The Walking Dead Issue #192 marked the end of Rick Grimes, one of the most iconic comic book characters of all time. Creator Robert Kirkman sat down with The New York Times to discuss how this monumental death came to be. “It’s something I’ve had planned for a long time,” Kirkman said. “It’s a weird feeling for me because it’s been so inevitable. I’ve kind of been dealing with it, preparing myself for it emotionally for years. It’s still upsetting. I haven’t built to a character death for as long as I have with Rick. It’s a much different experience for me than when we killed Andrea or Ezekiel or other characters.”
In the issue, Rick is killed by Sebastian, the bratty teenaged son of former Commonwealth leader Pamela Milton. Sebastian loathed Rick’s plans to change the Commonwealth and shot him multiple times in retaliation. Tragically, Carl discovers his undead father and is forced to put him down like he instinctually has with so many walkers before him. Of course, this time is different, and The Walking Dead will be changed forever.
So how does Kirkman expect fans to react to the biggest death in the series? “I think initially people are going to be angry,” Kirkman said. “We’ve had No. 191 in stores and he gets shot at the end of it. But because Walking Dead has so many swerves and misdirects, there are people that are like, ‘It looks like he’s going to die, but he’s not; they would never do this!’ So I’m kind of playing with fan reaction that way. But so far the reaction has been mixed, a lot of people saying, ‘If Rick dies, I’m totally quitting this book.’ But I’ve been getting that threat forever and the book is doing fine.”
Kirkman expanded in his Letter Hacks, saying, “I can only imagine how upset some of you are, and that’s fine, really. By all means, be angry with me…I’m upset when my favorite characters die in things I enjoy (please bring back Han in Furious 9). But like I said in Issue #167 when Andrea died…the story is the boss here, and if we stopped losing characters and everything was just happy…this wouldn’t be THE WALKING DEAD.” It’s true. Despite all the furor that came from Glenn, Ezekiel, and Andrea’s deaths, fans still stuck with the book. And you should, too. The series gets even crazier next month.
Check out the rest of the interview over at The New York Times. You can pick up The Walking Dead Issue #192 at your local comic shop, book store, or digital comic retailer (like Comixology). Feel free to leave your reactions to Rick’s death in our discussion – the best comment wins a Robert Kirkman-signed copy!
Fuck. Rick is dead.
The Walking Dead may just be a graphic novel, but it’s made an impact on my life. All clichés aside, it showed me how one man could endure the trials and tribulation of life and keep coming back stronger. Every time I endure something in my own life that brings me to my knees, I think back to issue 167 to when Andrea died. I tell myself, “There is still SO MUCH to do”.
Thank you for the amazing story, Rick. Wish you could have seen better days.
I cried reading the comic today and I am still sad over the death of Rick Grimes but this has been a great story and one that has been full of great characters that have been taken out before their time it may seem, but this will not make me stop reading. Actually it makes me want to see what comes next even more! I am really excited to see how Carl will grow from this, and how the stories of his father will carry him and civilization on into the end of the apocalypse. Keep it up Robert!
Robert’s point about structuring stories for compendiums does make me wonder. We’re at the end of compendium 4. 6 would take us near-enough-for-approximation to the oft-promised 300. 7 would take us securely past. 8 seems a distant hope. I don’t think anything past 8 is at all plausible unless Charlie Adlard is willing to commit to the same book into his 70s. So in the very best scenario, we’re half-way home. Quite possibly, two thirds of the way. Either way, as incredible as this journey has been and continues to be, we have now to be closer to the end than the beginning…