Get Started In WALKING DEAD

Current Series  |  Latest Jumping-On Points  |  Compilations  |  1st Appearance  |  Origin Story  |  Main Publication History  |  Secondary Publication History  |  Key Storylines  |  Media Source Material  |  Key Issues

by snowbi-wan, updated May 2019

The Walking Dead, which began in 2003, is arguably one of the most important comic series of the modern era. Although neither the zombie genre nor the apocalypse genre was new at the time, writer Robert Kirkman's character-driven storylines in this genre mashup has made this series shine from the start. In 2010, the series won the Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series. Also in 2010, the AMC television adaptation premiered and can be credited with driving the series' popularity to new heights. While the zombies are savage and gruesome, the series gets even more shock value in the face of the apocalypse from the cruel actions of its human villains, the depths of human depravity, and its fascinating social and civil structures.

Related GSIs: MONSTRESSPAPER GIRLSSAGA

Related Tags: BILL SIENKIEWICZ (CA)EISNER AWARD NOMINEEEISNER AWARD WINNERFRANK CHO (CA)IMAGE FIRSTS REPRINTS [2010]IMAGE SKYBOUNDROBERT KIRKMAN (W)WALKING DEADZOMBIES

Current Series

This is a curated list of the current series to help you get started with The Walking Dead comic books. The series listed in this section are predominantly series of individual comic issues, but the list can include digests and softcovers (and even hardcovers) if the material is original material.

As with most creator-owned series, the story is generally contained in a single ongoing series and subsequently collected into trade paperbacks. Kirkman has publically stated that Rick Grimes will die and there is more story after his demise, but The Walking Dead series will eventually end.

WALKING DEAD [2003] is a long-running series, and while it's not required to start at the beginning, it's not inadvisable. Part of what makes The Walking Dead series special is the rotation of and interaction of the different groups of survivors. The series' writer, Robert Kirkman, is not afraid to kill off any story individual, no matter how popular the character may be. Part of the attraction of the series is the epic saga as a whole. If this aspect interests you, any of the series that collect the individual issues (i.e. trade paperback, hardcover, or compendium) are efficient (and cost-effective) ways to begin at the beginning. You can find them in the Compilations section.

PublisherFrequencySeries 
IMAGEOngoing - EndedWALKING DEAD [2003]

Latest Jumping-On Points

Comic books are serialized periodicals. The absolute best place to jump on with any comic series is a series beginning, but, if the run has gotten lengthy, the beginning of a new story arc or of a new creative team are other great--and perfectly acceptable--places to get started right away. This section contains a curated list of the latest issues from current and recent series where you can get started in The Walking Dead. Look below for series beginning or start of a story arc. Subsequent sections explore the subject's publishing history and indicate other less recent places to get started in The Walking Dead.

PLEASE NOTE: The issues presented in this section are either in-stock issues or pre-order/pre-sale issues. To get the largest discount, new comic books can be pre-ordered two months before they are published. We offer pre-sale books for issues that we plan to have in stock when they are published. If you purchase pre-order/pre-sale comics now, you will be charged now, and the comics will be shipped after they are all published. If you mix in-stock issues with pre-order/pre-sale issues, you will create two orders subject to separate shipping charges. In-stock issues will ship right away.

CoverRelease MonthSeries / Number / Storyline
WALKING DEAD #188
Quick View
Feb 2019WALKING DEAD [2003] #188   (FALLING INTO PLACE)UNAVAILABLE$2.59
WALKING DEAD #189
Quick View
Mar 2019WALKING DEAD [2003] #189   (LINES ARE DRAWN)UNAVAILABLE$2.59
WALKING DEAD #190
Quick View
Apr 2019WALKING DEAD [2003] #190   (STORM THE GATES)UNAVAILABLE$2.59
WALKING DEAD #191
Quick View
May 2019WALKING DEAD [2003] #191   (THE LAST STAND)UNAVAILABLE$2.59
WALKING DEAD #192
Quick View
Jun 2019WALKING DEAD [2003] #192 ADLARD/STEWART CVR A  (AFTERMATH)UNAVAILABLE$2.59
WALKING DEAD #193
Quick View
Jul 2019WALKING DEAD [2003] #193   (THE FARMHOUSE (series end))UNAVAILABLE$2.59

PLEASE NOTE: The issues presented in this section are either in-stock issues or pre-order/pre-sale issues. To get the largest discount, new comic books can be pre-ordered two months before they are published. We offer pre-sale books for issues that we plan to have in stock when they are published. If you purchase pre-order/pre-sale comics now, you will be charged now, and the comics will be shipped after they are all published. If you mix in-stock issues with pre-order/pre-sale issues, you will create two orders subject to separate shipping charges. In-stock issues will ship right away.

Compilations

In modern comic publishing, it's common (and expected) for individual comic book issues to be collected into compilations of trade paperbacks and/or hardcovers, as well as other special compilations. Unlike the individual source issues, the collected editions typically stay in print for long periods and are less 'collectible.' If individual issues are out of reach or are not of interest to you or if you just need reading copies, the following collected editions of The Walking Dead comic books are the most recent in-print editions and are the perfect alternative to get started right away with The Walking Dead. The following compilations are presented in a chronologically-based suggested reading order with softcover editions before any hardcover editions (unless the only in-print editions are hardcover--these are integrated into the softcover list).

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CoverRelease MonthSeries / Number / Storyline
WALKING DEAD VOL 01: DAYS GONE BYEQuick ViewFeb 2013WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 01: DAYS GONE BYE
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 02: MILES BEHIND USQuick ViewApr 2009WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 02: MILES BEHIND US
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 03: SAFETY BEHIND BARSQuick ViewDec 2008WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 03: SAFETY BEHIND BARS
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 04: HEARTS DESIREQuick ViewApr 2009WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 04: HEARTS DESIRE
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 05: THE BEST DEFENSEQuick ViewApr 2009WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 05: THE BEST DEFENSE
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 06: THIS SORROWFUL LIFEQuick ViewApr 2010WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 06: THIS SORROWFUL LIFE
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 07: THE CALM BEFOREQuick ViewOct 2010WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 07: THE CALM BEFORE
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 08: MADE TO SUFFERQuick ViewJun 2008WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 08: MADE TO SUFFER
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 09: HERE WE REMAINQuick ViewJan 2009WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 09: HERE WE REMAIN
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 10: WHAT WE BECOMEQuick ViewAug 2009WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 10: WHAT WE BECOME
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 11: FEAR THE HUNTERSQuick ViewJan 2010WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 11: FEAR THE HUNTERS
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 12: LIFE AMONG THEMQuick ViewJul 2010WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 12: LIFE AMONG THEM
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 13: TOO FAR GONEQuick ViewNov 2010WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 13: TOO FAR GONE
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 14: NO WAY OUTQuick ViewJun 2011WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 14: NO WAY OUT
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 15: WE FIND OURSELVESQuick ViewDec 2011WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 15: WE FIND OURSELVES
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 16: A LARGER WORLDQuick ViewJun 2012WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 16: A LARGER WORLD
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 17: SOMETHING TO FEARQuick ViewNov 2012WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 17: SOMETHING TO FEAR
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 18: WHAT COMES AFTERQuick ViewJun 2013WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 18: WHAT COMES AFTER
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 19: MARCH TO WARQuick ViewNov 2013WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 19: MARCH TO WAR
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 20: ALL OUT WAR, PART 1Quick ViewMar 2014WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 20: ALL OUT WAR, PART 1
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 21: ALL OUT WAR, PART 2Quick ViewJul 2014WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 21: ALL OUT WAR, PART 2
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
      
WALKING DEAD: HERE'S NEGAN! Quick ViewOct 2017WALKING DEAD: HERE'S NEGAN! [2017-HC]
CURRENT PRINTING
  (character backstory; collects the serialized story from IMAGE+ for the first time)
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
      
WALKING DEAD VOL 22: A NEW BEGINNINGQuick ViewNov 2014WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 22: A NEW BEGINNING
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 23: WHISPERS INTO SCREAMSQuick ViewApr 2015WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 23: WHISPERS INTO SCREAMS
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 24: LIFE AND DEATHQuick ViewAug 2015WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 24: LIFE AND DEATH
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 25: NO TURNING BACKQuick ViewMar 2016WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 25: NO TURNING BACK
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 26: CALL TO ARMSQuick ViewSep 2016WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 26: CALL TO ARMS
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 27: THE WHISPERER WARQuick ViewMar 2017WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 27: THE WHISPERER WAR
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 28: A CERTAIN DOOMQuick ViewSep 2017WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 28: A CERTAIN DOOM
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 29: LINES WE CROSSQuick ViewMar 2018WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 29: LINES WE CROSS
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 30: NEW WORLD ORDERQuick ViewSep 2018WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 30: NEW WORLD ORDER
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 31: THE ROTTEN COREQuick ViewMar 2019WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 31: THE ROTTEN CORE
CURRENT PRINTING
  
Available on Amazon Go to Amazon
WALKING DEAD VOL 32Quick ViewAug 2019WALKING DEAD [2003-TPB] VOL 32
  
UNAVAILABLE$11.04

1st Appearance

The first appearance of a character in comic book form is often the most valuable issue featuring that character. It's a nice place to get started in The Walking Dead, if it's within your budget. A 5-page preview of The Walking Dead series appeared in two other Image series on the same day as the ongoing series. These issues have cover dates of Sep 2003, while WALKING DEAD [2003] #1 has a cover date of Oct 2003. It's debatable whether a preview fully qualifies as a technical '1st appearance,' and there will never be a definitive answer to that question that will satisfy all fans, especially since Diamond's database indicates they were all published on the same day. The relative prices of the issues in question will reveal the relative weight of each issues' claim. WALKING DEAD [2003] #1 greatly outvalues the other two right now. This could, of course, change over time, but it is more likely the two preview issues will always be more of a collector's curiosity. In the spirit of full disclosure, all three of the contenders are listed in the table below, in order of value.

  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #1  (1st issue, Oct 2003 cover date, published 8 Oct 2003)
  • CAPES [2003] #1  (contains a 5-page preview, Sep 2003 cover date, published 8 Oct 2003)
  • AGENTS [2003] #6  (contains a 5-page preview, Sep 2003 cover date, published 8 Oct 2003)

Origin Story

The original presentation of an origin story or a retelling/recounting of it can be a good place to get started with a character or subject. The Walking Dead does not have a typical superhero-style origin story. Rick Grimes, the main protagonist, is introduced in the first issue, and we learn his situation and backstory pretty quick. Each popular character--a significant rotating cast--has his/her own origin, which is revealed as the plot requires. The origin of the zombie pandemic has not been explained and--while it provides a significant background level of anticipation toward its eventual revelation--is not necessary to enjoy the saga. Here we list the first issue and two of the less obscure reprints. The expanded Special Edition contains all of issue #1 plus the original script and proposal from Robert Kirkman, including a previously unpublished 5-page alternate story beginning. In 2013, Image produced a 10th anniversary variant as well as several convention exclusive variant reprints. A few more exclusive convention variants were produced in 2014 and 2015.

  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #1   
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #1 SPECIAL EDITION   (May 2008 reprint w/original script and proposal, including previously unpublished 5-page alternate story beginning)
  • WALKING DEAD WEEKLY [2011] #1   (Jan 2011 reprint)

Main Publication History

Series beginnings are always great places to get started in comic books. Here is the Main Publication History for The Walking Dead comic books. The Walking Dead is a long-running series and the early issues fetch very high prices on the back issue market. In 2011, Image reprinted the first 52 issues on a weekly schedule to assist new fans with entry into collecting individual issues. Today, even these reprints have fairly high price tags. The most cost effective way to begin at the beginning now is with any of the series that collect the individual issues (i.e. trade paperback, hardcover, or compendium). The trade paperbacks collects six issues at a time in nice, neat story arcs. Aside from the main series, The Walking Dead has had several ancillary issues. See the Secondary Publication History for a list of these specials which add depth to certain characters, but are not essential to enjoying the series.

  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #1-193   
  • WALKING DEAD WEEKLY [2011] #1-52   (reprinted #1-52 on a weekly schedule)

Secondary Publication History

In addition to the main monthly series, The Walking Dead has had several specials with ancillary material. These short stories add to the overall depth of certain characters, but are by no means required to enjoy the series. See the Main Publication History for the main monthly series.

  • IMAGE COMICS HOLIDAY SPECIAL 2005 [2005]    (previously unpublished 6-page Morgan story)
  • WALKING DEAD SCRIPT BOOK [2005] #1   (original scripts (no art) for WALKING DEAD [2003] #1-6)
  • WALKING DEAD: MICHONNE SPECIAL [2012]    (reprints WALKING DEAD [2003] #19 (her 1st appearance) and the 6-page Michonne story from Playboy Magazine (Apr 2012))
  • CBLDF PRESENTS LIBERTY ANNUAL [2010] #2012   (previously unpublished 6-page Governor story)
  • WALKING DEAD: THE GOVERNOR SPECIAL [2013]    (reprints WALKING DEAD [2003] #27 (his 1st appearance) and the 6-page Governor story from CBLDF PRESENTS LIBERTY ANNUAL [2010] #2012)
  • WALKING DEAD FCBD 2013 SPECIAL [2013]    (previously unpublished 6-page Tyreese story plus reprints two other 6-page stories: Michonne and Morgan)
  • WALKING DEAD: TYREESE SPECIAL [2013] #1   (reprints WALKING DEAD [2003] #7 (his 1st appearance) and the 6-page Tyreese story from WALKING DEAD FCBD 2013 SPECIAL [2013])
  • IMAGE+ [2016-MAG] #1-16   (serialized origin of Negan)
  • WALKING DEAD: HERE'S NEGAN! [2017-HC]    (hardcover reprint of the serialized origin of Negan from IMAGE+ [2016-MAG])

Selected Key Storylines

This section contains a curated list of some of the best storylines for The Walking Dead, any one of which can be a good place to get started. WALKING DEAD [2003] is a long-running series, and while it's not required to start at the beginning, it's not inadvisable. WALKING DEAD [2003] is written in 6-issue story arcs, conveniently perfect for collection into trade paperbacks.

2003WALKING DEAD [2003] #1-6   (DAYS GONE BYE, initial story arc establishes the saga)
2012WALKING DEAD [2003] #97-102   (SOMETHING TO FEAR, clash with the Saviors)
2013WALKING DEAD [2003] #115-126   (ALL OUT WAR, war with the Saviors)
2014WALKING DEAD [2003] #127-132   (A NEW BEGINNING, two years later, a new group arrives)

Media Source Material

Media source material cover for WALKING DEAD

If you've enjoyed non-comic media for The Walking Dead, this section describes the comic book source material for some of the most popular non-comic media. The 2010 television adaptation by AMC follows--for the most part--the comic book plotlines. The show does deviate in some details and with some characters, so the utility is low for tracing every connection with the comic book series. Connections with the comic book series for some of the most popular characters can be found in the Key Issues section located after this section. One of the most popular television characters, Daryl Dixon, has no counterpart in the comic book series.

Key Issues

A key issue can be an acceptable place to get started with The Walking Dead, but they are more of a collector's checklist, as they can carry high price tags.

Key Issue cover 1 for WALKING DEADKey Issue cover 2 for WALKING DEADKey Issue cover 3 for WALKING DEADKey Issue cover 4 for WALKING DEAD
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #1   (1st issue, Oct 2003 cover date, published 8 Oct 2003)
  • CAPES [2003] #1   (contains a 5-page preview, Sep 2003 cover date, published 8 Oct 2003)
  • AGENTS [2003] #6   (contains a 5-page preview, Sep 2003 cover date, published 8 Oct 2003)
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #19   (1st appearance of Michonne)
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #27   (1st appearance of The Governor)
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #35   (rare printing error version)
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #48   (death of Lori, Herschel)
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #50   (variant wraparound cover by Erik Larsen)
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #53   (1st appearances of Abraham, Eugene, Rosita)
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #61   (1st appearance of Gabriel)
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #92   (introduction of Paul Monroe (Jesus))
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #100   (1st appearance of Negan, death of Glenn)
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #115   (ALL OUT WAR begins)
  • WALKING DEAD [2003] #127   (1st appearance of Magna)