Getting a comic series off the ground is no easy feat, which is why Robert Kirkman had to oversell the mythology of The Walking Dead (to include aliens!) to get it approved by Image Comics.
During his panel at San Diego Comic Con on Thursday, Kirkman fielded a wide range of questions from fans. One fan, however, wanted to go back to the beginning of his zombie comic book which helped launch Skybound, an AMC show, and a number of titles from the writer. As it turns out, Kirkman had to lie to Image Comics executives to get his book approved because he knew they would wisely turn down a book which doesn’t have a central objective like many others.
“I pitched The Walking Dead and he said there’s no successful zombie books in this industry and you need to have a hook,” Kirkman said. “Your book needs to be about something…You can’t just do a book about the zombie apocalypse and people are surviving…and I said, ‘Oh, we got that, there’s an alien invasion and the aliens are just using the zombies to weaken the world’s infrastructure and move in…’ And he was like, ‘That sounds cool!’ and it got approved. I was lying.”
When the powers that be at Image Comics learned the truth, it was too late to be angry with Kirkman. “By then the book was successful so they were thrilled,” Kirkman said.
“The first issue saw print, came out, was in stores, and it really did kind of catch on right off the bat which was new for me,” Kirkman said. “After reading the first issue, the execs wondered if there was any hint to the alien plot. He admitted to lying and heard, “Hmm, probably better for it!”
Fifteen years later, Kirkman has built an empire. “And now I’m here,” Kirkman said.
In fact, Kirkman took his lying a little further during the panel when asked whether or not Maggie will ever have her baby on the AMC series. “A lot of people don’t know this but the farm that Maggie is from is in a fictional area of Georgia that is actually on top of a crashed alien space ship,” Kirkman said. “A lot of people not know it is there. … The side effect of said alien space ship is that the women who live in the vicinity of that ship, they carry the babies to term over the course of a 48 month period. It’s a very rare condition that happens in The Walking Dead universe.”