Follow along LIVE as CBR reports from New York Comic Con's Robert Kirkman spotlight panel, in which the revered creator and Image Comics partner discusses his latest projects, from The Walking Dead to the live-action Invincible film adaptation and much, much more!
Announced ahead of the panel was Oblivion Song, a new comic book series launching March 7, 2018, from Kirkman, penciller Lorenzo De Felici and colorist Annalisa Leoni. The official synopsis for the series is the following:
A decade ago 300,000 citizens of Philadelphia were suddenly lost in Oblivion. The governmentmade every attempt to recover them but after many years they gave up. Nathan Cole... won't. Hemakes daily trips, risking his life to try and rescue those lost, alone and afraid, living in theapocalyptic hellscape of Oblivion. But maybe... Nathan is looking for something else? Why can'the resist the siren call of the Oblivion Song?
Kirkman opened the panel talking about "comics stuff," introducing a slide show. He displayed the cover to Walking Dead #175, touting "New World Order," a new story arc where we'll finally see an Ohio colony called "The Commonwealth." "It's gonna be the largest community that they've encountered...it's going to be changing the direction of the book in a lot of ways...I'm really excited about another era of the Walking Dead."
He joked, "It's going to make a good billboard for Season 13!"
He then showed the cover for Outcast #32, out in December. The storyline kicking off in that issue is called "Invasion," in which "we'll see just how bad things have gotten...there's more people possessed than they thought. This is going to be a very big storyline." Kirkman then showed two more covers, teasing the arc, which will run through issue #37.
Next he showed the cover for Invincible #142, which has 10 extra pages of story. "It's the End of All Things part 10 of 12...but if you look at the top it's Robot Wars Part 1...I dare Marvel and DC to top that!"
"It's going to be a big deal...me and Ryan [Ottley] are ending on a high note."
He then showed the cover to Invincible #143, in which Mark finds out about "the kid he didn't know about...it might be a little depressing."
Kirkman then teased the cover to the 48-page Invincible #144, half-drawn by Ottley and half-drawn by Invincible co-creator Cory Walker. "When you guys read the end of Invincible you'll go...holy crap there's 117,000 different stories in this thing?!...It's been a lot of fun."
Kirkman moved on to Oblivion Song, showing the cover for the first issue by Lorenzo De Felici. "This is a book I like to call post-apocalypse adjacent." Kirkman then showed a trailer for the book which teases all sorts of fun Mad Maxian post-apocalyptic action, with alien-looking monsters included. Set to dramatic music, the trailer establishes the plot about the missing citizens of Philadelphia and the government's unsuccessful attempt to locate them. We are then introduced to the protagonist who seeks them out in "the apocalyptic hellscape of Oblivion." It ended with the release date of March 7, 2018.
"There's a lot of time between now and then...there's going to be a lot of previews, some big stuff we have planned...I may make some television appearances talking about it," Kirkman said.
The conversation then moved to the Q&A portion. The first question: A fan asks the premiere date for Outcast: Season 2. Noting he knows it, but can't reveal it, Kirkman said, "It'll be warm...next year...like a spring or summer kind of thing, we'll see."
Next question: "Why'd you kill Lucille?" Kirkman said, "I love the audience caring about an inanimate object... [And] it was Lucille's time," he joked.
Asked about how much involvement he has in Fear the Walking Dead, Kirkman reaffirmed that he has the same amount of involvement in it as he does on The Walking Dead, but said it's more fun because it's not directly adapting a comic, so he has more freedom to get wild with the story.
"How do you feel about your work becoming a TV show and a video game," a fan asked. Kirkman replied, "I hate it," before actually answering, "It's nice...I get money from all of them."
"When are we going to see you make an appearance on Fear the Walking Dead or The Walking Dead?" Kirkman was asked. The author said he wouldn't want to do it, citing Todd McFarlane's awkward cameo in Spawn as "distracting," saying, "I could do it anytime if I wanted to...I'd definitely never be a zombie. That would be no fun."
"What's your view of being approached in public" another fan asked. "I hate it...I don't like talking to people I know, and now I'm talking to people I don't know." Kirkman continued, "I am very busy at conventions, because of that, I'm hard to get to. If you have a marker ready and you see me at a Denny's, it's okay to bother me [for an autograph]."
"Why do you mostly choose British actors for your shows," was the next question. "I have no idea!" Kirkman continued, "It's definitely a bias we have because we hate Americans."
Asked if Fear and The Walking Dead will crossover, Kirkman simply said, "That would be cool," cutting the conversation short.
"I love Invincible so much," a fan remarked. "I really love your writing on the character of Robot and I wanted to know what went through your head when you wanted Robot to take over the world." Kirkman said, "You need emotion and humanity to temper logical instincts...[if you don't] it skews you into some pretty dark directions...Robot is absolutely right on paper...but it's like a horrific thing that he did." He added, "I like to do things in Invincible that don't normally happen in superhero books...you never get to the end of a comic and go, 'Spider-Man lost??'"
"Any developments you can tell us about the Seth Rogen-Evan Goldberg adaptation of Invincible?" a fan asked. "Nope," Kirkman joked. He proceeded to tell an anecdote about a Skype call he had with the Superbad duo, noting how he was playing with a mini plunger on his desk beforehand, popping it on and off his forehead. He then went to the bathroom, and noticed in the mirror he had a "giant pink hickey" on his forehead in the shape of that plunger. "'You dumbass, you gave yourself a hickey with that fuckin' plunger.'" Kirkman said he then had the Skype meeting and remarked to Rogen, "You seem like a man who would know how long a hickey lasts." Rogen apparently said, "Yeah, I did notice the hickey." Kirkman then said they joked about the incident, sharing hickey stories that he "could not repeat."
"...Do you have an end in mind [for The Walking Dead]?" a fan asked. Kirkman reiterated, "Anybody writing clickbait articles right now, I did not say I was ending the Walking Dead...but I know how it will end."
"Are there any characters in The Walking Dead you regret killing off?" another fan asked. Kirkman said, "Yes and no. I miss writing Tyrese and Andrea...I don't really regret anything story-wise though...I'm happier with the stories that came afterwards."
"When do you plan on offing Rick?" a fan questioned. Kirkman said, "Issue 194," joking, "no I'm not going to answer that."
"What was your thought process when you decided to kill Ezekiel off-page?" was the next question. Kirkman said, "Not every character can have a grand death...the impact of not seeing it, and seeing the result of it is as big and as impactful as if you had seen it...I don't know, [I'm just] trying different stuff."
"When do you think we'll have the first Amazon show on," a fan asked. "I don't know," Kirkman said, "but I feel like I would be short-changing you if I said I don't know."
"The series is going to go on a long time, and [Rick] is going to die eventually," Kirkman said, after being asked about the character's death. "It could happen any where between now and 50 years from now...that's definitely an exaggeration...hopefully that's not too much of a spoiler."
"If you had to fornicate, marry, kill: The Walking Dead, Invincible and Battle Pope" a fan jokingly asked. Kirkman said, "I'm not going to answer these questions, this is terrible...a woman's child is sitting right there!"
Next, a fan asked, "If you could pick any song to put into The Walking Dead what would it be?" Kirkman said, "I like Neil Young...I don't know. Can I let you in on a little secret? When music plays on The Walking Dead...I go, 'neat!'...and that is it...I'm not a music expert."
"Have you seen the new IT movie?" another fan asked. Kirkman said, "I did...it was amazing...if any of you haven't seen it: Don't go, you don't need to!" joking about how well it's done at the box office.
Praising Kirkman, a fan posed the question: "Have you ever thought about teaching writing?" Kirkman said, "I don't know that I have much to offer...it doesn't seem fun to me."