How have you read The Walking Dead? It may change your take on one particular scene in The Walking Dead #193. If you have read the collections, you will be rather familiar with a certain phrase that appears on the back of most of then, defining the series.
In today’s The Walking Dead #193 – of which you may have learnt much, and I hope you grabbed a copy – there has been another timeshift. For this final 71 page story, we have moved forward considerably in time. And the adult Carl Grimes is on trial, his judge, Michonne. And she has something very familiar to say.
But no. she’s not reading off the back of a Walking Dead collection. She’s quoting from the base of a statue outside the court.
Which reprises his ‘We Are Not The Walking Dead’ speech from #191.
And in the backmatter of The Walking Dead #193, Robert Kirkman talks about another time such a statue might have been used, when The Walking Dead was going to conclude a lot earlier. He writes,
When the story got to Alexandria in issue #72, things were going to go pretty much as they did; Rick and his crew were going to have trouble fitting in because of everything they’d been through. That would lead to conflict within Alexandria, and it would eventually lead to Rick taking over. The big storyline NO WAY OUT ended with Rick proclaiming that Alexandria was a place worth fighting for, that they could no longer keep moving from place to place… they had to take a stand, lay down roots and start building from there. Their nomad days were behind them.
Well, for years… that had been planned to be… the end. Rick would make his proclamation, and the speech would end with a big close-upon Rick’s face, you’d turn the page, and Rick’s face would be the same, only it was a statue… and you’d zoom out and see the full statue with some vines growing on the bottom of it… cracks forming… and you’d realize that it was quite OLD.
We’d keep zooming out until we saw that the statue was in Alexandria, the same place where he gave the speech, but it was different. It was old and rundown, broken windows and missing doors. We would keep zooming out until a zombie walked by, then another… and we’d see that Rick had brought them to Alexandria, given this grand speech about rebuilding civilization and SUCCEEDED to the point that they built a statue to honor him… but in the end, the dead won, society crumbled again, this time seemingly for good… and that was it.
It was a TERRIBLE ending. Bleak, sad… made the whole story pointless. What can I say… I was young and most of the endings I wrote or came up with may back then… were pretty bleak. So that ending… in hindsight was embarrassingly bad, but more than that, I wasn’t ready to end this series. Not by a long shot.
Yeah, this is better.