The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman once revealed the real reason why there are so few animals seen throughout the popular comic book series.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead Deluxe By Image Comics
While The Walking Dead comic book is packed to the brim with humans and zombies, the series creator Robert Kirkman admitted the real reason why so few animals are seen alongside them throughout the story. In The Walking Dead Deluxe, Kirkman offered a very valid explanation behind the lack of dogs, cats, and other popular creatures and critters in the comic that perfectly explained their absence: to help his artists.
In The Walking Dead Deluxe #53 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Dave McCaig, and Rus Wooton from Image and Skybound Comics, Kirkman was specifically asked why there aren't any dogs left in the world and whether he thought about giving the main antagonists of the series an animal companion. The writer of TWD revealed the reason why he didn't include many animals in the bleak world of a zombie outbreak, writing he knew "artists hated drawing animals," and he prides himself on "never asking my artists to draw animals."
Robert Kirkman opting not to add unnecessary animals to the pages of The Walking Dead allowed artists to focus on zombie imagery and the main moments of the comic and not worry about wasting time with details where it wasn't needed. However, considering the country-spanning adventures of the main antagonists in the series, Kirkman did include some animals, such as horses and, most famously, Shiva the Tiger – who was the loyal pet of the survivor, Ezekiel. But Kirkman never felt the need to bog down artists while trying to make the world seem more realistic with animals in the background of art – which most readers probably didn't even notice was missing.
The Walking Dead Deluxe is a treasure trove for learning more about the series and Kirkman's thoughts on creating the comic. In the letters page in the recently released colored reprints, Kirkman has shared insights, including The Walking Dead's tagline was always a lie and how an original survivor was almost TWD's big villain. Ultimately, his reasoning for the lack of animals shows another important rule the creator followed when crafting the iconic zombie story that made things easier for his artists.
For those rereading The Walking Dead, it might be fun to see how many animals actually show up through the 193 issues of the series. The answer is likely very few, as Kirkman didn't want to frustrate his artists and waste their time on more elaborate drawings that weren't entirely necessary throughout the comic book. The Walking Dead Deluxe #53 is available now.
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From Nova Scotia, Canada, Liam McGuire is the Lead writer for Screen Rant’s comic team. He is a big fan of the New Gods and Doctor Fate, and loves comic books of all genres. Liam joined Screen Rant as an editor in 2019 and was promoted to lead writer in 2021. Before joining Screen Rant, Liam worked in the sports industry, with bylines at TSN, Sportsnet, Vice Sports, and more. Liam can be reached at Liam.M@screenrant.com. and found on Twitter at @LiamRMcGuire.