Pour one out for the zombies. In one of the biggest shocks to hit the comic book industry in a long time, The Walking Dead, the longest running and most successful comic series from Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment, is coming to an end with this Wednesday’s issue. The news comes from a story via The Hollywood Reporter. The seminal series launched in 2003, and ended up the basis for one of the past decade’s most successful television franchises, which continues on.
Series creator Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard have decided to end the seminal series with Wednesday’s The Walking Dead #193, an extra-sized issue which will serve as an epilogue to the saga of Rick Grimes. Even more of a shock is that the story won’t end on what would have been the series’ landmark 200th issue. Despite Rick having died in a recent issue, it was thought the series would go one without him, just as the television show has. In fact, Skybound solicited several subsequent issues with cover art from Adlard, all to throw off any suspicions the comic was ending.
In a statement made in this final issue, Kirkman said “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.”
While the comic may be ending, the live-action franchise continues. Aside from the flagship series, AMC is producing a series of Rick Grimes movies starring Andrew Lincoln. There’s also Fear the Walking Dead, and yet another spin-off coming soon. This one is said to focus on a group of young survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse. But regardless, the comic book version is coming to its end after a long sixteen year saga, and one which changed the comic book industry forever.
Images: Skybound Entertainment / Image Comics