The Negan most people know is the villain currently wreaking havoc on Rick's life on AMC's The Walking Dead. However, there is a much more intricate and complex character being developed in Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comics.
Not only has Negan taken an interesting anti-hero turn in the recent issues of the TV show's source material but his backstory and rise (or fall) into becoming the leader of the Saviors is on display in the Here's Negan comics. With 13 of 16 total 4-page issues being published to date, there have been some huge revelations regarding the characters pre- and early days of the zombie apocalypse.
Spoilers for the Here's Negan story follow. To read it yourself, pick up or download the past year's Image+ preview magazine.
The common word of Negan being a car salesman prior to the apocalypse is incorrect. The rumor started when Robert Kirkman ruled it a possibility in the Letter Hacks section of a Walking Dead issue but Here's Negan revealed the villain's true story.
Prior to the zombie virus taking over, Negan was a high school gym teacher and a ping pong coach.
He wasn't just any gym teacher, though. Negan wanted to be the cool teacher. He cursed at his students and gave them a hard time when they would fail, which he saw as a method of pushing them -- even when they would feel bullied and start to cry.
Before everyone around him started to die, Negan had a wife.
During his marriage, however, Negan began having an affair. His wife had full knowledge of the affair and allowed it to happen as she saw that Negan was happy with it, despite how it hurt her.
When Negan's wife became diagnosed with terminal cancer, he immediately cut off his relationship with the other woman and tried to spend as much time with his wife as possible. The villain finally realized that he loved her but she was furious that it took her cancer to make him cut off the affair. Still, he pushed her around in her wheelchair in the park and stayed by her side in the hospital until the end.
Negan's wife's name was Lucille.
Upon meeting Dwight, Negan took on the role of being a nice guy.
Dwight approached Negan in the woods and invited him back to his camp after a brief evaluation. Upon arrival, Negan kept himself distant from the people there, claiming that if they were strong enough to survive, he would get to know them and therefore be worth it.
After spending a few days with this new group, Negan took a liking to them. Sherry and Dwight made him feel welcome and he took up protecting them, in return. Dwight was uneasy with the change in leadership as Negan's ideas were often better and kept the group safer.
What's most interesting is Negan's rally cry in the most recent issue of Here's Negan. It truly shows how much of a team player he was.
"We can do this! If we work together, we can all survive! Nobody has to die today! Fight!"
One of Negan's defining characteristics (in addition to being the brutal showman who slayed Glenn with a baseball bat), is his "no rape" policy which has always been strictly enforced within his Saviors.
In fact, he enforces the policy so thoroughly, that when one of his men attempted to rape a prisoner being kept at the Sanctuary, he drove a gigantic knife through his throat as punishment.
In the most recent issue of Here's Negan, a new group was introduced. While they appear to be friendly and getting along with Negan, the final panels saw the new group's apparent leader offering Negan the opportunity to rape one of their women.
Negan was clearly very unhappy with the suggestion of rape and will likely express his anger in the next issue.
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The Walking Dead will return for its eighth season in October of 2017. The first trailer is expected to arrive at San Diego Comic Con in July. For complete coverage and insider info all off-season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.