In a move that no one could see coming, The Walking Dead comic book series from Image Comics, Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard will come to an end with the release of issue #193 this week.

First published in 2003, the story of survivors of a zombie apocalypse has become an insanely popular comic book series, spun off television shows, a series of movies coming to AMC as well as video games and more. Issue 193 will conclude the story begun by Kirkman and Adlard with an extra-sized edition that will feature the epilogue to Rick Grimes’ story.

According to The Hollywood Reporter and others, the level of secrecy required to keep this a secret was a feat in itself. Kirkman and Skybound solicited Adlard to make several subsequent issues and cover art in order to keep the secret. Kirkman includes a message to fans in the upcoming issue stating; “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.”

He continues; “I love long movies for that very reason,” he stated. “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.”

The multibillion-dollar Walking Dead franchise will go on however, but it will be interesting to see if this truly is the end of The Walking Dead comic or if Kirkman and Adlard have more stories to tell beyond the saga of Rick Grimes.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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