The Walking Dead Creator Robert Kirkman Reveals Why He Brought Negan Back And Teases Return of Another Character

Released in comic shops today, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman returned to his zombie apocalypse with the premium one-shot comic Negan Lives! #1. This marks the first appearance of the character since The Walking Dead #174 back in 2017 and Kirkman's first forray back into the franchise since he abruptly ended it last summer. Speaking exclusively with ComicBook.com, Kirkman opened up about his decision to return to the world of The Walking Dead and specifically the character of Negan, noting that the coronavirus pandemic and a need to get readers back in comic shops played a major role.

"We needed to come up with some ways to kind of boost (comic shop attendance) up," Kirkman told us. "And in those discussions, I just started thinking, well, what would I do if I were to do any Walking Dead thing, if I were to do some kind of special thing, and I do miss Negan, Negan is a character that hasn't appeared in the last however many 18 issues or whatever of the book, he hadn't appeared since issue 174. And so it's a character that I hadn't written in a while and I purposefully left him ambiguously still present in the series just because I thought that would be fun."

He added, "But there's still some story left to be told with that character. And I like to leave a little bit more on the table when we closed up that world. And so it seemed like a good opportunity to get back and play with that character a little bit. Do it for a good cause, but also a nice excuse to get the band back together, to have a little bit of fun. So we did that."

As fans of the comic no doubt noticed, and which you can find above, the Negan Lives one-shot concludes with a note from Kirkman that reads "P.S Clementine Lives." This is no doubt some intentional seed planting by Kirkman, who alluded to the return of Negan with a similar post-script about that character in the final issue of The Walking Dead. We asked Kirkman if this would be the first of several one-shots, and frankly he didn't say no.

0comments

"I mean it's great that I have that freedom now," Kirkman said. "Walking Dead is still something I own and control so I could do that anytime I wanted. That said, there were no plans to do Negan Lives before we did Negan Lives. There are no plans to return to Walking Dead now. I can't say that we won't, but there's not any plans for the foreseeable future. And I think Charlie is very much enjoying his time away from the Walking Dead world right now. And to be honest, I kind of am in comic book form enjoying not having that burden over my head. It's a dark world to inhabit as a creator. And so it's nice to be away from that. I don't know how I would be doing if I was writing Walking Dead during the pandemic."

Negan Lives #1 is now available.

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.