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News bulletin: The Walking Dead is a friggin’ huge deal.

I’m not sure how to measure it, but at least culturally I think the zombie-survival tale by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard is on track to become the biggest deal to come from indie/creator-owned comics since Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, circa 1988. I think it surpassed Todd McFarlane’s Spawn during Season 1. Heck, it might even be giving some corporate-owned properties a run for their money.

Fortunately, we haven’t quite hit Christmas special saturation, but there are plenty of items in the AMC Walking Dead shop: action figures and figurines, board games, T-shirts, calendars, posters, costumes, busts, music from the show, a companion book, even dog tags.

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The Walking Dead: The Musical (Come on, it’s bound to happen)

Given the relative ubiquity of The Walking Dead, which has moved from acclaimed comic series to hit television drama, collectible toys, prose novels, a magazine, board games and a video game, it’s probably only a matter of time before the property hits the stage. Make it happen, Robert Kirkman; we hear Julie Taymor is available.

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Hi-res look at Charlie Adlard’s variant covers for Walking Dead magazine

Earlier this month, Titan Magazines offered retailers a shot at exclusive variant covers created by Charlie Adlard for the first issue of The Walking Dead: The Official Magazine, a new quarterly publication that offers an inside look at the acclaimed comic series created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Adlard, and the hit television drama it spawned. Now Titan has provided Robot 6 with high-resolution images of the winning covers for Comickaze Comics (5517 AB Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego) and Wade’s Comic Madness (8750 New Falls Road, Levittown, Pennsylvania).

The magazine arrives in stores Oct. 23, on the heels of the Season 3 premiere of the AMC television series, but New York Comic Con attendees will have a chance to buy the issue with a convention-exclusive cover on Oct. 11.

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‘I really like screwing with the comic book readers, to a certain extent’

We posted an excerpt from this bonus feature from the upcoming Blu-ray/DVD release of The Walking Dead Season 2 earlier this month, but now Brazilian website Judao has the nine-minute video of creator Robert Kirkman discussing how the hit AMC drama remains faithful to the long-running comic series in many areas but deviates in others.

“I really like screwing with the comic book readers, to a certain extent,” he says in “The Ink Is Alive.” “I’m always the one in the writers’ room going, ‘Let’s introduce this beloved character from the comic in the opening scene of this episode, and then let’s kill him at the end of the episode.’ [...] One of the most important aspects of The Walking Dead that makes the comic book so successful, that, y’know, keeps people coming back for more, month in and month out, is the fact that you never know what’s going to happen at any time. Anybody can die, anyone could leave, people come in. It’s a very volatile comic …”

If you’re not caught up with the television series, you may not want to watch the video. The second season of The Walking Dead arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on Aug. 28. The third season premieres Oct. 14.

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“You’re not sitting there going, ‘Oh, this is where Carl gets shot!’”

If you haven’t watched the second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead, you’ll probably want to skip this video, as it gives away a significant character death. But for everyone else who‘s up to date with the hit series (or else simply don’t care about spoilers), CraveOnline has an advance look at part of a bonus feature from the upcoming Blu-ray/DVD release in which creator Robert Kirkman examines how the television adaptation “stays faithful to the comic book but does it in a different way.” It’s an interesting video that compares and contrasts pages from the Image Comics series with sequences from the TV show.

The second season of The Walking Dead arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on Aug. 28.

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Chilling teaser trailer debuts for Walking Dead video game

Telltale Games has premiered a creepy teaser trailer for The Walking Dead video game that lacks any gameplay footage but makes up for it with a sense of dread and helplessness that captures the mood of both the comic series (by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard) and the hit television adaptation.

The game centers on Lee Everett, a character created specifically for the game, in a parallel story to the acclaimed comic series, with designs based on Adlard’s art. Telltale CEO Dan Connors announced earlier this week that the developer is about to submit the episodic game for approval through Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, which means it could go on sale as soon as late April or early May.

Check out  the trailer below.

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Kevin Smith teases second volume of Widening Gyre is ‘half-done’

Pencils from the second volume of "Batman: The Widening Gyre," by Walt Flanagan

Filmmaker Kevin Smith this morning offered a first look at Walt Flanagan’s pencils for the second volume of Batman: The Widening Gyre, trumpeting that the remaining six issues are “half-done.”

The 12-issue miniseries, which debuted in October 2009, reacquaints Bruce Wayne with Silver St. Cloud and introduces Batman to a new partner in his fight against crime in Gotham City. Despite efforts to keep the project on schedule, the first volume met with delays, extending its conclusion to September 2010.

Smith built in a six-month break between volumes — “to insure we don’t run into my usual problems with lateness,” the writer said in 2009 — meaning the second leg of The Widening Gyre should’ve debuted sometime around March.

Now, however, Smith indicates on Twitter that Vol. 2 will arrive in early 2012, when his new AMC reality series Secret Stash is scheduled to debut: “Looking to street when AMC show starts (SMarketing, bitch)!”

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SDCC ’11 | Tim Bradstreet’s Walking Dead poster

From Tim Bradstreet's "Walking Dead" poster

IGN.com has the first look at the limited-edition poster created by Tim Bradstreet to promote the second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Bradstreet and Executive Producer Frank Darabont will be on hand Friday at the show’s Comic-Con International booth (#3721) to sign the convention-exclusive posters. See the full image after the break.

The Walking Dead panel will be held at 11:15 a.m. Friday in Ballroom 20. The 13-episode second season of the series, based on the acclaimed horror comic by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, debuts in October.

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Steve Ellis helps Breaking Bad’s Jesse Pinkman play it tough or cool — your choice

A new season of AMC’s Breaking Bad starts this Sunday, and to help promote it AMC has posted a new “choose your own adventure”-style game/webcomic thing to their site, starring the character Jesse Pinkman and drawn by High Moon and Winter Guard artist Steve Ellis. So even if you aren’t into the show, it’s really nice to look at.

Telltale developing Fables, Walking Dead video games [Updated]

Fables: The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 1

Telltale Games is set to announce an agreement with Warner Bros. Interactive to develop video games based on Fables, the acclaimed Vertigo series created by Bill Willingham, All Things Digital reports.

That’s in addition to the earlier rumored games based on AMC’s wildly popular Walking Dead, itself an adaptation of the Image Comics series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard.

The San Rafael, Calif.-based Telltale has created episodic games based on CSI, Wallace & Gromit and Jeff Smith’s Bone. It’s now working on series for the Jurassic Park and Back to the Future franchises. Details of the Fables and Walking Dead games are slim — what you’ve read is all that’s been revealed — but more information should be announced after Telltale’s presentation wraps up later today in San Francisco.

Debuting in 2002, Fables centers on characters characters from folklore and fairy tales who live in exile in modern New York City and elsewhere in the “mundane” world. It’s a premise that certainly lends itself to Telltale’s brand of episodic games.

Update: IGN talks briefly with Kirkman, who says The Walking Dead game will fall “within the comic book world.” Telltale also has released promotional art by Adlard, which you can see after the break.

Update 2: Telltale has made the official announcements about both games. Read the press releases below.

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AMC reveals The Walking Dead motion comic

This afternoon AMC debuted a motion-comic adaptation of The Walking Dead — or at least the first half of the first issue. Don’t get too excited, though, because it looks like this is simply a teaser for the live-action series, which debuts in October, rather than a full-blown push into motion comics. But I could be wrong.

Whatever it is, the eight-minute video features Juice Films animation of art by Tony Moore, and the voice of Phil LaMarr (Futurama, Justice League Unlimited). So, y’know, good stuff all around.

Comic-Con attendees will get a double dose of The Walking Dead with Thursday’s Robert Kirkman panel (4 p.m. in Room 4 p.m.) and Friday’s AMC panel (11:30 a.m. in Room 6BCF).


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