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

kill them all

“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

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

Cheat Sheet | From ‘Age of Ultron’ to Toronto Comicon

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Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the big announcements that came out of this weekend’s Emerald City Comicon, our contributors’ picks for the comics of the week — from Age of Ultron to Al Capp — and the top events to look for in the next seven days (hint: convention season is fully under way).

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ECCC | ‘Ocean’s 11 in a haunted house’: Williamson, Sudzuka bring ‘Ghosted’ to Skybound

from Ghosted

from Ghosted

If you want to capture a ghost, call the Ghostbusters, but if you want to steal a ghost, apparently you need Jackson T. Winter.

Winter is the main character in Ghosted, a new series from Skybound by Joshua Williamson (Masks & Mobsters) and Goran Sudzuka (Y: The Last Man). Announced at the “Skybound On The Rise” panel at the Emerald City Comicon, the five-issue miniseries is about a thief, Winter, who is broken out of jail by a collector putting together an Oceans 11-esque team of experts with the intent to “steal” a ghost.

“Winters is not a good guy. He’s cold, but you can see fire in his eyes — a genius criminal who takes planning capers to another level,” Williamson told USA Today, who have several preview pages from the first issue. “It’s about money and he uses people to get what he wants. He’s seen some really screwed up things that have left him feeling cursed and haunted. The man has seen death in many forms and understands its power.”

Fatale artist Sean Phillips will provide covers for the comic, which starts in July.

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 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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Brandon Seifert delves into Doctor Who, Witch Doctor and fan fiction

BBC’s revival of Doctor Who in 2005 met with immediate success, but with the arrival of Matt Smith as the Eleventh Doctor and Steven Moffat as executive producer, its popularity seemed to rise to a new level. IDW Publishing has been releasing Doctor Who comics since 2007, and this year launched a new series with writer Andy Diggle as “showrunner.” With December’s Issue 3, up-and-coming writer Brandon Seifert and artist Philip Bond stepped in for a two-part story in which Amy sends the Doctor and Rory on a boys’ night out to help build their strained relationship.

Seifert has established himself in a relatively short time with his medical-horror series Witch Doctor, with co-creator/artist Lukas Ketner, which earned the attention of Robert Kirkman and a spot as the launch title for his Skybound Entertainment imprint. Seifert also was among the initial wave of creators invited to produce digital-first material at MonkeyBrain Comics. And most recently he was selected to write under Clive Barker for the Hellraiser series at BOOM! Studios.

Brandon and I got a chance to chat about his Doctor Who two-parter, how he handles horror in comics, and our shared history with fan fiction. IDW was kind enough to provide us with a preview of Doctor Who #4, which goes on sale Wednesday.

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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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Cory Walker’s cover revealed for Invincible #100

MTV’s Splash Page has debuted Cory Walker’s cover for the landmark 100th issue of Invincible, long teased as the climax of “The Death of Everyone” arc. “Killing one person in your annual is lame, I’m killing everyone,” writer Robert Kirkman told the audience at New York Comic Con, explaining he’s parodying the  trend of comics killing characters in their events and annuals.

The issue, by Kirkman, Ryan Ottley and John Raunch, arrives Jan. 23 from Image Comics.

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Conversing on Comics with Andy Diggle

In any entertainment field, the only thing more difficult than breaking through and scoring that first hit is doing it again and again. And in comics, one of the people I’ve marveled at for his ability to top his previous hit and reinvent himself, all while staying true to himself and his style, is writer Andy Diggle.

He’s done a lot during his 15 years in comics: He helped to turn around then-flagging 2000AD with a back-to-basics approach. He dusted off a forgotten set of DC Comics characters and re-made them into a popular Vertigo series with The Losers. He gave readers a modern vantage point for DC’s archer Green Arrow. He took Marvel’s Daredevil to the darkest point. And at this year’s New York Comic Con, he was the belle of the ball in terms of announcements with four new titles, and several more already in the works.

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More Cyber Monday deals: Avengers, IDW, Mouse Guard & more

Mouse Guard "Peacock Print"

Although we compiled a list of Cyber Monday sales on Sunday, it looks like the comics-related savings don’t end there. Here are some more deals for you to take advantage of today (and in one case, beyond):

In addition to its continued “Blackest Friday” sale, comiXology today is offering 99-cent digital editions of Marvel’s Avengers titles, 50 percent off select IDW Publishing comics, and up to 80 percent off select Dynamite Entertainment collections.

NBM Publishing is giving 20 percent off all orders of $20 or more from its web store (enter code “112″).

The DC Entertainment web store is touting “Cyber Monday Madness,” with savings of up to 85 percent on collectibles, DVDs, jewelry and more.

David Petersen is looking well beyond Cyber Monday with a 10-percent discount on orders from the Mouse Guard online store through the end of the year (enter code “mouseguard”).

And don’t forget that some of the sales we mentioned last weekBOOM! Studios, Oni Press and Robert Kirkman’s Skybound, notably — continue through the end of the day.

Black Friday sales: Star Wars, Walking Dead, Blackest Night & more

Why fight the crowds today when you can take advantage of Black Friday savings on print and digital comics from the comfort of your own home? Here’s a roundup of online sales kicking off this morning, with discounts on everything from The Walking Dead and The Incredible Hulk to Star Wars and Adventure Time. If you know of any other, please let us know in the comments.

Dark Horse’s web store is promoting a Star Wars Black Friday MegaBundle,” with digital editions of 153 Star Wars comics — they include such titles as The Clone Wars, The Old Republic, Crimson Empire, Dawn of the Jedi and Agent of the Empire, 3,772 pages in all — for $100. The sale ends Sunday.

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The Walking Dead sees 39% sales increase in October

The Walking Dead #103 (Giarrusso variant)

The question of just how well The Walking Dead #103 performed in the direct market has been answered with Comic Book Resources’ sales estimates for October: 74,372 copies, a more than 39-percent increase from the previous issue and the biggest circulation gain of any title for the month. Mind you, that’s based only on copies sold by Diamond Comic Distributors to the North American direct market.

That jump thrust The Walking Dead from the No. 24 spot on Diamond’s Top 300 in September to No. 9 in October, marking only the second time the acclaimed Image Comics series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard has cracked the Top 10. The previous instance occurred in July, when the milestone 100th issue seized the top spot with a record-breaking 366,000 copies (383,612 when you add other channels). However, aside from the auspiciousness of the occasion, that issue also benefited from 13 variant covers; Issue 103 had just one — Chris Giarrusso‘s adorable homage to the first issue (at right).

As we did last week, ICv2 gives part of the credit for the sales boost to the October premiere of the third season of the AMC television series. Now add that Issue 103 begins a new storyline — “a new beginning,” in the words of the solicitation text — which won’t be released in collected form until May.

Speaking of collections, a category in which the series thrives, the $60 Compendium Two was third in unit sales (an estimated 10,333 copies) but first in dollars; it was among the five Walking Dead collections in the Top 25 for October. The first volume, collecting issues originally released in 2003 and 2004, came in at No. 4 (with, again, 10,333 copies).

The Walking Dead returns to Diamond’s Top 10 … but why?

The Walking Dead #103 was No. 9 on Diamond Comic Distributors’ list of comics sold to the direct market in October, marking the rare breakthrough into the Top 10 by an independent title. The question, though, is why.

Sure, the landmark 100th issue of the acclaimed horror series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard landed atop the sales chart in July with a record-breaking 335,000 copies, propelled by a whopping 13 variant covers, but Issue 103 had just one variant (Chris Giarrusso‘s adorable homage to the first issue).

While there are no sales estimates yet for The Walking Dead #103, we can look to the two previous issues for some comparison: August’s Issue 101 landed at No. 31 with an estimated 51,732 copies, followed in September by Issue 102 at No. 24 with 53,337 copies. Considering that ICv2 is reporting periodical sales increased 7.4 percent in October over the same month in 2011, we can safely say The Walking Dead #103 sold … significantly more than those two previous issues. Again, though, why?

It was billed as “a new beginning for The Walking Dead,” and “a perfect jumping-on point,” so perhaps we’re seeing the television effect that’s kept the collections at the top of the bookstore charts spilling into the single issues (the first volume, originally released in 2006, is a perennial bestseller). It’s certainly possible that, with AMC’s hit adaptation returning for its third season in October, viewers who had already consumed the trade paperbacks (and the retailers who sell them) took Image Comics at its word and jumped on the monthly series with Issue 103, pushing sales to somewhere well north of 53,000.

Next week, we should have a solid sales estimate, and with it a better idea of the title’s trajectory.


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