The Walking Dead Creator Comments on Comic Future

Like a zombie, The Walking Dead didn't stay dead for long. Creator Robert Kirkman unexpectedly ended his long-running Image comic book after 193 issues in 2019, concluding the story of The Walking Dead with — spoiler alert! — the shocking death of Rick Grimes, followed by a time jump focused on an adult Carl Grimes in the book's super-sized final issue. One year later, Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard returned for Negan Lives #1, a one-off comic revealing what happened to Negan in the time since his final full appearance in The Walking Dead #174Released in July 2020, the Negan Lives spin-off benefited comic book shops hit hard during the pandemic.

Like issue #174 — which originally concluded with Negan's death — Negan Lives ended with Negan, well, living. And like issue #174, Negan's fate was left open-ended as the book's final page asked: "Don't you want to see what happens next?"

(Photo: Image Comics)

Here's what Kirkman had to say when asked about a continuation of Negan Lives in the letters column of The Walking Dead Deluxe #49, the latest issue of the ongoing full-color reprint series

"There is a lot of Negan story to be told there, but in a way, it's already partially told. I like the idea of readers having the beginning and the end (at least vaguely with what's hinted at in #193) so they can figure it out on their own," Kirkman wrote. "I wouldn't say 'never' when it comes to more Negan but there are currently no plans. I don't think it's a bad thing to have a break in new Walking Dead stories."

Kirkman added: "And don't forget Tillie Walden's Clementine trilogy is very much underway! So there's still some new TWD stuff out there!"

Negan makes only a shadowy, one-panel cameo appearance in the final issue of The Walking Dead, where it's revealed — spoiler alert! — that he's become something of a recluse who avoids Carl.

(Photo: Image Comics)

In 2019, Kirkman said "there might be a story to be told there" about the reformed baseball bat-swinging bad guy after Negan Lives, quipping a new Negan comic is "my escape hatch if my career ever takes a hard nosedive." After Kirkman moved on to ongoing Image comic Firepower with artist Chris Samnee, the Walking Dead creator revealed there were no plans to revive the comic he laid to rest without warning that same year.  

"It's nice that I have that option open. I can bring Walking Dead back tomorrow if I wanted to, and I'm really happy that I have the freedom to do that," Kirkman said during a 2020 Q&A. "But that said, it was something that was a 16-year chunk of my life, and Charlie Adlard's life, and we're very much enjoying our time off right now. I'm really excited to be working on other projects, like Fire Power."

"I can't say for sure that we'll never do another Negan thing, or another Walking Dead universe thing," Kirkman continued, "but there's no plans to right now."

The Walking Dead Deluxe #49 is on stands now; The Walking Dead Deluxe #50 is on sale November 2nd.

Follow @CameronBonomolo and @NewsOfTheDead on Twitter for TWD Universe coverage all season long. New episodes of The Walking Dead's final season premiere Sundays on AMC and AMC+.