The Walking Dead is making a surprise return. Creator Robert Kirkman decided to, in something of an abrupt move, end his long-running Image Comics series last year after a run that lasted nearly 16 years. Now, Kirkman is bringing the series back with a new one-shot, Negan Lives, which is set to arrive in comic book shops next month.

Robert Kirkman wrote the new story, with art Charlie Adlard returning to provide the art. The book will be available exclusively in stores and will not be released online. All of the proceeds are going directly to comic book shops, who have been hit particularly hard recently. Most shops were forced to close several months ago and have had a hard time resuming operations, given the current situation. Kirkman had this to say about it in a statement.

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"I've been inspired by Steve Geppi and Diamond's [Comic Distributors] efforts to shine a light on how essential the Direct Market is to our beloved industry with their #backthecomeback campaign. While Charlie Adlard and I had laid the series to rest, this felt like something special we could do for the store owners who made our series a success to begin with. To that end, I'm happy to report that 100% of the revenue generated from this book will go to the stores selling it. The retailer community does backbreaking work to get comics into the hands of our loving fans, we should all be doing more in these trying times to show them how appreciated they are."

Even as shops remain closed, many comic book retailers are taking orders online and fulfilling them with curbside pickup. Image also revealed that extremely rare Gold and Silver foil variants of Negan Lives #1 will be available. Readers are encouraged to contact their local comic shops regarding availability. The book itself will be an oversized 36 pages, done in black and white.

Negan Lives centers on the famed villain who, spurned by a slowly rebuilding society, is living a life of desperate isolation. The new story offers readers a glimpse into what has happened to the character in the time since his last appearance in The Walking Dead #174. Possible spoilers for those who never read the comic, but the issue saw Negan tracked down and confronted by Maggie. She was still heartbroken and seeking vengeance over the murder of her husband, Glenn.

The Walking Dead comic originally launched in October 2003 and ultimately went on to become one of the most successful books in the history of the medium. 193 issues were published in total, with the series spawning an entire multi-media franchise. AMC is getting ready to wrap up season 10 of the TV show, with season 11 on the way. A spin-off, Fear the Walking Dead, is entering its sixth season, with another spin-off Walking Dead: World Beyond, set to debut sometime this year. Negan Lives #1 is set to hit shelves on July 1. This news comes to us via Image Comics.

Negan Lives The Waling Dead Comic Book