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")OK, it's true that we don't know much about Jesus, since he was just introduced in issue # 91. But one thing we do know is we like this guy, and it's not just because of his symbolic nickname. Not only can Jesus dodge bullets and fight with the best of Rick's crew, but he's also quite a peacemaker with an impressively calm and friendly approach.
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 GreeneIn the Walking Dead comic, most of the characters that were introduced on Hershel's farm are gone (may they rest in peace). But one is still around, and we're hoping that will still be the case with issue #100.
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 GreeneThere was a time in The Walking Dead, around, oh, 85 issues ago, when the drama on the Hershel's farm drove the plot of the comic. And the central figure in that drama was Hershel Greene himself.
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.
- Dale He may not have lasted too long on the TV show, but in the comic books, Dale was more than just the guy with the RV and the funny hat. He was a truly lovable, ongoing part of the cast who provided a levelheaded and mature yin to Rick's often-angry yang.
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 From his very first appearance in The Walking Dead, which was way back in issue #2 (wow, that's amazing), Glenn has been one of the most likable characters in the series. His level of survival skills have always been evident, as he's often sent on scavenging runs, but he also tends to offer a more tempered viewpoint among major drama happening among the more volatile characters in the book.
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 GrimesAlthough it's difficult to imagine a childhood as horrible as the one experienced by Carl Grimes during the 99 issues of The Walking Dead, it's easy to root for his survival. Despite some of the messed up things he's done, he's a good kid, and he is loyal to his father to a fault.
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."
- AndreaIn the comic, Andrea has remained a strong and dependable presence among Rick's gang of survivors, emerging recently as a fan-favorite love interest for the character.
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.
- TyreeseTyreese was such a beloved character among Walking Dead fans that there was a time when people were ready for him to take over as lead character, should Rick die. He had a lot of things going for him: No kid to drag him down (because his daughter died in a failed suicide plot), an uncanny talent for killing zombies (even with a hammer in the prison gym), and the sex appeal that attracted two women to him (including fan-favorite Michonne).
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."
- MichonneThe Top 2 spots should be no surprise to anyone who reads The Walking Dead. Ever since Michonne walked into the comic back in #19, the character has been a little mysterious but a whole lot beloved by fans.
"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 GrimesPart everyman, part hero, part battered survivor, Rick Grimes has been the star in The Walking Dead comic ever since the first issue. And we wouldn't want it any other way.
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.
- 10 Best THE WALKING DEAD Moments of Season 2
- ROBERT KIRKMAN: Why TV's WALKING DEAD Translates to Comics Sales