The Walking Dead comics, from Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment, reached an abrupt finale this week with issue No. 193. 

First published in 2003, the comic book series inspired a massive franchise, including the shows The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and Talking Dead.

The comic series, by creator Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard, came to a halt in the final issue with an epilogue to Rick Grimes’ story, with no warning at all.

Spoiler Alert!

Kirkman writes in issue, “The Walking Dead has always been built on surprise. Not knowing what’s going to happen when you turn the page, who’s going to die, how they’re going to die, … it’s been essential to the success of this series. It’s been the lifeblood that’s been keeping it going all these years, keeping people engaged. It just felt wrong and against the very nature of this series not to make the actual end as surprising as all the big deaths … from Shane all the way to Rick.”

The Walking Dead series on AMC continues into its 10th season this fall, and three movies following Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes are in the works.

H/T Deadline

Photo: Gene Page/AMC