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The Walking Dead spent half of Season 6 building up to the introduction of Negan. Even before we’d seen his face or laid eyes on his beloved barbed wire baseball bat Lucille, we knew that he was a man to be feared. Even now that we’ve watched him beat somebody to death, we still don't know much about the character. Luckily, the Walking Dead comics can now fill in some blanks. A release from Image Comics has revealed that Negan was a school teacher and ping-pong coach before the world ended.
The reveal comes from the first four pages of the Here’s Negan story that will delve into his backstory, according to ComicBook.com. The first page was released earlier this month, and the rest of the 48-page tale will be released in four-page increments per month. The first four pages of Here’s Negan feature Negan coaching a few kids on their ping-pong skills. Negan humiliates one of the kids with obscenities and sexual references after he wins a round of ping-pong, because what’s an afternoon of ping-pong practice without shaming a student?
On the whole, Negan’s past as a teacher and ping-pong coach isn’t one that many of us might have guessed. If he was a coach of anything, baseball or hockey seems a more likely answer. Of course, given that only four pages of Here’s Negan have yet been released, it’s entirely possible that the rest of the story will chronicle Negan’s attempts to use barbed wire ping-pong paddles to rise to the top in the zombie apocalypse.
The four pages show that Negan evidently has more going for him than just ping-pong and humiliation of juveniles. He also has a lady love. The Walking Dead series hasn’t given any indication that Negan does or does not have a wife/girlfriend, but given the way that major characters have had their wives killed for the sake of motivation, we can guess that the mysterious woman probably comes to an unfortunate end. For her sake, I hope she was ripped apart by a horde of zombies. Such a fate would be terrible, but I’d rather face a horde of zombies than a face full of Lucille.
The Walking Dead show has never followed the comics 100% faithfully, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan has already said he's playing the character as if he were a used car salesperson. Still, an origin story revealing that the zombie apocalypse freed Negan to exercise his foul mouth and temper to his heart’s delight could do wonders to develop him as a bad guy with nuance. The Walking Dead has shown that a character like Daryl needed the walkers to end to become a hero; showing that Negan needed the walkers to become a villain could be terrifyingly fantastic.
The Walking Dead is currently on hiatus, but you can follow Negan’s backstory in Here’s Negan in the meantime. For a look at what we know so far about Season 7 of The Walking Dead, check out our breakdown of what is confirmed to be coming in the fall.