We had the chance to chat with Robert Kirkman about all of the things on his plate, including upcoming projects, his ongoing series, The Walking Dead TV series, and more!
TFAW.com: As you may know from our video reviews, we’re huge fans of The Walking Dead, so first we have to say, “Thank you!”
Robert Kirkman: You’re welcome!
TFAW.com: The series has been ongoing for more than seven years: did you think it would go this long?
Kirkman: I’d always hoped but never really thought it would, at least early on. It was always marketed as “the zombie story that never ends” and at the time, most of the books I’d done had, y’know . . . ended. So I was really nervous going in that we’d struggle to make it to issue #12. Luckily that didn’t happen because otherwise I would have looked like a fool.
TFAW.com: Who’s the character you’ve enjoyed killing off the most?
Kirkman: I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve actually enjoyed killing any of them. I knew that Lori and Judith and of course Tyreese would get a big rise out of the audience, and that was exciting but I’ve been sorry to see pretty much every character that has died go. Even the Governor . . . he was fun to write.
TFAW.com: In the latest issues, our group of survivors has been going down a dark path: they’re in a seemingly welcoming, benign community, and they’re planning to take it over at the slightest provocation. Do you think this is a natural progression for them, thanks to their experiences thus far?
Kirkman: I hope it is. Nothing could be worse than something like this seeming tacked on or like it’s coming out of left field or whatever. For the last . . . whew five years or so we’ve been building to this. So yeah, this is what happens when people get twisted and distorted by the world around them. The only question now is can they come back from this ledge or have they already crossed it?
TFAW.com: It’s chilling to look at where Rick and company are now and think about how the Governor got where he is. How dark are they going to get?
Kirkman: Well, I can’t answer that here now can I? I will say that to get to the point of the Governor, I believe that you have to have some kind of spark of evil in you to begin with. Let’s hope Rick and the rest weren’t harboring the same spark.
TFAW.com: As the series continues, the zombies seem like less of a threat and other people seem like more of threat. Was this your intention all along?
Kirkman: Absolutely. This book has never been about the zombies. There will always be periods of downtime and as our characters adapt to this new world, they’re naturally going to grow accustomed to zombies and learn to avoid them. Although I must say they’ll never get to the point where they pose no threat at all. I’m just trying to lull readers into a false sense of security right now.
TFAW.com: So Rick and the gang seem to be in a safe, friendly community, but in The Walking Dead, things are never what they seem. Will Douglas turn out to be evil?
Kirkman: I feel like that would be a bit too obvious and a little too much like the Governor in Woodbury. I gotta keep things interesting, y’know? So no . . . I don’t see Douglas as the bad guy . . . he’s got a much more important role to play.
TFAW.com: This town seems to have a dirty secret that’s haunting the inhabitants. When will we discover what this is?
Kirkman: Don’t hold me to this . . . but #76 . . .
TFAW.com: We loved the brief flashback of Michonne and her sword. Will we see more flashbacks of the other characters?
Kirkman: I’m not a fan of them, but like the Michonne flashback, when they seem called for, I’ll slot them in. For me, this book is about moving forward, not what came before.
TFAW.com: Looking back at all of the success and acclaim The Walking Dead has received, is there anything you would have changed?
Kirkman: I really miss Axel, so I might not have killed him so soon. And Rick’s hand . . . I don’t know that I would have cut that off . . . that scene would have been just as shocking if it had been a couple fingers right? I don’t know . . . maybe the book wouldn’t be as good if he hadn’t lost his hand the way he did. I like to think one of the things that makes this book good is the fact that I don’t really second guess myself much at all. Well, that and Charlie Adlard’s art. Once I decide that something is cool and will work in the series, I usually stick to my guns. Very rarely do I change course.
TFAW.com: We’ve seen stills from the production of The Walking Dead television series on AMC, and they look pretty rad, how’s production coming along?
Kirkman: Great. They start filming episode four in a few days . . . so they’re trucking along and all I can really say is that everyone has been a dream to work with. Frank [Darabont] is doing amazing work, Gale [Anne Hurd] is just awesome at what she does and AMC has been a real treat to work with. This show is something unlike anything that’s ever been on television before. I think people are just going to flip out when they see what we’ve done here.
TFAW.com: You’re also writing an episode of the show, is that right?
Kirkman: Yeah, the episode they’re about to start filming, episode four, actually. It was a pretty cool experience, I got the chance to work in an actual writer’s room with series writers Chic Eglee, Jack LoGiudice and Adam Fierro and it’s been a real treat getting to learn the process and see how it all works. I also got direct guidance from Frank Darabont himself, which is really just priceless. He’s such a talented screenwriter, his advice should be written on stone tablets and have religions based on it.
TFAW.com: What went through your head when you heard that AMC was interested in the series?
Kirkman: AMC is such an amazing network. They’ve had two major successes in Mad Men and Breaking Bad and they’ve expanded at a very slow, deliberate rate . . . it’s pretty unusual. I was thrilled they were interested in The Walking Dead, and now that I know a lot of the other things they’re developing for other new shows, I think the network is just going to continue to get better and better. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of their network.
TFAW.com: Both The Walking Dead and Invincible will hit issue #75 shortly. What surprises are in store?
Kirkman: TONS. Invincible is going to be HUGE . . . that issue covers a major, MAJOR battle of the Viltrumite War and leads to a lot of changes in the book. It’s going to have an insane 36-page main story by Ryan [Ottley] and I and the usual Science Dog back-up by Cory [Walker] and I . . . it’s going to rock. The Walking Dead is going to have a major turning point in the story of the community. Just look at the cover . . . you’ll get a sense of what’s going on.
TFAW.com: What’s coming up for Mark in Invincible?
Kirkman: The Viltrumite War will be raging on all the way up to issue #78 and that’s going to feature some drastic changes to the series and some big turning points. After that Invincible will return to Earth and so much time has passed by that point . . . things are going to be a little . . . different.
TFAW.com: How will his relationship with Oliver evolve?
Kirkman: It may be coming to an abrupt end . . . or maybe not.
TFAW.com: Will Nolan be back in the picture?
Kirkman: That would be telling . . .
TFAW.com: We love that the story arc names come from classic sitcoms. When can we expect “Full House” and “Step by Step”?
Kirkman: Eventually, I’m sure.
TFAW.com: You were named a partner at Image a couple years back. How have things changed for you since then?
Kirkman: I’ve got a few more administrative duties and I have an active hand in trying to steer the company toward good things, but my involvement, like all the partners, is somewhat limited. All the day-to-day things are handled by the publisher, Eric Stephenson. He’s the one approving new books and making the comics happen.
TFAW.com: Your Pilot Season comics are starting to hit now, can you tell us a little more about the project?
Kirkman: It’s a series of five one-shots, all new concepts created by myself and Marc Silvestri, and it’s a cool competition where after all five are released, the fans are going to vote on which of the five they’d like to see continue, and then I’m going to write a four-issue miniseries of the winner. It’s a lot of fun and a cool way to get new concepts out there.
TFAW.com: It might be like asking which child is your favorite, but which one of the Pilot Season titles is your favorite so far?
Kirkman: Usually the one I was writing at the time was the one I liked the most. But now I’ve written them all. Hardcore was the one I wrote last . . . so I’m partial to that, but it’s impossible to pick a favorite, I’d be thrilled to write four more issues of all of them. So much so that I just might.
TFAW.com: We’re only a couple of issues away from the conclusion to The Astounding Wolfman. Looking back, how’s that ride been?
Kirkman: It’s been great working with Jason Howard . . . so much so that I plan on continuing to do so. The series has been a lot of fun. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to do and it’s been fun to get to end a series in exactly how I wanted with as much time as I wanted.
I’m really looking forward to going back and reading the whole series some day, far in the future, when I can look at it objectively. I think Jason and I have done some cool stuff . . . and the trades will be available for a good long time, so anyone who isn’t reading the book currently has plenty of opportunity to give it a read.
TFAW.com: With everything on your plate, what are you most excited about?
Kirkman: Spending time with my kids? Seriously, between Haunt, Image United, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Guarding the Globe, The Astounding Wolf-Man and Pilot Season . . . it’s hard to pick a favorite. Whatever I’m working on at the time is usually my favorite.
We want to thank Robert Kirkman for taking time out of his seriously busy schedule to answer a few of our questions.
Super psyched to for the upcoming developments in The Astounding Wolfman, Invincible or The Walking Dead? Which Pilot Season title are you looking forward to the most? Let us know below.