|This article is about the Comic Series character. You may be looking for his TV Series, Assault or Road to Survival counterparts.|
- ""For what?," He says! Being the "leader" of our little group... Even when we didn't want you to be... It was never about bossing people around. It was never about control. The decisions you had to make, the consequences of those decisions--none of us were prepared to carry that burden. Nobody wanted the responsibility. You didn't want it--but you took it just the same. I have to admit, I thought you were dangerous... I blamed you for a lot of what happened. But sitting here at the end, thinking back... It's easy to blame you for whats happened at times--and that's your burden for taking control--for taking care of strangers--trying to protect us. It's not as easy to give you credit for things that didn't happen. A lot of people are dead... But look at how long this group has lasted. I think that's your fault, too. You helped me last this long, gave me the time I had with the boys, with Andrea... And I appreciate that very very much.. So thank you."
- —Dale's last words to Rick.[src]
Dale is a main character first encountered in Issue 3 of Image Comics' The Walking Dead. He is the oldest survivor of the Atlanta group and former husband of his late wife, Erma. Dale later formed a relationship with Andrea, who both adopted Ben and Billy after their father's death. Dale was part of the Prison committee along with Rick, Tyreese and Hershel. After the destruction of Prison, he became a de-facto co-leader of the remaining group.
Before the outbreak, Dale was a car salesman for over forty years, sitting behind a desk answering a phone. When he retired, he bought a camper and decided to travel America with his wife, Erma. He spent two years traveling in America when the outbreak happened.
When Rick arrives at the camp, Dale reveals his suspicions that Shane and Lori are having an affair, which Rick in turn ignores. Later, Dale discovers that beheading a zombie does not fully kill them when he saves Donna from being bitten by a "roamer".
Later one night during dinner, Rick asks the group about their lives before, Dale revealing that he was a retired car salesman on a road trip with his wife across America two years prior to the Zombie outbreak. During the zombie outbreak, after his wife is killed, he picked up the sisters Andrea and Amy during his trip to Atlanta.
After Shane's death, Dale tells Rick how he knew all along something was up, and that he was one of the few survivors that, prior to Rick coming to the camp, wanted to relocate the group, only to have Shane refuse the idea.
After burying Shane, the survivors set off in Dale’s RV away from Atlanta in an attempt to find somewhere safe. Lori reveals to the group that she is pregnant, which alarms Dale, who suspects the child is Shane's, only to be silenced by Rick who suspects the same.
The survivors end up at an estate that appears to be secure and safe. That same night Donna stumbles upon Dale and Andrea having sexual intercourse, and although she originally disapproved of the thought of them together, she takes comfort in knowing that they both have lost someone and that together, they are happy.
That morning, Donna is killed when the estate is overrun by Zombies, defrosted by the change in seasons. Dale immediately heads off to his RV and begins rescuing the survivors, including Tyreese, his daughter, Julie, and her boyfriend, Chris, who are trapped on one of the rooftops.
Dale and the other survivors remain on the move, until Rick's son, Carl, is accidentally shot by Otis, who then takes Rick and the group to Hershel's farm. During their stay, Dale is not often pictured until one scene where he tries to defend Andrea from Allen's aggressive behavior towards her, and another where he is complaining to Andrea about the stench the other survivors leave in his RV, and accidentally mentions his dead wife, which upsets Andrea slightly. Dale manages to reassure her that all the love he has for his dead wife are in the form of memories and that he truly loves Andrea.
Later on that day, Dale meets up with Lori outside alone, and then he begins to tell her. He explains to he about Rick's importance of being the backbone of the group and how they need him. Dale admits that while he doesn't exactly know what she did with Shane, he warns Lori that if she did have an affair with him and that the child growing inside her is his, she must not tell Rick, as learning about her infidelity will likely cause him to crack, something that they don't need, insinuating that it will have a severe negative effect on the whole group. He tells her that it is a secret she must keep to herself and take to her grave. He then takes his leave for dinner, while Lori silently takes in his words of warning.
Having been kicked out by Hershel, the survivors hit the road again once more, however, when the RV unexpectedly runs out of fuel, the survivors must split up to search for more. Dale and Andrea discover a prison. After rallying the rest of the group, they decide that the prison is the perfect location to call home.
Once the survivors reach the prison, Dale, Lori, and Carol are assigned the task of patrolling the mid-area between the fences to make sure no zombies are located there. During this period, Rick and the rest destroy the majority of the prison zombie population. Dale later accompanies Rick and Dexter as they inspect the prison and begin working on repairing the fences in order to secure the prison from more zombies.
Dale begins to think that Andrea will not love him due to his age; however, Andrea reassures him that she will always want to be with him. When Rick returns to the prison, Dale informs him of the events that took place in his absence and even accompanies Rick to the gymnasium to discover what happened to Tyreese, only to find him lying next to a wall with dead zombies lying on the ground all around him. The next day, Dale explains that he discovered a new method of weakening the zombie offense on the perimeter fences, using knives. After Thomas Richards attacks Rick, Dale brings out a first-aid kit and patches up both Andrea and Rick. Later Dale begins to fear that someone else might discover the prison and attempt to take it from them and begins to contemplate whether to stay, or to leave, with Andrea stating that she would go wherever he goes.
After the Dexter mutiny takes place, Dale begins to swap his old camper outfit for prison overalls like the other survivors and assists Rick in searching A-Block, discovering the prison's generator. Dale later begins to watch over everybody, including Allen’s children, Ben and Billy while their father is in a coma. After a fight takes place between Rick and Tyreese, over Tyreese’s affair with Michonne, Dale informs Rick that he is no longer the group's leader, and that he will share authority with himself, Tyreese, and Hershel.
Dale and Andrea become adoptive parents of Donna and Allen’s orphaned children after Allen's death. While Rick, Glenn, and Michonne go off to rescue a downed helicopter crew, Andrea and Dale assist in looking out for the group for when they return while targeting zombies to improve their shooting skills. It is during this time that the topic of other people attacking the prison comes back up again, but, this discussion ends with the return of Tyreese who has failed to locate the searching party.
When Rick eventually does return, he discovers the Prison has been overrun by zombies, with Dale and Andrea hiding out in his RV. Once the prison is again secured from zombies, Rick addresses the group and informs them of Woodbury and the threat of being attacked by them, therefore Andrea and Dale’s fears have come true.
Lori goes into labor and to keep the generator going, Dale and Billy Greene search cars in the parking lot to refuel the generator. Dale is bitten by a zombie that was hiding under one of the cars, and is only narrowly rescued by the arrival of the raid party who quickly take Dale back into the prison in order to have his leg amputated. The right leg is amputated successfully and Dale is saved.
Dale begins to suspect that Andrea is falling for Tyreese. One morning, Dale awakens to discover a wooden peg attached to his leg, thanks to Andrea and Tyreese. After asking Tyreese to leave them be, he informs Andrea she doesn't need to be with him anymore and that she may be with Tyreese, to which she replies that she will always love him. Later that day The Governor and the townsmen of Woodbury attack.
During the attack, Dale nurses a wounded Andrea and makes the decision to temporarily move out of the prison in order to protect Sophia, Billy and Ben, while being accompanied by Glenn and Maggie, although Andrea returns in Dale’s RV to help give the prison a fighting chance.
Dale is seen safe and alive at Hershel's farm, which is where he took the survivors in the RV. Rick and Dale chat on the porch, where he attempts to boost Rick's confidence after he expresses his regret in handling The Prison assault.
When Abraham Ford, Eugene Porter, and Rosita Espinosa arrive at the farm, Dale yells at Abraham, saying that he can't talk to them like that and he has no idea what the group have been through. Abraham responds by screaming that he used to have an eight year old boy, a six year old girl, and an ex-wife, but, now he doesn't. Rosita attempts to calm Abraham down. He apologizes and offers to give up their weapons if they can spend the night at the farm. Dale and the group reluctantly agree, and they all walk toward the house. Abraham proposes that the group leaves the farm and joins them in their quest to Washington D.C. Dale talks it over with Rick and asks his opinion, to which Rick says he can't make decisions any more. Dale is shocked and says he'll go tell the others to see what they have to say.
Andrea and Dale are seen talking about Maggie's suicide attempt, and Andrea tells Dale that she feels sorry for Sophia as she treats Maggie as her actual mother, rather than Carol. Dale agrees and Andrea asks him if he ever feels the same way about Billy and Ben, to which he replies yes and it is one of the things that keeps him going each day.
The survivors complain of spending the night out in the open, and running out of food. Dale wants to find a place to live with Andrea and the twins, so they can break away from the group, but she refuses. He says he will take the truck to find a place, and hopes he can talk sense into Andrea.
Dale and Andrea are taking a walk and they discover Ben and Billy, with the former threatening his brother of not telling Dale about his mischievous actions with a dead cat. Dale says the place is nice, but Andrea says they might not be safe there. Dale disagrees, and says they just have to keep from firing guns, and reminds Andrea about his "pegleg", like Maggie called it, saying that he's not capable of mobility anymore. Dale wants everybody to stay with them there, and reminds her that it's a large area, where they can see everything moving. Andrea isn't sure, but Dale says it's what's best for them.
Rick goes to pick up Dale, Andrea, and the twins to leave but Dale reveals that they're not coming with him. Rick says that there's about two thousand or more zombies which are following them. Eugene asks if he heard right, and Dale says yes. He thinks that if they stay quiet in their house, the herd will walk on by. While everybody is packing up, Dale isn't ready to leave. He says lastly that everything is Rick's fault, he brought Morgan and the zombies with him. He thinks that Rick puts them all in danger too often. He yells that he ruins everything, and that the farm was perfect. Andrea pushes him to leave, and he assures her he is coming. As they walk away, Dale says he's anxious to see the next way Rick will endanger them all.
Tragedy strikes them once again later on. Ben kills his brother Billy and Carl retaliates, killing Ben. Dale was in anguish, letting his guard down during a zombie attack being bitten once again. He hid his wound to avoid giving Andrea further pain. When night fell, he departed the van and disappeared into the forest, being abducted by the mysterious Hunters. When Dale woke up, Chris introduced himself and told him that they were eating him piece by piece. However, Dale would have the last laugh. He was already infected and was hoping to spread the disease to the Hunters. Furious, they beat him up. They leave his unconscious body in front of Gabriel's church to use him as bait.
Dale wakes up, and asks how he got into the church. Andrea recalls him being left at the doors. Dale tells her that she has to get Rick and the others out of the church because the Hunters are dangerous. Andrea asks why Dale didn't admit he was bitten. Dale remembers his wife, Erma, was bitten and died. He didn't want Andrea to see that, but, Andrea says that's not for him to decide. Dale asks what if Andrea hesitates, and he bites her. Andrea tells him that she loves him, and promises that she won't hesitate.
Suddenly, Rick shows up. He questions Dale about what he can remember. Dale informs them that the people out there are cannibals and they ate his leg. Dale urges them to escape, but, Rick believes that if they escape, they will be followed. Rick asks if he remembers where he was, and responds that there was a picnic table and a yard. Dale recalls seeing five people. Rick thinks they must not have a car, and then says he'll leave the two of them alone. On his way out, Rick tells Dale that he's sorry for what's happening to him. Dale warns him kindly that he has a lot to tell him before he dies.
After the group deal with the cannibals, Rick arrives for their talk. Dale thanks Rick for being the leader in their group. He apologizes for his past accusations, saying that it may be Rick's fault that lot of people are dead, but, he also knows that Rick's the reason anyone from their party is alive at all. Having made their peace, Rick leaves Dale, who asks for Andrea. Overnight Dale dies from his infection, causing Andrea to shoot him to prevent re-animation. In the morning the group decides to cremate Dale's corpse.
- Zombies (Caused)
After a scuffle with a small group of zombies, Dale is bitten on his shoulder.
- Andrea Grimes (Before Reanimation)
Knowing that Dale was going to die and would return as a zombie, a saddened Andrea shoots Dale before he could reanimate.
This list shows the victims Dale has killed:
- Numerous counts of zombies.
- It is mentioned in the script book that Dale is 68 years old.
- Dale was born in 1935.
- Dale is one of three characters in the comics who has survived a zombie bite due to amputation, the others being Connie and Lilly.
- He is one of two characters in the Walking Dead universe to be bitten on two occasions, the other being Tyreese Williams in the TV Series. Dale however, did survive after his first bite and there was a longer time period between both character's bites.
- Dale is one of three victims of cannibalism within The Walking Dead universe, the other being Mark in the Video Game, and Bob Stookey in the TV Series. Coincidentally, Dale, Bob, and Mark all got wounded on the right shoulder before being eaten, Mark by an arrow, Dale and Bob by a bite.
- Dale is one of the playable characters in The Walking Dead Board Game.