THE WALKING DEAD #100: KIRKMAN Talks Fan-Favorite Characters
With the milestone The Walking Dead #100 set to be released this week, there's only one thing that's certain about the comic:
Someone will die.
"No one is safe," series creator Robert Kirkman told Newsarama. "I think the comic's readers know that by now."
If they don't, they haven't been paying attention. Even characters that seem central to the plotline have seen a grisly end. And it doesn't matter if they're a villain, a good guy, or even a kid — chances are, they're going down, and probably in an unexpected and shocking way.
As we approach the 100th issue of the The Walking Dead, we pulled together some lists of our favorite characters, villains, and moments in the first 99 issues of The Walking Dead.
We start with our 10 favorite characters from the entire series, including a few comments from Kirkman about some new faces and old. And be forewarned: This article contains spoilers for anyone who isn't caught up on The Walking Dead comic. ..
- Paul Monroe ("Jesus")
Yet we don't really know enough to judge, so we asked Kirkman what he could reveal about Jesus. And it turns out the character's "likability" is by design.
"I don't want to pull back the curtain too much, but my main thinking with Jesus was, let's see if I can come up with somebody who can be as popular as Michonne," Kirkman said with a laugh. "Let's see if I can come up with another character, and the guy is as cool and as interesting and mysterious and all that kind of stuff. When you do a book that lasts 100 issues and you start to realize, oh, the most popular character in the book, more or less, has been there since issue #19, you start to say, 'Wait a minute! What have I been doing for 70 issues?' And so I'm trying to push myself to keep things interesting. So there's a lot of cool stuff planned with Jesus, and I think people are really going to dig that guy."
So despite his fairly blank slate, Jesus made our list, if for no other reason than anticipation of a promised cool dude.
- Maggie Greene
But we're not betting the farm on it.
During the time we've known Maggie Greene, she's fallen in love with Glenn and become a mother to Sophia, yet she's also wrestled with suicidal thoughts because the world seems so hopeless. Yet the character recently got handed a bit of hope: She's pregnant. And her husband believes there might be a better place for them to live, away from the danger they have been facing with Rick's group.
In last month's The Walking Dead #99, Maggie and Glenn decided to move with Sophia to join another group on the "Hilltop," in a community that is allegedly more protected than the Alexandria "safe-zone" where they now live.
That will either be the move that saves Maggie or seals her doom. After all, we're well aware that a baby doesn't guarantee survival in The Walking Dead.
- Hershel Greene
Although his protective nature sometimes conflicted with Rick Grimes and his group, it was always clear that Hershel loved his family. And it was the slow, sad loss of that family that was his undoing, more than anything else. And it was difficult to read, because the truth is, Hershel was a really, really good guy at heart.
Eventually, Hershel grew to accept the other members of Rick's group, and he even officiated the marriage of his daughter Maggie to Glenn. But his heartbreaking story of loss and eventual death is why he's among our favorite characters.
His relationship with a much younger Andrea might have seemed a little creepy to an outsider, but within the comic, it took shape naturally and lovingly. We were rooting for him to survive after he was bitten, but his attack by cannibals was one of the more shocking moments in the entire series.
Until just recently, he was so mourned by Andrea that she wore his hat. We kind of miss that hat, but not half as much as we miss the character.- Glenn
But as we mark the 100th issue, the thing we like best about Glenn is that he's grown up so much since we first met him. The kid was a former car thief whose best talent was hiding from trouble. Now, he's a father figure for Sophia, a protective husband of Maggie and a father-to-be. We admire him taking the bold step of leaving his friends to keep his family safe at the Hilltop. We just hope it works.
- Carl Grimes
According to Kirkman, there's a good chance we'll see even more of his growth during coming issues, because the writer believes there's more story to explore with Carl.
"He's one of the characters that has changed the most over the course of the series, and he's going to continue to grow and change as the series continues, unless he dies in issue #100," Kirkman said. "But that's a really fun thing for me to deal with, thinking about how this isn't a kid who has real friendships with children, and this isn't a kid who's getting parented in any real way. That's going to turn him into a different kind of human being if something drastic isn't done very soon. That, to me, is infinitely interesting."
But watch out. As Rick has pointed out himself, his love interests don't fare well.
We love the path Andrea has taken so far in the comic. She was first introduced as a young and vulnerable sister who needed the help of Dale's RV. But over the last 99 issues, she's become a brave sniper with impeccable aim and a steady hand.
Now, at the end of issue #99, Andrea is separated from Rick, Michonne, Glenn, Carl and Maggie. She is expected to protect the Alexandria safe-zone from a group of the villainous Negan's followers who have indicated they will attack at dawn. Things don't look so good for Andrea.
Perhaps the affair with Rick has sealed her fate. Or maybe it was the discarding of Dale's hat that finished her story. Or maybe, just maybe, Kirkman will give Rick and break and let her survive.
But all great things must come to an end, including Tyreese. And according to Kirkman, it was the fact that we loved him that made him so expendable.
"If I were to make a list of my top 10 favorite Walking Dead characters, Tyreese would be, I think, shockingly high on that list. Definitely No. 3, and possibly even higher," Kirkman said. "I think it's a really good example of the fact that my opinion of the character doesn't really weigh very much into whether they survive or not. The more I like a character, the more likely I am to kill a character, just because I think that when you have deaths in the story like this, they seem to matter. And if I love a character, I'm pretty sure other people are going to love a character too.
"I definitely really like that character, and I miss him. Every issue that I write, I'm like, 'Oh, I wish I was writing some Tyreese stuff right now,' even though I didn't treat him very well."
"I knew that having a character who ran around with a katana was going to be something that people would dig," Kirkman said. "I don't think I anticipated her being as popular as she's become, but it's one of [series artist] Charlie [Adlard] and my favorite characters also. So we definitely dig her. But I never anticipated her being as big of a hit as she is."
While she was always a popular character, she became even more of a fan-favorite after she survived a brutal attack by the Governor, then enacted some nasty revenge. It emphasized just how strong the character is, and it made her survival — and sanity afterward — all that much more admirable.
"In my mind, Michonne has always been the strongest person in that series," Kirkman said. "She has lived through worse things than what Rick has had to go through. And while she's not 'OK,' she's definitely handling things better than I think almost anyone in the book."
- Rick Grimes
Rick has lost a hand, a wife and a child, and he's gone through a lot of evolution since the beginning of the series. But Kirkman said there's one thing that hasn't changed: "The real defining moment for Rick, I think, over the course of the series is the moment where he was telling Lori, I believe, in the prison, 'I would slaughter everyone here if I knew it would keep you and Carl safe'" Kirkman said. "I think that's the most scary aspect of his character, but also the one thing he's really stayed true to.
"He is someone who will go to whatever lengths he has to do in order to keep his family safe. And that hasn't always worked out, clearly. But it's that core thing that keeps him going, and has helped him justify all the horrible things he's had to do. It's led to him going a little crazy and kind of losing his humanity, to a certain extent. But it's really the one thing that has kept him alive."
Rick's life has been a real roller coaster since Walking Dead #1, but it's been compelling to watch Rick constantly get beaten down emotionally, only to find a way to mentally and physically survive. We hope his survival continues past Walking Dead #100.
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