There are No Zombies in “The Walking Dead”

by Luke Smith

102122D-1024x536 There are No Zombies in "The Walking Dead"I’ll be honest guys. When it comes to Golden Age Comics, I’m no pro, But I do know what I like and it seems I’m not alone.I absolutely LOVE zombies! Ever since I watched the Original George A Romero classics back in my youth.Not many people today actually realize this, but prior to George A Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead,” zombies never actually ate human flesh. In fact, prior to this, we only ever really had reanimated corpses brought on as a result of a magical potion or spell.
(And these “Zombies” were more often than not depicted as simple slave labour to their Mystical Voodoo Masters.)

But George changed all that, and gave us fans something truly special:
Ghoulish, Undead Fiends, who stalked Human Flesh.
Night-of-the-living-dead-russell-streiner-as-johnnie28129-300x226 There are No Zombies in "The Walking Dead"

“They’re coming to get you Barbara…” – Johnny (“Night of the Living Dead” 1968)

In fact, when you think about it, the Universal Monsters had existed for many years prior to the birth of the Zombie, making them a very recent and modern addition to the monster squad indeed.Anyway, after talking to several friends of mine who do indeed know more about this era of comic collecting than I ever could. I have learned of the three key elements that make these books desirable…1. A Damsel in Distress. (Beware #10)2. A Skull or Ghoulish Fiend. (The Haunt of Fear #17)3. Gore / Shocking Imagery. (Black Cat Comics #50)

s-l500-227x300 There are No Zombies in "The Walking Dead"Haunt_of_Fear_Vol_1_17-1-206x300 There are No Zombies in "The Walking Dead"Black-Cat-Mystery-50-1954-204x300 There are No Zombies in "The Walking Dead"
To this day, many within the hobby find themselves drawn to these books whenever they come across them.

Fast forward to October 2003, and a small independent comic name The Walking Dead crept onto the market.

The Walking Dead was/is a Modern Age Comic Book, moving very much in the footsteps of TMNT #1 in the sense that it is a desirable book with a low print run and came about within the Modern Era of Comics.

I had originally picked up the Walking Dead Comics as reference material back when I was working in the Special Effects Industry, After just a couple of issues, I was hooked.

Robert Kirkham (The Writer and Co-Creator of the Walking Dead Comic Book Series) was a Huge fan of Romeros work and was actually intending to name his Comic Book Series after the original movie. After all, it was fair game to do so, what with it being in the public domain. But upon reflection, he decided to change it.One of the main reasons for this change was that he didn’t want his story to be confined to just one night.
Kirkman wanted a story that would continue moving forward and “never end” the way most zombie-based movies do.

twd001-160403214829-thumbnail-4-192x300 There are No Zombies in "The Walking Dead"Publishers were skeptical of this idea at first and wanted a more definitive plot and story end. Kirkman lied about the plot of the Walking Dead in order to get it published, informing investors that Aliens would be involved by the end of the first arc. But by the time that all rolled around, the series had found its footing and fan base and so no one seemed to care.They decided to keep the book in black and white when printing for two reasons:A. It was cheaper…B. You could get away with more gore…And there is no reference to the word zombies throughout its run, instead choosing to use other words for their undead ghouls, such as Walkers, Roamers, and Biters.

The reason for this is a simple one.

The characters within the world of the Walking Dead have no reference to “zombies” or “zombie pop culture”. There are no movies, no shows, and no books. Nothing at all depicting zombies as we know them in our world. This whole experience that these characters are witnessing, of the undead rising up to stalk the living, is a completely new concept to their world.

But, as always, there is another real-world reason why The Walking Dead does not use the word Zombie. Marvel actually owned the rights to the word “Zombie” between the years 1975 – 1996 and had it registered and trademarked for their book titled: Tales of the Zombie.

TalesOfTheZombie1-222x300 There are No Zombies in "The Walking Dead"So there you have it. That is why there are no Zombies within the Walking Dead Universe, both a real-world reason and an in-world continuity one.

(It is also worth noting that Robert Kirkman did indeed write some Zombie Titled Fiction for Marvel, titled Marvel Zombies but I think we’ll save that for another time.)

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Upgrade2_Footer There are No Zombies in "The Walking Dead"*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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2 comments

Mr.E October 29, 2022 - 10:58 pm

Early into the comic run they did in fact call them zombies

Reply
Spud October 30, 2022 - 8:19 pm

Yes they did call them zombies in the comic, your reasoning is correct for the TV show but is wrong for the comics.

Reply

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