The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman addressed his series' timeline in the most recent Letter Hacks section.
In issue #187 of The Walking Dead comic's back pages, Kirkman was asked by a reader how much time has passed in the apocalypse. As is standard for the zombie drama's writer, Kirkman steered clear of pinning down a definitive answer, but gave a bit of info for readers to chew on.
"The comic is more than four years since #1, though closer to Year Five," The Walking Dead editor Sean Mackiewicz said. "If we're not there already. A lot of time's passed recently with every trip to the Commonwealth."
Kirkman chimed in: "At some point I should work this out more... but in my mind it's been longer than five years since the comic started. I don't like ot pin things down officially, but the first 12 issues alone could have been a year."
Mackiewicz came in quickly to add to Kirkman's comment. "Could have, but totally werent," he said. "If you follow the seasons, the bad stu started happening later summer/early fall... and we're nearing the end of winter by #12. My secret timeline document knows all."
The timeline of The Walking Dead has long been debated by fans but according to the brains behind it, it's somewhere in the range of five years. This, of course, is different from the TV series which has loosely adapted the comic book source material. The TV series saw a six year time jump take place between Episode 9x05 and 9x06, following an 18-month time jump which launched the season in the wake of Rick's war with Negan. In other words, the TV series has seen more time pass in the first half of its ninth season than the comic book series has in 187 issues.
The Walking Dead returns for the back half of its ninth season on February 10, 2019 at 9 pm ET. Fear the Walking Dead will return for its fifth season in 2019. For complete coverage and insider info all year long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter and watch ComicBook.com's After The Dead each Sunday night following new episodes.