there’s considerably less reading than a regular book, so reading through these isn’t very time-consuming.  Also, the quality of the story and art alone are enough to get anyone addicted to reading the comic.

If this all sounds good, you’re probably wondering, “Where do I start? Didn’t you say the first issue came out 11 years ago?”  Good question.  It’s pretty overwhelming deciding where to start considering all of the different options: there are the individual issues and then multiple issues get collected into volumes, hardcovers, compendiums, etc.  The original prints of the first issue go for around $1,200 on eBay in good condition, so unless you’ve got some serious cash burning a hole in your pocket don’t bother tracking down the single issues.  The biggest bang for your buck is called The Walking Dead: Compendium One, which you can find on Amazon for $35, which comes out to less than $1 an issue, where they normally sell for $2.99 apiece.  This compendium collects the first 48 issues, so you’ll be well on your way to getting caught up to the 64th.

If that seems like too much to just test if you like the comic or not, a good way to go is getting The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye.  You can find this for around $3 used or $7 new on Amazon.  This volume collects the first 6 issues, so it should give you a good feel whether you want to keep reading on or not.

As I said earlier, if you’re already a fan of the show, I’ll be surprised if you don’t want to catch up not only to where the show is at, but to the 125th issue where the comic is right now.  What’s happening in the comic is the most intense it’s ever been and involves a villain that makes The Governor look like a teddy bear (yeah, he’s that evil).

Adam Kelly is a second-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at

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