The Walking Dead Comic Series: A Collector's Guide

Updated on December 2, 2017

In October 2003, the first issue of the monthly Comic book “The Walking Dead” was issued by Image Comics. Created by Robert Kirkman and initially illustrated by Tony Moore and then by Charlie Adlard from issue #7 onwards. The comic book series has become one of comic history’s biggest sellers, received critical acclaimed and has won industry awards, however it was the production of AMC’s TV Series, based on the comic, starting in October 2010 and now into it’s third series, that has added a whole new fanbase to the monthly comic series, which is now into the low 100’s and along with it, a large number of collectors who are willing to pay significant sums for early editions that has made the series now very collectible. Here I will attempt to highlight the more collectible 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 pleasure of owning something that has awesome artwork, amazing covers and gripping storylines 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 edition’s 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. Hard to say whether the comics will hold their value over time, but I would imagine they will stay pretty firm but as with all commodities, there may be some fluctuation with new TV Season etc.

Issue #1

Hardly surprising, but the first print edition of “The Walking Dead” from October 2003 is very sought after. 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. At present (October/November 2012) such copies are 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.

Issue #2
Issue #2

Issue #2

Issue two from the first print run is also highly sought after, 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 is commanding prices in the $600/£375 region (as of October/November 2012).

Issues #3-10

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

Issue #19

Issue 19 with it’s iconic cover, saw the first appearance of Michonne and she has firmly become a fans’ 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. Such is the popularity of this character, that event the reprinted edition from 2011 getting quite hard to find, Amazon.com currently have a marketplace copy for $69, so if you can find one cheaper, may be worth getting hold of.

Issue #27
Issue #27

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 in the $150/£100, although the “Buy I Now” on eBay are anything up to $1500/£930 for this edition.

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 it’s 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.

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

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.

Issue #87 Photo Cover
Issue #87 Photo Cover

Issues #78 & #87

In a break from tradition, Special Comic Con (Long Beach & Arizona) Exclusive cover versions had Photo covers rather than the traditional artwork, nonetheless the Arizona #87 is pretty spectacular.

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.

Issue #88 Canadian Expo
Issue #88 Canadian Expo
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!

Issue #101 Ghost Variant
Issue #101 Ghost Variant

Issue #101

A very nice special Michonne Retro style “Ghost Variant” was issued in August 2012, whereby a small print run was made and distributed to various dealers. These are very collectable and although only issued fairly recently, are already attracting bids of $48/£30.

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 February 2013, copies were still available from eBay and directly at a reasonable £14.99 and Signed by Charlie Adlard or £12.99 unsigned, both of which might prove to be a pretty good investment!

Issue #106 Charlie Adlard Infinity and Beyond Exclusive
Issue #106 Charlie Adlard Infinity and Beyond Exclusive

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 are retailers also putting together some exclusive packages together to celebrate the event, Infinity & Beyond in Shrewsbury, UK for example are putting to together a collectors box set with 14 covers, exclusive art print signed by Charlie Adlard and with a comp to win original WD artwork, all for a very reasonable £65/$103. 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.

Source

#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.

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 storylines 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.

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!

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    • profile image

      Robcomics 3 months ago

      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

    • kcent247 profile image
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      Kieran Clarke 9 months ago from Newton Abbot

      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!

    • profile image

      Jules8812 9 months ago

      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?

    • kcent247 profile image
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      Kieran Clarke 3 years ago from Newton Abbot

      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!?!?

    • SarahFriedman profile image

      Sarah 3 years ago

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

    • kcent247 profile image
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      Kieran Clarke 3 years ago from Newton Abbot

      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!

    • profile image

      L.T. Wheeler 3 years ago

      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

    • kcent247 profile image
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      Kieran Clarke 4 years ago from Newton Abbot

      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!

    • jdw7979 profile image

      John David 4 years ago from Middle America

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

    • EJ Lambert profile image

      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      I'll do that. Thanks for the tip!

    • kcent247 profile image
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      Kieran Clarke 4 years ago from Newton Abbot

      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 profile image

      EJ Lambert 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

      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?

    • kcent247 profile image
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      Kieran Clarke 4 years ago from Newton Abbot

      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!

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      Marion 4 years ago from 7 Canal St. Rochester, NY 14608

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

    • kcent247 profile image
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      Kieran Clarke 4 years ago from Newton Abbot

      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 profile image

      nuffsaidstan 4 years ago

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

    • kcent247 profile image
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      Kieran Clarke 5 years ago from Newton Abbot

      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 profile image

      Kimberly Vaughn 5 years ago from Midwest

      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!

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