Major spoilers for The Walking Dead issue #192 follow.
The Walking Dead did the unthinkable with issue #192, following the cliffhanger ending of its direct predecessor which put a bullet through the chest of Rick Grimes. On the first few pages of the latest issue, a second bullet is fired from Sebastian Milton's gun, and it finishes the job. Rick Grimes is killed. He laid in his bed, bleeding out, only to reanimate and lunge toward his son Carl Grimes later in the issue. He was promptly put down, and that's a wrap on the leader of The Walking Dead comics.
What does series writer Robert Kirkman have to say for himself? "So... Rick Grimes is dead."
Kirkman claims that the death of Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead comics has in no way been influenced by the events of the AMC series based on his books. The TV show lost Rick in Episode 9x05 as Andrew Lincoln opted to head home and spend time with his family, but it kept him alive for the sake of a movie trilogy. The books doesn't follow such a route.
"Rick's death was planned longer than any death in this series," Kirkman said in the Letter Hacks section of issue #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."
As it turns out, Kirkman claims he knew that this new character would be responsible for Rick's death for years. "Even before we introduced Sebastian Milton (in issue #177) I knew he was the one who would kill Rick Grimes. For almost a decade now I knew Rick would choose to preserve the Commonwealth no matter the cost... and it would cost him his life," the writer says. "I've said in interview for many, many years that everyone dies in this story, and that even Rick Grimes won't survive until the end. While this was always Rick's story thus far, as written about in the first issue, that doesn't mean he needs to be alive to be a presence in the series. This is the story of a world profoundly affected by that man, as we'll see starting next issue... but it isn't exclusively Rick's story."
Preparing for the backlash, Kirkman acknowledged that fans will likely be angered by Rick's death -- and he is embracing it. "I can only imagine how upset some of you are, and that's fine, really," Kirkman said. "By all means, be angry with me (or really, direct it all at Charlie [Adlard], or Sean [Mackiewicz] if you like). I'm upset when my favorite characters die in things I enjoy."
Still, he leaves his readers a bold promise as the series prepares for a massive face lift heading into issue #193, the first book of the series' Compendium #5. "Despite the fact that we don't have Rick Grimes with us anymore... I promise you, the next issue and beyond will very much continue to be like The Walking Dead," Kirkman said. "After 192 issues, I hope I've earned a little trust."0comments
The Walking Dead issue #192 is available now in comic book stores. The Walking Dead TV series returns for its tenth season in October. Fear the Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm ET on AMC.