10 year anniversary for Walking Dead comic book
For the past ten years fans across the globe have been entertained by Creator Robert Kirkman's Image comic book The Walking Dead. The Walking Dead has gained a huge following in the past three years due to the success of the AMC cable series. The latest issue is the highest selling to date.
For the past ten years, fans have grown accustomed to seeing many twists and turns in the post-apocalyptic world of anarchy that is The Walking Dead. Just trying to avoid being a zombie snack keeps our favorite characters busy.
Creator Robert Kirkman's has brought us wonderful stories and has breathed new life into the creatures known the world over as zombies. This has brought about great change in his life but not as much as the characters he writes about.
"I started The Walking Dead as a newlywed husband who had no kids, was impoverished and lived in possibly the worst part of town in Lexington, Ky.," he says. "Now I have two kids and I live in Los Angeles with my wife and everything's going really well."
His hero Rick Grimes along with the other characters in the comic and on the series have had to deal with unimaginable turmoil. Kirkman however, is living the hollywood red carpet life. He's the executive producer of AMC's The Walking Dead TV show, one of the highest rated shows on cable. And with all the buzz around the beginning of its fourth season Sunday night (9 ET/PT)on AMC, it's easy to see where he could let it change him much as his characters change on a monthly and now even weekly basis.
Through all the success Kirkman remains humble and he and British artist Charlie Adlard are looking forward to the release of Walking Dead No. 115 in comic shops Wednesday.
According to publisher Image Comics, the new issue has sold more than 350,000 copies through retailer orders, making it the best-selling comic of 2013. Unless some comic comes out of leftfield to dethrone The Walking Dead, it will be the second year in a row Kirkman has the top selling comic — in 2012, Walking Dead No. 100 sold more than 380,000 copies.
Producing those types of numbers in the comic industry is "startling and shocking," says Kirkman, 34. "To an extent, it's really not that important to me. Having the No. 1 book of the year gets you nothing — I don't even get a bowl of Cheerios for that."
He said, "it's gratifying in that it means I beat every book released by Marvel and DC, and those are two titanic companies with the backing of Disney and Warner Bros. now. That part is pretty neat.''
Charlie Adlard took over as series artist from Tony Moore with issue No. 7, happens to live in the small rural town called Shrewsbury in the country of England, he is far away from the adoring fans and was virtually unaware of the popularity of The Walking Dead.
"Unless I fly over to the States or visit other major European cities," he says. "Then it hits me. It's incredible to think that this little comic we started on has blown up into this amazing beast."
And from the looks of it the phenomenon is about to grow even bigger in popularity. The beginning of the 12-issue "All Out War" story arc will be starting with Walking Dead No. 115 and it is hyped as the biggest storyline to date for the already huge hit. Factions of men and women will be pitted against one another as opposed to battling off the undead hordes of zombies, with Rick Grimes once again being looked as a leader in these terrible times.
"To get the book to a point where we've gone from a band of survivors living in the woods fighting zombies to pockets of civilization actually using strategy to go to war with each other is a really fun evolution," Kirkman says.
The Governor will return as a villain this season on the Walking Dead TV series, the character of Negan takes that role in the comic as the erratic and unpredictable leader of the Saviors.
"I've tried to portray him as one minute you're like, 'Wait a minute, I get this guy. I can trust this guy. I can work with this guy,' " Kirkman says. "And then the next minute, you're like, 'No, he's beating me up with a baseball bat and I don't really know why.' I think he's far more dangerous than the Governor ever was."
Kirkman says that over the years he has put more of his own life experience in the story to make it richer and closer to reality in a world that is rather fictitious, but also to avoid outside influences. This is common among artists.
"It's very easy to go, 'I don't know if we're going to be able to produce this in the TV show six years from now so I shouldn't take the story in this direction,' " the writer says. "That's something I make sure I never do, to the point that I've introduced a tiger into the comic. Good luck putting that on TV."
Kirkman is developing a Walking Dead spinoff series for AMC, and he has expressed that the plan is for it to enhance the overall brand rather than detract from it or ride on it's coattails.
"I couldn't really see myself handing off another series to another writer," Kirkman says. "I would drive them crazy with how much oversight I'd want to have and it would probably end up being more work than writing it myself. That would definitely be a disaster."
Kirkman helps release the works of up-and-coming writers and artists with his Image imprint Skybound; and has created a new comic horror book Outcast with artist Paul Azaceta; and he plans to continue to work on The Walking Dead for the next decade.
Kirkman already knows where he wants to be with issue 200, yet at the same time the fact that he has so much Walking Dead under his belt still doesn't feel real to him.
"I remember as a comics fan reading books and seeing them at the 10-year mark and being like, 'Wow, that's something crazy and substantial.' And it doesn't really feel like I've done anything crazy or substantial, so it's kind of strange.
"It's like having kids — my kids are 7 and 4 and it feels like they were born yesterday. It's the same thing with this comic."
Sunday can't come quick enough but in the few days leading up to the television premiere of season four we can feast on the brains of issue 115 to keep our zombie appetite satisfied.
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