For around 15 years, the work of Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore has kept fans coming back to the series of shock deaths published by Image Comics, yet it seems as though the biggest shock death of them all was its own death. “The Walking Dead” comic has been cancelled at 193 issues, why the weird number you ask? Well you’ll find out.
The writers of course knew that Rick was a pivotal part in moving the story forward, yet he was not what the story is about. Instead, the writers spoke about how the story is about the world in which it takes place. With a world known for their shock deaths that push the story along and grab hold of the reader, Rick Grimes death was never going to be the biggest, everyone on the writing team would know that readers would keep coming back for more, making his death somewhat meaningless. So what would be the largest death in the comic series? It’s own of course.
Kirkman has even gone on record talking about how his distain for knowing endings, so what is more fitting than ending a series so abruptly. And Kirkman elaborates on this in the final issue.
“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 commeercial 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.“
This can be seen as a somewhat jab at the television show, if you look at it in the right way, with the show refusing to end, and multiple more spin-offs in the work. It also touches upon the shows inabilities to keep anything a secret, releasing information that someone will die, or a character is leaving the show, long before it happens so it can muster up as much fans as it can. Kirkman knew when to end his masterpiece. He even pulled a fast one on us, releasing issue covers for issue #195 and fans trying to figure out who is on the covering bleeding everywhere, little did they know, that issue would never be released.
Set a decade into the future, “The Walking Dead” and it’s final issue show a civilization on the brink of rebirth. The Commonwealth now has a population of up to 50,000 and its own military to protect that 50,000. The zombies are still out there and there is no cure, but they pose little to no threat anymore. The final issue felt like it was the right way to go, although not full of surprises or shocks, it felt right, giving a comic series that in a way revolutionized comics, its final breath.