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Cynthiana, Kentucky is the hometown of the Grimes Family and Shane in the comic book series. The police station that Rick and Shane worked at pre-apocalypse is located in this town, and so is the hospital that Rick stayed at during his coma. Cynthiana is the setting of the entire first issue in the comic series.
Series creator Robert Kirkman is from the real Cynthiana, Kentucky (pop. 6,402 and home to the world's largest Post-It Notes production plant). The police station and Harrison Memorial Hospital are real locations in the northern Kentucky town.
Cynthiana was also mentioned in The Walking Dead Webisodes: Cold Storage, where the main protagonist, Chase, was trying to make his way there to find his sister during the apocalypse. He was last seen driving away in a truck with another survivor, Kelly towards Cynthiana.
Stretch of road (Unspecified)
Before the outbreak, it's at this location in or near Cynthiana where Rick is shot while on duty, during a shootout.
Harrison Memorial Hospital
Rick Grimes was under care in the hospital while in a coma resulting from gunshot wounds. During his stay, the outbreak decimated the hospital, leaving it in ruins. While Shane was visiting Rick, shouts erupted from the hallway as the military began evacuating the staff and patients while others ran through the corridors in a frenzy. He attempted to grab for a nurse, but she flees. He decides to get a gurney to move Rick and notices a squad of soldiers putting down a group of doctors, nurses, and patients in the chaotic scene. Explosions rock the building and the life vitals disappear, leading Shane to believe that Rick is dead. He barricades the room with the stretcher and flees the hospital to save Lori and Carl. Sometime later, Rick wakes up and walks through the rundown hospital, finding the power out, furniture overturned, papers everywhere, and the decaying body of a nurse on the ground. As he struts through the empty halls, he discovers the double doors to the hospital cafeteria, with the spray-painted words "DON'T OPEN DEAD INSIDE" above the door handles which have been barricaded with a wooden plank and chains. As he draws nearer to the doors, a pair of decaying hands burst through, with the sound of moaning emanating from inside. Rick quickly leaves, making his way through a dark stairwell and outside, encountering dozens and dozens of fly-ridden bodies covered in sheets. Horrified, Rick flees the hospital.
Rick arrives in his neighborhood after finding an abandoned bicycle and a desiccated corpse of a still-living zombie woman. He finds his house with the front door open and rushes inside, but does not find his family. Instead, the house is empty and missing his photo albums, giving him a shimmer of hope. He stumbles out of the house, delirious, and finds a "man" stumbling by, only to witness him getting shot after receiving a smack to the head with a shovel. He awakens tied to a bed while a man stands nearby. Rick recognizes where they are as the home of Fred and Cindy Drake, former neighbors of the Grimes family. The man standing near him is Morgan Jones, who informs Rick that the house was empty when he and his son, Duane came across it. Morgan ensures that Rick survives the dehydration and malnutrition he's suffering after days in the hospital with a gunshot wound and no doctors or nurses to care for him after the outbreak. The next morning, the trio make their way to the police station for supplies. In Issue 58 Rick, Carl and Abraham Ford returned to the neighborhood in search for supplies and Rick's old friend Morgan, who at this point had lost his son Duane and had been keeping him locked up in his basement.
Cynthiana Police Department
The next morning, the trio make their way to the police station for supplies. They use the police station for a hot shower, and collect weapons and ammunition. Rick gives some of the weapons and ammo to Morgan because the trio plans to part ways. After stocking up, they thank each other for the generosity they've shared.
Robert Kirkman's hometown
Though creator Robert Kirkman intended for his fictional characters to be from the real Cynthiana, he admitted to altering the details regarding some locations to suit his plot, stating:
- "...Rick and his family are from Cynthiana, Kentucky. That's where the first issue takes place. He wakes up in Harrison Memorial Hospital. I'm from Cynthiana, that's where I grew up--I got stitches in Harrison Memorial Hospital. The first artist on the book, Tony Moore, is from there, too. So the way the places are drawn is more or less accurate as well . There are little changes here and there because I wanted certain things to happen but for the most part it's accurate. So that's a little bit of me in the book."
- Cynthiana is a buyable property in The Walking Dead Monopoly.