Deciding to reveal a popular villain's backstory is a tricky task, just ask George Lucas. Star Wars fans are still divided over the fact that they got to watch Anakin Skywalker grow up to become Darth Vader. And although The Walking Dead takes place in a galaxy far, far away from Tatooine, when it was announced that Negan's backstory was going to be explained, fans of the undead were worried. The concern wasn't that Robert Kirkman (writer) and Charlie Adlard (artist) couldn't put together a compelling story. The concern was that knowing too much about Negan could kill his appeal faster than a baseball bat to the skull.
Over the course of year, Negan's backstory was revealed in sixteen chapter segments in a magazine called Image+. The last chapter was published this month competing the wild, bloody, and emotional story called Here's Negan. Now that the story has concluded, walker fans can breath a sigh of relief because Kirkman and Adlard hit it out of the park with Here's Negan.
Be warned, spoilers to follow as to how Negan and his trusty baseball bat, Lucille, came to be the most feared in The Walking Dead galaxy.
Negan Was A...Teacher?
It makes sense that the crude and athletic built Negan, that has a knack for making cutting quips, was a gym teacher. Interestingly, Kirkman pulled back the curtain and showed us what Negan liked to do before the zombie apocalypse. I'm not sure that anybody could have guessed what Negan liked to do.
So what did gym teacher Negan like to do during his spare time? Coach his students to winning a wrestling championship? Nope. Teach them about the birds and the bees? Nah. Turns out Negan liked playing ping pong against his students, and verbally belittling them as he won every game.
A Conflicted, Married Man
Yes, Negan is married. He doesn't have any kids and by all accounts Negan had a healthy marriage. That is until his wife, Lucille, was diagnosed with cancer. In a weird way of coping with that revelation, Negan ends up having a long-standing affair. Eventually, Negan comes clean to his wife about the affair and she forgives him. Negan promises to be by her side and coach her through her sickness. Negan tries coaching his wife back to health by saying things like:
You're like a health ninja that is going to broadsword the fuck out of this cancer.
The Zombie Outbreak Occurs
While Negan is visiting his wife in the hospital, the zombie outbreak occurs. The doctors refuse to transport Lucille because she is too sick to move. All hell breaks loose as the healthy run for their lives leaving the sick to be overtaken by walkers. In heroic fashion, Negan barricades himself in his wife's room refusing to leave her side.
Unfortunately, Lucille quickly succumbs to the virus and turns into a zombie leaving Negan no choice but to leave his wife.
Negan Can't Do What Is Necessary
Negan ends up befriending a young kid in the hospital who just lost his wife to the zombie outbreak too. Finding it too difficult to put Lucille out of her misery, Negan sends the kid to kill his wife.
Campire Of Horror
Negan is able to escape the hospital with the help of his new friend, but things quickly go from good to bad as the kid ends up meeting his maker. This leaves Negan on his own trying to fend for himself. Shortly thereafter, Negan comes in contact with a bunch of survivors and let's them use his car to travel to a safer area. Eventually, Negan's car breaks down and Negan and his group are left to make camp.
The camp gets overrun by zombies and Negan's group is quickly vanquished. Negan is left to fend for himself using a baseball bat that someone from the group had brought with them.
Follow Me If You Want To Live
As the story progresses, Negan comes in contact with various survivors that end up dying. Negan seems to become numb to the death that surrounds him. He doesn't seem to care if the people around him live or die. Eventually, Negan runs into the crossbow-wielding Dwight, and Sherry.
Dwight and Sherry take Negan to their camp and over time Negan comes to join Dwight's group. The group comes in contact with a horde of zombies but Negan and Dwight's group is able to fend them off. This leaves Negan to believe that Dwight's group might be strong enough to survive and decides to lead them onward.
Winter Is Coming
As the season changes from warm to cold, Negan's group begins scavenging for food and warmer clothes. Want to take a guess as to what Negan finds to keep himself warm? That's right, his signature leather jacket.
The Birth Of The Saviors And Barbed Wire Lucille
Negan ends up coming in contact with a group of people that share their wives to those who protect them. Negan finds this sort of "generosity" to be nothing more than a form of rape. Negan and the leader of the other group end up going at it with Negan coming out as the victor, that's after he bashes the guy's skull in with Lucille, of course.
Negan goes on to tell Dwight and everyone that will choose to follow him how much his wife, Lucille, meant to him. How she protected him. How she cared for him. While doing so, Negan takes some barbed wire from a barricade and wraps it around his bat. Negan finishes his speech by telling his followers that they are survivors and that they are the saviors to anyone that follow them. Subsequently, the Negan we know and fear is born.
It's currently being reported that Negan's backstory might make it into the TV show, which would make sense. Hopefully this means that we will get to see the backstory of other characters who are still living, or passed on.
You can pick up Here's Negan in hardcover format on October 10, 2017. Just in time for Season 8 of The Walking Dead.