It seems that an emotional reference of The Walking Dead may finally settle the debate about when the zombie apocalypse began.
In both the original Robert Kirkman comics and the AMC TV series, the timeline of The Walking Dead in relation to the real world remains deliberately vague.
It is generally accepted that episode 1 of The Walking Dead takes place around the time the pilot aired in late 2010. But with Rick’s coma, multiple time jumps, and reality moving at a different pace, the apocalypse timeline is far from explicit. .
So, episode 18 of season 11 of The Walking Dead (“A New Deal”) provides a useful lead on this matter. As Daryl Dixon packs up to leave the Commonwealth, young RJ is seen reading a comic book.
It’s issue #56 of Robert Kirkman’s Invincible – a fun homage to the original author of The Walking Dead. However, the back cover of this issue features an advertisement for Invincible vol. 12: “Still Standing”, released in June 2010, and vol. 13 would not arrive until early September.
When showing vol. 12 specifically, The Walking Dead suggests an underlying importance – as if this were perhaps the last Invincible title released in the universe of The Walking Dead before the world turned aside.
That way, the comic would indicate the apocalypse starting sometime between June and August 2010. (via ScreenRant)
RJ’s comic is a Carl Grimes reference
The spectators of The Walking Dead can naturally assume that RJ took his comic book invincible from the Commonwealth’s extensive library of reading material. But the truth is a little more emotional.
Back in the show’s fourth season premiere, Michonne presented Carl Grimes with a stack of comics she found while hunting the Governor. Invincible #56 was visible between the stack.
Several seasons later, after Carl Grimes’ eye injury, he and Enid venture into the woods. Rick’s son relaxes by reading a comic book – Invincible #56. Given that RJ is reading the exact same comic in season 11 of The Walking Dead, this is a safe bet. That is, he inherited the copy from his older brother.
The Invincible tip in The Walking Dead fits the timeline cues
The TV series has never absolutely confirmed when its zombie outbreak started, but it has left several clues. The clearest timeline marker comes at the end of the series of The Walking Dead: World Beyondwhen the main group mentions how 2 months have passed in-universe since they left home during the spin-off’s debut.
A close-up of a clock determines that the finale takes place on October 26, 2020. Which means the first episode would take place on August 26. As World Beyond Episode 1 depicts the Campus Colony Monument Day ceremony where the fall of civilization is remembered, the zombie outbreak must have turned into an apocalyptic event in August 2010. And RJ’s comic is in fact showing the final printed volume of Invincible before civilization collapsed.
Theory sets a date for the start of the zombie apocalypse
An August start date for the society unraveling fits the theory that the series starts in October 2010. Thus, the same month the episode aired. Because Rick Grimes spent those frightening early months in a coma.
Adding more weight to this potential chronology, the first season of The Walking Dead saw Dr. Jenner claim that 63 days have passed since the outbreak “became global abruptly”. That’s about two months, so if Jenner’s appearance takes place in October 2010, the apocalypse properly began in August.