Image Comics will publish The Walking Dead: The Alien in print for the first time in celebration of the fifth annual Local Comic Shop Day, an event dedicated to independent comic book retailers, THR reports.
The digital one-shot was first published in 2016 and was the first Walking Dead comic not scripted by series creator Robert Kirkman. The special, penned by Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Marvel’s Runaways) and pencilled by Marcos Martín (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Private Eye), follows Jeffrey Grimes — the younger brother of Walking Dead protagonist Rick Grimes — in the earliest days of the zombie apocalypse.
Set in Barcelona, Spain, The Alien finds Jeff rescued by the armor-clad Claudia, a museum curator. Jeff explains he received a call about a family emergency — older brother “Richie” was hospitalized by a criminal’s bullet — but active quarantines prevented him from returning home to the United States. Also hoping to reach the U.S., Claudia enacts a plan to traverse one mile of walker-ridden streets to reach a private runway. From there, they’ll sail to Ibiza.
The next day, Jeff and Claudia reach the docks through the sewers. A walker sends Claudia toppling into the sea, where she sinks like a rock, dragged down by her knight armor. She’s rescued by Jeff, who reveals a gushing bite wound in his lower leg.
Handing her his mace, a tearful Jeff asks her to relay a message to his police officer brother if she reaches the States. Part “sorry,” part “thank you,” Jeff wants Rick to know he’s sorry he never got to be the knight in shining armor. But at least he got to meet one.
As Jeff bleeds out, he dies looking out to sea. It’s only then Claudia realizes Jeff never told her his last name or where his brother lives.
Claudia never did connect with Rick, who would meet his own death some years later in The Walking Dead #192 after he was gunned down by an assassin. Kirkman then ended the long-running book with the following issue.
In an afterword published in The Alien, Vaughan wrote he was “fascinated by the idea of Rick Grimes’ long-lost kid brother” ever since the character was mentioned in 2003’s The Walking Dead #3. The project was originally created for Martín’s online publisher Panel Syndicate, which distributes digital comics through a pay what you want model.
The Walking Dead: The Alien (W) Brian K. Vaughan (A/CA) Marcos Martin0comments
IN PRINT FOR THE FIRST TIME! Set in the Walking Dead Universe in Barcelona, Spain this issue reveals what happened to Jeff Grimes, Rick's long-lost kid brother who was first mentioned in The Walking Dead No. 3.
The Walking Dead: The Alien is available to own in print when Local Comic Shop Day returns Saturday, November 23.
The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres Sunday, Oct. 6 at 9/8c on AMC. For more TWD Season 10 intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.