SDCC 2018: Robert Kirkman Panel Recap

(Photo: Brandon Davis)

Robert Kirkman moderated his own panel, taking questions from the audience for its entirety. He apologizes for not having anything from the animated Invincible show headed to Amazon and he might have some footage next year.

The first question is about whether or not he will continue with the Secret History of Comics series. He has no plans for it but it is important to him.

How does he handle allowing a series go to TV or movies to change a bit.

“I don’t do that anymore, really,” Kirkman said. “I work in conjunction with anybody who is taking one of my properties to do something with it or I end up wrtiing it myself like I did with Outcast…I always think of the shows and whatever the source material as two completely separate things. It’s definitely connected but it doesn’t affect the original work in my mind. That’s why I’m always pushing to change things or do new things with whatever I do. I’m not very precious about the work. I want it to be good. I want it to be something that’s going to appeal to the fans that it might get adapted. I’m no so precious that, ‘This character has to say this line! If they mess this up I’m going to be very upset!’”

“Angela Kang, for instance, has got all kinds of really cool stuff cooking on the show and it’s another one of those times where I’m going, ‘I didn’t think of that! That’s fine.’ It’s really gratifying to see someone do it. I enjoy it.”

Does he plan on doing and feature films with The Walking Dead characters?

“I think that would certainly be a cool idea but there are no plans for that currently. If we were doing something like that, it’s not like I could announce it here!”

Will the Invincible animated series be viiolent?

“Yeah,” Kirkman said. “It is going to be as violent as the comic book series and as far as staying close to the original story, I’m writing the pilot and Im working very closely with Simon Cappioca to craft the series so it’s gonna be awesome.”

Is Negan going to play a bigger part in Season Nine of TWD?

“I don’t know, probably about the same, I think,” Kirkman said. “Did you feel like Season Eight was lacking?” … “I don’t think you’ll be missing Negan in Season Nine. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, doing an amazing job.

How does he balance all of his different properties?

“It makes doing a coherent panel somewhat difficult,” Kirkman joked. “It’s real stressful. It’s real nerve-racking. I talk to other comic book writer buddies about it. It’s like a weird addiction … I start to get kind of twitchy and it’s a real problem, just to get depressing for a bit. It’s just something that I love to do. Working on the other projects makes me more excited … [after working on other projects] I get more excited for Walking Dead … There are weeks sometimes where I get kind of tired and I don’t know what the next story is in a certain project … but then, luckily, something will happen and I’ll have an idea on one book … and it cascades into something else…”

What Invincible scenes is he really looking forward to being created?

“The weird stuff is what excites me,” Kirkman said. “I’m looking forward to the trash bag landing in London, the stuff that no one in this audience cares about! RTher’ers big epic stuff that every Invincible fan knows about that I would like to get to.”

Will Oblivion Song be on TV?

“It’s entirely possible that maybe, at some point, you’ll see some form of Oblivion Song on TV… I can’t talk about it yet,” Kirkman said. “Lorenzo is already working on issue #14 so we’re still well ahead of schedule and we’re gonna continue monthly for a good long while. It’s a finite story, I’m not gonna say how many issues it’ll go, but it’ll go on for years.”

Every year Kirkman has dinner with other comic creators at Comic Con. This year, they were walking and the Robot Chicken creator asked if it was okay to walk a block over. It turned out, he had to catch a Pokemon. It touched his “cold, black heart” to see someone be a genuine nerd.

Who is his favorite created character?

“I’m having trouble,” he said. “The Beast Man special I did? Space Ace? I did a Space Ace book. Capes? I’ll just say Case.

What’s the deal with Maggie’s pregnancy?

“A lot of people don’t know this but the farm that Maggie is from is in a fictional area of Georgia that is actually on top of a crashed alien space ship,” Kirkman said. “A lot of people not know it is there. … The side effect of said alien space ship is that the women who live in the vicinity of that ship, they carry the babies to term over the course of a 48 month period. It’s a very rare condition that happens in TWD universe.”

As fore whether or not we should expect it. “You would think,” he said. “You never know.”

Will we see it in Season Nine?

“Maggie finally has her baby. It’s a baby with super powers. She kinda uses it like a jetpack. When zombies come, she says, ‘Go baby, go!’ and the baby jumps on her back and then she kind of flies off with it. The special effects team were a little upset because it’s a hard thing to pull off a weekly television show.”

Have any characters been based on him?

“To an extent I’ve based all the character on myself because I’m nothing if not lazy,” Kirkman said. “There’s little pieces of me in characters. I used to deliver, I worked at a pizza place. When Glenn’s like, ‘I worked at a pizza place,’ its like oh that’s me. .. .The story of Rick Grimes and Lori, that’s the story of how my parents met. … I se myself in a different light than I’m sure many other people do, you know, handsome?”

Is it true he lied about an alien arc in The Walking Dead to get it published?

It’s true but it is not the fault of Image Comics’ execs to have turned his original zombie story away during a time where comics were struggling.

“By then the book was successful so they were thrilled,” Kirkman said. “I pitched The Walking Dead and he said there’s no successful zombie books in this industry and you need to have a hook. Your book needs to be about something … You can’t just do a book about the zombie apocalypse and people are surviving … and I said, ‘Oh, we got that, there’s an alien invasion and the aliens are just using the zombies to weaken the world’s infrastructure and move in…’ And he was like, ‘That sounds cool!’ and it got approved. I was lying.”

“The first issue saw print, came out, was in stores, and it really did kind of catch on right off the bat which was new for me,” Kirkman said. After reading the first issue, the execs wondered if there was any hint to the alien plot. He admitted to lying and heard, “Hmm, probably better for it!”

“And now I’m here,” Kirkman said.

Inspiration for Princess?

“I wanted to put someone in there that’s kind of the anti-began. I wanted to put someone in there who is actually cheerful and fun…Unlike Negan she never utters any word of profanity…I also wanted to put someone in the book who is so odd, that’s showing how the characters are really suspicious of her at the get go, and at every turn she just reveals that she’s kind of a cool person.”

What does he think of the Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead connection theories?

“100% confirmed! Nothing else needs to be said, watch Better Call Saul Season Four,” he said. “Me and Vince Gilligan have been working really hard and were actually gonna start Walking Dead in the Breaking Bad prequel, which is gonna make Breaking Bad super weird.”

“Norman Reedus likeness rights and stuff,” Kirkman said. “I love the fact that there is something, if you read the comics, there would be an absence of Daryl and I feel like that adds to the mystery of the comic and makes it more appealing…If you’re a big fan of the comics, the fact that Daryl Dixon is running around doing this cool stuff as a catalyst…The same with the TellTale video games being the only place you get clementine.”

Will we ever find out about how the apocalypse started?


“No,” Kirkman said. “I told my daughter the other day though.”

“She was like, ‘Alright, I’m gonna go play now.’ It had no effect on her whatsoever. I just feel like telling that story would fundamentally change your view of The Walking Dead. I’ve already said too much.”