Robert Kirkman shocked the comics world yesterday by announcing The Walking Dead would end with this week’s issue #193, something he’s well within his rights to do as series creator.
The announcement came with no warning. Kirkman and his company Skybound went so far as to solicit future issues prior this week’s finale in order to throw fans off the scent.
Earlier today, we published an article describing the conclusion of The Walking Dead as a “missed opportunity.” This article was obviously an opinion piece, with the author feeling that Kirkman should have passed the series on to new creators instead of ending it completely: “This is a chance for Kirkman to give back to the community that supported him when he had nothing, but instead, he’s going out on his ‘own terms.'”
The article argued that Kirkman holds a great power, and with that great power, there must also come great responsibility.
But, is that Kirkman’s responsibility? Obviously, as series creator/writer, Kirkman can end the series whenever he wants. No one is arguing that. But on a moral level, would the “right thing to do” have been to pass the torch to a new writer?
I don’t think so. Would it have been a cool thing to do? Maybe. But Kirkman wasn’t under any moral obligation to do so. The Walking Dead is his baby. Is it wrong for him to want to end the story on his own terms?
Kirkman supports the comics community in many other ways. He runs Skybound Entertainment, which puts out a ton of indie comics. He’s an Image Comics partner, and Chief Operating Officer of the company. The man has helped countless up-and-coming writers and artists get their work out into the world. He gave them a voice, and off the strength of their own work, instead of letting them piggyback off of his own successful title.
And hey, who’s to say that this is the absolute end of The Walking Dead comic? How do we know that Kirkman, Skybound, and Image aren’t planning on putting out a Tales of The Walking Dead anthology series next year, penned by some of the hottest young writers and artists? If it happens, that would be awesome, but if it doesn’t, that’s fine too.
The comics industry needs a constant influx of new, young voices. Robert Kirkman has helped keep that influx coming in for many years already; no one can take that away from him.