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Comic books have become prime source material for movies, television series and video games, and while the adaptations may vary in terms of scale and medium, one of the keys to their success remains the same: staying true to the core elements that made the comics work in the first place. And in TV, it’s up to the writers — either the original authors or faithful adapters — to help keep it on course.
On April 25, SundanceTV’s The Writers’ Room will explore the well-tread road between comic books and television. Host Jim Rash (screenwriter of The Descendants), the show will put The Walking Dead writer Robert Kirkman and Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar in the hot seat to discuss successfully adapting comics for television. They’ll be joined by industry commentators Blair Butler (formerly of G4TV) and Michael Schneider (TV Guide Magazine).
On his Facebook page, Marc Silvestri pulls back the curtain on his collaboration with Todd McFarlane on a cover for an unidentified Robert Kirkman comic. It’s a work in progress, with McFarlane inking over Silvestri’s loose pencils — and providing a bit of commentary about the role of the inker and how this collaboration came about.
“Robert was able to convince Marc Silvestri to pencil the cover and since I happen to be on the phone with him when he mentioned he was doing this cover, I offered to ink it for him,” McFarlane explains. “I also told Marc to ‘loosen up on your pencils, I’ll do some of the artistic lifting on the page.’ So, what you have is a female character riding a giant insect creature as they battle in the sky.”
There’s more at the link.
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.”
AMC and Finnish developer Next Games are producing a mobile game based on The Walking Dead, the hit television adaptation of the bestselling comic series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard.
The game is scheduled to launch in October to coincide with the Season 5 premiere of the TV series.
VentureBeat reports that Jon Goldman, previously chairman and CEO of Foundation 9 Entertainment, will focus on emerging and new business, overseeing “the strategic direction for the company and [operating] businesses around games and live events.”
“Our collective goal is to build major enterprises surrounding the remarkable worlds that Robert creates within his comics all while remaining true to fans,” Goldman is quoted as saying.
The news comes just a week after Skybound announced that its “Walking Dead Escape” obstacle course, already popular at Comic-Con International and New York Comic Con, will launch a cross-country tour in April. The bestselling Walking Dead comic series has, of course, already spawned a hit television drama (with a spinoff in development), video games and numerous collectibles.
Launched in 2010, Skybound is an Image Comics imprint that serves as home to Kirkman’s titles, like The Walking Dead, Invincible, Thief of Thieves and the upcoming Outcast, as well as books from other creators — among them, Witch Doctor, Manifest Destiny and Dead Body Road.
A math-minded 4chan commenter has done a bit of number-crunching to arrive at an interesting theory: that The Walking Dead‘s zombie plague should’ve ended after a year, simply by biter attrition.
While the passage of time is difficult to discern in either the comic or the TV series, it would appear to be about two years since the outbreak began in the former, and a little less in the latter — more than enough time to dispatch the flesh-eating hordes. In theory, anyway.
Despite what you may have heard, the real threat to America may not be illegal immigration, same-sex marriage or even Obamacare. No, it turns out that it’s Robert Kirkman & Co.
In an editorial on FoxNews.com, Dr. Manny Alvarez asks, “Is watching The Walking Dead seriously hurting American society?” Before anyone has a chance to consider the question, Fox News Channel’s senior medical contributor answers with a confident “Yes.” And with that solved, Alvarez is free to focus on other pressing concerns, like the nature of Batman and Robin’s relationship, or, y’know, the dangers of socialized medicine or something. Then again, maybe not.
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.
The official announcement on Tuesday of a new horror series by Robert Kirkman looks promising, but can it repeat the success of The Walking Dead? The co-creator of one of most successful comic books of the past decade has become one of the high-profile figures in the industry, so the new project (with artist Paul Azaceta) calls out for a closer look.
When his zombie comic debuted in 2003, Kirkman was primarily known for superhero comics, like the more traditional Invincible, which had launched only months earlier, or the parody Battle Pope. A black-and-white horror comic that had none of the Spider-Man-style lightheartedness of those early Invincible issues or the dark humor of Battle Pope was unexpected from the writer. Even his lesser-known work, like Tech Jacket, Brit, Superpatriot or (how’s this for obscure?) the Masters of the Universe: Icons of Evil one-shots and Space Ace, all typically fell somewhere within that spectrum, never getting too dark and sometimes heading into outright comedies. Of course, any writer worth his salt can do more than one genre or tone. The Walking Dead definitively stepped out of his known territory, immediately proving itself to be startlingly tense, dark and dead serious. And like 30 Days of Night the year before, it demonstrated once again that comics could do horror.
Word of mouth about the series soon spread, with sales of each issue improving during an industry-wide slump. It became a cult hit, and by the time the first collected edition was released, back issues were beginning to spike on the resale market. Each subsequent year, sales seemed to grow exponentially, until it became the perennial hit that it is today. Needless to say, this led to a television deal with AMC and the pop culture phenomenon that it’s become, which has helped accelerate a zombie craze.
Conventions | A even bigger obstacle than the San Diego Chargers to the proposed $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center could be the California Coastal Commission, which must approve the project before it can proceed (the stage agency has regulatory oversight of land use and public access to the California coastal zone). The commission’s 11 members are meeting today through Friday in Mission Valley, where they’re expected to consider staff objections about reduced access to the bay; a bridge, estimated to cost about $42 million, from the foot of Fourth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter has been floated as a solution. A public hearing is being held Thursday. The expansion of the convention center is viewed as critical to keeping Comic-Con International in the city past 2015. [U-T San Diego]
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.
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?”).
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead in October — hey, that’s when the four season of the AMC TV show premieres! — the 115th issue will be released with 1o connecting covers, with each depicting a significant moment and a special moment from the past decade. All of them will be illustrated by Charlie Adlard and colored by Dave Stewart.
Each weekday for the next two weeks, Image Comics will reveal part of the connecting covers for Issue 115. Today’s peek resurrects a particularly painfully memory from the series’ third year. Check it out below. The Walking Dead #115 arrives Oct. 9.
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.
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.