It’s been a very good week to be Robert Kirkman. Not only did the Image Comics partner spend the weekend being the spotlight of several panels, celebrations and general high fives as part of New York Comic Con, and not only did the debut episode of the second season of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” adaptation earned record-breaking ratings for a cable drama, but amidst all that, the writer’s “Walking Dead” ongoing comic was also named Best Comic Book during Spike’s Scream Awards.
Honoring the best in science fiction, fantasy, horror and comics, this year’s Scream ceremony was taped over the weekend in Los Angeles and will be broadcast tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on Spike.
“I won the Scream Award for Best Comic Book last year for ‘Walking Dead,’ and I won Best Comic Book in the very first Scream Awards for ‘Marvel Zombies.’ They looooooove zombies at the Scream Awards,” Kirkman laughed before this year’s win came to light. “It’s somewhat nerve-wracking because you are on TV, and that’s pretty exciting. But I really like the Scream Awards because it’s great seeing a tremendous amount of respect being given to the comics medium. It’s really awesome to know that they’ve been elevating it up with television and movies. It’s nice to be a part of it and be there and hang out with Marilyn Manson and Eli Roth. Last year, Mickey Rourke walked by me! It’s a really fun experience. I was there when Bill Murray came out in his ‘Ghostbusters’ uniform, so that was pretty awesome.”
Of course, the spotlight the award show shines made it to Kirkman long before “Walking Dead” had made its way to TV, and the writer was happy to receive the early attention. “Every little bit helps,” he said. “Any time that comics can be on television, it’s a good thing for everybody. There are still people out there going ‘Comics? They still make those?’ so anything that can be done to keep down that kind of thinking is always a good thing. I think Spike and the Scream Awards in general have done a good job at getting the word out for comics, and that’s awesome.”
And even though Kirkman now lives in a landscape where he works in the writer’s room of the “Walking Dead” series while also penning no less than four monthly comic books and running his own Skybound imprint, the writer said that his focus going forward will always be four-color. “Never underestimate the laziness of television writers,” Kirkman said of fitting in his comics time. “It can be a nights and weekends thing for comics, but at the same time, a lot of days the writer’s room on the show won’t open up until 11:00. I usually hit the ground running at 8:00 AM so I’ve got a few hours there, and really, comic books remain my main focus. Despite the fact that I’m working on the TV show, I like to think I’m fitting that job in around comics. That’s definitely the main thing I’m working on. I won’t allow my work on ‘Invincible,’ ‘The Walking Dead,’ ‘The Infinite’ and ‘Super Dinosaur’ to be sidelined by TV. It has been difficult at times to plug it all in, but it’s also been fun. I like working.”
The juggle of getting books out the door has its own challenges regardless of the big media work that comes with comics. “I do work on each book here and there. I just turn scripts in in pieces at times so artists get five or six-page chunks. I sometimes fall behind or work ahead. It’s a very organic process of making sure everyone’s fed. It seems to work out,” Kirkman said. “Like when you say, ‘You’re doing four monthlies…how does that work? Is it a script a week?’ I go ‘Oh my God! I have to do a script a week?!?!’ I try not to think about that.”
Before heading to NYC for the big convention, the writer wrapped “The Walking Dead” #90 and was close to wrapping “Invincible” #87. Both of those series continue to drive towards 100th issues in 2012, which the writer is aware of even as he’s been letting the stories take a breather after major event arcs in the past year. “It’s always an evolving process. With ‘Invincible’ and ‘The Walking Dead,’ it’s a never-ending cycle of leading up to the next chapter in those stories,” he said. “For those two series in particular, we’re coming up on the 100th issues, and that’s something I have to keep in mind at all times. I have to really deliver on the expectations of an issue 100, and I’m going to have to do it twice in one year. On the one hand, that’s a little annoying, but on the other hand, it’s truly awesome. I didn’t think I’d get to #100 on either of those series, so to be able to do it on both is great.”
And on the newer side of the Image playground, Kirkman’s collaboration with artist Rob Liefeld and his latest kid-friendly comic are both beginning to hit their stride. “With something like ‘The Infinite,’ it’s a finite story with a beginning, middle and an end,” he said. “It’s a regular series, but it’s always dictated by me following the timeline and making sure I’m putting all the people in place and preparing for its eventual, monumental conclusion. I’m really just actively trying to make sure that every chapter of that story is as cool as it can be. With ‘Super Dinosaur, that’s a series that’s still very much trying to find its legs in the comic book industry. It’s me trying to craft stories that make the characters as endearing as possible to people and showing how awesome that world is. I’m trying to find new ways to very succinctly showing people what that book is all about. We’re wrapping up our first trade paperback, and there’s always more fun to be had.”
See “The Walking Dead” win Best Comic Book along with a slew of other fanboy favorite awards tonight on Spike TV’s Scream Awards, airing at 9:00 PM Eastern and Pacific.