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Robert Kirkman strikes back in new Course of the Force video

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For the latest video to promote Course of the Force, the Star Wars-themed charity relay that ends Tuesday in San Diego ahead of Comic-Con International, The Nerdist‘s Chris Hardwick turns to none other than Robert Kirkman to lend a hand. No, no, the other hand.

The nearly five-minute comedy skit not only exposes the duo’s bloody rivalry but reveals just what Hollywood has done to the comics creator.

The Walking Dead is, like, the biggest show on TV — it gets higher ratings than anything on NBC!” a vengeful Kirkman declares to Hardwick. “If you factor in inflation, The Walking Dead has more people watching it than Seinfeld, Friends or The Cosby Show combined! Now I have more Hollywood power than you can possibly imagine!”

Oh, and Kirkman is a cyborg — a promotion-happy cyborg. Just watch it below.

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SDCC ’13 | Kirkman’s Skybound reveals convention exclusives

skybound-twd guitar

Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment has announced exclusive merchandise for Comic-Con International that includes the Invincible Compendium One hardcover, The Walking Dead comic series PVC figure packs, and a limited-edition Peavey Predator full-size guitar with art by The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard.

Considering this year marks the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead, the PVC figures ($15 each or $100 for all nine) and the guitar ($500) are only the beginning of the items from the long-running horror/survival series. There’s also the Compendium Two hardcover with gold foil ($100), the Skybound-exclusive McFarlane Toys Governor action figure in riot gear ($25), and the “Horde” watch from Vannen, featuring more art by Adlard ($75).

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Prepare for apocalypse with ‘The Walking Dead’ debit cards

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If you’ve been dying for a way to let cashiers know of your love for The Walking Dead even as the flesh-eating hordes storm the counter, Card.com and Robert Kirkman’s Skybound have the solution: Walking Dead Visa prepaid debit cards.

“Having The Walking Dead art on these credit cards will be an exciting way for fans to incorporate the series’ art into their daily lives,” Kirkman says in the press release.

Fans have their choice of seven designs, all featuring Charlie Adlard art, but none really saying, “Consumerism!” More like, “Holy shit, where are all those walkers coming from?” There’s Rick Grimes on horseback entering a devastated Atlanta, Michonne baring her katana, and, well, lots and lots of the undead (including an image of Rick, Michonne, Andrea, Abraham and Morgan as walkers). You can see all of the designs here.

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Six free comics we can’t wait to get our hands on today

fcbd 2013Free Comic Book Day is once again upon us, the day that current and hopefully potential comic fans flock to their local comic shop to sample a buffet of comic choices from publishers large and small. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into this time around, from previews of new or upcoming stuff — like Marble Season and Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 to first issues of brand new comics — like The Strangers #1 and Aphrodite IX #1. There are original comics, licensed comics, kids comics, anthologies … basically something for everyone.

Some retailers will offer all-you-can-eat options, while others might have limits on what you can get … so if you have to make a choice, here are six comics we’re particularly looking to sink our teeth into.

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Quote of the Day | ‘This show is a different animal’

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“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

Comics A.M. | Yen Press nabs ‘Kingdom Hearts’ license

Kingdom Hearts

Kingdom Hearts

Manga | Yen Press announced a number of new manga licenses over the weekend at SakuraCon, including the manga series based on the Square Enix game Kingdom Hearts. The company will re-release some of the manga originally published by Tokyopop and publish some of the newer series as well. [Anime News Network]

Creators | Christopher Irving interviews, and Seth Kusher photographs, The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman: “I am certain that I will never be able to top it, and I’m coming to grips with that. It’s somewhat disconcerting that something I created when I was 23 will be something I’m remembered for when I die, when I’m 35 (or whenever it is). …I’ll be 34 in a little bit, so I wasn’t being too optimistic for myself.” [Graphic NYC]

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Quote of the Day | ‘We could literally kill Rick at some point’

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“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 talks ‘The Walking Dead’ on ‘Conan’

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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.

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Skybound and Internet Explorer team for Thief of Thieves Experience

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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.

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The Walking Dead’s new online hub launches Sunday

The Walking Dead #106

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.

Food or Comics? | Cupcakes or Cave-In

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Invincible #100

Chris Arrant

If I had $15 this Wednesday, it’d be all Image for me – starting with Nowhere Men #3 (Image, $2.99). The Beatles as a scientific supergroup, through the lens of Dr. Strangelove? Let’s do this. I’ve been a big fan of Nate Bellegarde for a while, and this book finally seems to capture what’s unique about him – his comedy, his stark scientific acumen, and his humanism. After that I’d get Glory #32 (Image, $3.99). Beautiful cover by Ricken here, and reads like a great manga building up to some epic battle. After that I’d get Brian Wood and Ming Doyle’s Mara #2 (Image, $2.99). I tried to hold back my expectations before reading Issue 1, and I was blown away – so now Issue 2 has something to prove. Finally, I’d get Invincible #100 (Image, $3.99) (Cory Walker’s cover, if you want to know!). I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I think Invincible is better than The Walking Dead. No need to compare the two really, though, because no matter how you cut it, this series is great … and what Kirkman and Ottley have planned for the 100th issue looks to be unique – both for the promised deaths and the promise of seeing what could have been had Mark Grayson chosen differently.

If I had $30, I’d make up for lost time and get Brian Ralph’s Cave-In (Drawn & Quarterly, $14.95) . I’m reticent to admit this, but I’ve never read this book. I loved Daybreak, but never found a copy or the motivation to seek out more … but this Wednesday that will change.

For splurging, I already have most of this in the single issues, but I can’t help but splurge on the new collection X-Men: Mutant Massacre (Marvel, $34.99). This was my first crossover in comics, buying back-issues before I discovered events like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars. In my rose-colored glasses, it’s an ideal crossover for not being too overbearing and relating to a conflict or situation that isn’t superhero-specific. Love the Morlocks, love Uncanny X-Men and the associated books around this time, so I’m buying this and spending an evening enjoying it all over again.

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The secret to the record-breaking success of The Walking Dead

The second best-selling issue of The Walking Dead in 2012

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.

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Walking Dead #100 officially top-selling direct market comic of 2012

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.”

The Walking Dead game’s first episode available for free download

Telltale Games is offering the first episode of its critically acclaimed Walking Dead video game free for download from the App Store for a limited time.

Debuting in April, the episodic role-playing adventure game takes place in the same fictional setting as The Walking Dead comic series, and centers on an original character named Lee Everett, a university professor and convicted killer who rescues and cares for a young girl named Clementine in the wake of the apocalypse. Familiar characters like Glenn and Hershel also appear in the game’s five-episode first season.

Episodes 2 through 5 of The Walking Dead: The Game can also be purchased in-app for $4.99 each, or $14.99 in a bundled Multi-Pack. Watch the story trailer below.

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Quote of the Day | Robert Kirkman on the growth of the digital market

“I don’t really know the hard numbers off the top of my head, but I know when it started at comiXology, we were doing 5% and as we’ve continued to work with comiXology and branched out into other digital platforms, we’ve seen digital sales go from 5% of print sales to we’re getting close to 25 to 30% of print sales. The digital market is jumping and rising and growing exponentially while the print market continues to grow. I can say that I’ve seen that on all of my other books, too, books like Invincible. The digital market continues to double over time, while the print market is completely unaffected. While I will say that there’s a lot of retailers out there and people who are hardcore fans of print comics that see digital as a threat, I can say that I’ve seen no end of evidence that that’s not the case at all, that we’re seeing a growing digital audience coinciding with a growing print audience and the two seem to be feeding off of each other in a way that seems to bring more sales to both, which is a really exciting and uplifting thing to see for the industry as a whole.”

Robert Kirkman, talking with Comic Book Resources about the growth in digital sales of The Walking Dead


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