We caught up with Image Comics partner and The Walking Dead and Invincible scribe Robert Kirkman about his new comic line Skybound, how it feels to have his zombies on TV, and what major character almost made the pilot.
First off, give our readers a description of Skybound in a nutshell.
Skybound Comics is my new imprint at Image Comics (where I'm a partner), and basically I'll be finding new books and taking a hand in the marketing of these new titles and release strategies. We're trying to give new creators a leg up to break a lot of cool new ideas.
How are you going about finding new talent?
I have a pretty great network of people I know in the industry, and anytime something cool comes up, we'll check out what they're doing. We're looking for self-starters – I think that being able to do your own thing and put it all together is very much a part of what makes something cool. I can respect people who are making it happen on their own and I want to find people who are doing just that. I think new publishers tend to expand too quickly and overextend themselves. My goal is to really establish these new books (and their fan base) before we start expanding.
As far as genre goes, is there any mission statement here? Is Skybound actively straying from superheroics?
It'll be a case-by-case basis. I'm hoping to find people that are doing new things that you won't be able to get anywhere else. If a totally original superhero concept comes to my desk, I'll definitely look at it. I think that we've got that in [Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner's upcoming horror title] Witch Doctor. It's a book that deals with supernatural threats in a scientific light. It's about a doctor, Doctor Morrow, and he solves supernatural cases, but Morrow finds scientific reasons for why they exist. It's a really smart take on supernatural phenomena.
Also, books I write, like The Walking Dead and Invincible, are now part of the Skybound imprint. Sina Grace, the Skybound editorial director, is becoming my right-hand man, assisting with editorial duties on the new books. Between that and the Image support system, I'm making it work. These new books will be in stores early 2011.
You came out of Comic-Con with The Walking Dead being a big winner. Heck, the line to get into the preview panel was one of the craziest I saw all weekend. How did that feel?
It was awesome. I was leaving the Convention Center trying to get to the Omni, and I walked into one of the squares where they were doing giveaways. One of the giveaways was for The Walking Dead. It's just a really odd thing to try to go to your hotel and have zombies walk up to you and promote your own show.
I realize you can't spoil the show, but she's my favorite character so I have to ask – are we going to see Michonne and her katana this season?
I know Frank is very fond of that character....you know, I'm just going to tell you anyway. There was an early draft of the pilot that had Michonne but just in a cameo role. Frank likes her and everyone at AMC is aware that she's a popular character. They're just champing at the bit to bring her to the show, so I'd like to introduce her very soon.
Has the increased media attention to The Walking Dead spurred interest in any of your other works? Are we ever going to see a Battle Pope movie?
If you're holding your breath for a Battle Pope movie, you should probably stop.
But there are other things that are moving along quite nicely, I'll say that much.
Good to hear. Alright, random shout-out time! Plug anything you want.
If you aren't reading [John Layman and Rob Guillory's] Chew or [Tim Seeley's] Hack/Slash, you really should — these are two innovative books that give you an entertainment experience in spades that you can't get anywhere else.
Walking Dead 76 (top) is out today.