Robert Kirkman regrets having cut Rick’s hand off

With the 10th anniversary of the Walking Dead comic book series, the folks at Skybound and Image Comics have reprinted the first issue of the series in color and in a very nice graphic novel-type format. This special printing also provided the original pages and story proposal submitted to Image comics by Kirkman, along with an interview between Image’s publisher, Eric Stephenson and Robert Kirkman.

The original proposal by Kirkman and penciled pages by Tony Moore were a lot of fun to look at and give a sense of where the creative team’s head was at way back ten years ago. Believe it or not, the story was potentially going to take place in the 1960’s and follow on the heels of George Romero’s classic zombie tale, Night of the Living Dead. If you can believe it, Kirkman also planned on having that very same uncopywritten title, NOTD as the title for his book. WOW!

But the interview that followed was for me even more interesting in that there were some fascinating revelations, which Kirkman reveals. For instance, Stephenson asked the zombie creator if there were anything done in the book that he regretted and believe it or not, he says that cutting off Rick’s hand was something he did and did not regret. Here’s what he said;

I regret cutting Rick’s hand off. I mean I do and I don’t. I don’t because I like that it was a decision that I made that I had to live with. I like that it was very unexpected and I like it set up the Governor in a very cool way and really kind of showed him, right out of the gate, as being sadistic and everything. I don’t like that it’s a giant pain in the ass.” Here is what I understand perhaps to be what Kirkman regrets, that practically speaking, cutting off Rick’s hand has proven to be a reoccurring and literal pain in the butt from a story telling perspective.

I’m constantly having to rewrite scenes because I’ll forget. I’ll write that Rick puts on a shirt, which you can do with one hand but I’m picturing him with two hands. Or Rick will lift up something that he can’t really lift with one hand. In #51, I wrote a scene of Rick opening a can with a can opener. And I was like, “Yeah, that’s a two-handed operation, buddy. That’s not gonna fuckin’ work.” So I had to rewrite that scene so that he handed it to Carl and has Carl open it. But that shows how pathetic Rick is after having lost the prison and it actually adds to the scene. So I shouldn’t say that I regret it. But I will say that it is a pain in the ass.

Kirkman also goes on to show that additionally, Rick’s hand has been either left off on the wrong hand or Rick has in fact been drawn with two hands from time to time, which needed to be changed or even made it to print on occasion. What was also really very interesting was the creator’s thoughts on where he sees the book ten years from now.

Well, my goal right now is for the book to outlive the show. That’s the thing that really excites me. The show is really cool. I love working on the show. I don’t want the show to ever end. But I really like the idea of the show running its course, coming up with a very cool, satisfactory ending for the show, and then the comic continuing to tell stories and continuing to dig deeper in this world and move forward. I think that would be a really fun place to get to. The show is doing really well so that may take a while. Maybe the show will outlive the comic and that would be annoying.” I can imagine Kirkman laughing at this however before he continues to talk about the book’s eventual ending.

But I see it going for a long while. Interestingly enough, I know how the book ends. I’ve always had a rough idea of how the book wraps up. But I’ve come up with the scenes that I think together actually ends the series. I’m really exciting about getting to those. So I’m not going to speed things up at all, but now that I have the ending mapped out, it helps me tell more stories and gives me a better idea of what’s gonna continue to go on in the book for years to come.”

These thoughts of Kirkman’s seemed like really interesting insights into the creative Walking Dead process, which might even inform whether or not we see Rick’s hand being cut off in the television show. My guess is no; if for no other reason than it already happened in the book and everything in the television show isn’t exactly the same it is as in the comic series. But most fascinating of all was the idea that Kirkman knows how the show will end and honestly, I simply cannot even begin to imagine what this might be, but I can absolutely picture myself having picked up this issue, years from now and reading with pins and needles as it unfolds in front of my eyes. While I hope it does not happen for many years to come, I am eagerly anticipating it.

Written By: Tye Bourdony

Tye Bourdony is a Sci Fi cartoonist and creator of ‘The Lighter Side of Sci-Fi’, a mediator, science fiction reporter and the U.S. based content editor for Sci Fi Pulse. He is also a graduate of the Barry University School of Law, SUNY Purchase and H.S. of Music & Art. Tye currently works in Florida’s 9th Circuit as the Staff Family Mediator, is currently the Public Information Officer for the Osceola County Bar Association and has a regular self-published column in Sci Fi Magazine.  You can visit Tye on facebook and at or send him your thoughts and story/article ideas to

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