Robert Kirkman did something that is nearly impossible in these days of news leaks and countless comic book websites; he kept a secret.
Anyone who has not read issue 193 of The Walking Dead or heard the news, may want to pick up a copy before reading on. Spoilers await.
The latest issue of the The Walking Dead, the long-running comic that spawned the AMC television series, was not just the latest issue, it was the last. For real. It’s over.
Kirkman explained it all in a four-page letter in the back of the oversized issue; he said he was just done. He wanted to continue on, at least to issue 200, but he said he was just drained and it was better to let the series end, rather than let it go downhill.
Quite a concept, ending a hot book while it was hot for aesthetic reasons. The book sold out everywhere within minutes once the news broke, so try your luck at your local comic shop, or at least sign up for the second printing. The first printing is already selling for $40 -$45 on eBay.
But before we talk about issue 193, we need to talk about the equally shocking issue 192 that came out last month. That was the issue that the unthinkable happened. Rick Grimes was killed.
And unlike mainstream comics, when people die in The Walking Dead they stay dead, except of course for those who become zombies and are then killed again. The dead stay dead for sure after a stick is shoved through the brain.
Once again, there was no warning about Rick’s death, not even on the cover of the issue.
Readers were left to wonder how the series could continue without its main protagonist. Would Kirkman finally introduce Daryl Dixon into the series to take over as leader? Would Michonne and Carl take over? And of course, when will Negan die?
Turns out Kirkman agreed that the series could not continue without Rick, so he ended it with issue 193.
The finale is so good and answers so many questions, it really needs to be read. Suffice it to say that it takes place years after Rick’s death in a very different world.
We get to see our favorite characters and say goodbye, but it’s clear that the journey is over. All 193 issues are available in inexpensive trade paperbacks or very expensive single issues. If you have watched the show (the original, not the execrable Fear The Walking Dead) but never read the comics, you are missing a lot.
Damn you, Kirkman.
MAD MAGAZINE ENDS
If that isn’t enough, word got out that DC Comics is killing Mad Magazine, an institution that has been around since 1952!
We’ll see it around in comic shops, but it will be new covers with reprinted material inside. There are plans for one new issue every year, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
I suppose this has been a long time coming, since it is one of those magazines everyone read at one time but have since stopped. It spawned television shows and movies, but somehow the magazine just petered out.
The first reaction many people will have when they hear this news will be, “Are they still printing Mad?”
That was the problem.
Mike Sangiacomo, who loved Mad as a kid until he graduated to National Lampoon, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.