The Walking Dead to officially end after this week’s final issue

The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, AMCThis article contains MAJOR SPOILERS for The Walking Dead comic book series

Shockingly, and I say that with nothing short of sincerity, it’s been announced that The Walking Dead comics are coming to a surprise end with the release of issue #193 this Wednesday. Headed to comic store shelves and digital retailers after the series-changing events of issues #191 and #192, the final issue of Robert Kirkman’s 15-year zombie apocalypse odyssey will be the first after Rick Grimes, the saga’s central character, was shot and killed by the Commonwealth leader’s son, Sebastian Milton.

Details about issue #193 are being kept under wraps to avoid spoilers, though seeing as New Comic Book Day is tomorrow, fans of Kirkman’s long-running zombie drama won’t have to wait too long for it all to come to an end. For now, it’s to be thought that the issue will follow the characters in the wake of Rick’s untimely death. How the series will tie up all the loose ends is anyone’s guess, though we do have good news about the length of the final issue. According to multiple sources, The Walking Dead #193 will be triple-sized and available for the same price as a regular issue of the series.

It’s also been said that the end of The Walking Dead comic series will not disturb the AMC series or any motion picture projects related to Kirkman’s billion-dollar survival horror franchise.

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“I hate knowing what’s coming,” Kirkman wrote in the now-online Letter Hacks section of issue #193. “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. 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.”

Kirkman then 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.”

Back in October of 2018, Kirkman told Variety that The Walking Dead wasn’t wrapping up anytime soon when he said “I know what I have to do to get where I’m going,” he told the entertainment outlet. “I know the stories that have to be told, the deaths that have to happen, the changes I need to make to push things forward and evolve. When I get to those points I’ll know it’s time. I don’t think anyone should have concerns about things wrapping up too soon.”

The Walking Dead, Robert Kirkman, AMC

At the time when Kirkman spoke with Variety about the series’ 15-year anniversary marker, he also confessed:

“I know what I’m building to, to eventually wrap things up,” he said. “If I didn’t have that I’d just be twisting in the wind trying to lay track. I don’t know if that’s going to come in 1,000 issues or 100 issues, but I know what the conclusion of the story is and what has to happen to get there.”

Wow! I must confess that I am genuinely shocked by the thought of The Walking Dead comic coming to an end tomorrow morning. I would have put money down on the series lasting at least another couple of years. But hey, you know what? It’s better for the series end on a high and confident note rather than shamble to an unsatisfying conclusion. Sometimes you just need to destroy the brain so the body doesn’t continue to limp along, you know?

Kirkman and his talented team of artists and editors have no doubt delivered a comic book series for the ages, and I’m positive that this won’t be the last time we hear from zombie property. So long, The Walking Dead. You’ve had a great run.