Comic-Con 2013: Robert Kirkman on 'The Walking Dead' past and future

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Robert Kirkman has a lot to be thankful for. After all, he has one of the biggest shows on TV, "The Walking Dead." The zombie apocalypse show ended its third season with a series high rating, leaving fans foaming at the mouth for more.

Kirkman is at San Diego Comic-Con to celebrate ten years of the comic book that spawned "The Walking Dead" as a TV show. Throughout the week he's scheduled for panels and autograph signings related to the series he built from the ground up. Before that, he sits down with Zap2it to look back on the last ten years, while keeping an eye toward the future.

"It was always conceived as a zombie movie that never ends," Kirkman says of the first issues of the comics, "But every book I had done until that point had been canceled, so it was a very brash direction to go in." That direction has certainly paid off for the writer.

With the success of the TV show, it is natural that Robert has to have the show in mind when writing new issues. "I used to think, 'They'll never catch up to the stuff I'm doing now,' because I'm at issue 114 and they're still adapting stuff from issue 30," he says, "I never thought it would get that far, but the way the show is going now it might, so I am starting to think, 'Oh, how are they going to do this bit with the tiger in the television show? That's going to be fun.'" 

Still, Kirkman says he doesn't let the show affect his storytelling in the comics. He explains, "I try to make sure the way I do the 'Walking Dead' comic doesn't change, because it existed before all of this other stuff existed."

As for the show, Kirkman is looking forward to the new season, working with new showrunner Scott Gimple. "Working with Scott's been a lot of fun. He, more than any other writer on the show, read comics when he was a kid and was reading 'The Walking Dead' before the show existed," he says, adding that Gimple has an idea for the direction the show should go in for the next several seasons. "He has a big plan for the series and I think he's going to take us to some really great places."

One of those places is an examination of the relationship between Rick ( Andrew Lincoln) and Tyrese ( Chad Coleman). The connection between Tyrese and Rick is very important to the comic, with Kirkman naming Tyrese as one of the characters it was difficult to kill off in the book. "We'll start to see that relationship emerge a lot more in season four. They go through a lot together," Robert says, "I don't want to spoil anything, but there's some cool stuff coming."

Kirkman also spoke about the other TV show he's developing, "Thief of Thieves" as well as his comic book "Invincible," which is celebrating ten years, like "The Walking Dead."

Stay tuned to Zap2it for full coverage of Comic-Con, including the "Walking Dead" comic book and TV show panels.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images