Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard walked out to loud applause at the opening of The Walking Dead 10th Anniversary Panel at New York Comic-Con 2013. The panel began with screen shots of the covers for their newest 12-issue story arc titled “All Out War.” Robert Kirkman went on to explain that the first issue in the series – number 115 – came out this past Wednesday. They had 352,000 copies printed and it sold out within the first few days, making it the highest selling single-issue comic so far. The second printing will have four issues.
Adlard, who has been drawing the series since the beginning of its run, did a special cover that included major scenes from the past 10 years. The panelists proceeded to show some artwork from the new issue, the first being a panel in which Rick is leading a small army – gun pointed forward – to fight adversary Negan. Adlard began to talk about the inking process saying, “In the past 20 years, I have never ever not inked myself. Stefano is the new inker – he is proving us right and doing a bang up job. I hope the pencils are living up to the inks.”
Kirkman went on to talk about the covers again – showing all of the covers for “All Out War” on the screen – stating that the “covers are colored by Dave Stewart, who has done award-winning work on Hellboy.”
The two began to talk about other Walking Dead related material coming out this year. A “first” for the comic is that issue number one is being re-released in full color for the first time. Kirkman and his team are also excited about releasing the series in Spanish in the U.S. Adlard is coming out with a book called The Art of Charlie Adlard in which he describes as “a book to show that I don’t just draw zombies,” which garnered a lot of laughter from the crowd. Kirkman quipped, “it shows you can draw an astronaut with a zombie head.”
The Q&A session revealed some unique insights from Kirkman and Adlard. In reference to antagonist Negan, an audience member asked where Kirkman was able to find a character even scarier than the governor. “It’s fun to write good characters,” Kirkman said. “But it’s so much more fun to write scary, crazy characters like Negan.” After a fan asked about the decision to stick with the black and white medium, Kirkman noted, “When I started The Walking Dead, I thought it was going to get canceled by issue 12, so I thought if I did it in black and white, it would make it to issue 15.” Adlard noted that many artists he admires work in black and white. “One of my heroes is Saul Vass; he works in color, but he uses a limited color palate. For me, it’s the perfect medium,” Adlard said.
Giving the audience a view into Kirkman’s perspective, the author said that at first, he based Carl on himself and Rick on his father. “When I started having kids, it changed and I suddenly became Rick, with my kids in Carl’s shoes,” Kirkman said.
Fans can look forward to The Walking Dead panel tomorrow featuring the cast of the show, where Kirkman let out a possible surprise might take place. “You may get a hint of the newest character to be introduced to the show at tomorrow’s panel,” Kirkman said. “Not sure if I was supposed to say that.”
Last of all, when asked about the spinoff show, Kirkman cheekily joked that it will be called, “The Dixons” and will feature five Dixon brothers: Merle, Daryl, and triplets all played by Norman Reedus. “There’s even a full banjo episode,” he said. “I could do this all day.”