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The Walking Dead Comic Series: A Collector's Guide

the-walking-dead-comic-series-a-collectors-guide

In October 2003, the first issue of the monthly Comic book The Walking Dead was issued by Image Comics. It was created by Robert Kirkman and initially illustrated by Tony Moore and then by Charlie Adlard from issue #7 onward. The comic book series has become one of comic history’s biggest sellers, received critical acclaim, and has won industry awards; however, it was the production of AMC’s TV Series, based on the comic, starting in October 2010, that has added a whole new fan base to the monthly comic series.

A large number of collectors who are willing to pay significant sums for early editions has made the series now very collectable. Here, I will attempt to highlight the more collectable editions and the ones to look out for; these are often editions that feature the first appearance of an important character or a major plot change. The joy of comic collecting is the pleasure of owning something that has awesome artwork, amazing covers, and gripping story lines, and if you’re lucky, something that can become very valuable.

So, you never know; maybe lurking in a garage/car boot sale, or even procured at a reasonable price on eBay, you could find yourself in possession of something that is a pretty good investment! It’s worth noting that Image Comics issued a reprint of the Series from #1 to #52 starting January 2011 on the back of the popularity of the TV series. In most cases, it is the first print editions that are referred to here (on the cover, top left below the Image Comics logo, there will be “Second Printing” to indicate so, the first print just have the logo).

However, to be fair, the second print editions should also appreciate in value and some honourable mentions of this are given below. It does appear to have been a drop in value from their peak, when the AMC TV launched and there was a rush to snap up earlier issues; however, the earlier editions have certainly held their value, or increased, and certain variant covers have also remained at a premium. However, the print runs would have increased from the middle to the end of the comic's run, and most standard editions are easy to source. This is reflected in the value.

Issue #1

Hardly surprising, but the first print edition of The Walking Dead from October 2003 is very sought after, it's thought that the initial print run was a cautious 7,300 copies, with no one guessing just how popular it would become. For copies that are ideally in mint or near mint condition, often, collectors will have them graded by one of the commercial grading organisations (such as CGC) to assess the condition and they will then have a grading certificate and this, in most cases, will increase the commercial value. Further adding to the value will be if the comic has been signed by Robert Kirkman and/or the artists Tony Moore or Charlie Adlard.

As of October/November 2012, such copies were selling on eBay for around the US$1000/UK£625 (Note* A CGC 9.8 Version of issue #1 attracted 20+ bids on eBay in September 2013 and sold for $1590/£1000, with the 10th Anniversary of issues #1 arriving in October 2013, there are no signs of interest in the early editions declining) with some on the “Buy it Now” option, up to $1500/£935. If you are in the market for a copy and have the cash, again would advise some caution and make absolutely sure you are bidding on a First Print rather than a second print 2010 edition. The “Image First” reprint edition of the First Issue produced in 2010 as a $1.50/£1 special, these are still available for $12-14. The Second print edition from 2010 would be in the region of $30.

Revisiting values in 2019, non-CGC boxed copies of #1 rarely appear for sale on online auction sites, other than fixed price offerings, with prices of these versions starting around £850/US$1050 for high grade versions (Graded 9.0+ or higher, signed version even higher at around £1165/$1450. One loose copy did sell in the UK in September 2019 for £490/US$610, which should provide a rough indicator of current values.

Early 2020 still sees prices high, although slightly off previous highest, with non CGC versions around £900/$1125. CGC Versions, particularly in the US have have remained consistent, with 9.4 graded copies available at around £850/$1065


the-walking-dead-comic-series-a-collectors-guide

Issue #2

Issue two from the first print run is also highly sought after, with some dealers citing that it had a lower print run than the first (although I’ve not been able to find confirmation of that) and as such was commanding prices in the $600/£375 region back in 2012. Six years on, first print non CGC versions have sold for £185/US$230.

Updated to 2020, prices for first print #2 have risen considerably, with the cheapest versions around the £350/£1060 for loose/bagged/boarded copies, rising to around £380/$475 for CGC 9.2 graded versions.

Issues #3-10

All very collectible due to the age and formation of the early story line. Each edition is likely to fetch around £60/$100. If looking to purchase, with some perseverance and good timing, you may be able to purchase for less, if you’re lucky.

In 2020, still few available to purchase, lucky to pick anything up under the sub £80/$100 level.

the-walking-dead-comic-series-a-collectors-guide

Issue #19

Issue 19 with its iconic cover, saw the first appearance of Michonne and she has firmly become a fan favourite. Her enigmatic appearance in the closing episode of the Second TV Series has only helped to fuel the value of this edition and as such, issue #19 has become very sought after with current prices ranging from $200- $300/£125-£187 on eBay, although a lot of “buy it now” options are in the $500/£310 range, with CGC Versions often higher. Such is the popularity of this character, that even the reprinted edition from 2011 getting quite hard to find; Amazon currently has a marketplace copy for $69; so if you can find one cheaper, it may be worth getting hold of. in early 2020, prices still remain fairly consistent.

Issue #27 April 2006

Issue #27 April 2006

Issue #27

Issue 27 saw the first appearance of “The Governor”, again a pivotal character in the series, whose appearance makes a massive impact on the story (who will be appearing in TV series 3), as per #19, buzz from the TV series has probably increased the popularity of this edition and is thus commanding premium values. As of July 2019, copies could be picked up for around $50 in the US and around £60 in the UK, which is a big increase from it's issue price, but has fallen from its peak value in 3-4 years ago, when they regularly sold for $150/£100. Graded GCG versions, likely to command around double that value.

Early 2020 has seen 1st print edition's in the US for sale now as low as £12/$15 , with CGC 9.6 graded versions at £45/$56.

Issue #35

This one is a bit of a “rocket firing Boba Fett”!, The first print run of 22000 copies in February 2007 had a print error, in that the second to last page was printed twice and the last page was missing. The whole run had to be reprinted correctly and the faulty batch was pulped, however it is thought there may have been a few sent out in the distributors early bird program and as such this would probably make this edition one of the rarest available, although there is no current gauge of its value.

Issues #36-87 range

These mid-range issues, first print editions are likely to be retailing on eBay or Comic Shops at around the £5-£12, maybe a bit cheaper if you’re lucky and you can hunt them out. However there are cover variations, often issued as exclusives at regional Comic Conventions, which can be more valuable and there are the retailer appreciation versions (for a certain number that a comic shop buys from the distributor, they will often send an additional edition with an exclusive cover variant) and these are well worth searching out and invariably on sources such as eBay, they will normally be a few $/£ more than the regular cover.

2020 still sees little change in prices in this range, around £10/$13 a copy.

Issue #50 Erik Larson Variant

Issue #50 Erik Larson Variant

Issue #50

As a “milestone” issue, #50 has been issued with some awesome cover variants, in particular, the Eric Larson wraparound is very desirable, with current copies on eBay typically retailing at around $120/£75.

As of early 2020, the Larson version is still in demand, with prices now ranged around £120/$150.

Issue #75

There are number if variations of cover for this issue including a 2010 San Diego CC variant by Charlie Adlard, although my particular favourite is the reproduction of the first issue background with a new Rick Grimes illustration. Issue #75 is particularly sought as it includes the first Colour Ryan Ottley back-up story, value of the SDCC would be around $50/£30 (more if signed by Kirkman/Adlard).

Issue #75 cover variant

Issue #75 cover variant

To mark milestone issue #75, Image comics issued some blank sketch variants by cover artists such as Ashley Nicole and Shelby Robertson. These issues were very limited (1000 each) and unsurprisingly highly sought after. Copies can still be obtained on sites such as eBay but you should expect to pay anywhere from $300/£187 to $400/£250, dependant on the artist and cover.

the-walking-dead-comic-series-a-collectors-guide

Issues #78 & #87

In a break from tradition, Special Comic Con (Long Beach & San Diego) Exclusive cover versions had Photo covers rather than the traditional artwork, nonetheless the SDCC #87 is pretty spectacular. The #87 variant is valued at around $30

Issue #88

Following on from the theme of Variant’s, a special edition cover variant by Charlie from the 2011 Canada Fan Expo is very collectable, currently reaching value’s in the $100/£60 region.

#88 Canadian Fan Expo variant

#88 Canadian Fan Expo variant

Issue #100 Variations

Issue #100 Variations

Issue #100

In June 2012, when the Comic Series reached the 100th edition, to mark the occasion, a number of artists were commissioned to produce cover variants and the 100th edition was issued with 8 different standard covers, plus a number of retailer/special variants with wraparound covers. The artist/cover identities are classified as follows; 101a – Charlie Adlard, 101b – Marc Silvestri, 101c – Frank Quitely, 101d Todd McFarlane, 101e – Philips – 101f – Hitch, 101g – Ryan Ottley . whilst the regular editions are not particularly valuable at present ( $25/£15 for the whole set, from some retailers, pretty much the cover price), I would be very surprised if they didn’t gain in value over time, so these would well be worth picking up now if you can. A limited edition box set of #100 covers (along with various goodies, t-shirts, autographs, ltd edition silk prints etc) was issued in July 2012 directly from Skybound (Robert Kirkman’s publishing company). As this release was limited 250 copies and retailed at $250/£154, which seemed a lot of money, a couple were available on eBay recently, one for $300/£187 (pretty good value!) & one for $800/£500!

#101 Ghost Variant

#101 Ghost Variant

Issue #101

A very nice special Michonne Retro/Foxy Brown style “Ghost Variant” was issued in August 2012, whereby a small print run, speculated to be in the region of only 4-5000!) was made and distributed to limited number of random diamond customers (there was some controversy at the time as some dealers called foul, as they received none via the distribution, whilst others did, citing possible favouritism!) . These are very collectable and due to limited numbers are difficult to find below $40/£32, and are also difficult to find outside the U.S.

Issue #106

February 2013's Issue #106 was Charlie Adlard's 100th Edition (after taking over from Tony Moore) as well as two standard cover variants, to celebrate this anniversary, an exclusive Charlie Adlard cover was produced, limited to 2000 copies and available from UK Comic Shop - "Infinity and Beyond" in Shrewsbury UK (which is Charlie Adlard's local). The cover is a reworking of Tony Moore's original #1 cover featuring Charlie Adlard (in place of Rick Grimes) in front of the Comic Shop and with hints of his favourite items - drums, lego and a car. As of April 2020, these are still available to purchase from the stores eBay for £39.90 signed or £24.99 unsigned ( this has seen some appreciation since availability in February 2013, when they were originally offered for £14.99 a Signed by Charlie Adlard or £12.99 unsigned), although, as of April 2020, it is available from the stores website at a cheaper price, CGC Versions are available at around £70.

The Walking Dead #115 10th Anniversary Covers

To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the series, Issues #115, due out in October 2013 will have 10 separate cover variants which will all "interconnect" to show a montage of the most significant events from the past ten years (one for each year) of the series. The Issue will also have a "standard cover" For collectors, it would definitely be worthwhile try to obtain each version, although some maybe harder to source than others. but hopefully that won't be the case.. There is also a 10th anniversary reprint of #1 being issued on 2nd October 2013 to look out for.

The Walking Dead #115 Connecting Covers

The Walking Dead #115 Connecting Covers

Special Editions

Occasionally, special editions are issued, such as the Michonne Special #19 reprint (to coincide with the star of TV season 3) with new cover, the Michonne origin story that was first published in Playboy,. This issue is already increasing in value, but if you hunt around some of the excellent online Comic stores, you should still (as of late October 2012) still be able to source one at it’s original cover price ($2.99/£2.20), although I would suggest sooner rather than later, as they are quickly disappearing.Image Comics have also produced collated versions of the comic books, so that if you’re on a budget and just want to get into the story, these are a great way to go.

the-walking-dead-comic-series-a-collectors-guide

#150 - Mid Series Milestone

Robert Kirkman has previously quoted that he would like the Comic Series to run for 300 issues, so #150 due for release on 13th January 2015 will be the mid series milestone and will feature a major storyline and the likely killing off on one or more of the major characters. The standard cover image has been released by Skybound/Image for some time and there is certainly a blank variant scheduled, but there has been little mention of any other variants, although would be surprised if there were not any issued, given the issue number, these would certainly be worth looking out for.

the-walking-dead-comic-series-a-collectors-guide

#193 - End of the Saga

In July 2019, many were surprised when Robert Kirkman announced that issue #193 would be the final issue in the series. Won't give any spoilers, but understand the final few pages give a jump forward in 10 years time, to show what has become of the main characters and how the damaged world has progressed. The last issue will no doubt prove popular and prices for first print versions are already at a large premium of £20, so worth trying to get a copy from local comic store, if possible, otherwise prices may reduce over time, once the excitement dies down, however, due to demand, already a 2nd print has been announced for the end of July 2019. There is also a SDCC variant cover, with the same image but different colouring, which is currently changing hands for around $40/£30, as of July 2019.

In early 2020, the first print version can be sourced for around £6/$7.50, however prices have risen slightly with the SDCC variant available for around £40/$50

Conclusion

If you feel you’re a bit late to the party, either getting into the story or as an investment, don’t worry, it is still a great saga to get into, the TV Series 2/early 3 hasn't really got much past the early 20’s in the comic series, so there are lot’s of story lines to catch up on. Digital versions of the whole back catalogue are available for iPad/Kindle etc via Comixology and also the collected printed editions are great for catch-up’s and can be obtained reasonably cheaply. It is still possible to pick up back issue’s and first prints via eBay or your local friendly comic shop are also a great source, also worth checking out garage sales/car boot sales or 2nd hand websites etc.

As should be abundantly clear by now, Image Comics are very keen on the cover variants, there will always be rarer versions of the current issue to be had again support your local Comic Shop, if you’re lucky to have one, and I am sure they will help you here, if they can! Also worthy of a mention, if you are keen on dipping into the speculative side of comic collecting, is Image Comics/Skybound's comic stable mate, also created by Robert Kirkman – “Thief of Thieves.” Although a different genre, has just been optioned by AMC (the TV production company who make The Walking Dead), so if that gets made it will significantly increase the value of any back issues. Already first print editions of issue #1 that was only started in February 2012 are starting to make a very large premium, so well worth checking out!

Comments

Jared McMullan on May 31, 2019:

I sent the author an email to see if he or whomever could update the page/guide to current prices and also include at least every first print issue from 1-to 191 and after.

Robcomics on September 06, 2017:

I happened to know first hand of the TWD #1 Special Anniversary - Hyundai Edition. I got my hands on one. It's pretty much the same as the Black Friday Special Edition, except it has the Hyundai logo on the back

Kieran Clarke (author) from Newton Abbot on March 01, 2017:

Hi Jules8812, Thanks for viewing the page. I'm afraid I haven't ever heard of a Hyundai 10th Anniversary Special Edition Exclusive? I clearly remember when the Special Edition Tucson was released by Hyundai, although never seen one in person, as I think they were only ever released in the US and never made it over to Europe! They had an exclusive Bagpack and extra's but haven't been able to find reference anywhere to an exclusive Comic being sold with them, I would imagine it would be a re-covered all colour 10th Anniversary edition, but as not being able to verify, can't confirm any details. I imagine these would be highly sought after and valuable,based on the exclusivity. Sorry I can't offer any more help with this!

Jules8812 on February 25, 2017:

Do you know anything about the walking dead 10th anniversary comic that was only released with the walking dead edition of the Hyundai Tucson in 2013?

Kieran Clarke (author) from Newton Abbot on October 20, 2014:

Thanks for viewing the hub Sarah! I agree, it is a fantastic cover, I remember the owner of one of comic shops I used to visit regularly stating that it was the only one that freaked him out a little! Strange! What's not to love about a sweet old zombie Granny with blood dripping from her mouth!?!?

Sarah on October 16, 2014:

I just got the #100 Quitely variant. Love that cover

Kieran Clarke (author) from Newton Abbot on April 25, 2014:

Hi L.T.Wheeler, Thanks for viewing the Hub and asking the question. To be honest, I can't really give you an answer with any absolute certainty as I can't find any references to Canadian printed issues of the Walking Dead Comic series. All UK/European editions are essentially US imports (normally imported and distributed via Diamond Comic distributors and printed in the US, which is usually indicated bottom of the first page on the reverse of the cover) and other than regional local language translations would normally have come from the same US manufacturers. If the comics are first print editions and tally with the same release date (i.e not later reprints), then I would think they should hold their value against the US versions, possibly more for the "novelty" value if there a some resolute collectors who want one of everything. That's about all the info I can give you on this, if I can find out any more, I'll update it. Best of Luck!

L.T. Wheeler on April 21, 2014:

Question about the COMIC runs. I have some early editions numbers, that are printed in CANADA. Will that affect the price/value?

Please advise. thanks

Kieran Clarke (author) from Newton Abbot on June 26, 2013:

Thanks for viewing the hub and commenting jdw7979! Yes, the Series continues strongly in all it's differing formats with the next monthly comic installment due on July 10th - Issue #112 and Volume 18 of the collected comics 103-108was released at the start of the month. Series 4 of the TV series in production and scheduled to premiere in the US October 2013, (here in the UK, terrestrial TV far exceeds satellite/cable by nearly three quarters so for most, viewers are some time behind, but get to see the premier of Season 3 starting on Channel 5 this coming Saturday June 29th @ 11pm, which is all very exciting!). If you're at all interested in the artwork, Cryptozoic have very recently released a series of trading cards featuring comic covers/sketch cards etc which, as per their previous three Walking Dead releases, is rapidly becoming very collectible/valuable. Many Thanks for the comment!

John David from Middle America on June 13, 2013:

Great series in print, and on television.. yet I prefer the comics more and am still catching up! Great hub!!

EJ Lambert from Chicago, IL on June 05, 2013:

I'll do that. Thanks for the tip!

Kieran Clarke (author) from Newton Abbot on June 05, 2013:

Hi EJ Lambert, Thanks for viewing the hub and taking time to comment - Much Appreciated!! The Robert Kirkman/Charlie Adlard "The Walking Dead" Comic series from Image Comics is still very much alive! The June issue is #111 and due out on 10th June 2013 and the series continues to be consistently in the top 10 of all monthly comic sales (according to the worlds biggest comic distributor - Diamond Comics) and The Walking Dead comes in first in the "Graphic Novels" section, each having a distinctive three word title, the first being "Days Gone Bye". This is probably the best way to get into Walking Dead Comic Series at this stage. The Graphic Novels compile 6 comics into one Volume and is now up to Volume 18 (which releases today and compiles Volumes #103-#108). Volume 1 is obviously the best place to start and you can pick up the earlier volume's relatively cheaply (well compared to the individual comic's anyway!) but I think you could pick up the series at any stage as most of the volumes will be bunched into relative story arc's. Good Luck & Thanks again!

EJ Lambert from Chicago, IL on June 04, 2013:

I still need to catch up in the TV series but getting more into graphic novels is one of my goals over the next year. This series tops my list. Is it complete or are there more to come?

Kieran Clarke (author) from Newton Abbot on March 26, 2013:

Thanks for the comment bagsunlimited, yes it is quite incredible just how popular The Walking Dead is at the moment, almost a whole zombie industry from one simple comic book! Glad you liked the hub!

Marion from 7 Canal St. Rochester, NY 14608 on March 19, 2013:

My son LOVES The Walking Dead...esp. loves that commercial, too. Keep up the excellent writing!

Kieran Clarke (author) from Newton Abbot on January 07, 2013:

Thanks for the compliment nuffsaidstan! There seems to be a massive interest in all forms of The Walking Dead at the moment and not surprisingly a huge anticipation for the 2nd half of the third series as I understand things are really going to gather pace. Here in the UK (unless you're a subscriber to FX) we'll have to wait a few months to see Series 3 as I believe Channel 5 over here is due to broadcast the series late Spring/Early Summer..Can't Wait!

nuffsaidstan on January 02, 2013:

Hey great article, can't wait till February for the 2nd half of season 3.

Kieran Clarke (author) from Newton Abbot on October 25, 2012:

Hi Kimberly! Thanks for the message, yes, you're absolutely right, Daryl Dixon is a completely original character exclusive to the TV Series, however the comic creater Robert Kirkman has hinted he may be written into the comic series as some point and even hinted earlier this year that it could be issue #102 (which added to the rumour, if you see that issue's distinctive cover), however it didn't happen yet, although it may do in the future. Just goes to show that there are differences between the comix and the TV series which means you can enjoy them both in parallel, without spoiling either. Many Thanks!

Kimberly Vaughn from Midwest on October 25, 2012:

I love The Walking Dead tv show on AMC. I am going to have to check out the comics. Only, my favorite character on the tv show is Daryl Dixon and I heard he is not in the comics!