Released in four-page installments over the course of 16 issues of The Walking Dead comics, the full 16 chapters of the backstory for Negan and Lucille from The Walking Dead have now been fully revealed. Here’s Negan, a compilation of all 16 chapters, will be released in October to celebrate the 14th anniversary of the comic. Meanwhile, Robert Kirkman has also suggested that at least portions of Negan’s backstory will eventually make it into the series, possibly as soon as the upcoming eighth season.
For those who want to see Negan’s backstory play out on the television show, or plan to purchase Here’s Negan when it’s released in October, skip out on the rest of this post, which will provide an overview of Negan’s backstory.
As we detailed here, before the outbreak, Negan is a high-school gym teacher who had a penchant for profanity and often bullied his students, much to the consternation of his wife, Lucille. Meanwhile, Lucille is diagnosed with cancer, and in order to cope with the pain of his wife dying, Negan has an affair. Lucille allows the affair to continue despite the hurt it causes her because she understands that it is a coping mechanism for Negan. However, Negan eventually confesses to the affair, ends it, and rededicates his life to his wife.
Lucille’s condition, however, quickly to deteriorates. Just as the zombie virus begins to spread, Lucille dies while Negan is at her bedside. Subsequently, Negan exits her wife’s hospital room, fends off a few infected and saves a boy’s life. In exchange, the boy agrees to put down Negan’s reanimated wife. Negan quickly bonds with the 13-year-old kid, but the boy is soon also killed by a walker.
Over the course of the next few months, Negan makes new friends, but each time he does, they all end up dying as well. One friend, Paul, leaves a baseball bat behind after his death, and Negan picks it up and uses it to kill a horde of walkers.
Negan keeps the bat, makes friends with another group, but they all end up dying, too. Negan feels incredibly frustrated that everyone he meets dies, and he begins to resent their weakness. That’s when he meets Dwight and Sherry.
Although initially reluctant to befriend them for fear that they will die as well, Negan eventually goes back to their camp and befriends the rest of Dwight and Sherry’s group. In fact, he soon leads them to a victory in a battle with another group of walkers.
Subsequent to that, Negan finds a leather jacket as the weather cools down. Later, Negan meets yet another group of strangers and invites them into their camp. In exchange for his kindness, one of the strangers offers Negan a woman from his camp. Negan does not take kindly to the offer, nor the discovery that this group of strangers regularly offers out women in this “new world.” Negan suggests that someone willing to allow men to rape women is no better than a walker. The man doesn’t take kindly to being told what to do with the women in his camp, and he throws Negan against a barbed wire fence. Negan retaliates by brutally beating the man to death his baseball bat, destroying the man’s skull in the process.
The rest of the group is taken aback by the display of violence, but Negan feeds on that fear. He tells the group that they should be scared. Then he takes some of the barb wire and wraps it around his bat and introduces them to his new weapon, “Lucille.”
In the final chapter, Negan explains to the group what his wife meant to him and suggests that the bat has been protecting him from death, while everyone else around him seems to die. He feels protected by “Lucille.” Negan then offers to use Lucille to protect everyone else, as well. He says that if they join him, anyone who stands in their way will be dealt with. He calls his group the “saviors” and suggests they work together and consolidate supplies. While they are reluctant to join Negan because he’d just beaten a man to death with a baseball bat, Negan assures them that things will be different now because… “Here’s Negan.”
In short, the 16 chapters explain where he got the baseball bat, who it is named after, why he wrapped it in barbed wire, and how his love for his wife and “respect” for women prompted him to beat a man with Lucille, which allowed him to eventually rule over the Saviors through the power of fear.
Expect to see some of that backstory play out in a future episode (or episodes) of The Walking Dead. According to showrunner Scott Gimple, that episode may even be written by Damon Lindelof who, by the way, owns a drawing of Robert Kirkman masturbating a Sasquatch.