The Walking Dead
In what’s either a sign of the zombie apocalypse or that The Walking Dead has reached the status of pop-culture phenomenon, the publisher of the parody cookbook Fifty Shades of Chicken is turning its attention to the comic book turned hit television series (and video games, and collectible toys, and …).
Entertainment Weekly has the final-cover reveal for The Snacking Dead: A Parody in a Cookbook, due on shelves Oct. 29 from Crown Publishing’s Clarkson Potter imprint. Written by “D.B. Walker,” the 160-page book features recipes and photographs for 50 dishes, ranging from Guac and Load Guacamole to Sticky Ribs to Cold-Blooded Ice Cream Sandwiches. According to EW, it also offers tips, The Snacking Dead also offers suggestions for “cooking in tricky and direful situations,” as well as a zombie story.
You can see the full final cover below.
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.
In an impromptu interview at The Walking Dead‘s 10th-anniversary party held during Comic-Con International, CBR’s Karl Keily spoke briefly with Grant Morrison about the one superhero he’d still like to tackle, the status of his Rogue Trooper screenplay, and whether fans should expect another MorrisonCon.
Karl Keily: You just wrapped up your epic, decade-long, redefining Batman run. Are there any other iconic characters you’d like to revamp next?
Grant Morrison: The Flash is the only one left that I would still do. If I’m gonna do the Flash, I want to do it as a science-fiction story like The Incredible Shrinking Man or Stephen King’s Thinner, or The Fly, where you basically take a scientist and then subject him to a very simple equation. For Barry Allen, he’d just be getting faster and faster and faster — and what would that mean? Because somewhere up there is the speed of light, and when you hit the speed of light, basically all time stops and it’s the end. That’s the limit. So we’re watching this guy progress through it, faster and faster. By the end of Act 1, his clothes are burning off every time he moves, so he has to build himself a suit, and then he paints the suit red like a Ferrari and is just speeding around like he’s on coke all the time! I want to do that as a sci-fi story, but out of it comes the familiar image of the Flash. I think that’d be totally different, just taking it from a different angle.
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.
Image Comics printed blank covers for The Walking Dead #100, and The Hero Initiative commissioned 100 artists to create original drawings on them. The pieces have been auctioned online since June 4 at a rate of 10 covers a week, with the proceeds going to the industry charity, which provides a financial safety net for comics creators.
Adlard, who has drawn The Walking Dead since Issue 7 in 2004, is joined on the project by such artists as Kevin Eastman, Dale Keown, Peter Krause, Jeff Lemire, Ted McKeever, Mike Norton, Sean Phillips, Paolo Rivera, Fiona Staples and Ben Templesmith (you can see the full list of artists, and their entries, on the Hero Initiative website).
With all of the hustle and bustle and early announcements, it may be a little difficult to believe, but Preview Night is still a day away, and Comic-Con International doesn’t officially begin until Thursday. By that time, we should be fully exhausted.
But before we experience information overload, let’s take a look at some of the pre-convention information trickling in, ranging from trolley schedules to etiquette and survival guides to where to live it up while in San Diego:
• Entertainment Weekly highlights ‘five comics to watch” during Comic-Con: Marvel’s Inhuman and “Inhumanity,” Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman: Earth One, DC’s “Villains Month,” the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead, and Jeff Lemire’s Trillium.
• The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has increased trolley service on the Green Line, which provides direct transportation to the stations in front of the San Diego Convention Center. Service also will be expanded throughout Comic-Con; see a complete rundown on the MTS website.
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.
With Comic-Con International now just a week away, Todd McFarlane and McFarlane Toys have rolled out a rundown of panels, signings, convention exclusives and giveaways.
McFarlane will appear on July 19 with Stan Lee at the Crazy Cat Collectibles booth to sign the Spider-Man Limited Venom Edition Guitar, featuring the artists cover art from Spider-Man #13, and July 19 and 20 at the Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Pirate Ship for the free poster giveaway (McFarlane Toys’ Assassin’s Creed action figures will also be on display).
McFarlane Toys’ limited-edition The Walking Dead Comic Governor in Riot Gear action figure will be available at the Skybound booth (#2729), while Toys “R Us and Entertainment Earth (booth #2343) will debut The Walking Dead Comic Penny Blake The Governor’s Zombie Daughter, complete with fish tank and a bucket of body parts.
You can see the full McFarlane Comic-Con schedule below:
Remember PJ McQuade’s Wolverine/Quint from Jaws mash-up? After we posted that, he sent a message to say he’d had a few ideas for a series of similar prints, and I guess this is the first to be completed: Michonne from The Walking Dead reimagined as a bounty hunter-slaying ronin Jedi, about to mow down some zombified Stormtroopers.
Comics sales | ICv2 reckons that at $4.99 a copy and more than 250,000 copies sold, Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s Superman Unchained #1 brought in $1.25 million at retail. John Mayo has additional sales analysis at Comic Book Resources. [ICv2]
Creators | Stan Lee shows off his office, which is pretty darn nice. [CNN iReport]
Creators | Writer Steven T. Seagle talks about the genesis of his new graphic novel, Genius, which started with his wife’s revelation that her father was in on one of the secrets of the century. [Hero Complex]
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).
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.
Retailing | Naruto topped the May BookScan chart of graphic novels sold in bookstores, followed by two volumes of The Walking Dead, the latest volume of Sailor Moon, and Yen Press’ latest Twilight adaptation New Moon. Just three volumes total of The Walking Dead made the Top 20 (down from eight last month), and as usual, DC and Marvel got clobbered: DC had three titles on the list (two volumes of Court of Owls and Watchmen) while Marvel had one (Hawkeye), and none was above No. 15. Or to put it another way: Vol. 14 of Dance in the Vampire Bund, a high-numbered volume in a fairly niche manga series, placed higher than every Big Two book on BookScan last month. [ICv2]
Creators | With the second issue of their digital-only comic The Private Eye recently released, writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Marcos Martin talk about their story, why they decided to do it digitally, and what the response has been so far. [The Verge]
The Bad Lip-Reading YouTube channel has blown up over the past couple of years, sending up clips from movies, television shows, music videos and news and sporting events with often-hilarious overdubbing. After targets ranging from Gov. Rick Perry to Beyonce to The Twilight Saga, the anonymous mastermind has now turned to The Walking Dead, AMC’s adaptation of the long-running comic series created by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard.
At more than five and a half minutes, the montage is one of the longer videos — so if you think Bad Lip-Reading is best delivered in small doses, you may want to parcel out your viewing. There are definitely some inspired moments, such as when a walker gnashes her teeth, proclaiming what animals she likes (sharks and skunks, for the record), and, just like the original version of the series, Andrea, is really, really annoying.
Also: Nothing in the entire series is more disturbing than Dale telling Shane, “I know what it takes to make you hot.”
Two to three years ago, it seemed inevitable: Single issue comic books, derisively called “floppies,” were on the way out. Graphic novels were the future for most publishers, and floppies weren’t even working as loss-leaders. But over the past year, the single issue is on the rebound and flourishing.
While I love graphic novels, the episodic consumption of comics is one of its unique strengths. Comics can excel in either form, but they aren’t interchangeable. Just as TV shows and movies present stories differently, so too do comic book series and original graphic novels. For a time, it seemed like The Walking Dead was the last great monthly comic book because it knew how to grab with the first issue, it knew how to use the monthly cliffhanger, it knew how to utilize those 30-some odd pages, it knew how to keep the status quo shifting. It still does, and now it’s being joined by more and more comics that are embracing the episodic nature of the format. It wasn’t always that way, though, in part due to creative patterns and economic changes in the industry.
In 2010, only an estimated 69 million comic books were ordered by North American specialty stores, the lowest quantity in nearly a decade. For publishers not backed by large entertainment corporations (i.e., not Marvel and DC), single issues were starting to look like the next horse and buggy, something from a soon-to-be bygone era.