Issue #39, Page 22: The Birth of Baby Judith (Splash Page)

The Walking Dead
© 2007 Robert Kirkman. All Rights Reserved.

by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard
Issue #39, Page 22 (Splash page): Birth of Baby Judith
Graphite and ink on board
9" x 12"

The sensation that is The Walking Dead includes a best selling comic book series, a hit television show, an animated film, videogames, t-shirts, zombie busts, and even beer steins. But you know the writing is good when the publisher releases a script book –completely vacant of any art to accompany the text.

Robert Kirkman has been responsible for two of the most popular indie comic books of the last decade. His Invincible followed the son of the most powerful superhero on earth as he discovers powers of his own. It paralleled the universal problems that any adolescent looking to follow in his old man's footsteps might encounter with the unique dilemmas likely to befall a father and son with super powers. Kirkman managed to catch lightning in a bottle a second time when he threw a new spin on another old idea: zombies. The Walking Dead uses the Dead Trilogy of George Romero as a springboard for good, old-fashioned human drama. The plot centers on a Kentucky lawman who, following an on-the-job gunshot wound, wakes up in a hospital, smack-dab in the middle of a full-fledged zombie apocalypse. His search for his family leads him to band together with other survivors who must fight rival gangs of survivors and the titular Walking Dead.

Part melodrama, part horror comic and a prime example of post-millennium hero fiction, Kirkman's scripts are brought to magnificent life via Charlie Adlard's pencils. Adlard has drawn every issue since #7, and has provided all the covers since issue 25. Last year, The Walking Dead won an Eisner Award for Best Continuing Series. It has been nominated for one award or another every year since its debut. It has been reprinted in over a dozen trade paperbacks, several hardcover collections and three omnibus releases. A weekly reprint series appears on the news stand side-by-side with the latest issue of the ongoing series. AMC viewers anxiously await the second season of the television show, the debut of which broke basic cable Nielsen Rating records.

The page above is the final page of Issue #39. It is a splash page. It is the birth and first appearance of Baby Judith, who may or may not be lead character Rick Grimes' daughter. This is the first birth in the dead world, and the consequences of this most pivotal moment propel the climax to not only the immediate The Calm Before storyline, but also the entire series up to this point. It is an insidious catalyst for the denouement of the following nine issues. Judith and (mother) Lori are depicted on the cover of the hardcover collection (#4) that reprints issues #37-49, further validating the importance of this particular page.


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