- Warning: There are spoilers below about “The Walking Dead” and its comic below.
- The newest issue of “The Walking Dead” from Skybound and Image Comics is out in stores today, and it’s the end of an era. Creator Robert Kirkman has killed off his lead character, Rick Grimes, after 16 years.
- Grimes’ death isn’t a huge surprise to comic readers. It was suggested Grimes would be killed off in May’s issue, No. 191, after he was shot point-blank while in bed.
- Still, for longtime readers, it’s an unexpected punch to the gut. Fans recently said farewell to the show version of the character on AMC’s “Walking Dead” in the fall when Andrew Lincoln left the show. Grimes is still alive in the show universe.
- In a long letter to fans, Kirkman says Rick’s death was the longest one he had planned out from the story’s very start. It had nothing to do with the turn of events on the show.
- A commemorative cover featuring Grimes will be released by Image and Skybound Entertainmet in July.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
It’s the end of an era, “Walking Dead” family. Rick Grimes left the hit AMC series last fall, and, now, he’s permanently gone from the comics.
June’s issue of “The Walking Dead,” No. 192, kills off the story’s protagonist.
Fans have had a month to prepare themselves for the end. May’s issue ended with Grimes getting shot by an angry civilian, Sebastian Milton. In case you were hoping it was just a flesh wound, the opening of June’s issue sees Grimes shot more times square in the chest as he’s left to die in bed alone.
The following morning, Rick’s son Carl finds him as one of the undead and puts him down quickly. It’s grim stuff.
You may feel like the death of Rick Grimes came out of nowhere, but creator Robert Kirkman tells fans he’s been planning it for a long time.
“Rick’s death was planned longer than any death in this series,” Kirkman wrote to fans in the letter’s section at the end of No. 192. “I’ve been working toward this since I started writing… issue #1. It doesn’t make it any easier, but it’s been something I’ve been getting more and more used to as the years got down to months and then weeks… I knew it was coming.”
“The Walking Dead” comic first started in 2003 with Rick waking from a coma to find himself in a world overrun by the undead.
In a page-and-a-half, Kirkman said he knew before the introduction of the spoiled and selfish Milton in issue No. 177 that he would be the one to kill Grimes. While “The Walking Dead” was very much Grimes’ story, Kirkman insisted that the story is about the apocalyptic world “profoundly affected” by Grimes and that it isn’t his story alone.
Kirkman has prepared himself for fans to be upset. He wants them to be.
“By all means, be angry with me (or really, direct it all at [artist] Charlie [Adlard], or [editor] Sean [Mackiewicz] if you like),” wrote Kirkman. “I’m upset when my favourite characters die in things I enjoy.”
Skybound Entertainment and Image will release a commemorative cover of issue No. 192 Wednesday, July 3, featuring Grimes.
Grimes’ death comes seven months after Andrew Lincoln left AMC’s show based on the comic. Grimes is still alive on the show, but many characters currently believe him to be dead. He was whisked away by a mysterious helicopter on season nine’s fifth episode.
Kirkman says his decision to kill Grimes in the comics had nothing to do with the direction of the show.
“I don’t like addressing the TV show, simply because it has no bearing on this series. This series informs the show, not the other way around. BUT… we did lose Rick Grimes this year on the TV show as well, although he didn’t die,” said Kirkman. “So I feel compelled to state for the record that the events of this issue were in no way a reaction to that. As I stated, this has been planned for a LONG time.”
How did we get here and how did this happen?
If you haven’t been keeping up with the monthly comic, Grimes’ death is the culmination of a long arc which started around January 2018 with the introduction of The Commonwealth, a large community of about 50,000 inhabitants who were able to establish a semblance of life before the apocalypse.
Although everything looked squeaky clean from the outside, Grimes quickly learned a lot of folks weren’t happy with the woman who was running the place, Samantha Milton. Grimes found himself at the center of a brewing uprising within the Commonwealth that wanted to overturn Milton and throw her out of office. Her hotheaded son, Milton, wasn’t a fan of that, especially because many people wanted to replace her with Grimes as their leader.
But Grimes didn’t want that. He didn’t want it to look like he was simply coming in and taking advantage of a good situation. Instead of leading civilians in a fight against Milton and her guards, Grimes went to great lengths to prevent a war from breaking out between the community. In the end, he won and Milton was removed from power, but at a great cost. Milton’s son wasn’t very happy with the results and decided to take out his revenge by killing Rick.
It’s unclear where “TWD” will go from here, but it makes July’s upcoming issue a must-read for fans. For the moment, it looks like Carl Grimes, a child who has grown up in the zombie apocalypse to be a near mirror of his father, will be the new protagonist. Of course, the comics still have Michonne, Maggie, Eugene, and fan-favourite Jesus who was killed off on the show. Negan’s still out there in the world, too. He hasn’t been seen in a long time in the comics.
Issue No. 192 of “The Walking Dead” is in stores now. You can purchase it digitally here.
- Read more:
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- 17 questions we have after ‘The Walking Dead’ season 9 finale
- ‘The Walking Dead’ showrunner breaks down the mysterious end of Sunday’s finale and teases what’s in store for season 10
- ‘The Walking Dead’ showrunner confirms fan-favourite Eduardo is alive and the actor tells us he’d love to be back on the show
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