There’s a surprise in store for fans of The Walking Dead comic series, and it’s one that few people saw coming. Tomorrow, Issue #193 of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard‘s long-running comic will bring the story to a close. Don’t worry though; the billion-dollar-plus franchise will roll on for some time, especially if AMC has anything to say about it. We’ll keep spoilers out of this write-up, both from the final issue and the rather dramatic moments of the issues leading up to it.
As THR reports, despite the fact that cover art had been produced for issues #194 and #195, tomorrow’s issue will indeed be the last. It’ll be supersized at 70+ pages, but it will also wrap up the story so far. Prepare thyself!
Here’s Kirkman’s explanation for the abrupt ending, which can be found in the final pages of Walking Dead #193:
“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. 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.
“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.” “
Kudos to Kirkman (and Adlard, probably?) for ending the super successful story on his own terms. And while that’s a bummer for comic fans, the AMC adaptations will roll on for some time. The Walking Dead is set to premiere for the 10th season this fall, led by Norman Reedus and Melissa McBride, with Danai Gurira exiting. Meanwhile, Fear the Walking Dead is now enjoying its 5th season and a new, third series is set to begin filming this summer. Then, of course, there’s the after-show Talking Dead and the anticipated series of AMC movies starring Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, written by Scott M. Gimple. So the end of the comic may be down on paper, but the end of The Walking Dead is a long, long way off.