"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
The zombie hordes won’t be stopped by the gates of academia.
AMC, Instructure and the University of California, Irvine have teamed up for a massive open online course (MOOC) “exploring a broad range of scholarly topics through the lens of a hypothetical zombie apocalypse.” Or should that be “hypothetical” zombie apocalypse?
Announced this morning, “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead“ is a free, eight-week course taught by UC Irvine faculty in the fields of social sciences, public health, physics and astronomy, and mathematics. According to the course description, the online class will tackle such topics as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, social orders and structures, the spread of infectious diseases, and nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world (particularly relevant to Daryl Dixon, the latter asks, “Are squirrels really good for you?”).
The Walking Dead will return to Universal Studios’ “Halloween Horror Nights” in September with new mazes inspired by the third season of the hit AMC drama.
The mazes at Universal Hollywood and Universal Orlando will place visitors in the Prison — aka the West Georgia Correctional Facility — and then send them fleeing through the wilderness to the walled town of Woodbury, where even worse terrors reside.
And for the first time in the event’s 23-year history, all of the scare zones at Universal Orlando will feature a common theme, as visitors walking the streets of the park will come face to face with scenes from the television series’ first three seasons, including an overrun Atlanta and Hershel’s barn. Oh, and walkers — lots and lots of walkers.
“What’s great about working with a property like The Walking Dead is that each season presents new environments and characters for us to draw inspiration,” John Murdy, creative director for Universal Studios Hollywood, said in a statement. “With the prison as the main setting of Season 3, we seized this opportunity to recreate that very environment, down to the last detail, to be as genuine and authentic to the show as possible. Using movie-quality production value, our goal is to make guests feel as if they are mired in the world of blood-thirsty zombies, which is something you can only do at ‘Halloween Horror Nights.'”
“Halloween Horror Nights” begins Sept. 20.
“I think fans of the comics recognize that this show is a different animal. There are big departures that have happened on the show before and it’s the show’s M.O. at this point. I think people are seeing that it doesn’t really preclude other big storylines from the comic book when we put a death in the show. We are still very much following the path of the comic book and you’ll see a lot of that in Season 4. There are going to be differences from time to time and some big differences. People know the comic still exists, and I want people to experience both and get a somewhat different experience. I think it’s cool that there are differences that are going to make the show as dramatic, startling and unpredictable as the comic book was the first time you read it. That’s really what we’re going after.”
– Robert Kirkman, responding to a question regarding potential concerns that a major development in last night’s Season 3 finale of The Walking Dead might alienate fans of the long-running comic series
“I just think what he does is really brave. He really loves these characters as well, and it makes it unique that we’re able to do this. We could literally kill Rick at some point. I’m not going to say we are, but why not kill him? There’s no reason. The Walking Dead could easily survive without Rick, and I personally think it would be incredibly interesting. We could do it in some random issue where the reader isn’t expecting it, not like issue #150 or some anniversary issue. I think it would be very cool.”
– The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, talking with Comic Book Resources about writer Robert Kirkman’s penchant for shocking readers in the popular horror comic
Robert Kirkman appeared last night on TBS’s Conan to discuss all things Walking Dead, from his wife’s distaste for his zombie franchise to rejected merchandising opportunities — perfume! energy drinks! — to host Conan O’Brien’s nitpicks, including why there are no undead animals.
“The honest answer to that is, The Walking Dead is based on a comic book,” Kirkman replied, “the artist that draws the comic book, Charlie Adlard, loves drawing people, loves drawing zombies, does not enjoy drawing animals so much.”
Watch the clips below.
If the blockbuster television ratings didn’t already certify The Walking Dead as a pop-culture phenomenon, then a Saturday Night Live parody undoubtedly cements that status.
Over the weekend, NBC’s sketch-comedy show set its sights on the apocalyptic drama with help from host Kevin Hart as Lyle, a survivor who wants nothing more than to join Rick’s group. As they deliberate, Rick is surreptitiously bitten by a walker, exposing some issues within the group.
However, the best part of the two-minute sketch is Nasim Pedrad as a remorseless Carl: “I’m good at killin’, and I feel emotionally fine after I do it!” Watch the video below.
Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment has partnered with Internet Explorer to launch Thief of Thieves Experience, an interactive website based on the Image Comics crime series.
The official announcement, which debuted on MTV’s Splash Page, avoids calling the project a game. Instead it’s described as “a fully immersive, multi-touch website that allows fans of Thief of Thieves to become fully engaged in a heist.” Of course, they’ll have to use Internet Explorer 10 to fully, um, experience Thief of Thieves Experience, which permits users to create a new identity and hone their larceny skills on their way to pulling off the big heist.
Robert Kirkman and Skybound Entertainment will debut a new digital hub for the hit Walking Dead franchise on Sunday, timed to coincide with the midseason premiere of the television adaptation.
According to USA Today, TheWalkingDead.com will contain information about the long-running Image Comics series, the AMC drama and the growing list of games (which include the recent Telltale episodic series, the Walking Dead: Assault app and Activision’s upcoming Survival Instinct). In addition, there will be special-event updates, wikis for character biographies, and, of course, a store for exclusive merchandise. At the moment, fans have to visit multiple websites for that information.
AMC’s The Walking Dead returns Sunday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC. The Walking Dead #107, by Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, goes on sale Wednesday.
Like many of us, 13-year-old Nick Mastrangelo is a fan of Daryl Dixon, the crossbow-shooting, motorcycle-riding loner from AMC’s The Walking Dead. But while the rest of us are content to watch Merle’s younger brother kill walkers, and the occasional owl and possum, once a week, aspiring animator Nick created his own Daryl Dixon adventure. The result is bloody, manic and undeniably awesome (Robert Kirkman calls it “the coolest thing I’ve seen all day”). If The Walking Dead can spin off a weekly talk show, then I see no reason why it can’t spawn a series of animated shorts (by Nick Mastrangelo, naturally). Get on it, AMC.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.