Though the TV series and comic book have always been clearly distinct entities, if the latest developments on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” — including the rise of Negan and the infamous death of a main character — feel a little bit closer to the source material than the first couple seasons of the show, franchise creator Robert Kirkman, during his panel Saturday at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, said there’s a specific reason for that: Current showrunner Scott M. Gimple.
“Frank Darabont, the first showrunner, and Glen Mazzara, the second showrunner, delightful people, did not follow the comic book as closely as Scott Gimple follows the comic book, because they were not avid comic book fans and readers the way that Scott Gimple is,” Kirkman told the crowd gathered at the main stage in the Washington State Convention Center.”Scott Gimple started reading the comic book before the show ever existed.”
In fact, Kirkman said that Gimple’s recollection of the comic book events crafted by Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard sometimes outpaced Kirkman himself.
“Oftentimes in the [writers’] room for season 2, they would say, ‘We’re going to do this with so and so,’ and I would go, ‘Well, actually, in the comic book, we did this,'” Kirkman shared. “And Scott Gimple would go, ‘Well, actually in the comic book, you did this,’ and I would go, ‘Oh, yeah you’re right.’ So when he became showrunner, not only was he more familiar with the comic books, he was also intimately familiar with where the comic books are going.”
“So whereas Frank and Glen would be like, ‘Let’s do this awesome thing!’ and I’d be like, ‘Yeah I don’t care, this is awesome,’ and then we’d do it, Scott’s like, ‘Well, if we do this, we’re not going to be able to do this in season six, we’re not going to be able to do this in season seven…” Kirkman continued. “He’s building to stuff, and he likes the stuff in the comics, so I think that’s probably why we’re a little bit more closer, from time to time. we do still deviate.”
Gimple’s comic book fandom shouldn’t come as a surprise, as he also has a history on the other side of the medium, as a comic book writer — though you might be surprised as to what kinds of comics. He wrote multiple issues of “Simpsons Comics” for Bongo Entertainment between 1995 and 2000, along with the “Heroes Anonymous” miniseries, also for Bongo. After becoming a writer on “The Walking Dead,” he wrote the five-issue miniseries “Punisher: Nightmare” for Marvel, illustrated by Mark Texeira.
Keep reading CBR for the latest from Emerald City Comicon.
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