[Spoilers for The Walking Dead #192 ahead!]
The Walking Dead is known for its brutal and unexpected twists, and this week’s issue of the long-running series is no exception. After a lengthy conflict with a group known as the Commonwealth, series protagonist Rick Grimes met his end at the hand of Sebastian, the son of the Commonwealth’s leader. But unlike in the AMC TV adaptation, he’s really dead this time.
Speaking to The New York Times, series creator Robert Kirkman said, “It’s something I’ve had planned for a long time. 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.”
Rick’s death comes on the heels of #191’s cliffhanger, depicting Sebastian shooting Rick. Comic book readers are attuned to this kind of cliffhanger, and this is something Kirkman was aware of going in. He said, “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.”
The series is known for offing primary characters, with the most notable one being Glenn’s death at the hands of the villain Negan in the 100th issue of the series.
Given the reaction to the previous issue of the series, a quick second printing of this week’s #192 was inevitable. The issue will rush to a second print, featuring a commemorative cover of Rick Grimes.