“Anybody have plans tonight?” Kirkman asked as the audience laughed and shouted back, “The Walking Dead!”
“It’s at this point I realize I should have brought slides,” Kirkman joked as the crowd laughed again.
The creator then thanked the fans for watching his show and reading his comics, “My kids are well-taken care of, I have a roof over my head, and that’s in large part due to you guys,” Kirkman said. He then rolled right into the Q&A as audience members jumped to their feet to get in line for the floor microphone, Kirkman signing almost every single fan’s comic who came up to the mic. The first fan wanted to know how Kirkman organized the incredibly complex, long-running “Walking Dead” comic. Kirkman told the fan he used to take handwritten notes but now keeps everything written down in his iPhone.
“There was probably a lot of good stories that never made it anywhere because it died in poor handwriting,” Kikrman said as the room laughed again.
To a fan who wanted to know how Kirkman kept going when he was a young unknown and unable to make ends meet.
“At one point I sat in the lobby at an Amazon.com warehouse when I was working on ‘Battle Pope’…I had an application and I was filling out the application and watching everyone coming into work, and I ended up leaving,” Kirkman said. “I think it’s that drive — stupidity — that keeps you going.”
A fan wanted to know if Daryl from “The Walking Dead” show would appear in the comic. Kirkman said he thought Daryl and the other characters were unique to the show, adding, “It just wouldn’t feel normal to me.” He did admit that he had crossbows in the comic now, but putting in exact characters would fundamentally change the comic and make it different from when he began.
A young boy wanted to know if Kirkman would ever reveal how the zombie plague began. “Absolutely not!” Kirkman said. “It’s about the absolutely horrible things people do to each other, which I’m sure you love as you’re nine? Ten?”
The fan told him he was eleven. “Too young!” Kirkman said as the boy and the audience laughed.
Kirkman told the next fan that the reason there are different storylines for the comic, television show, novel and video game, “I think every single part of ‘Walking Dead’ needs to be their own experience.”
The creator told the audience that the zombie movie he thought was the most underrated was “Undead,” a film from New Zealand. Kirkman also mentioned AMC was developing “Thief Of Thieves” for television with producer Chic Eglee. “Things look optimistic, so we’ll see!” Kirkman stated.
The creator also said that in terms of the Governor, “We are accentuating the politician nature of the character, he’s more the silver-tongued devil” in the show, and that while they could not find someone who looked exactly like the character in the comic Kirkman had absolute faith in the cast of the show.
Kirkman then sincerely apologized for his packed NYCC signing system and told the room he was going to look into changing the way tickets were given out for next year’s convention. “I’m just going to be a giant dick and then you guys won’t want my autograph and that’ll fix it,” Kirkman joked.
The next audience member to the microphone criticized how unreal his treatment of his characters were in the light of how many of them die an issue.
“Sometimes I think it’s unrealistic that any of them is still alive!” Kirkman said as the audience laughed.
A Glenn fan begged Kirkman not to kill the character in the show.
“Season three!” Kirkman joked.
“I liked that I started my career with ‘Battle Pope’ and I want to end my career with ‘Battle Pope,'” Kirkman said to a audience member who wanted to know if there would be more “Battle Pope.”
Kirkman also explained that in “The Walking Dead” that zombies stop eating flesh when it grows cold. Moving onto zombie fiction in general, the creator admitted he tried to stay away from things like “The Zombie Survival Handbook” and other things as he didn’t want to end up accidentally ripping them off.
Turning to “Invincible,” Kirkman told the crowd he loved Donald the robot and he especially enjoyed the reveal that he was a robot. “Everyone else I hate!” Kirkman added as the room cracked up.
To a “Walking Dead” fan who wanted to know if Kirkman had an endgame for the whole series Kirkman stated, “I have big events planned for #125 and I know where I’m going to be for issue #200…the goal is to do ‘Walking Dead’ until you all absolutely hate it.”
Speaking about his roots and how he deals with fame, “It certainly beats not being popular…I was at a booth selling ‘Battle Pope’ comics yelling at people going by…I know what it’s like to struggle and try to get in the industry and I am grateful,” Kirkman said.
Stating that season three would be sixteen episodes, Kirkman also teased that there would be more characters from the comic appearing in the show.
An Eve fan from “Invincible” thanked Kirkman for giving her such a stable relationship and asked about the #100 issue of the comic.
“It’s going to be an over-sized issue and it’s the climax of the ‘Death Of Everyone’ arc…killing one person in your annual is lame, I’m killing everyone,” Kirkman said, adding that he was parodying the recent trend of comics killing characters in their events and annuals.
Looking back at how he became involved with Image Comics Kirkman said he met Image’s Eric Larsen because he interviewed him and would mark on his calendar when he talked with him, “And I got to know him by purposefully bugging him,” Kirkman said as the audience laughed. This strategy led to Kirkman befriending others at Image and that lead to his in for the publisher. He then advised aspiring writers and artists to create and self-publish, as his having issues of his own comic he could show Larsen helped lead to his employment.
Another young fan asked if characters from the game would show up in “The Walking dead” show. “There possibly be more games, that’s all I’m going to say,” Kirkman said to audience applause.
The creator cracked up himself as a female fan thanked him for killing Carol and asked him about his process coming up with the death of a character.
“I’m usually at the park playing with my kids,” Kirkman admitted adding, “Usually I plan ahead but…every now and then I like to throw a wrench in things.”
Staying on “Walking Dead” Kirkman said he introduced Michonne because he wanted to have a character who had been on her own and knew how to survive on her own.
Switching to his Skybound Image imprint for a minute, Kirkman told the audience that he’d love to see any of those books adapted for television, especially “Invincible.”
“If it sells more books that’s great, but at the end of the day, I don’t care — unless there’s an executive from HBO out there!” Kirkman joked.
The next fan asked if he thought “The Walking Dead” would last this long when Kirkman began. “I didn’t think it would have an issue #13!” Kirkman said, explaining that the beginning was truncated as he was convinced it would be cancelled at anytime. He also confessed that he and artist Charlie Adlard did worry for their characters, Kirkman adding that he even at one point wrote the words, “Don’t worry Charlie” into the script during a nerve wracking scene.
The next audience member to the microphone asked how much George Romero influenced his series. “‘The Walking Dead’ is to the Romero series what ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ is to ‘Twilight,'” Kirkman joked.
Another “Walking Dead” show fan wanted to know why Lori and Rick are unable to keep an eye on Carl. “Season three you’ll be seeing a lot of evolution in Carl as a character and you’ll no longer be wondering if Carl is in the house because he’ll be out kicking ass,” Kirkman said.
The creator had an end point “contingency plan” for “The Walking Dead” that he said he could get to in about 30 issues, but it was not something he was working on now nor could he get to it quickly. “If I died, you’d be screwed!” Kirkman laughed.
Speaking about the full color issue #75 of “Walking Dead,” Kirkman stated, “We’d love to do that again.” Kirkman also labeled killing Dale on the television show as a way to get rid of the group’s “moral compass,” ending the panel as the audience leapt to their feet and cheered.