I had grown up and around comics for the majority of my life. From my aunt getting me my first comic book (which was X-Men 102) to working later in a comic book store. In 2003 I had a chance to go to a convention in Las Vegas and I was excited as I could get the first issue of a comic I was looking forward to. The book was called The Walking Dead and it showed how people dealt with the dead starting to come back and devour the living. The story starts as Rick Grimes, who is a sheriff, gets shot during the line of duty and falls deep into a coma. He wakes up to a world gone mad as there is no one around and he sees the world has fallen apart.When the first issue wrapped up many of us wondered how long this book would last? Would we see at least 40 issues? 50? The previous zombie series that was the longest running was called Deadworld and that lasted for around 20 or so issues. The first arc had Rick escaping the hospital and making his way towards a survivors camp. At this camp he is reunited with his wife and son (Lori and Carl) who he thought were dead during the zombie apocalypse. There he also runs into his friend Shane as well as a few other people such as Glenn and Dale who has an RV. Glenn asks for Rick’s help to get some needed guns from a store downtown. These guns come in handy as a group of zombies (called Walkers) find the camp as they defend it. The first arc ends as we find out that Shane had relations with Lori. As Shane tries to murder Rick he is shot in the head by Carl in order to protect his father. And this is just the first couple of issues!
The series continued and the group travelled to various locations ranging from a housing development, a prison and settling down at a place called Alexandria. Each of these places had their own problems, strengths and weaknesses as some had walkers and others were sought after by other groups. The groups in the world were not all friendly as you had the Governor who told lies about Rick and his group. This led to them attacking the prison and not only killing Lori but her child as well! The Walking Dead had this down pat as you got attached to characters to only see them die at the hands of the walkers or something more sinister. Who could forget the scene when the notorious Negan had caught Rick and his gang and someone had to pay the price? It was horrifying to watch Glenn get his skull split open by a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire.
When the Whisperers came onto the scene it was even more bad news as you had a group that not only was dangerous but blended in with the dead as well! And this brought about a tragic loss as we had not only lost a few people to the pikes but King Ezekiel as well. As the Whisperers were dealt with and the Commonwealth was founded we found themselves at the end of the road. Rick had been shot by the snivelling Milton only to be discovered by Carl who kills him! This was a gut punch as we thought everything was going well and now we have to live on without Rick Grimes. And the very next issue wrapped everything in a tight, little bow leaving me relieved but also saddened.
Saddened as this had come to an end. Saddened as I can’t go into my local comic shop and get The Walking Dead #194 because it doesn’t exist. However, there are plenty of other stories that are coming out in The Walking Dead universe whether they are based on the comic or not. Books, TV shows, video games and even a movie are in the works. But I will say this about The Walking Dead: it comic shaped other comics and I will tell you why.
They didn’t just focus on the zombies or the world that had gone into chaos. They focused on the people and how they dealt with this tragedy that had befallen mankind. How people survived ranged from the Saviors taking what they wanted, to the Whisperers who wore the skins of the dead to blend in. Every person dealt with this differently and in the immortal words of Rick Grimes we are all the walking dead.
So now that The Walking Dead is gone what are your hopes for the future of the franchise? Do you think that some of the books and spinoff shows are going to be just as good as the comics? Let us know by commenting below!