A year ago this month, The Walking Dead comic book series abruptly ended after almost 200 issues, sending shockwaves through the fandom. This summer, though, creator Robert Kirkman has decided to team up with long-term collaborator artist Charlie Adlard again for a special one-shot comic, Negan Lives, a spinoff focusing on everyone’s favorite Lucille-wielding ex-tyrant.
While speaking with ComicBook.com to mark Negan Lives #1 releasing this month, Kirkman explained where the idea came from to bring back Negan for this new issue. The writer revealed that the comic, which is exclusively available in stores, was conceived as a way to convince readers to return to reopening businesses.
“We needed to come up with some ways to kind of boost (comic shop attendance) up,” Kirkman said. “And in those discussions, I just started thinking, well, what would I do if I were to do any Walking Dead thing, if I were to do some kind of special thing, and I do miss Negan.”
The reason why it was specifically Negan who was chosen as the protagonist of this story was because Kirkman felt he had to revisit the character after he had exited the comic several issues before it concluded with #193.
“Negan is a character that hasn’t appeared in the last however many 18 issues or whatever of the book, he hadn’t appeared since issue 174. And so it’s a character that I hadn’t written in a while and I purposefully left him ambiguously still present in the series just because I thought that would be fun,” he said.
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Though Negan’s last proper appearance was in issue #174, we did find out what happened to him in the future, following the time-jump in the final issue. It was revealed that he led the life of a hermit following his redemption – Carl would bring him food and supplies, but Negan would always be out, or hiding, when he dropped by.
You can purchase Negan Lives #1 in stores now. Meanwhile, The Walking Dead will return to TV later this year for its delayed season 10 finale.