The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead’s Zombie Apocalypse Couldn’t Stop Amish Traditions

A signature Amish rite of passage is alive and well in The Walking Dead universe, showing that communities have found a way to maintain their identity

In The Walking Dead Universe, the catastrophic rise of the dead could certainly be viewed as an end of days scenario, yet the Amish are one group who is refusing to let this influence how they are living out the rest of their days. Among the most compelling aspects of this long-running zombie apocalypse title is how humanity adjusts to its new circumstances. Fans are always eager to see what about society changes, what reverts back to simpler times, and what remains exactly the same. In Clementine Book One, a new graphic novel available from Skybound/Image Comics in June, this zombie-infested world is further fleshed out, with an initial spotlight on how the Amish have fared, as revealed by Clem’s encounter with a boy from this community.

Recently, Clementine has transcended her original medium, beginning as the protagonist of Telltale’s The Walking Dead video game before appearing in the pages of the Skybound X anthology title. The new graphic novel seems to pick up where the game left off, with Clementine fitted for a prosthetic after a leg amputation. Her journey will involve learning to care for her missing limb, avoiding infection and focusing on the abilities that can keep her alive. Preview pages released by Image Comics shows that she will cross paths with an Amish character named Amos, who is excited by his journey to Vermont and his community’s re-instatement of Rumspringa.

Fans will be similarly excited to see Clementine, whose return was teased two years ago. In preview page for Clementine Book One by Tillie Walden, this Amish tradition for youths between 14 and 21 years old (ages vary based on the specific community) is explained to Clementine, who is unfamiliar with it. This is a rite of passage where adolescents are permitted to venture into the outside world to better inform their choice of whether they wish to be fully committed to the Amish lifestyle or reside in the outside world instead. They then either return to the church to be baptized or leave the community.

Part of the reason that Amos is so excited is because it was his argument that restored Rumspringa, compelling his community’s decision-makers to abandon notions that they’d only re-instate it when the world returned to how it had been. This is a pragmatic view, since this story happens too early into the timeline to foresee how the zombie apocalypse eventually ends. It is instead yet one more way that the survivors can re-assert their pre-apocalyptic identity. It is also refreshing since it shows that a global event of this magnitude cannot crush these traditions completely underfoot. Amos even holds to the belief that his Rumspringa will involve an airplane ride, despite Clementine noting that aircraft haven’t been observed in the sky for a long time.

Ultimately, the world’s sense of community is understandably thrown into flux by the zombie catastrophe. Still, even in an outside world that is crawling with zombies, the Amish of the Walking Dead continuity come to see the value in enabling their youth to explore the outside world and again control their own destiny. In addition to aligning nicely with how Clementine’s own coming-of-age shines in The Walking Dead’s original medium, Clementine Book One is a heartfelt reminder that Amish traditions have provided a solid foundation for this community to survive whatever the world may throw their way.

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