Robert Kirkman took the stage at the Hammerstein Ballroom on Thursday afternoon at New York Comic-Con.
Kirkman hosted the panel himself, fielding questions from fans, but first teasing "possibly the biggest arc that we've ever done, there's some stuff coming" with The Walking Dead comics. As for Andrew Lincoln's exit from the AMC show, Kirkman says, "It's gonna be cool, just trust us."
Also, Outcast, Last Days, last 12 issues starting December 19, 2018 with issue #37. "Kyle has lightning powers now," Kirkman said. "Who thought that would happen? It's gonna be a rip-roaring big epic finale."
"Answering that in a definitive way might possibly spoil what I have planned for the ending so I'm gonna say no. It's a deep bench on the walking dead show and we're all very upset over the loss of Carl and the potential loss of Rick, and we're aware of that...we all still love all the other characters...there's a lot of great stuff comic. Those changes, while they do bring it a little bit further from the comic, they're not going to limit us from adapting stuff from the comics. You're still gonna get the Whisperers and it's spectacular." He promises a lot of moments "directly from the comic."
Kirkman is asked about the Invincible animated series headed to Amazon.
“It’s awesome. It’s coming along very well," Kirkman said. "Unfortunately, it does take a bit of time, so that’s why we haven’t talked about the release date, that’s why we haven’t really shown anything. I’m very hopeful that we’ll do a big rollout at Comic Con next year…We’re bringing some new elements in form a certain extent. It’s just gonna be a really kick-ass cartoon. Again, very mature.”
When will they make Walking Dead children's books?
"No plans as of yet," Kirkman laughed. "Most parents would think that's somewhat inappropriate but, that said, I am the sell out-iest of all sell outs!" He then jokes about the baby dressed as Negan in the questioning fan's arms.
A fan asks him about cheesecake, he hates it, and moves on, so the fan thanks him for creating The Walking Dead universe.
Does he regret killing any of the characters?
"I regret killing all of them because I do miss them," Kirkman said. "I would've loved to have tell more stories with Andrea, I would've loved to tell more stories with Glenn, I would've loved to tell more stories with Tyreese. I really enjoyed writing stories with Axel back in the day...It's much easier killing characters in the comic than it is in the show because there isn't a human being attached to the character that can't hang out with you anymore."
"We really feel it. We get upset," Kirkman said of himself and The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard. "It does affect us just as it affects the readers."
Which Telltale character would he add to the comic?
"Definitely not Clementine," Kirkman said. "All I will say on the Telltale front is just stay tuned. Everyone is trying to make sure Clementine's story gets told...I am not concerned, at the moment, with having to tell the story in comic book form because I am hoping the story will be completed. I may have said too much!"
Will he officiate a wedding?
"In New York?" he asks. "No, I can't do that, sorry...If it was happening at my house, maybe! But I'm not offering that up as a venue, it's not wedding worthy. But, congratulations."
How involved is he in approaching stories like Andrew Lincoln leaving Rick beyond his control?
"When it comes to the show and stuff like Andrew Lincoln's departure, thankfully a lot of that stuff is handled by the showrunner of the show which is now Angela Kang," Kirkman said. "Scott Gimple still very much involved as the chief content officer...So, thery're working on this stuff and they consult with me and we talk about plans but for the most part I let them run with it. There's always sessions before they start writing each season and they go, 'We're gonna adapt this stuff, we're gonna change this stuff.'"
"I think the only real thing that's changed because of the show in the comics is I sometimes hear the actors voices," Kirkman said. "Before it was just mush voices in my head. That's, sometimes, just a little jarring where I'm writing Rick and I can hear Andrew Lincoln in my head...It's easy just keeping the story straight because it's so different."
Spinoff comic from The Walking Dead?
"I haven't done that just because it appears to me that comics don't necessarily, the comic industry doesn't necessarily support spinoffs the way the television industry does," Kirkman said. "I've always wanted to avoid that. I did a spinoff of Invincible...it seemed like it hurt the Invincible book because it seemed like there was an entire super hero universe in one book and then it was two books!" He also likes the simplicity of following The Walking Dead books in their order without confusing fans who can be new to the series. "Plus, it's a lot of work, and I don't want to do any more work!"
A fan likes how Fear has changed. Why did Morgan cross over?
"It wasn't like 'Oh, we have to reboot this,'" Kirkman said. "At the same time, Morgan, it's not necessarily this, but Morgan in the comic is dead...That show eventually was seeming kind of crowded and his story was leaning towards an exit...we had an opportunity story wise to say, 'Wait a minute, if he's leaving, what if he leaves and goes to this show and what does that mean?' I can't remember if it was Andrew or Ian or Scott who came up with the time jump."
Will we find out what happened to Heath?
"Yeah, Corey Hawkins stars on The Rise, he's a fantastic actor, ended up on the 24 show, he's been busy. We are hoping to get him back and tell his story. There are plans in place there, we're just hoping schedules line up...We will eventually show his skeleton if we have to. I'm just kidding!"
Invincible movie update?
"Things are moving along nicely and you will hear things soon, I think," Kirkman said. "Things are looking very good. I'm in constant contact with Seth and Evan...They're doing some amazing work and hopefully well be sharing that work with you soon. It's gonna be bloody!"
When is the fourth compendium coming out?
"The compendium's are the worst thing to happen to me and it's like four years of Walking Dead in one book and then the next week, people are like, 'When's the next compendium come out?'" Kirkman said. "We're getting very close. Compendium 4 comes out in October of next year."
Will Kirkman appear on The Walking Dead TV show?
"I auditioned for Negan!" Kirkman joked. "No, cameos are like a pet peeve of mine because I'm watching the Lord of the Rings movies and I've gotta see Peter Jackson's dumb face? I know you made this movie! Every time Stan Lee shows up in a Marvel movies, I'm like, 'Him again?' He enjoys it. He's earned. Every time Joe Russo shows up in those movies? I'm like, 'Joe Russo! Damn you!'...Anyway, zombies, it sucks being in a make-up chair, you're covered in latex, it's hot...your whole face is gonna smell like a Halloween store."
"I'm never gonna do it," Kirkman said.
Who else can direct The Walking Dead?
"We have tons of great directors," Kirkman said. "I'd love to get Quentin Tarantino for an episode, it's never gonna happen."
Will he reprint single issues of Incinvible?
"All of that is a possibility," Kirkman said. "If Invincible suddenly blows up, I'm sure I'll be some hardcover line...or something really cool...maybe I'll get to issue #150 somehow."
Will there be more TWD issues being re-released in color?
"It's entirely possible. There's no plans as of yet," Kirkman said. "It's very likely that we'll eventually do some sort of colorized issue."
Origin stories for other characters like Glenn or other dead characters?
"We've kicked that around a little bit," Kirkman said. "It definitely would be neat to see those characters come back. If that were something we were doing, I certainly couldn't say anything now, but there's no plans as of yet."
"Left to be intriguing, it's possible there might be some things revealed there is you stay tuned. Time jump? To make things exciting, to make the storytelling more unique, to facilitate the storytelling, and to make the timelines meet for Morgan...it just facilitated a bit of a jump start."
Why was Alicia's character downgraded?
"I disagree with that," Kirkman said. "If you are wanting for more Alicia in your storyline, stay tuned for Season Five."
Can he kill Daryl so they'll make Boondock Saints 3?
“I don’t care about Boondocks Saints. Just for that, Im never killing him," Kirkman said.
Does he have a plan for what's going to happen to Rick in the comics and does the TV show affect it?
"This is tricky to navigate," Kirkman said. "I know exactly how Rick Grimes dies in the comic book. It's possible that there will be some differences there between the comic and the show. One of those is the death in the comic could happen next issue, could happen ten years from now...I could change my mind."0comments
The Walking Dead expansions?
"Scott [Gimple] is heading that up, I am in constant contact with him, giving him notes whether he wants them or not,” “As far as what that entails, I can’t say anything, I’m not allowed! Talking sharks! It entails talking sharks! Dogs that breath fire! It’s good that Scott’s there…we’re gonna do some cool stuff, I can’t talk about it right now.”