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SDCC: Robert Kirkman on the End of The Walking Dead & Rick Grimes' Death

Hot on the heels of the shocking finale of The Walking Dead, writer Robert Kirkman took to the stage at Comic-Con International in San Diego to take questions from fans everything from Rick Grimes' death to Invincible to Oblivion Song.

"Does anyone want to do me any physical harm?" Kirkman asked the crowd in response to The Walking Dead.

"I am unprepared for literally anything," he continued. "I will answer any questions I can. I assume people are pretty familiar with the fact that the comic ended. It's been great. I've been getting tweets from people who somehow managed to not be spoiled."

Kirkman immediately opened up the floor for a Q&A and a fan asked in what ways the post-Rick Grimes world is a better place.

"For the characters in the story, it's a better place in hindsight," Kirkman said. "It's a world where people appreciate things more. People have been pushed to their limits and it's put everyone in a mindset where we operate differently. This terrible zombie apocalypse happens and people die but in the end, you learn from that."

Another fan asked what was the hardest part about drawing and Kirkman corrected him by saying it's Charlie Adler who's the artist on TWD.

The next question was if we'll ever see Negan in another story.

"You know, Negan is alive," Kirkman said. "There might be a story to be told there. It's possible that's my escape hatch if my career takes a nosedive. But yeah, there's no plans as of yet."

A fan then asked what happened to Heath, whom Kirkman confirmed was still alive.

Another fan asked about Invincible and what super pet mark would have.

"I don't know, a rabbit, maybe?" Kirkman said.

The next question was if Kirkman would ever authorize another writer to use Invincible characters.

"I'm selfish," Kirkman joked. "But it's entirely possible. Even though I ended it, I could just decide I want to do 10 more issues. It's very unlikely I'll die and not do more Invincible."

When asked if Kirkman regrets any of his story decisions, he said, "There are characters in TWD I miss, but it's a universe where characters die and their deaths are permanent. When Andrea dies in the book, I knew the book was ending and I knew there was only a number of issues left. I don't necessarily regret killing them."

A fan asked what got Kirkman into comics, to which he said, "I collected baseball cards in the '90s. I went to a comic shop with my dad and he got an issue of Iron Man. I ended up picking it up at some point and the next time I went to get baseball cards, I got comics."

Another fan asked who Kirkman would cast for Invincible if he had a $1 billion budget.

"I'd cast Ed O'Neil," Kirkman joked before naming O'Neil for every major role. "It's a billion-dollar-budget, we can digitally alter him."

The next fan asked how hard it was to change the zombie status quo with TWD.

"It's a genre everyone is familiar with," he said. "But that's where the surprises come from. You've got to zig and zag." Kirkman then apologized as he was distracted by another fan joking about Ed O'Neil again.

A fan asked about the state of the zombies at the end of TWD and if people who die in that world would become reanimated.

"I'm not saying no one had seen a zombie in 10 years, I'm just saying it's rare," Kirkman said. "But it's a world where people know that can happen and people know how to deal with it."

A fan then asked if Kirkman ever cringes when he sees how the TV show deals with the source material.

"No. It's kind of a tradeoff," he said. "There is a lot of thought and work that goes into that. It's a real tough thing but as far as story, I've fully endorsed everything."

Another fan asked how Kirkman knows which ideas are winners.

"My new ideas start as a scene," Kikman said. "With Oblivion Song, there was a monster chasing people and one of their sniper rifles is how they escape. Over the course of weeks, months, days, years, that scene keeps popping into my head. I have ideas like that all the time I don't come back to because they don't engage me but when I have ones that keep popping up, that's when I feel like there's something there."

The next fan asked about Kirkman's original pitch for TWD.

"That original idea was never real," he said. "When I pitched TWD to Image, they passed. So I said, 'I never told you about the alien invasion -- the zombies are here because of aliens.' But when the book came out, Image was happy with the reception. As a publisher, you have to be careful with what you publish but as a creator, you have to fight tooth and nail to get your idea out there. They were doing their job and by lying, I was doing mine."

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