The most frequently-asked questions we get from fans new to the The Walking Dead are “How should I read the comics?” and “What’s the difference between issues, volumes, and compendiums?” Well we’re here to answer all of those questions and more with our 2018 Edition of our Walking Dead Comic Guide. Below are the numerous ways you can read your favorite zombie apocalypse series:
An issue is a 22-page comic book that comes out every month. These are the best and quickest way to consistently keep up with the story. Additionally, each issue exclusively contains previews of our other Skybound comics along with Letter Hacks, where creator Robert Kirkman and editor Sean Mackiewicz thoughtfully and hilariously answer fan questions.
Also known as trades, volumes contain six issues of The Walking Dead in one book, typically revolving around a particular story arc (like All Out War Parts 1 & 2, The Whisperer War, and New World Order). Since trades contains half a year’s worth of issues, they only come out twice a year. The benefit of collecting trades is that it’s easier to grasp a story arc and they look nicer on your book shelf.
Hardcover Books contain two volumes, or 12 individual issues, and only come out once a year (typically in the Fall). The real benefit of Hardcover Books are that they’re bigger and last longer than their smaller counterparts.
Omnibuses are over-sized collected editions which are hardcover and contain four volumes, two hardcover books, or 24 issues. Unlike the other collected editions omnibuses feature cover art, thicker pages, and a slipcase to help maintain the integrity of the book.
Compendiums contain EIGHT volumes, which works out to four hardcovers, two omnibuses, or 48 individual issues. It’s a fabulous way to binge the comics, but be warned because compendiums only come around every FOUR YEARS. That means if you only collect the series through compendiums you would have to wait until the end of next year to read the fourth, and then 2023 for the fifth. Still, compendiums are the most affordable way to catch up on the comics. There are also collectible hardcover versions that you can check out as well.
Don’t have any space to carry around or store all these comics? Then read them digitally! The fastest-growing way to read comics is online through sites like Image Comics and Comixology, which let you purchase and read the comics on your phone, tablet, laptop, or PC.
If you want to catch up to the show, then we recommend reading up through Volume 21, Issue 126, or halfway through Compendium 3, which concludes All Out War. Of course, the comics and show have several different variations on the stories, but reading past All Out War might spoil some of Season 9 for you. Below we’ve created a chart to help you figure out which issues correspond with their collected editions. Happy reading!