|This article is about the Comic Series character. You may be looking for his TV Series, Social Game or Assault counterparts, or the actor.|
|Age||7 (Issue 2)|
13 (Issue 137)
|Occupation||Primary School Pupil (Pre-Apocalypse)|
Apprentice Blacksmith (Post-Apocalypse)
|Family||Rick Grimes - Father|
Lori Grimes - Mother (Deceased)
Judith Grimes - Sister/Half-Sister (Deceased)
Jeffrey Grimes - Uncle
Sophia - Ex-Girlfriend
Lydia - Girlfriend
|First Appearance||Issue 1 (Photograph)|
|Series lifespan||#1 (Photograph)|
#2 to Present
|Carl Grimes (Comic Series) Gallery|
- "Someone is going to tell you to get used to this. That feeling of being scared and sad. They're going to say it'll be better when you learn to ignore it. Don't listen to them. Hold on to it, remember it... Don't let yourself forget it. It's too easy to lose."
- —Carl to Mikey[src]
Carl Grimes is a main character first encountered in Issue 2 of Image Comics' The Walking Dead and can be considered the deuteragonist of the story. He is the son of Rick and Lori Grimes and the brother or half-brother of Judith Grimes. He joined Shane, along with his mother, to travel to Atlanta, Georgia, for the refugee camp, and is one of the last original Atlanta survivors. As time goes on, he slowly becomes hardened, due to the severe loss of life of both friends and family around him.
Characteristics and Role
Carl is an adolescent male Caucasian with black hair and brown eyes. He shares the same hair color with his mother; as the series progresses, he matures physically and grows out his hair. Carl loses his eye, after he was accidentally shot by Douglas Monroe. He used bandages for quite a while, then moving on with a half-covered dark sunglasses.
At the beginning of the series, Carl was a normal 7-year-old kid, playing with dirt and things alike. He seems to have a better notion of what's going on with the world, as he wanted to learn how to use a gun, much to his mother's displeasure. Carl matured pretty quickly when he saw Shane trying to murder his father, right before shooting Shane in the neck. He would remember this occasion several times in the future, but, still thinks Shane was a "bad man".
After losing his mother and little sister at the prison, Carl matures greatly, taking care of an unconscious Rick and fending off zombies all by himself. He turns into a battle-hardened child soldier, fully aware of the dangers of the new world. In Alexandria, he believes all the residents are being stupid, pretending everything's normal and there is nothing to worry about. After being shot and losing much of his recent memory, Carl regains some of his old-self, but, still retains a colder personality due to the apocalypse.
Not much is known about Carl's life before or as the outbreak began except that he lived with his parents, Rick and Lori Grimes and presumably attended primary school. Shortly before the plague hit, Carl's father, who was a police officer, was shot in the line of duty and went into coma.
Carl's father was still in coma when the plague hit, so Rick's best friend and fellow officer, Shane, took him and his mother to Atlanta seeking for safety, as that was what Rick would've wanted. The city was already overrun by the time they arrived, but, luckily they managed to find a camp of survivors in its outskirts. Several weeks later and the camp's supply runner, Glenn, rescued a man in the city who turned out to be his father, who woke up from the coma and traveled to Atlanta to find them. He is beyond relieved to see his father alive again.
He learns how to use a gun, along with the rest of the group (much to his mother's displeasure), and even kills his first zombie during the night of the camp attack. Later, he witnesses Shane trying to kill his father, and shoots him in the neck, saving Rick.
When the survivors begin to relocate to another spot, Carl is accidentally shot by Otis and brought to the Greene family farm, where he is treated by Hershel Greene. They remain on the farm for some time, until they are forced to leave by Hershel, after an argument with Carl's father. This forces them to hit the road once again, until Dale and Andrea stumble upon the prison while searching for supplies.
Carl is seen enjoying life at the prison. After Rick and Tyreese's fight, it is revealed that Carl was not worried of his father's condition, saying that "My dad's real tough. I wasn't worried at all."
At the prison, Lori tells Carl that he'll have his own cell when Rick gets back. Carl is happy about it, and asks if Lori is worried about him. Lori says that she isn't, but, Carl states that he notices she's always upset when he leaves, but, says there's nothing to worry about. Lori agrees, but, she is still nervous when she tries to go to sleep. Due to Lori and Carol's strained relationship, Lori restricts Carl from playing with Sophia.
After his father returns from trying to locate a downed chopper, and his father’s experiences at Woodbury, Carl is forced to get used to his father without the use of his right hand. When his father Rick chases after Woodbury's Caesar Ramon Martinez, who plans to alert Woodbury where the prison is, Carl asks Tyreese whether his father loves him, because he is always leaving him, and Tyreese assures him that he does love him, and that his going out there all the time means he's trying to protect him, along with everyone else.
Carl is pleased with the birth of his sister, Judith, and likes her name. Carl calls Judith 'cute' and 'lucky' to be born into this family. Lori tells Rick of how she is pleased with Carl's growing independence in this new world. After Carol's suicide, Carl tries to comfort Sophia to no avail.
When Woodbury attacks the prison, Carl is one of the few to be there, until the prison falls to The Governor and his men, and barely escapes with his father. Lori and Judith are killed before they leave the prison. Carl looks back to see what happened, but Rick makes him keep running. Once they reach relative safety from the violence taking place at the prison, Carl and his father then begin to mourn the death of Lori, Judith, and the others lost in the assault.
While wandering the area, and after an attack by two zombies, Carl and Rick take refuge in an abandoned house, and after a brief encounter with another three zombies, Carl is led under the impression that he can defend himself from now on, and even blames his father for his mother's and sister's deaths. However, afterwards he realizes he needs his dad still and is scared without him. When on the move again, heading back to Hershel's farm, Carl is rescued by Michonne who also survived the prison attack and informs the duo that she was tracking someone from the prison. After traveling further and then reuniting with Maggie and Glenn, Carl is reunited with Sophia and the surviving members of the prison battle that left prior to the Governor's second attack. One morning Carl is woken by a shot and, seeing the new arrivals Abraham Ford, Rosita Espinosa, and Eugene Porter, who bring hope that society has not crumbled, Carl and the remaining survivors accompany the arrivals and proceed to take the long journey to Washington, DC.
Along the journey, Rick decides to take a detour to his hometown in Kentucky, and brings Carl and Abraham along. It is during this trip that a band of road bandits attack and attempt to rape Carl. However, Rick manages to break free by biting one of the bandits, and with the help of Abraham frees Carl. Later on Carl, Rick, and Abraham discuss similar situations that they were involved in, where they committed acts of in-human violence in order to protect, which prompts Carl to talk about shooting Shane in order to save his father's life. After visiting their hometown, and reuniting with Morgan Jones and his zombified son Duane Jones, the four head to the police station in order to retrieve supplies. During this time Morgan constantly stares at Carl, remembering how Duane used to look, which freaks Carl out. On the return trip to the interstate junction, the four encounter a zombie herd numbered in the thousands. Initially Rick tries to drive the car into the herd in order to escape; however, when the car gets jammed over the mass of bodies, the survivors flee on foot in hopes of escaping. With Carl firing behind them, Abraham quickly grabs him and carries him on his back. After a failed attempt at distracting the herd, they return to the main group and flee by truck out of the area.
Carl shows remorse after killing Ben, and cries quite regularly at night about it. His father talks to him about killing the cannibalistic hunters (though he believes he is talking to Abraham) and Carl tearfully admits to killing Ben.
Since Ben's murder, Carl has been very reluctant to talk about what he's done to his father. Eventually, Rick does confront his son as to why he killed Ben. To which Carl tearfully replies that he did it for the same reason Rick killed several people in the past, because it needed to be done and because none of the others would. Upon hearing his answer, Rick explains to him why he did a lot of bad things in his past, and tries to remind him that even good people do bad things.
Rick urges Carl to never lose sight of that and if killing becomes too easy, that's when good people become bad ones. Carl then cries and cries, saying that killing Ben still haunts him. He cries night after night and how he missed Ben. He feels tremendous guilt, but, strongly believed he had to do it because Ben was dangerous. Carl also admits he planned on keeping it a secret from his father, but, after hearing him talk at the bonfire, he just couldn't. He then assures his father that he does love him, even after all the bad things he's done to keep the group alive. He loves his father because he's done so much for them. Both cry in each other's arms, with Rick apologizing to his son.
Carl, along with his father and the rest of their group, successfully travels and makes it to the Alexandria Safe-Zone. While Carl is at first shown to be very happy to find others and have real food, he's shown to be having problems adjusting to the community. In the beginning he and a boy named Mikey have a fight over his gun. When he refuses to let Mikey see his gun, Mikey pushes him down, to which Carl returns the gesture. Rick makes him understand that it is not good to fight with the other kids, to which Carl tries to apologize. But Mikey refuses and pushes his hand away, leaving Carl hurt. Later on at night Carl believes he won't make many friends with the kids that live in the safe-zone.
During a small daytime-Halloween meant for the kids, Carl does not want to trick-or-treat. He tells Rick that he hates being in the safe-zone because it all feels pretend. And while Rick tries to let his son know he can enjoy himself and be a kid, Carl shows worry about leaving. He goes on to say that he doesn't want to let down his guard and that he is afraid of being weak and dying.
After zombies invade the community, Douglas Monroe, the leader of the community, begins shooting haphazardly at the zombies. As he is overtaken by a group, he fires his gun and accidentally shoots Carl in the head, destroying his right eye and taking out a chunk of his face. Rick takes him to Dr. Denise Cloyd and asks her to save his life.
Later, Denise is able to patch Carl up, but he does not immediately wake up. Rick comes to talk to him about the manageable threat of zombies, and asks him to wake up. Days later, Carl is still in a coma. Suddenly, he starts to cough, but it is unknown if he is waking up or reanimating.
Denise informs Rick that the cough didn't necessarily mean anything, and that Carl isn't out of the woods yet. She says when he wakes up, it is ultimately unknown what condition he will be in. In the following issue, he finally wakes up and immediately asks, "Where's Mom?". Rick then begins to stress over explaining to Carl again what ordeals have taken place. After explaining the death of his mother and sister, Carl shows little sadness and this continues to worry Rick. Denise explains that it is okay to take Carl home after a couple of days of recovery, and the two begin to settle in once more. It is unknown exactly how badly his memory has been affected.
Carl, along with, Rick, Michonne, Glenn, and Andrea, are brought to the Hilltop Colony by Paul Monroe. There, they are shown around and introduced to Gregory, the leader. Another resident of the colony, Ethan, returns from a failed mission where all of his companions were killed except for himself and a woman named Crystal. Ethan then tells Gregory he has a message for him from a man called Negan and stabs him. Rick tackles Ethan to the ground and in the struggle cuts his throat, while the rest of the residents stare at him, shocked. Later while Paul tells the group about the Saviors, headed by Negan, it is Carl who initially suggests that Alexandria can fight off and/or kill the Saviors in exchange for supplies. This line of action is eventually approved by both Paul and Gregory.
As Carl returns to the safe-zone from the Hilltop with his father, Andrea, Glenn and Michonne, they are ambushed by a small group of Saviors. Carl watches as Andrea and Michonne slaughter the Saviors, leaving only one lone survivor. After Rick sends the Savior to deliver a message to Negan, Carl tells his father that he agrees with the fact that the Saviors deserved what they got and that he is remembering more of the past everyday. The next morning, Carl walks in on his father and Andrea in bed together. Rick tries to explain to Carl the awkwardness of the situation to which Carl claims he already knows about sex. The conversation is cut short by the sound of gun shots. Rick tells Carl to stay inside the house as he goes to battle the Saviors, who are responsible for the shots. Carl later attends Abraham's funeral after his untimely death at the hands of the Dwight, one of the Saviors. Rick later decides to get help from the Hilltop and assembles a group consisting of Glenn, Maggie, Sophia, Michonne, Heath, and Carl himself to travel to the Hilltop.
The group follows the same route that Paul showed them to the Hilltop; however, they are unable to make it there in one night and they decide to stop for the night. During the night, Negan and the Saviors show up and ambush the group. Negan demands half of everything the safe-zone owns, and has to punish them for killing so many Saviors. Carl watches with the rest of the group as Negan smashes Glenn's head to bits using his baseball bat that he calls 'Lucille'. Negan tells them that the Saviors will be back for their first offering in one week and leaves the survivors with Glenn's body. Maggie then punches Rick repeatedly, calling him a coward for not having done anything, and Carl pulls out his gun on Maggie and claims he will put it away if Maggie stops hitting his father. However, Sophia attacks Carl for pulling out a gun on Maggie. The group then wraps Glenn's corpse in a blanket and they continue on to the Hilltop.
After saying an almost tearful goodbye to Sophia, Carl returns with Rick and the others to Alexandria. After hearing what happened when the Saviors attacked, Carl agrees with Andrea that they should fight back to show Negan and the Saviors that they "aren't to be fucked with." He is visibly angry with Rick's decision to let Dwight, who was taken hostage, go back to Negan and the other Saviors. When Negan and the Saviors come to collect supplies from the safe zone, Carl threatens Negan, saying he'll soon realize how dangerous they all are. As Negan and his Saviors leave, Carl hides under some mattresses in one of their trucks, ambushing the Saviors as they open the door and killing several, before being brutally beaten by Dwight, and then taken hostage by Negan.
However, while Negan is usually cold and dispassionate, the harsh demeanor of Carl leaves an impression on him, as Negan, while claiming he's still going to punish Carl, starts to mentor him into the ways of the Saviors, acting curious and concerned about his past and bluntly claiming that, in his eyes, Carl is going to become a serial killer.
Negan states that he has done something to Carl at the end of Issue 106. Later it is revealed that Negan actually did nothing to Carl to show Rick that he can be reasonable. He later returns to Alexandria.
Carl is then seen outside the Alexandria Safe-Zone fighting zombies with Michonne. After successfully killing a few zombies he is attacked by one that was in his "blind spot". He shoots it, but, not in the right spot and Michonne kills it with her katana. Michonne then helps Carl inside the gates, but he complains that he dropped his hat. He then says he is useless with his eye, but, Michonne says he is not useless and cheers him up.
Later he overhears Rick telling Andrea about The Kingdom and his plan to attack Negan and the Saviors. He tells his father that he can't be kept away from such a plan, which his father replies that he was about to go tell Carl about it. He then lowers his head and smiles, happy to know that he will help talking down the Saviors.
Rick takes Carl, along with a small group, to The Kingdom. While at The Kingdom he is very impressed, stating that it is cool. Later when discussing whether or not they should trust Ezekiel he states that if Jesus trusts him, he trusts him.
Carl is seen behind the walls of the safe-zone. After Negan punches Rick in the face, Carl responds by shooting at him. However, he misses Negan and instead hits Lucille, which angers Negan greatly. Negan then demands that they throw Carl over the wall or he will kill Rick, Holly, Nicholas, and Heath.
Carl is seen talking to Rick. Rick states that Carl did good, but, Carl feels he failed because he shot, missed, and then hid behind the wall. Rick then says that he did the right thing. They then argue on whether or not he should be included in the assault at The Sanctuary. Carl then agrees that he should stay, but, tells his father to make sure to kill Negan. After Rick's speech to the community, Carl questions why Andrea is staying behind. She then says that Carl is in charge of the community while Rick is gone and he gets a little embarrassed.
When a small group returns to Alexandria he immediately asks about his father's whereabouts, Michonne calms him down saying everything is going with the plan. After his father arrives, Carl (most likely in jest) says he's late, to which he replies that this is war and not always he'll be able to follow schedules. He is part of the meeting with Rick and a few more survivors regarding the success of the initial attack, Rick then says the safe-zone needs to be prepared, as that will most definitely be the first place to be attacked. Just as he finishes, a bomb explodes outside, breaking the windows.
They all go outside, with Rick climbing the wall to see what happened, finding Negan with a large group of soldiers outside, holding Holly hostage. Much to everyone's surprise, Negan releases Holly as a peace offer, she enters the safe-zone with a bag over her head, guided by Rick's voice.
Denise takes her in, pulling the bag from her head, revealing that Holly is now a roamer. The zombified Holly lunges at Denise, biting her arm. As everyone is distracted Negan yells, "ATTACK!"
The Saviors then proceed to throw grenades over the safe-zone walls, blowing up and burning several houses. Rick, Andrea and Carl run together trying to escape the chaos but a grenade explodes just a few feet away from them, knocking them down. Carl passes out for an instant, and is taken to the infirmary by Rick. Later it is show that Carl was just knocked out, but states that he's alright. He leaves the safe-zone with his father shortly after along with everyone else.
During the assault on the Hilltop Colony, Carl assists Andrea and the others inside the house to shoot Saviors. Later he rescues Rick and Nicholas outside, and is present when Dr. Carson warns the group everyone injured by the Savior's weapons will most likely die no matter how minor their injury is. Later on after Nicholas dies, Carl comforts Mikey by saying that he should cherish the memories he has of his father. When Rick confronts Negan outside of the Hilltop, Carl tries to get to Rick but is held back by Maggie.
When Negan is taken inside the Hilltop, Carl agrees with Andrea about wanting to kill Negan for murdering Glenn and all of his other crimes. Rick disagrees, saying that's not who they are anymore. Feeling betrayed, Carl decides to take matters into his own hands and sneaks into Negan's room to kill him. As he is about to pull the trigger, he's caught by Rick, Andrea and Michonne. He tells Rick that he's wrong about keeping Negan alive; "I have to do this." Rick tells Carl that killing Negan would make them worse than him since "he let us both live when he had the chance to kill us." Carl asks if that means Negan will get away with killing numerous people; Rick insists that Negan will be punished but will be done so in a civilized way.
Two years after the events of "All Out War", Carl is first seen trying to convince his father to have a "talk", later revealed to be a permission to move to Hilltop and be Earl Sutton's Blacksmith apprentice. After some convincing, Rick agrees to "think about it". Later that night, Carl goes to the basement of an unknown house and talks to a figure in the shadows. Saying how he, Mikey and some other boys went to a girl's house after class, and that she showed them her breasts. He says it was cool and all but he kind of had a crush on her, but after this he's not sure. Remarking how he doesn't have someone who does that sort of thing. The figure says that it's nothing wrong and the girl probably just wants some attention. He then says to Carl that he enjoys the talks, that it's good for him to keep track of time and days. Carl says he's leaving, before he leaves, the figure asks him if, after all this time, all the things they've shared and the talks they've had, Carl still wants to kill him. He turns around and faces the person behind bars, simply saying: "Yes, Negan. You know I do."
Negan is shocked to know that after all the time they've spent together and all the things they've shared with each other, that Carl still wants him dead. In response, Carl simply says he's sorry and leaves, leaving a quite disheartened Negan behind. In the following day he is seen taking Josh to his room, hoping to sell some carved items in exchange for a hooded sweatshirt. Later he is seen sitting in the porch waiting for Rick to get home. He complains how he did nothing the whole day, reaffirming his wishes of taking part in a trade. Before he can go on, Rick states he must save his strength for the following day, as they'll be traveling to Hilltop so Carl can start his blacksmith apprenticing under Earl Sutton, which Carl is immensely grateful for.
The following day, he packs up his belongings for the journey, musing how he can fit everything he's got in only two duffle bags. Before he leaves, he goes to visit Josh, delivering him the unicorn from the other day and saying goodbye. Before he leaves, Anna gives him a letter, asking him to read it after he arrives.
During the trip, his father continuously tries to make him open the letter, joking that it is a love letter. While stopping for lunch, they are ambushed by a group of roamers. Carl stays back at Rick's request, who proceeds to dispatch them with his hatchet, but fails to do so, prompting Carl to shoot the rest. The guard who's supposed to keep that road clear shows up, and is aggressively lectured by Rick. After the matter is settled, the pair continue with their journey.
The pair arrives at the Hilltop, where Carl enthusiastically greets Earl Sutton, delivering a carved boar figure, which Earl remarks "looks more like a pig". He is visibly disappointed when he learns that another boy is already apprenticing with Earl, and that he won't be the only one.
While spending time together, Carl and Sophia are attacked by two boys in retaliation for Sophia protecting Brian earlier on. Carl seemingly runs away, but then returns with a shovel and attacks the boys, beating them almost to death. After having his injuries from the brief fight bandaged, he defends himself from the boys' parents, affirming that his actions were necessary, but to no avail as the parents demand a punishment. To avoid further trouble, Maggie places Carl in a cell next to a prisoner.
Lydia, the prisoner, asks Carl why he has been put in the holding cells. Carl tells her about his fight with the Hilltop bullies and she is surprised that he would be punished for protecting the leader's daughter. Carl goes on to tell her about their community's philosophy regarding killing and their desire to return to civilization, leaving her relieved to know that she won't be executed. Lydia explains that she was on her first "outing" when her group encountered Jesus' group. Her people had encountered dangerous people before and made a preemptive strike. Soon after, Carl is released from the holding cells and convinces Maggie to untie Lydia. Later, he visits Lydia and finds her crying in her cell. She confesses that she's scared and feels alone. She misses the dead, saying that having them around made her feel safe. To make her feel better, Carl gives her his cowboy hat, telling her that it had made him feel safe and secure through everything he had been through.
She then says that the hat isn't exactly helping her to feel better, and in fact, it's Carl himself who is making her feel better, and that she enjoys talking to him. She is then interrogated by Maggie and Paul afterwards, but refuses to say anything. Later, Carl vouches for her and she is released and left under hid watch. During the tour, they sit alone in a hill overlooking the town, where she tells him that it's cold, and they cuddle.
After a while, she asks to see his eye, and after some resistance, he agrees to let her take off his glasses. Much to his surprise, she tells him that "it is sexy" and suddenly climbs on top of him, asking if he ever had sex. Speechless, he doesn't know how to react and she just asks him if she can show him, to which he replies "Okay" as they both hold hands on top of Carl's hat.
After they're done, Lydia remarks on how nice it was, comparing it to her past experiences. Carl is somewhat alarmed to know that on certain occasions she was forced to do it, saying that what her people forced her to do is wrong, whether they see it as a rape or not. She tells him she doesn't want to go back.
After Alpha, Lydia's mother, and the rest of The Whisperers arrive, Carl argues with Maggie on whether or not to return Lydia to her people, but is shut down, being forced to let Lydia go, but not before kissing her.
After she leaves, he has another brief argument with Maggie, but is instantly rebuked and told to leave. Later, Sophia checks up on him, only to find his room empty: He has left Hilltop to go after Lydia.
When he stops to rest in the woods, Alpha approaches him, asking why he followed them. Carl responds he wanted to make sure Lydia is safe, and makes it clear that it was his decision to do so, and the Hilltop has nothing to do with it. After a brief conversation, he is allowed to travel with them to their camp.
This list shows the victims Carl has killed:
- Creator Robert Kirkman's father is named Carl.
- Carl was the first person to kill a living person (Shane) in the Comic Series.
- Carl is one of only four surviving members of the original Atlanta group, the others being Sophia, Andrea, and Rick.
- All of the Grimes family members (excluding Judith) have been shot. Rick got shot prior to the apocalypse, which caused him to go into a coma, Carl got shot through the eye, and Lori got shot in her back; Lori was the only one to die from her shot.
- Carl and Andrea are the only people to survive a gunshot to the head in the comics.
- Carl's birth month is April.
- Carl lost his virginity to Lydia.
- Carl is the one with the second highest number of appearances in the Comic Series, the first being his father.
- A fan asked via Reddit which characters are the hardest and easiest to write, and Kirkman answered that Carl is "fun to write."
- There is some ambiguity regarding Carl's age after Robert Kirkman stated during the 2014 NYCC that Carl is "13 or so years old", which contradicts the timeline, in which he should be 11 by this point of the story.