SDCC: Robert Kirkman Reaches Beyond The Walking Dead

The world of Robert Kirkman may still be ruled by the zombies of The Walking Dead. But the main writer behind Skybound Entertainment came into Comic-Con International with new projects on tap and new ideas to share.

That was where the Robert Kirkman Spotlight panel started Thursday afternoon in San Diego, and the conversation stayed focused on his creative life. "When I haven't come up with a new idea or worked on a new book in a while, I get kind of itchy," he said. "But when I work on something like Die! Die! Die! then come back to The Walking Dead, I'm able to see it with fresher eyes."

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The Walking Dead did come into the spotlight as Kirkman spoke about Maggie's long-running pregnancy, joking, "The farm Maggie is from is on the site of a crashed alien spaceship...and the side effect is that the women from the vicinity of that ship carry babies to term over a 48-month period." Pushed by a fan to actually answer when the baby would show up, he said, "You would think!" before adding "Season 9 spoiler: Maggie finally has her baby, and it has superpowers. It has a jetpack, and when she says 'Go, Baby, Go!' it takes off. The special effects guys were a little put off by that."

He added that "little pieces of me" are in all his characters...except Negan. But maybe small details are the best ways to see his life in his work from Glen's history working at a pizza place to the story of Rick and Laurie Grimes marrying being based on his own parents. "But I think it'd be incredibly boring to base a character on me...so I don't do it."

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A young fan asked about the legendary story about how Kirkman sold The Walking Dead to Image Comics by lying about its high concept. "Jim Valentino, who was the publisher of Image, hates when I tell this story" because he feels that it makes it seem that the publisher made a mistake by requiring a hook for the series. But Kirkman said a hook is a necessary thing for a series, even if he didn't have the best way to pitch his zombie epic in those terms at the time. "If you want to make it and get into comics, kick those doors in however you need to do. Try not to resort to lying...but it worked for me!" he laughed.

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