There are many questions & debates within The Walking Dead fandom about Rick, but now there's one less, as creator Robert Kirkman settles a major one.
Rick from The Walking Dead perfectly embodies the person everyone hopes they'd be during the zombie apocalypse. Rick is a wise leader, a kind father, and a brutal warrior when the situation calls for it. With a character as popular as Rick, there is bound to be some questions and debates surrounding the inner workings of his mind and motivations, some of which offer a level of insight that wouldn't be immediately obvious to fans just by reading the comic or watching the show–and the creator of The Walking Dead settled a major one.
Rick Grimes was introduced into The Walking Dead the same way the fans were. One day, he just woke up, and he was suddenly in this zombie-filled post-apocalyptic world. His immediate reaction is the same as anyone else's would be. Confusion, fear, and worry about his family, as he had no idea if they were alive or not. While this is a stressful situation, Rick should have been used to those, as he was a police officer who recently fell into a coma after being shot by an armed suspect in a firefight. Before he saw a single zombie, Rick had already experienced a life-and-death situation, and those would continue until his final chapter. This leads into the fan-debate in-question: was Rick Grimes a hardened man ready to pull the trigger before the zombie apocalypse forced him to be? There's plenty of evidence to support either hypothesis, but now, Robert Kirkman has given fans a definitive answer.
In The Walking Dead Deluxe #61 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, fans are given the full original issue just as it was upon its release, except this version is fully colored rather than black and white. On top of that, there were extra pages added where Robert Kirkman answered fan questions about the series, which included the aforementioned debate about the true nature of Rick's psyche before the outbreak. The question and answer were as follows:
Do you think Rick ever had that no mad hardened version in himself hidden away even before the apocalypse ready to be triggered?
I don't. The potential was obviously there, but I don't think it existed until it needed to.
This definitive answer to a burning fan question is incredibly interesting, as it not only answers the question itself, but also speaks to the entire point of the series. At its core, The Walking Dead is about who people are and what they're forced to become in a time of crisis. Sure, there are people like the Governor or Negan who were clearly internalizing some pent-up aggression that they were happy to unleash when society collapsed, but that's not what the series is about. It isn't about how horrible people are once they're given the chance, it's about how even the best people are forced to do horrible things to protect themselves and the ones they love, yet even in the face of possibly unforgivable actions, they still don't lose themselves or give up hope.
With this question answered by series creator Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead fans can now rest assured that Rick wasn't some secret trigger-happy 'badass' looking for an excuse to cut loose, he was a good man who did what he could to maintain his humanity in a world that had quite literally gone to hell.