Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, during a [email protected] 2020 virtual panel, made it clear he has no plans for future books.
As part of his [email protected] 2020 panel Robert Kirkman, co-creator of The Walking Dead, has made it clear that there are currently no plans for a spin-off or direct continuation after Image Comics’ famous zombie apocalypse title ended with the issue #193 last year.
His choice to end the comic book in July of 2019 was a much more clandestine moment than usual for the end of a series. There was no announcement and the regular listing in the Previews catalog gave no indication it was the end. Kirkman and Image even commissioned the series’ artist Charlie Adlard to make covers for the solicitation of issues that were never coming. So fans, and even retailers, were surprised by the same-price-as-usual, triple-sized graphic novella which arrived in place of issue #193. The shock and immediate collectors’ speculation resulted in a sales hit well beyond the title’s usual numbers.
For a [email protected] panel titled “Robert Kirkman At Home” Kirkman was asked: “Do you have any plans for a spin-off or continuation of the Walking Dead comics?” The scribe answered “Outside of the Negan Lives special… no, not really,” referring to the recent 36-page one-shot featuring the Dead villain Negan. The bombshell was just one answer among a plethora of questions aimed at the dynamic creator about his many comics and the television shows adapted from them during the pre-recorded panel.
The remarkable choice to end the popular series without fanfare or notice was a brave choice in a long run of brave choices Kirkman has made recently. 16 years after its debut, after it had been adapted to a top-rated TV show of the same name that still continues to air (with several spin-off shows), and after over 4,000 black and white pages of horror adventure, readers were shocked to find that The Walking Dead was suddenly over. In 2018, he launched a new series named Oblivion Song, having been working on the project in secret long enough that comic shops received the entire first 6 issues in a paperback preview, an unheard of practice which required planning and deep investment. In the same year, he launched another series titled Die!Die!Die! without an announcement or even a solicitation. Copies were sent to stores without being ordered and even disguised on invoices as a free “THANK YOU SPECIAL VARIANT.”
Though it is undeniably sad for the fans of The Walking Dead to learn that the adventures of Rick Grimes and his family and friends have been brought to a close, it is also exciting for the wider world of comics. Unlike in Japan and Europe, where creators regularly exercise the power to end a series when they see fit, it is still rare that a participant in the mainstream American comics industry simply decides that they have said everything that needs to be said in an ongoing comic-book and brings it to a conclusion regardless of sales or popularity. Some fans may be disappointed but the final issue and the series’ end frees Robert Kirkman to innovate and explore new worlds.
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