The Walking Dead Creator Celebrates Ending The Series On His Own Terms

One month after ending The Walking Dead without warning, creator Robert Kirkman expressed "eternal gratitude" to fans who supported Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard's decision to end the book on their own terms.

"Today would have seen the release of The Walking Dead issue 194 if it were ever truly meant to exist. Still feels weird to be done with the series," Kirkman tweeted Wednesday. "Eternal gratitude to you all for the love and support as @CharlieAdlard and I ended the series on our own terms as we intended it."

Kirkman accompanied the tweet with a faux cover for The Walking Dead #194, one of the fake solicits released ahead of July's surprise final issue.

The fake issue signaled the arrival of "Sheriff Kapoor" — who bore an uncanny resemblance to Rick Grimes, killed off in issue #192 — while another fake solicitation for September's #195 teased the arrival of "the Swordsman" and the death of a major character.

"It breaks my heart that I had to end it, and we have to move on... but I just love this world too much to stretch things out until it doesn't live up to what I want it to be," Kirkman wrote in a goodbye letter ending the long-running comic book's final issue.

"I got to tell my story exactly how I wanted to, for 193 issues, and end it on my terms, with no interference at all along the way... at any point. That's such a rare thing, and it doesn't exist without the unyielding support this series got from readers like you."

During his In Conversation panel at San Diego Comic-Con in July, Kirkman addressed criticisms the book was "repetitious," telling the crowd, "I feel like the story wasn't repetitious. I felt like it escalated. But I was acutely aware of how it could become repetitious and I really wanted to avoid that."

To achieve "narrative flow," Kirkman added, "I knew I would have to wrap it up."

Rick's death preceded a multi-year time jump that brought the world of The Walking Dead into a more hopeful future, presenting a society that had restored law and order as flesh-eating walkers became a near-extinct minority. The book then ended with an older Carl Grimes recounting his father's legacy in a bedtime story read to daughter Andrea.

When participating in a producer's panel from Hall H at Comic-Con, Kirkman assuaged worries the show would "spontaneously end" like its comic book counterpart.

"Anyone that's concerned that the fact that this comic book wrapped up means that Season 10 is going to somehow spontaneously end on episode 4 as a surprise, that is not going to happen," Kirkman said.

"There's a lot more story to tell, and I'm very excited to be working with [TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple] and [showrunner Angela Kang] to figure out if there are any other threads in the comic that we didn't quite get to, to bring the world past that point. Because I think there is some story to tell when you're talking about the world of The Walking Dead. So I'm very excited about that, so no worries there."

Fear the Walking Dead resumes its fifth season Sunday, August 11 on AMC ahead of the October 6 debut of The Walking Dead Season 10.