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Kirkman Talks Comics, Movies and TV, Past, Present and Future

Robert Kirkman is one of the most prolific content creators of the 21st century, having not only co-created multiple comics for Skybound Entertainment, but also served as a executive producer for AMC's adaptation of his most well-known work, The Walking Dead. He went on to create and produce the runaway hit's companion series Fear the Walking Dead and has written or co-written several episodes of both shows.

The success of The Walking Dead propelled him to launch Skybound Entertainment in 2010, and the multi-platform entertainment company's produced content for film, television, virtual reality and gaming verticals. In 2017, Kirkman announced he was leaving AMC to sign an overall deal with Amazon studios, and let's face it, a mind like Kirkman belongs on streaming. The creator arrived at NYCC today to discuss his current projects including his new book Die! Die! Die!, older properties like Outcast and The Walking Dead and to tease what could be coming up next. The entire panel was a Q&A between him and members of the audience, so we've pulled the most interesting tidbits to share with you here.

Regarding his upcoming animated series for Amazon Invincible, he promised it was on its way, but still deep in the midst of production:

Uh, it's awesome, it's coming along very well. Unfortunately it does take a little time, that's why we haven't talked about the release date, I'm very hopeful we'll be doing some kind of big rollout at Comic-Con next year.

As for what would happen to Clementine's story in the Telltale Walking Dead game after the company's untimely end, he was encouraging:

Just stay tuned, everyone involved is trying to make sure the Clementine storyline is finished. I'm [not as worried about fitting into the comic] because I'm hoping the games will eventually be completed.

A fan then asked if he would ever consider doing a spin-off of one of his own comics, and the answer was a surprisingly resounding "no."

I haven't done that just because it appears to met hat comics don't necessarily that the comic industry doesn't necessarily support spin-offs the way a the television industry does. So I've always wanted to avoid that And i did a spinoff of Invincible and it seemed to take away from the original book. ... Plus it's a lot of work. And I don't want to do any more work.

When asked about the mysterious disappearance of Heath from TWD, he promised that the story would be wrapped up when Corey Hawkins' schedule permits, but did commit resolving that arc:

We are hoping to get him back to tell his story there are definitely plans in place there... We will definitely show his skeleton at some point if we have to.

Unfortunately those of you who were hoping for a TWD appearance by its creator, don't hold your breath:

I auditioned for Negan, it didn't work out... [But really] cameos are a pet peeve of mine because I'm watching these great Lord of the Rings movies and I'm seeing Peter Jackson's dumb face. Every time Stan Lee shows up, I'm like, "Him again?" As far as being a zombie, have you seen what people do to get into that makeup? There's two things that work against me being a zombie on The Walking Dead - it sucks being in a makeup chair, its' super hot in Georgia... your whole face smells like a Halloween store -- it seems uncomfortable. [Also] in order to make a zombie look like a real corpse you have to start with a really small head and build it out. I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm walking around with a goddamn pumpkin on my head. I'd be walking around like goddamn mayor McCheese.

As to whether or not Rick Grimes would die in the comics in the same way he'd die in the show, as is typical of Kirkman, he revealed very little, but did specify that the deaths would not be identical:

I know exactly how Rick Grimes dies in the comic book and it’s possible there will be some difference there. [In the comics] it could could happen next issue or it could happen ten years from now, I could change my mind. I can’t say anything else.

One of the last people to come to the mic was a fan who complimented the diversity of Kirkman's work, specifically on The Walking Dead and how organic it feels. The creator was refreshingly honest about his process and how it's hard separating his own experiences from what should be represented on the show:

Every character you write starts as a white male because I'm a dumb white male because that's my experience... You just have to know that that's a dumb handicap that you have. As I'm growing characters [I ask myself] what's not represented, what's more interesting, what's going to add to this character other than being a dumb white person? It's just being mindful of that, that's literally all it is. I really to make sure the cast is 50/50 male and female and it's hard to do because as a white male that's my experience.

And finally, his dream guest director for TWD?

I'd love to get Quentin Tarantino to direct an episode, but it's never gonna happen.

That's all for Robert Kirkman at NYCC 2018. Stay tuned for CBR's ongoing coverage of the convention!

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