The news that Robert Kirkman's zombie comic The Walking Dead was headed to television via Mad Men's cable home AMC, as opposed to movies, surprised many... but not Kirkman. As far as he's concerned, a movie would've missed the point.
Talking to Comic Book Resources, Kirkman said,
The thing that makes "The Walking Dead" unique and interesting is that it's a zombie movie that never ends – that's the log line or whatever. To do a zombie movie that's based on that? Kinda dumb. The whole idea behind the book is that it's a long-term exploration on the characters and their situation and how they're dealing with these problems over a long period of time, the different things that happen to the characters and how it affects and changes the characters. You can do that in a series of movies, but it's not ideal. It's not really common for people to go, "Oh, I'll buy this thing and commit to making 10 movies based on it!" So, the TV show makes way more sense to me for all of those reasons.
The creator, a partner at Image Comics since last year, also reassured fans of the comic that this won't replace the original series:
[The TV show will] be 110% faithful in tone, but I don't know that every single character will be exactly the same and I don't know if every single character will actually make it into the show, just because there are about 45 characters in the comic so far. But like I said, it's very early on in the process... If it goes past the pilot, I'll be writing episodes and looking over the storylines for the series and I'll be pretty hands on. I will be as hands on as working in comics will allow me to be. If it gets to a point where the work in comics is slowing up, I'll step back and leave [the series] in the very capable hands of whoever's working on the show... My main commitment is to the comics. I want to be the first guy in history that's gotten a movie or TV deal and continued to put out his comic series uninterrupted. As a fan, I hate it when it's like, "Oh, that's awesome, there's gonna be a TV show… and now the comic is gone. What the F!" I've already talked to Charlie Adlard [the artist of "The Walking Dead"] about it and we definitely want to keep the series without interruptions. So, that comes first.
The Walking Dead pilot, written and directed by The Shawshank Redemption and The Mist's Frank Darabont, is currently in pre-production. The Walking Dead comic series is available now.
Kirkman Talks "Walking Dead" TV [Comic Book Resources]