Top 10 Most Shocking Character Deaths in 10 Years of WALKING DEAD Comics
Published: October 8, 2013 - 11:18am
In honor of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's record-breaking decade-long run of The Walking Dead, I'd like to spoil as much of the comic series as possible to share with you the most shocking deaths so far. This month the planet's most prolific horror based comic series turns 10 years old and with that milestone comes a decade's worth of death courtesy of creator Kirkman and brought to life by the stellar Mr. Adlard.
I came into this Image comic series during the notorious 'prison story arc' and began my reading experience with the graphic novels. After burning through the collected volumes I couldn't wait anymore and I now buy the issues monthly the best way possible -- a comic book store. Not digitally, although there's nothing wrong with that -- but at a comic store. Over the years I've been fortunate enough to interview the brilliant Charlie Adlard numerous times and was lucky enough to be featured in issue #91 as a zombie getting chopped in the head on the opening page. It's the highest honor of my writing career so far and something that I'll forever be grateful for. Adlard's been drawing this comic for over 100 issues straight (a staggering accomplishment) after taking over for the talented Tony Moore. Kirkman continues to shock and delight fans of this beautiful post-apocalyptic opus for over 10 years while Adlard has cemented himself one of the most reliable and prolific comic artists of all time.
I'd like to thank The Walking Dead for delivering some of the most incredible and memorable stories of any entertainment medium during its decade long run and I can't wait to dive into the impending chaos that ignites this month when 'All Out War' consumes us all. Issue #115 kicks off the latest story arc that sees Rick go head to head with Negan's Saviors in a battle that will no doubt result in even more shocking major deaths while twisting fans in several new directions as it starts to drop with two issues a month over the Fall season, eventually bleeding into 2014. I'm ready for more Jesus karate, tiger fights, Lucille's revenge…. Let us all celebrate 10 years of The Walking Dead and raise our glasses to the zombie saga that has forever changed the genre.
When Rick goes back home and finds Morgan -- he's a changed man. The paranoid and emotionally scarred Morgan has chained his zombified son to the floor and has been feeding him human bits and pieces for an indeterminable amount of time. So when Rick sees how bad his situation is, he takes him in and the poor bastard takes a hell of a long time to 're-adjust' to his surroundings.
Eventually he winds up in a loving relationship with the sword-wielding Michonne and the two are great together because they both suffer from a swell amount of PTSD. During the zombie attack on the Alexandria Safe Zone, Morgan takes a zombie bite and Michonne hacks off his arm right there on the scene to try and save him. Turns out, it wasn't quick enough and Morgan slowly dies with Michonne by his bedside. The death is off-screen and it's super sad.
#9. & #8. Ben & Billy
When Carl found Ben dissecting a dead cat we knew those creepy twins were headed toward disaster. What we didn't know was how quickly Kirkman would accelerate that storyline… So when we eventually discovered Ben dissecting his twin brother Billy out in the woods -- needless to say we were a tad shocked. To see a child killing another is horrible. Coupled with the fact that it's a sibling is even more disturbing… Follow all of that up with Ben saying he didn't damage Billy's head so that he would come back to life. OK -- yeah you traumatized me.
The group is necessarily freaked out and puzzled in regards to this situation. Some argue that the child needs to be taken out because he's a danger. His adoptive parents Dale and Andrea disagree and can you blame them? It's super f***ed up and probably one of the most f***ed up storylines in series history. In the end Carl takes it upon himself to sneak into Ben's cell and shoots him in the face. Carl is effectively terrifying.
"Tainted meat!" The lovable Dale had lived through so much brutality and heartache during his run with Walking Dead. He'd lost a leg. Lost loved ones. Before his time had come, he'd even lost his remaining leg to cannibal psychopaths. After Dale is secretly bitten by a zombie he leaves one night to die out in the woods but is captured by the hunters who have been stalking Rick's group.
After the cannibals begin to eat Dale piece by piece, he begins to laugh at his captors and reveals that he's been bitten this whole time. "Tainted meat!" he screams at them while laughing his justifiably crazy laugh. The cannibals freak out and barf, then Rick's crew rescue a chopped up Dale and dole out some necessary justice on the hunters. Andrea says her goodbyes to Dale while he slowly passes away in bed, and then shoots him off-screen. No more fishing hat.
#6. The Governor
He's been voted the vilest and most evil villain in the history of comics and it's hard to argue with any of those polls. When Rick meets the leader of Woodbury, The Governor chops off our hero's hand and proceeds to rape and torture Michonne. As an added bonus, in his spare time he's also making out with a zombified and toothless child that he keeps in his closet. He's psychotic, frightening and bad as f***.
After being left for dead at the hands of a revenge-fueled and super gross attack by Michonne, The Governor is put back together and launches a massive death campaign against Rick's group. After countless major characters are killed off during the most memorable comic arc ever written, The Governor finds himself getting shot in the back of the head by a random character. He's then fed to a horde of zombies, unable to relish in the success of his bloodthirsty and victorious crusade. It's a fitting and shocking end to such an infamous character.
The manly mustachioed Abraham was introduced into the series as a sleeper-nemesis. You were never quite sure if he'd turn out to be a villain or not but over time he showed his dedication to Rick's group and became the number 2 man for our survivors. Perhaps his finest moment is when he makes a stand during the Alexandria zombie attack by shouting "Over here you undead f***wads!" before unleashing so much handle-bar mustachioed violence on the sea of walkers you couldn't help but get slightly aroused at all the chaos.
The former military man was gruff, said things that you both loved and despised him for throughout his comic run but in the end his death SUCKED (in a good way). It literally came out of freaking nowhere. During mid-conversation Abraham takes an arrow to the back of the head and continues to converse with his friend as the arrow protrudes from his eyeball. It takes a minute before he falls to the ground dead and zombies chow down on his corpse. Even artist Charlie Adlard didn't see that one coming.
The former football player turned hammer wielding zombie smashing machine Tyreese was such a strong character that he could have easily carried the major storylines if Rick had bitten the dust instead. Tyreese was Rick's right-hand man for most of the series and had some of the most entertaining storylines during his time with us. From the moment we discovered Tyreese in the prison gymnasium surrounded by hammer smashed walkers, our love for that character was sealed right then and there.
His daughter's suicide subplot was one of the more twisted storylines of the series and Tyreese was just as beloved in the comic book pages as Daryl Dixon has become on the AMC adapted TV series. So when the Governor captured Tyreese, bound him and then publicly executed him in front of Rick's crew -- it was gut wrenching. Watching The Governor hack away at the back of Tyreese's head using Michonne's katana was the most brutal death in the comic up to that point. Just like Rick, we the readers felt utterly helpless and that's what makes his death so impactful.
In issue #100 we knew someone was going to die. You probably could have called it way ahead of schedule because aside from Rick, Michonne or Carl -- Glenn had been around the longest. What makes his death so shocking is 'how' he goes out. When new villain Negan introduces himself to Rick, he toys with them in a way that is so ruthless that by the time he chooses his victim, we're on the edge of our seats.
By playing eenie meenie minie moe, Negan chooses Glenn and proceeds to cave in the poor guy's skull using a barb-wire laced baseball bat that he affectionately refers to as Lucille. Glenn's cry to Maggie while his eyeball hangs out of its eye-socket is one of the most f***ed up images of the series, easily. Charlie Adlard's art over these several gruesome pages is some of the most disturbing and haunting imagery I've ever witnessed in a comic. I was physically ill after watching it all unfold.
By the end of issue #6 or as I was introduced, by the end of volume 1, if you weren't hooked into Kirkman's world then I don't know what to tell you. Up until the shocking demise of Shane in the opening story arc of The Walking Dead you were entertained for sure, but I'm not so sure you were completely sold or invested in the series. Wait for it…
By the time Shane confronts his best friend Rick out in those woods with intent on murdering him -- Carl comes out of nowhere to shoot Shane in the back in order to save his father. Yup, now we're sold and we were sold hard. In that moment, which was captured brilliantly by original artist Tony Moore, we knew that this series was no longer just about the zombies, but that it would focus on the deterioration of the human race. No one was safe and The Walking Dead was coming out the gate with all guns blazing.
There are just some things that are considered 'untouchable' by most artists, writers and fans. One of those is children or hell -- babies. So when Lori was running away while carrying her infant child from the Governor's kill crusade I don't think I'm alone when I say that I did NOT see that coming. In a massive page spread we see Lori literally explode as a shotgun blast decimates her, followed by a panel that show's her lifeless face hitting the ground. To make matters worse, we see Judith's arm reaching out underneath her body. Holy s*** -- they went there.
Watching all of this chaos unfold is even more heart-breaking when we see the tears pouring from Rick's terrified face as he's still running on adrenaline in order to save Carl from the very active threat while they make their getaway. This sequence still stands as the most shocking and horrific of the series so far and it's the moment that still has the longest lasting impact on the still-living characters to this day.