Top 20 Walking Dead Characters

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The Walking Dead is a phenomenon. The AMC television show is a juggernaut, and seemingly gets better and better as it goes on. The comic book has been around for more than ten years (!!) and shows no signs of slowing down. There are video games, mobile apps, and merchandise, merchandise, merchandise as far as the eye can see.

Why is it so universally beloved? It’s not the zombies, although they are always awesome. It’s the characters. Whether the originals from the comic, or their counterparts on the tv show, or the new characters created for said tv show or any of the video games, the Walking Dead delivers interesting, relatable characters you love to love and hate.

Spoilers ahead!

20. Shane Walsh (TV)

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First Appeared: Season 1, Episode 1

Died: Season 2, Episode 12 (stabbed by Rick)

Quote: “These things ain’t sick. They’re not people. They’re dead. Ain’t gonna feel nothing for them ’cause all they do, they kill! These things right here, they’re the things that killed Amy. They killed Otis. They’re gonna kill all of us.”

Why he makes the list: Oh, Shane, you asshole. While he couldn’t ever seem to get out of his own way, Shane was a very important member of the group of survivors. He taught a number of the group how to shoot, and tried his best to keep everyone (well, everyone but Rick and Otis) safe. His problem was that he was his own worst enemy. He was ahead of the curve as far as what it would take to survive in this new world, but his way of trying to get everyone else to catch up was to behave like a fucking lunatic and try to kill his supposed best friend. But before he got a Knife of Justice to the guts, he was the fly in the ointment; the wild card of the group that kept things interesting while they sat around on Hershel’s farm.

 

19. Kenny (Telltale game)

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First Appeared: Series 1, Chapter 1

Died: Series 2, Chapter 5 (shot by Clementine), another option ends Series 2 with Kenny still alive

Quote: To Lee: “You’ve always been there for me Lee, always had my back when it mattered. What kind of friend would I be if I wasn’t there for you now? Bitten or not, I’m with you to the end. You can count on me.”

Why he makes the list: Oh, Kenny, you asshole. You can say a lot of bad things about Kenny: he is short tempered, loud mouthed, stubborn, rude… but there are good qualities, too: loyal, tough as nails, protective, and quick witted. Kenny is usually the first to stick up for Lee and/or Clementine, and in the second chapter, even as he loses his mind even more than before, he is still always trying to keep Clementine safe. So while he is without question an obnoxious asshole, he at least is an obnoxious asshole that is trying to do the right thing (most of the time).

 

18. Bob Stookey (TV)

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First Appeared: Season 4, Episode 1

Died: Season 5, Episode 3 (bitten by zombie, leg eaten by cannibals, dies of fever)

Quote: ” If a sewer could puke, this is what it’d smell like.”

Why he makes the list: Bob has every reason to throw in the towel before we even meet him. First, there’s the whole ‘it’s the zombie apocalypse’ thing, then he’s the last man standing from not one, but two different groups of survivors. It’s no wonder he took to drinking. Still, after he becomes part of Rick’s group he slowly comes around, and by season 5 is a valuable member of the group and ‘dating’ Sasha. Bob has every excuse to look at the downside at every turn, but even after getting shot and separated from everyone (along with Maggie and Sasha) after the fall of the prison, Bob is the one who keeps positive, and refuses to give in to despair. Hell, even after being bitten AND captured and tortured by cannibals, he still finds reasons to smile. RIP, Bob.

 

17. Lee Everett (Telltale game)

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First Appeared: Series 1, Chapter 1

Died: Series 1, Chapter 5 (either dies of infection from amputating own arm, or shot in head to avoid reanimation)

Quote: “You ever put that little girl in danger again, and it won’t be walkers you’ll have to be afraid of.”

Why he makes the list: If you’ve played the excellent Walking Dead games by Telltale games, you are probably wondering more why he isn’t higher on the list, and not whether or not he made it. Lee is awesome. The protagonist in the first chapter of the game, you see the devolution of the world through his eyes. When the story opens the former University of Georgia professor is going to prison for murder after killing his wife and her boyfriend (who he walked in on). He’s not a bad guy, he’s just a guy that gave in to rage at the worst moment of his life.

Disoriented and confused he meets and saves (well, she sort of saves him, too) a little girl named Clementine, and even though he has no reason to really do so, he determines that he is going to keep this little girl safe, no matter what. And dude goes through some hardcore, fucked up shit to keep his promise. His personal ending may not be a happy one, but he gave Clementine the strength to carry on, and never waivered in his belief that what he was doing was right (or, failing that, necessary).

 

16. Tyrese Williams

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First Appeared: Issue 7

Died: Issue 46 (decapitated by the Governor)

Quote: “Leave him. He’ll be coming back soon, and I’m going to kill him again. Slower this time.”

Why he makes the list: Why wouldn’t he?! Tyrese is freaking awesome. The former NFL linebacker quickly fits right in with Rick and his group of survivors, and almost immediately becomes a very valuable member. In his relatively short time with them, he sadly goes through some horrible things, like having to kill his newly zombified daughter after she and her boyfriend fail in a murder/suicide pact, and the whole ‘having his head chopped off’ by a one-armed, one-eyed maniac, but in the time between these horrors he was strong, smart, resourceful, and loyal (other than a brutal fistfight with Rick after Tyrese was caught cheating on Carol with Michonne).

 

15. Eugene Porter

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First Appeared: Issue 53

Died: Still alive!

Quote: To Negan: “Rick is working towards something… He’s building a life for all of us, including you if you’d back the fuck off. That’s big. That’s special. And I won’t do anything to jeopardize that… No matter how many genitals you sever.”

Why he makes the list: Man, what a difference time can make. When Eugene first showed up to the book, he was claiming to be a government employee that knew that not only did Washington, D.C. have an infrastructure in place to deal with situations like the zombie apocalypse, but that he knew how to stop it. Of course, this was utter bullshit. He made up the story because he wasn’t strong, wasn’t brave, couldn’t fight, and really couldn’t do anything to contribute to a group. He figured his story would make him valuable to those that could, and he could use them for protection. However, after the truth came out he has worked to make himself valuable. While he may not be the most badass of badasses, he has shown loyalty, bravery, and a ton of ingenuity. He currently resides in Alexandria with Rick’s group and is essential to their survival as he helps with everything from making bread to bullets.

 

 

14. Ezekiel (and Shiva)

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First Appeared: Issue 108

Died: Issue 144 (Decapitated by Alpha, leader of the Whisperers) Shiva died in issue 118 (eaten by zombies)

Quote: To Rick and Jesus: “No, I have never been accepting of Negan’s ‘truce’. I crowned myself king of this Kingdom in order to make the lives of my people as good as they can be. Negan and his Saviors… I wish to be rid of them.”

Why he makes the list: Come ON. The guy rules his own ‘kingdom’ AND has a tiger? AND he hooks up with Michonne? What’s not to love? The former zookeeper started off by just wanting to keep people and animals safe, and rose to lead the one group that was not intimidated by Negan’s “Saviors” (other than Rick’s, of course).

Ezekiel and his people in ‘the kingdom’ are one of the major reasons Rick and his group aren’t currently being led (and terrorized) by Negan. Plus he’s pretty good with a sword, in his own right. Sadly, his bad as fuck tiger Shiva was killed by zombies while protecting Ezekiel (and ripping the FUCK out of dozens of them first, I might add), and ol’ Zeke himself was recently decapitated by Alpha of the Whisperers.

 

13. The Governor

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First Appeared: Issue 27

Died: Issue 48 (shot by Woodbury resident Lilly and shoved into zombie horde)

Quote: “Well, stranger… we’re feeding them strangers.”

Why he makes the list: Easily one of the two most hated characters in the history of the Walking Dead, the Governor deserved every horrible thing that happened to him and more. So why does he make the list? Because he was interesting as hell. While you may wish that Rick or Michonne killed him the second they laid eyes on him, or that Michonne got just a few more minutes with him during her awful, awful, awful torture/revenge, you at least felt something about the guy. Most likely a horrible rage-filled hatred and utter disgust, but SOMETHING. And while the TV version was a dick too, he couldn’t hold a candle to the real deal.

 

 

12. Abraham Ford

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First Appeared: Issue 53

Died: Issue 98 (shot through eye with crossbow by Dwight)

Quote: To Rick’s group, regarding Eugene: “The thing about smart mother fuckers is that sometimes, they sound like crazy mother fuckers to stupid mother fuckers…”

Why he makes the list: Abraham was really the first true alpha dog that joined Rick’s group since Shane, and he and Rick predictably butted heads at first. Abraham and his group had been through just as much shit (if not more, if that’s possible) than Rick’s had, and there was some conflict due to Abraham feeling like his mission (get Eugene to Washington) took precedence over everything and anything Rick’s group was up to. Abraham and his people were the first we saw that had encountered a horde (a ridiculously large group of zombies, numbering in the thousands), and had lost a lot of people getting to where they were, so he was very no nonsense. At first it was hard to like him. But then, after bonding with Rick after murdering some guys that tried to take them (and Carl) out, they realized that they were very similar (and had equally horrible) things happen to them in the past. Abraham, in the previous life a sergeant in the military, was capable of giving orders but probably more comfortable taking them and delegating from there, so when he realized he could trust Rick they even grew to actually like one another. Abraham became a very valuable member of the group, even after losing his way a bit once he found out how much shit Eugene was full of. Sadly he was taken out suddenly and unexpectedly when he caught a crossbow bolt through the head.

 

 

11. Clementine (Telltale game)

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First Appeared: Series 1, Chapter 1

Died: Still alive!

Quote: “He taught me to be strong. Even when I’m scared. Because he wanted me to live.”

Why she makes the list: If you played the first chapter of Telltale games’ excellent Walking Dead game, you couldn’t help but feel protective of sweet, brave little Clementine. And if you played the second chapter, where she became the protagonist, you grew to love her. Clem is one badass, brave little kid. Sure, she’s damaged goods, but everyone in this apocalyptic world is (which takes place in the same world as the comics). The difference between Clem and some of the crazier people is that she stares the bleak, despair and pain filled world in the face and goes “Not me, bitch”. She will stand up to anyone in her path, and perhaps equally (or more) brave, she will stand up to her friends when she feels that they’re wrong (looking at you, Kenny).

While the next Telltale Walking Dead game will focus on Michonne, I can’t help but wish we were seeing more of Clementine. I’m sure we will, eventually, but I can’t wait to see what kind of total badass she grows up to be.

 

10. Paul “Jesus” Monroe

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First Appeared: Issue 92

Died: Still alive!

Quote: To Negan, while subduing him: “Your soldiers suck. And the apple doesn’t fall too far-”

Why He Makes the List: Jesus comes out of nowhere and takes the entire cast by surprise. Thankfully, he is not only a total badass capable of fighting Abraham and Michonne at the same time, and more than holding his own (while holding back, I should point out), but he is a good guy, too. Jesus went from mysterious scout for an unknown community to a potential threat, to a man Rick and co. begrudgingly trust, to a valuable member of the community and ally in the war against Negan and his saviors so quickly, and so smoothly, that it almost feels like he’s always been a part of the book, despite his not being introduced until issue 92! He is currently serving as the second in command to Maggie at the Hilltop.

 

9. Carol Peletier (TV)

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First Appeared: Season 1, Episode 3

Died: Still alive!

Quote: To Sam ( a young boy): “You can never tell anyone, especially your mom, because if you do, one morning you’ll wake up and you won’t be in your bed. You’ll be outside the walls, far, far away, tied to a tree. And you’ll scream and scream because you’ll be so afraid, no one will come to help because no one will hear you. The monsters will come… You won’t be able to run away and when they come for you, they will tear you up and eat you up while you’re still alive, while you can still feel it. Then afterwards, no one will ever know what happened to you. Or you can promise to never tell anyone what you saw here. Then nothing will happen. And you’ll get cookies. Lots of cookies. I know what I think you should do.”

Why She Makes the List: Are you kidding? On a show full of characters that have undergone drastic changes over the multiple seasons, nobody has changed more than Carol. At first she was the browbeaten housewife; always willing to put her fate in the hands of more capable people. She started to come out of her shell a bit after her husband was eaten by zombies, but oddly enough it wasn’t until her daughter Sophia was killed that the old, weak Carol ‘died’ and the new, hard as nails, badass Carol was born. Since then she has become one of the most hardcore, self reliant characters on the show, and just as dangerous in her own ways as Rick or Daryl or Michonne.

 

8. Negan

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First Appeared: Issue 100

Died: Still alive (shit)

Quote: “Mother fucking dick suck cunt fucking fuck fuckity fuck fucker fucking fuck FUCKERS!”

Why He Makes the List: Are you serious? Did you read that quote? Even though he started out as, and in some ways continues to be, the most hated character since the Governor, Negan also has a very strong following. The reason being, while he is a foul-mouthed schoolyard bully at his core, he is also very entertaining and in his own way very likeable. Bottom line is the guys is funny. Also he is unpredictable and very capable; you never know what you’re going to get with Negan. I really think the only reason he isn’t more popular is because of what he did to…

 

7. Glenn Rhee

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First Appeared: Issue 2

Died: Issue 100 (head beaten in with baseball bat by Negan)

Quote: “Dont’ worry, I don’t think I’ll be rubbing this shit on my face any time soon.”

Why He Makes the List: For 99 issues Glenn served as the conscious of the group. No matter how bad things got, and they often got plenty bad, Glenn was always (well, almost always) looking for the best in things and in people. He was also one of the most brave members of the group, as we learned the first time we met when he saved Rick’s life in downtown overrun Atlanta. Glenn always put others before himself, which is just one of the many reasons he was so loved by the readers, as well as by….

 

6. Maggie Greene-Rhee

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First Appeared: Issue 10

Died: Still alive!

Quote: “If Rick Grimes says this is something we need to do- Something that can be done… He’s someone we can trust. If there’s one thing I’m certain of… I know this… I believe in Rick Grimes.”

Why She Makes the List: Maggie is straight up awesome, that’s why she makes the list. When we first met her she was the ‘who gives a shit’ daughter of Hershel, but she has grown as much as anyone in the book’s cast. From her relationship and marriage to Glenn to her raising Sophia to suffering through watching her husband brutally murdered to single-handedly raising their son Hershel and running the community at the Hilltop, Maggie has been through it all and come through stronger than ever. She is a force to be reckoned with on her worst days.

 

5. Daryl Dixon (TV)

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First Appeared: Season 1, Episode 3

Died: Still alive!

Quote: “You better watch your mouth, sunshine.”

Why He Makes the List: Daryl is such an integral part of the TV show, and so popular among its fans, that even today it’s surprising that he was created entirely for the show. Like all long-running characters on the show, Daryl has gone through a tremendous amount of change. The character he is today is unrecognizable when compared to the character from the first season (except for his signature crossbow, of course). He has become one of the most well-liked, dependable and trusted characters, and is Rick’s go-to guy for pretty much everything. Daryl has pulled some of the most badass moves on the show, highlighted by his rocket launcher murder of Negan’s men.

 

4. Andrea

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First Appeared: Issue 2

Died: Still alive!

Quote: “You trusted us the minute you decided coming here was better than being out there. You’re risking nothing… We’re risking everything by bringing you in. You earn our trust. Don’t like that, we’ll escort you to the gate.”

Why She Makes the List: Annoying, worthless Lori may have been Rick’s wife in the world before it ended, but Andrea is the wife he always should have had. Our favorite resident badasses are the ultimate power couple; both are unstoppable killing machines in their own ways, and both command complete respect from the majority of characters they have run across. Those that didn’t respect either ended up killed by Rick’s handgun or hatchet, or by Andrea’s Legolas-like accuracy with her rifle. Andrea has more than shown she can hold her own and take care of herself, and is one of the book’s toughest characters. She’s been through a lot, losing her boyfriend Dale, her sister Amy, and her ‘adopted’ sons Ben and Billy, but Andrea is still doing what she always does: surviving.

 

3. Carl Grimes

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First Appeared: Issue 2

Died: Still alive!

Quote: “Your sons hurt Sophia, and if I hadn’t stepped in they would have hurt her much worse than they did. You want me to apologize for saving my friend? You fucking fuckwads can go fuck yourselves.”

Why He Makes the List: Carl Grimes is not only Rick’s son, but one of the most complete characters in the entire book. He’s simultaneously fearless, ruthless, compassionate, protective, brave, and deadly. The poor little bastard has survived being shot- twice (and once in the fucking eye!)- and he (and to a lesser extent, Sophia) is the first representative in the book that really grew up in a world overrun by zombies. While he has had trouble holding on to his humanity at times, he has thus far always been able to find reasons to keep from going completely over the edge (possible exception when he killed Ben). Bottom line: when you’re a ten year old kid and you’re the only one to think to sneak back to the bad guys’ base by hiding in their vehicle with an assault rifle, and proceed to kill a few of them, no less, you’re not one to be fucked with.

 

2. Michonne

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First Appeared: Issue 19

Died: Still alive!

Quote: To the Governor: “I’m not crying for me. I’m crying for you. I think about all the things I’m going to do to you and it makes me cry. It scares me.”

Why She Makes the List: Come on, seriously? I feel like I don’t need to say anything. It’s Michonne!

Pre-apocalypse she’s working in law and being a suburban mom, but post-apocalypse? Samurai sword wielding silent death bringer! Of all of the additions to the group since they left the outskirts of Atlanta, Michonne has been the most important. Despite the nightmare she experienced in Woodbury at the hands of the governor, she has been steadfast in her desire to leave her lone wolf mega badass persona in the past, and to embrace love (whether with Tyrese, Morgan, or Ezekiel) and the family she has formed with Rick and co. She may have relapsed a bit after the war with Negan and the Saviors and tried to bury her feelings in work at sea, but is now back in Alexandria where she belongs, samurai sword and all.

 

1. Rick Grimes

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First Appeared: Issue 1

Died: Still alive!

Quote: “We are the walking dead!”

Why He Makes the List: He’s Rick fucking Grimes, that’s why. Check that shit out above. He’s been around since the first issue and is still around. Granted, he’s now got one hand, a bum leg, and has lost his wife, his best friend, his baby daughter, and countless friends, and probably gets less sleep than anyone still alive, but he’s a goddamn rock.

Sure, he’s flirted with all out insanity a time or two, but at the end of the day there is not one person still uneaten by walking corpses you would want at your side when the shit hits the fan more than him.

It’s like Maggie said, “I believe in Rick Grimes.” Don’t we all?

 

 

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