From Comic-Con Part 4 – Robert Kirkman Panel
By Bill Jones
Robert Kirkman, the creator and writer of Image Comics series The Walking Dead, Invincible and The Astounding Wolf-Man, held an (almost) solo creator panel Friday afternoon at Comic-Con International 2009.
Kirkman wasted no time, with a jokingly nonchalant “whatever” attitude about talking to fans about his upcoming plans, in showing pages from issue #66 of Invincible, which Kirkman said will return to its “probably the best superhero comic in the world” slogan, only without the “probably.” Kirkman said he is planning for an oversized issue and a return to the red and yellow color scheme.
Following an Invincible run-through, Kirkman announced that issue #25 of The Astounding Wolf-Man will be the last. Everything is building to a point that cannot be topped in the current storyline, and with plans to continue Invincible and The Walking Dead for a long time, and an interest in exploring new projects, it is time to end the series, Kirkman said. He noted that is likely Wolf-Man will get a “complete” edition.
“I’m very excited to end the book on my own terms,” he said.
Moving on to The Walking Dead, Kirkman said Compendium One, collecting volumes one through eight, has already sold out. There are plans, however, to reprint the edition, the sheer weight of which makes for a good murder weapon, according to Kirkman.
The “Fear the Hunters” arc is “leading to something huge,” Kirkman said. The next arc will be called “Road to Washington,” and Kirkman presented a title image for the storyline that is set to take off in early 2010 when his characters will travel to and arrive in Washington, D.C. in search of any remnant of civilization.
“What they find is hope,” Kirkman said.
The characters will find a walled off portion of the city that is maintaining the old ideas of civilization, Kirkman said. The writer said he is interested in exploring the idea what happens when characters who have lived outside of society for so long find themselves back inside of those constructs, and what new challenges that presents.
Kirkman then held a Q&A session with fans, dispelling a silly question about whether the worlds of Invincible and The Walking Dead would ever have a crossover. He also joked about not being able to meet deadlines, despite his “On Time in ‘09” slogan, which he said would have to change to “Late Again in 2010” next year. Kirkman said he will be making ship dates, but may take a month off with The Walking Dead at some point.
When asked about possibility of writing more Battle Pope, Kirkman quipped that he started his career with Battle Pope and hopes to end with it once he is washed up. Kirkman also fielded a question about film or television deals for any of his material, but declined to offer any information due to other projects that have fallen through.
“We’ve been really close a couple times,” he said, noting that he would prefer something on television. “But I’m kind of a whore. If Michael Bay wants to do a movie, I’m there – exploding zombies.”
One fan asked if there was any chance he could steal his Ant-Man character from Marvel to start writing it again. Kirkman said that Ant-Man sometimes posed under the false identity Slaying Mantis, and that he considered ripping off that idea with different colors and incorporating the character in Invincible, but didn’t want to get sued by Marvel.
Todd McFarlane joined the panel near the end, joking that he first had to hang out with someone “bigger” than Kirkman – Stan Lee. Kirkman took “bigger” in the literal sense, replying:
“I could eat Stan Lee and put him inside my body and not get any bigger.”
McFarlane stopped by the panel to briefly show images from his upcoming collaboration with Kirkman, Haunt, previews of which were offered at the Image booth. McFarlane said that the project came about after Kirkman, as a fan during a Q&A session at Comic-Con in 2006, called him a “one-trick pony” in comics. The series is set to launch in October.
Other great quotes from Kirkman during the panel included…
“Is there a baby crying? We have to stop that.”
“I love Jar-Jar. If anyone out there hates him, I’ll fight you,” – in response to a comment assuming everyone hates Jar-Jar Binks.
“I plan on doing the book until I die…so another five years.”
“Twitter – it annoys the shit out of everyone.”
“Peter David can suck it.”
“My fans are horrible parents.” – in response to young children with copies of Battle Pope and asking questions about The Walking Dead
And in other Image Comics news…
The company announced a major project in the form of Image United during the Image panel. The project is set to see Image founders Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino coming together to draw their respective characters in a crossover event scripted by Kirkman. A limited edition 20-page preview book was available at Comic-Con, and the series is set to launch in November.
Coming Next…Comic-Con TMNT 25th Anniversary Party and Film Screening