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The Walking Dead: When Negan Met Stalin

(SPOILERS: For TWD Comics) The zombie apocalypse had a ruler with a cult of personality. Lucille's wielder actually had a lot in common with the tyrant of the USSR Joseph Stalin. For instance....

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1. Superhero/Villain Names

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"Little pig, little pig - let me in." - Negan

Negan's original name and birthday are unknown. The actor portraying him on television, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, is exactly 50. The man known as Joseph Stalin was born as Josef Vissarionovich Djugashvili. He changed his name in his 30's.

With that name I question why he waited so long to change it in the first place.

The name Stalin actually meant "Man of Steel". This adds an entirely new layer of subtext to the Communist Superman in D.C.'s Red Son series.

Like Stalin I doubt that "Negan" is the leader of the Savior's birth name either. Most fans believe he adopted an alias during the Walker Outbreak. Survivors in this world to have a habit of shedding old identities. Other examples included King Ezekiel, the Wolves, and of course another Dead-Era dictator: The Governor.

Some fans have suggested Negan's name was meant to be a comic book moniker. It sounds like "negative". Negan was certainly the "Nega-Rick" in the same style as other opposite villains like Bizarro, Reverse Flash, Zoom, or Negative Wonder Woman.

Negan's life before the zombie apocalypse remains very mysterious but he and the Soviet Dictator both re-branded themselves to rule their respective kingdoms.

But before they rose to power they shared another commonality in....

2. Surprising First Jobs

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"When we hang the capitalists, they will sell us the rope we use."- Stalin

The early lives of Stalin and Negan still contain unanswered questions. For instance we have no firm birth date for either man. Before becoming a revolutionary and a dictator Stalin had studied to be a priest in the Gori Theological School.

He left in 1899 before the final exams of his first year. There is evidence the school raised their fees and he couldn't pay the tuition. Others have said the school threw him out because of his outspokenness against the Tsar Nicholas II. (History.Co.UK)

Stalin then took a job as a clerk in the Tiflis Meteorological Observatory for just 20 roubles a month. Negan also had a lower-paying job as a gym teacher. He was always a sports enthusiast as his trademark weapon would suggest.

He just couldn't bash a baseball like he could a man's skull.

Life would be very different for Rick and the Gang if Negan had made it in MLB. He even sold cars on the side to make ends meet. When the Zombie Apocalypse occurred he lost his wife and began a path to rebuilding civilization.

Like Stalin, his path was bloody and filled with subjugation. Just like any good comic book....

3. Villains Have Personal Prisons

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"Simon is my right hand man.... Without 'em what do you have? A whole lot of work. "- Negan

Stalin had government prisons called the Gulag. Gulag was actually an abbreviation for:

* Glavnoye Upravleniye Ispravitelno-trudovykh Lagerey.

Government officials in the USSR understandably got tired of writing the entire phrase each time. This was important because the Gulag was used frequently in the Stalin years.

The Gulags were intended for enemies of the state but became private stashes for Stalin to send political rivals. Or just anyone who spoke, wrote, or thought in a way that displeased him. They were labor camps with horrible conditions surrounded in razor wire.

I choose to believe Negan later used some of that wire to cover Lucille.

Negan had his own prisons as well. Most notably he locked Daryl in one. It was meant to break him with savage beatings and meals of dog-food sandwiches. Negan wanted the shy crossbow wielder to turn into a loyal soldier.

It's debatable which villain had the crueler methods. The Gulag was not typically a place to send potential applicants for henchman. The families of public officials and politicians feared when their loved ones met with Stalin. Each time they left for their jobs with the real possibility that no one would ever see them again.

Stalin could have taken a page from Negan's book. He needed more "Daryl Dixons" by his side if he wanted to keep his autocratic regime together. Stalin wanted to take everything from the people but trusted no one to assist him.

That turned into a problem because dictators are....

4. Extreme Villain Hoarders

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“One death is a tragedy, one million is a statistic,” - Joseph Stalin

Stalin and Negan both amassed devoted followers and began campaigns of terror in the name of preserving civilization. Most people remember mass genocide when they talk about Stalin. 20 million Soviets died under his reign from the 1920s until his death in March of 1953.

He was responsible for many executions but most of the casualties came in a less dramatic fashion. The majority of deaths on the dictator's pot-marked head were due to starvation and living conditions.

Stalin and Negan both sought to control resources in their post-apocalyptic empires. The people suffered as a result. Russians and Eastern Europeans in the Soviet Union starved on government collectivized farms while the Soviet leadership seized their crop yields.

Rick and his group had the same problem on a smaller, but just as famishing, scale. Negan required the survivor communes in Alexandria's "Not-So-Safe Zone" to hand over half of everything they possessed the first day he arrived at the gate.

Negan even chose which half of their stuff he wanted. Some of which he just burned to send a message. This was in case Abraham and Glenn's fate had not been sufficient.

Unlike Stalin, Negan's environment could lead him to facing his victims again when they rose as Walkers. Stalin may not have had as cool a wardrobe or signature weapon but he did possess the advantage of oppressing people unable to change their food source.

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