Today marks the 10th anniversary of the release of The Walking Dead #1. That’s a crazy thought to me. It surely doesn’t feel like a decade.

Over the years, I’ve met so many people who became The Walking Dead fans through such varied paths. From the lifers who started with issue #1 to the trade hounds waiting for that twice yearly fix, the TV fans who became hooked on the comic when they realized 16 weeks a year isn’t enough. Each fan has their own tale, and I love hearing them all.

For me, it all started with a link.

In July of 2003 I was working at Sony Music in Santa Monica, CA.  Having a steady job for the first time since finishing college afforded me the luxury of being able to keep up with my love of comic books.

One day in July, I’m reading Comic Book Resources and I stumble upon a press release about some new books by Robert Kirkman from Image Comics.  The part of the release that jumped out at me was the bit about the black and white zombie comic,  The Walking Dead.

I’m not sure what it was exactly that piqued my interest, perhaps the idea that the guy who wrote Battle Pope was going to write zombies? I can tell you that I checked CBR weekly trying to find out more about The Walking Dead. Always hoping that I’d find some tidbits of info, whether it was a release date or character sketch, anything.

Finally it was announced that the book would come out in October. I found myself at Hi De Ho Comics on the 8th picking up my regular books plus a copy of The Walking Dead #1 (wish I would have grabbed two).

Over the years I would lend out my copies of TWD to get friends into it. I’d eventually upgrade to loaning out copies to the first few trades. To this day I’m still loaning out books, though I tend to loan out the Compendium now because people burn through the story so quickly. I don’t know how many people I was able to convert, maybe just a handful, but I was trying my damnedest.

It’s crazy to think that 10 years later, here I am, sitting on the floor of the Javits Center,  prepping The Walking Dead booth for New York Comic Con, planning my stops for the TWD #115 Midnight Release Parties, waiting on shipments for both The Walking Dead Escape and The Walking Dead 10th Anniversary Gallery event. It’s pretty remarkable to see what this little Indy book has become over the years with the support from all of the fans. This is truly a phenomenon.

Before I sign off and start unloading boxes of The Walking Dead #1 10th Anniversary NYCC Edition, I want to say thank you to some of the people who have helped me and the Skybound crew out over the past few years at conventions all over the US.

In no particular order: Sina, DB, Nate, Becky, Ashley, Helen, Eric, Natalie, Nate C, Brad, Brayden, Isabel, Jocelyn, Dan P, Ryan,  Pouder, Dan B, Sara, Roger,  Christine, Brandon, Nick, Chris, Sean, Brian, Lizzy and I’m sure there’s more that I’ve forgotten, you know who you are.

Here’s to another 10 years!!

Shawn Kirkman is the Director of Business Development for Skybound Entertainment. Shawn comes to us from the music industry and brings with him a life long passion for comics.  He also loves Lego. And cupcakes. And whiskey. All at the same time if possible. You can follow him on Twitter @BigClutch