Contains spoilers for The Walking Dead comics
Sixteen years after rolling out its very first issue, Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s beloved comic series The Walking Dead is coming to an end with issue number 193, which releases today, July 3, 2019.
If you’re scrambling to remember the story arc that led to the conclusion, the foreshadowing implemented to tease the end, or the hints that The Walking Dead comics are dying off, don’t bother — the series is simply ending without any kind of warning.
The Hollywood Reporter had the details for us, sharing the column Kirkman penned and included on the final pages of issue 193, in which he explains the decision to end the Walking Dead comics here and now, with an “extra-sized edition that plays out as a sprawling epilogue to Rick Grimes’ story.”
Essentially, Kirkman’s reason for going the bandaid-rip route instead of a slow and steady build up to the end is because he hates when he can feel a story coming to its ultimate end, and wanted to immerse the readers in the intensity of The Walking Dead for as long as possible before hitting them with a stunning ending they didn’t see coming.
“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,” Kirman said. “Some of the best episodes of Game of Thrones are when they’re structured in such a way and paced to perfection so your brain can’t tell if it’s been watching for 15 minutes or 50 minutes… and when the end comes… you’re stunned.”
He continued, “I love long movies for that very reason. You lose track of time because you went in convinced that you’re going to be there for a long time, but the story moves at such an entertaining and engaging pace that by the time the movie’s wrapping up… you can’t believe it’s already over. Surprise, it’s over! All I’ve ever done, all a creator can really do… is tailor-make stories to entertain themselves, and hope the audience feels the same way. That’s all I’ve ever been doing… and it seems to work most of the time.”
Kirkman then addressed his long-held desire to surprise his audience, particularly when it comes to how a character’s arc ends, and explained that he wanted the ending of the comic series to feel much the same. To make his point, Kirman referenced the comic book deaths of Shane, Rick’s sheriff deputy partner who died way back in issue 6 and was turned into a Walker in issue 15, and Rick Grimes, who met his maker in issue 192 – what is now the penultimate issue of The Walking Dead comics.
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