Our last panel of New York Comic Con was Kirkmania!, a chance for fans to connect with the creator of Super Dinosaur, Science Dog and...nothing else we can think of off-hand.
“Anyone have plans tonight?” asked Robert Kirkman to cheers from the crowd, a clear reference to the broadcast of a new episode of ABC’s "Once Upon a Time." “I’m extremely tired today, so this panel is going to be terrible,” continued Kirkman, to more laughter.
“I have a pretty good life, I have a roof over my head, and it’s pretty much due to you guys,” said Kirkman. “Thank you. I buy a lot of Transformers, and it’s because of you.”
Then Kirkman opened it up to Q&A for the next hour! Highlights:
A fan asked Kirkman how he organizes himself when approaching the plot in The Walking Dead. “I used to keep notes," he said. "I used to keep a booklet in my back pocket. As I’d have ideas I’d write them down, and when I wrote an issue I’d check those notes. Now I do that on my iPhone, because it’s the future.”
Asked about how he keeps his chin up, Kirkman said that he should have quit multiple times... But did it anyway. “It’s that drive, that stupidity that makes you keep going,” said Kirkman. “Writing-wise, I’ll go back to old comics I read when I was young... That stuff really helps me.” He noted Peter David’s run on the Hulk, “Takes me back to everything I love about comics. Think about why you loved it in the first place, and try not to lose sight of that.”
On whether Daryl or Merle Dixon will show up in the comic, Kirkman said they’re something unique to the TV show he doesn’t want to shove in the comic. “It just would feel wrong to me,” said Kirkman, noting that the TV show isn’t just his vision--it involves hundreds of other people, and he doesn’t want to sell them short.
Will we find out how the infection in the Walking Dead started, in TV or comics? “Absolutely not,” said Kirkman. “That stuff is always covered in zombie, and this is a story more about the horrible things people do to each other. Where the characters go, and how they continue to survive: that’s a lot more entertaining.”
So far, Walking Dead hasn’t run into problems with the gore level on the show, so Kirkman has decided to push the limits with Season 3.
Kirkman said it was important to him to make each iteration of Walking Dead have its own story and experience, from the comics, to the video games, to the novels.
On the development of ‘Thief of Thieves’ on AMC, Kirkman said, “It’s in development!” The pilot is being written now, but it still needs to be shot, then approved before it goes to series.
Asked about characters he missed the most, he said Axel & Tyrese, then joked, “I don’t know if you’ve read the new issue, but I really miss writing Andrea as well.”
On the events of issue #100: “I had a lot of fun with it, it was an awful thing!” said Kirkman. “It’s something I knew was coming for years, so it wasn’t a big deal for me.”
Talking about the changes in the look of the governor for the TV show, “We struggled with that,” said Kirkman. “We could have given David Morrissey a wig, put a mustache on his face--but that would be silly.” He also noted that Morrissey was the right actor, and they’re accentuating the politician side of the character, but he'll remain terrible. “He’s just like Romney!” joked Kirkman in response to a fan’s shouts.
Addressing problems with getting signing tickets this morning, Kirkman apologized, and said that was part of the reason he was open to signing during the panel (which he was doing for pretty much everyone who asked questions).
“Sometimes I think it’s unrealistic they’re all still alive,” said Kirkman, responding to a fan who said he didn’t understand why he’s always saving his characters.
A fan came up, begging Kirkman to not kill Glenn on TV: “Season three!” joked Kirkman, continuing, “I like Steven Yuen a lot, but everyone’s got to die at some point, so we’ll see.”
Asked about the inspiration for Rick: “I’d like to say it comes from myself, but I would never be that strong, or that wise, or that crazy,” said Kirkman.
How about the end of Walking Dead? “It’s definitely not a dream, because that would be awful,” said Kirkman. “I knew about the end of the prison storyline when I was writing the first issue. I know where I’m going to be at 125, and 200. The goal is to do Walking Dead until you all absolutely hate it.”
On whether Abraham from the comics will show up, Kirkman wouldn’t confirm that, but, “There’s a lot coming up in Season three. There are a lot of characters from the comic book coming you have no clue about.”
For Invincible #100, Kirkman said he’ll not just be killing one character, he’ll be killing multiple characters.
On whether characters from the games could wind up on the show, Kirkman finally said he couldn’t really say anything because, “There may possibly be more games.”
On the creation of Michonne, Kirkman said he wanted to bring a character who could come out and shake up the group.
Talking about character deaths, Kirkman noted that sometimes they’re planned for a long time, and sometimes he ends up killing a character on page two, despite having more plans for the character.
“I would love to be any shows, based on anything I’ve done!” said Kirkman about other books he’s written. He added that he’s having fun with the comics, and while TV is nice, but that’s where his focus is.
The next question was whether Invincible’s brother will ever go out with a lobster. Kirkman said that probably wouldn’t happen but, “He’ll probably have a relationship at some point, because that’s a realistic thing to do.
On the longevity of Walking Dead, Kirkman said he wrapped up the Shane storyline in six issues because he didn’t think he’d get more of a chance to write the book than that.
Asked about emotion while working, Kirkman said he does tear up sometimes, because he gets worried about the characters, or has to make notes in the script for his artists to let them know things will be okay.
On his inspiration, Kirkman noted it was the George Romero films, and wanting to see where they went next. “What I’m saying is that 'Walking Dead' is to the Romero films, as 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is to the 'Twilight' series,” said Kirkman.
In Season Three, Kirkman said, “You won’t be wondering if Carl’s in the house, because he’ll be outside the house and kicking ass.”
On whether Kirkman can kill Carl: “I’ll tell you what, he’ll die on the show, and the comic. Just for you.”
Kirkman’s ending for The Walking Dead is a contingency plan in case sales go down, and will take about thirty issues to tell.
On the “alien invasion” riff in Walking Dead #75: “I know Ryan Ottley would like to do more of that, Michonne with a lightsaber was pretty fun. Yeah, we’ll do something like that again.”
Angstrom Levy may return to Invincible soon.
On what he prefers, the comic or the TV version of Walking Dead: “The comic is easier, and I am lazy.”
There will be hard decisions for Rick coming up on the show.
On Dale dying, “We hated that guy! I hated that hat. Just kidding. The way it would affect the group was very interesting to us. It would lead to a lot of the cool stuff that’s coming up in Season Three.”
And that was it! This was our last panel, but we still have plenty more coming from New York Comic Con!