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As grim as The Walking Dead has frequently gotten over the past decade, it turns out the hit series could’ve been a lot darker. A lot.
During a far-ranging Reddit AMA on Wednesday, creator Robert Kirkman was asked how the story changed from what he originally envisioned. “The story has evolved and continues to evolve,” he acknowledged. “Originally my idea was that they live in a high school for a while … that changed to a prison very early on. There were characters that were going to die very early on … but didn’t, and vice versa.”
After teasing the number last week in USA Today, Image Comics officially announced The Walking Dead #115 — the 10th-anniversary issue that kicks off the storyline “All Out War” — immediately sold out on the distributor level its day of release, shipping more than 352,000 copies to the direct market. That makes the issue the top comic of the year to date in specialty shops, beating the estimated 308,000 copies sold in February by Justice League of America #1.
The landmark 100th issue of the series, by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, was the top-selling comic in the direct market in 2012, setting set a new record for highest orders for a comic in a single month with an estimated 366,000 copies.
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead, Hyundai will present special events next week during New York Comic Con dedicated to the long-running comic by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn.
Held at Pillars37 in Midtown Manhattan, “The Walking Dead: A Decade of Dead” begins at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 with the opening an art showcase curated by Skybound Editorial Director Sina Grace featuring rare artwork, well-known illustrations and a signing by Adlard. Exclusive limited-edition prints will be given daily to gallery guests during the showcase, which continues through Oct. 12.
The 20-minute documentary The Walking Dead: A Decade of Dead, which chronicles the evolution of the property from comic book to hit television series, will have its world-premiere screening Friday, Oct. 11. Doors open at 7:30 p.m; a 15-minute Q&A will follow. Afterward, there’s an invitation-only party.
Image Comics has unveiled the 10th and final connecting cover for The Walking Dead #115, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the hit series. Illustrated by series artist Charlie Adlard and colored by Dave Stewart, the covers depict the most significant, and the most special, moments of the past decade.
The Walking Dead #115, by Robert Kirkman, Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, arrives Oct. 9. Check out the solicitation text below.
The first two Walking Dead Compendium volumes have sold a combined 100,000 copies this year in bookstores, towering above the other titles on Nielsen BookScan’s list of the Top 10 bestselling adult graphic novels for the first half of 2013. With a suggested price of $59.99, Image Comics’ 1,088-page Compendium One is “by far” the most expensive book on BookScan’s Top 200 chart for adult fiction.
Graphic novel sales have increased 10 percent year over year, which the company seems to attribute in no small part to the performance of the collections of the long-running comic by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, and the popularity of the AMC television series.
Volumes of The Walking Dead accounted for four of the top five spots on the BookScan chart, a streak only interrupted by Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, Vol. 60, at No. 4. In fact, six of the Top 10 graphic novels were held by Image books, with another volume of The Walking Dead claiming the No. 7 spot, and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga, Vol. 1, slipping into the final slot with 15,000 copies; the remaining books are manga.
According to BookScan, The Walking Dead books have sold more than 1 million unites in the past 18 months, with Compendium One seeing “a 47 percent week-to-week sales lift” that coincided with the Season 3 finale of the AMC series in March.
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.
Diamond Comic Distributors this week released its lists of the bestselling comics and graphic novels of 2012, and ahead of all the expected big titles from Marvel and DC was The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn. While the splashy headline is that The Walking Dead‘s 100th issue is the bestselling comic of the year — possibly of the past 15 years — what makes the achievement so remarkable is that the success is so thorough and consistent.
Not only did The Walking Dead top both the comic and the graphic novel lists, but nearly every conceivably qualifying product with the words The, Walking and Dead appears significantly high on both direct-market charts. Nine issues of the comic book are in the Top 300. In additional, all 17 volumes of the softcover trade paperback are among the Top 30 graphic novels, with Volume 1 claiming the top spot for the third year in a row. But wait, there’s more: Both oversized Compendiums, all eight hardcover collections and The Walking Dead Survivor’s Guide all appear elsewhere on the graphic novel chart. These are all remarkable achievements for an indie comic, and in many ways has primed the direct market for the success of Saga, Chew, Fatale and other titles that didn’t come from established franchises.
Just in case there were any lingering doubt, Diamond Comic Distributors has made it official: The landmark 100th issue of The Walking Dead was the top-selling comic in the direct market in 2012.
As we noted in August, the issue by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn set a new record for highest orders for a comic in a single month with an estimated 366,000 copies copies, beating The Amazing Spider-Man #583 (the Barack Obama issue, with 352,800 copies), the previous top seller for the 21st century, and The Darkness #11 (357,000), Image’s previous all-time top seller.
According to the distributor, comics book sales finished the year up nearly 15 percent over 2011, and graphic novels up more than 14 percent. Marvel was the top publisher, with a 34.06 percent dollar market share and a 37.59 percent unit market share. DC Comics followed at No. 2 with a 31.94 percent dollar market share and a 36.75 unit market share. Marvel also published nine of the Top 10 comics of 2012: Uncanny Avengers #1, Avengers vs. X-Men #1-6, The Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Avengers #1.
The Walking Dead, meanwhile, dominated the graphic novels chart, claiming seven of the Top 10 spots.
“2012 was a terrific year for comic books and graphic novels,” Diamond CEO Steve Geppi said in a statement. “Our publishers did a tremendous job of creating compelling storylines that comic book fans wanted to see – from Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men followed by its Marvel NOW! titles later in the year to DC’s powerful New 52 ongoing titles. Add in Dark Horse Comics’ horror line-up, IDW’s My Little Pony and Image Comics’ creator-driven hits and it was quite a year. In addition, I would like to mention what a wonderful job comic shop retailers did in 2012, by continuing to establish a great environment that readers and fans want to come and visit.”
On the heels of this weekend’s announcement that the 100th issue of The Walking Dead has sold more than 380,000 copies, more in initial orders than any other comic since 1997, Image Comics has released Charlie Adlard’s cover for the second printing. The illustration provides readers with another look at the villainous Negan and “Lucille,” who play central roles in the milestone issue. We’ll just leave it at that …
The second printing (Diamond code JUN128066) is available for order now.
A second Walking Dead Compendium will arrive just in time for Halloween and, of course, the next season of AMC’s The Walking Dead TV series. The massive volume, collecting issues #49-96 of the Walking Dead comic book, arrives Oct. 3 and retails for $59.99.
Robert Kirkman told USA Today it’s his favorite format for the comic. “It’s just such a big, huge book that really offers a lot of bang for your buck,” he said. “The idea of having Volume 1 and 2 sitting next to each other on a reinforced shelf really excites me.”
Like its predecessor, it collects eight trade paperbacks into one 1,068-page volume. It also sports a similar cover to the first volume, featuring the main characters at the top and “zombiefied” mirror images of them below.
Check out the full cover by Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn after the jump.
Even as Comic Book Resources exclusively premieres Bryan Hitch’s variant cover for The Walking Dead #100, Sean Phillips (Criminal, Fatale) unveils his own painted variant for the milestone issue of the horror series. Better still, the artist has pulled back the curtain on his process, from initial sketch to reference photos to finished work.
The Hitch and Phillips variant covers join those previously released from Frank Quitely, Todd McFarlane, Ryan Ottley and Marc Silvestri, as well as the wraparound cover by series artist Charlie Adlard. The 100th issue, by Robert Kirkman, Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, arrives July 11, just in time for Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Check out Phillips’ full cover below, and visit his blog to get a glimpse of his process.
The Hollywood Reporter has debuted the variant cover created by Invincible artist Ryan Ottley for the landmark 100th issue of The Walking Dead, the acclaimed horror series by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn. The variant joins those newly revealed from Todd McFarlane, Frank Quitely and Marc Silvestri, as well as the wraparound by Adlard.
“When Robert asked me to draw a cover for The Walking Dead, he said the magic words: ‘draw whatever you want.’ So I was totally excited to do something ‘action-y’ with Michonne and her sword,” Ottley said. “She’s always been my favorite character in the book, and soon to be in the TV show as well. And it’s always fun drawing zombie gore, especially with swords!”
Comic Book Resources will reveal Bryan Hitch’s variant cover Tuesday morning. Another by Sean Phillips will likely debut elsewhere. The Walking Dead #100 arrives July 11.
Kirkman and Ottley’s Invincible should reach its 100th issue in January. Check out the covers by Ottley, Quitely and Silvestri below (sorry, TV Guide ran McFarlane’s postage-stamp size).
Skybound has provided Robot 6 with Charlie Adlard’s corpse-strewn cover for the 100th issue of The Walking Dead, which depicts every prominent character who’s died in the acclaimed series.
“You can’t see it, but (hero cop) Rick is actually holding a birthday cake in his hand,” creator Robert Kirkman told USA Today. “Or, I guess, his only hand.”
The anniversary issue arrives July 11 from Image/Skybound, marking what Kirkman hopes is only the first of such major milestones. “I really do want to do this for decades,” he tells the newspaper. “I’m thrilled that it still feels like I have a full tank of gas.”
Geoff Johns and The Walking Dead were among the winners of Spike TV’s fifth annual Scream Awards, presented Saturday in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be broadcast at 9 p.m. ET/PT Tuesday on Spike TV.
The awards, which honor the best is science fiction, fantasy, horror and comic books, feature three comics-specific categories. Johns was named Best Comic Book Writer for his work on DC’s Blackest Night, Brightest Day, The Flash and Green Lantern. The Walking Dead, by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, won for Best Comic Book or Graphic Novel. Johns and Kirkman were there to receive their awards.
Curiously, I’ve been unable to track down the winner for Best Comic Book Artist. (The nominees were Charlie Adlard, Darwyn Cooke, Fabio Moon, Frank Quitely, Jill Thompson and J.H. Williams III.) Presumably a press release will be issued with Tuesday night’s broadcast.
Renowned author Ray Bradbury received the 2010 Comic-Con Icon Award.
Awards | The Xeric Foundation has announced its grant recipients for spring 2010: Margaret Ashford-Trotter, Thunder in the Building #2; Jason Brubaker, reMIND; Jonathon Dalton, Lords of Life and Death; Wei Li, Lotus Root Children; Jed McGowan, Lone Pine; Ansis Purins, Zombre #2: The Magic Forest; and Brittney Sabo and Anna Bratton, Francis Sharp in the Grip of the Uncanny! Book 1. A total of $32,761 was awarded for the seven projects. The next deadline for comic-book grants is Sept. 30. [via The Beat]
Creators | The Washington Post has named Olivia Walch, a 21-year-old rising senior at the College of William and Mary, as the winner of the America’s Next Great Cartoonist contest. [Comic Riffs]