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The Walking Dead comic returns with Negan-centric special - free and exclusive to comic book shops

(Image credit: Image Comics)

11 months after its surprise finale, The Walking Dead comic book series will return for an equally surprising one-shot by writer Robert Kirkman and artist Charlie Adlard titled Negan Lives! - and they're giving it away free to comic book stores for free, so retailers can keep all the proceeds from sales. 

“I've been inspired by Steve Geppi and Diamond's efforts to shine a light on how essential the Direct Market is to our beloved industry with their #backthecomeback campaign," Kirkman said in the announcement. "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.

(Image credit: Image Comics)

"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 writer continued. "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.”

The comic book return of The Walking Dead focuses on one of the series' big bads, Negan. Kirkman originally implied in interviews and the series letter pages the antagonist was dead, however, in a flash-forward scene in the series' final issue he was revealed to be alive, 20 years later.

"Spurned by a slowly rebuilding society, Negan lives a life of desperate isolation... or does he?" reads Image's synopsis of this new special. "In the tradition of Here’s Negan, this all-new story in Negan Lives #1 gives readers a glimpse into what has happened to one The Walking Dead's most popular characters in the time since his last appearance in The Walking Dead #174."

The Walking Dead: Negan Lives #1 is scheduled to arrive in comic book stores on July 1, with a list price of $4.99. Image Comics plans to sell "extremely rare" Gold and Silver foil variants of the issue to retailers.

Chris has covered comic book news for Newsarama since 2003, and has also written for USA Today, Life, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the  2019 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards and the 2012 Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table.