Writer Robert Kirkman has unexpectedly concluded his long-running horror comic, The Walking Dead. The new issue, #193, will be the last in the TV franchise-inspiring undead saga, which tracked the travails of Rick Grimes and his son Carl in a zombie apocalypse. The comic’s first issue was published way back in 2003.
In an essay which concludes #193, Kirkman confirms the issue will be the last Walking Dead comic and explains why he did not prepare readers for its disappearance.
“This is the end of The Walking Dead,” he writes. “That’s it… it’s over… we’re done. I’m sure you have a million questions… and I’m sure you feel as emotional about all this as we do… if not more so. I’m completely willing to bet some of you are angry over this. I get it… I do. I mean… WHY didn’t we announce this so that fans would have some time to prepare? Well… personally… I hate knowing what’s coming. As a fan, I hate it when I realize I’m in the third act of a movie and the story is winding down. I hate that I can count commercial breaks and know I’m nearing the end of a TV show. I hate that you can FEEL when you’re getting to the end of a book, or a graphic novel.
“The Walking Dead has always been built on surprise. Not knowing what’s going to happen when you turn the page, who’s going to die, how they’re going to die… it’s been ESSENTIAL to the success of this series. It’s been the lifeblood that’s been keeping it going all these years, keeping people engaged. It just felt WRONG and against the very nature of this series not to make the actual end as surprising as all the big deaths… from Shane all the way to Rick.”
Kirkman also explains in the essay that he had mapped out the major story points of the series’ end as far back as 2015 and ultimately resisted the temptation to pad out the plot so that the comic could continue for longer.
“As I worked to come up with ways to expand the story, none of it felt right,” he says. “Everything felt like an unnecessary detour… it was, for lack of a better word, filler. The harder I tried to come up with new places to go, the clearer it was to me that this is what this story needed… it needed to end.”
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