Saturday, November 01, 2014

Comic Book Beard: Rick Grimes

Sporting his current comic book "look", The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes
in issue 127, with art by Charlie Adlard.
Electing to write daily posts about comic book characters with beards last November was much more challenging than I had anticipated.  After hitting five characters with varying degrees of recognizability (from DC Comic's Aquaman to Robert Crumb's Mr. Natural) to any but the most dedicated fanboy, things petered out.

From issue #1 of The Walking Dead (2003),
art by Tony Moore.
Rather than taking that as a hint to cease-and-desist, I've once again accepted the challenge to ferret out examples of comic book characters who have jumped headlong into beardedness, this time kicking Novembeard off with a very high Q rating. Though this character originated in Robert Kirtkman's successful comic book, he has reached an even greater degree of popularity on the small screen: Skybound ComicsThe Walking Dead's Rick Grimes.

In an interview given by actor Andrew Lincoln prior to the start of the most recent season of AMC's The Walking Dead, the actor responded to a question regarding his character's progression in season five that, “I've been growing my beard. I decided this season we’re gonna need a bigger beard. It’s all about the beard this season. I’m just waiting for them to tell me to stop growing it.”
From The Walking Dead, Volume 7,
trade paperback by Adlard.

Of course, those of us who've been reading Robert Kirkman's comic book for the past 10 years already knew that it has always been about the beard. In fact, Rick's reoccurring facial hair (as illustrated by Tony Moore and especially, Charlie Adlard) can be tracked throughout the comic book series since it's first issue wa-a-a-ay back in 2013.

Issue #1 kicked of with 5 o'clock shadow Rick (above, left), recently awoken from a coma to a zombie apocalypse. Though he has lost the facial hair on occasion, Rick's look has lately evolved and developed into the "crew-cut wearing, thick, hillbilly bearded Rick" that stars in the most recent issues of the comic book. In a slight twist on the standard "character grows a beard when they go nuts" motif, this new Rick is living a fairly well-adjusted existence in as orderly a world as possible (heck, even Carl has achieved a level of normalcy!) given the cannibals, psychopaths and murderous zombies. But we all know that current state of affairs won't last long...

From The Walking Dead, Volume 12, trade paperback with art by Adlard.
As seen in The Walking Dead, Volume 12, even Rick occasionally goes clean shaven.
Of course, the beard is back for the showdown with Neegan in the final installment of
the "All Out War" arc in issue #126

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