Friday’s Skybound panel at New York Comic Con 2012 began with a technical glitch – a malfunctioning computer prevented the launch of a slideshow. It hardly affected the mood of the discussion however, which was directed by Robert Kirkman and touched on a little bit of everything being offered up by the publishing imprint of Image Comics in the coming months.
“Invincible #100 is coming out in January,” Kirkman began. “Ryan (Ottley) and I aren’t quite sick of working with each other just yet. We have been just irresponsible enough so that issue 100 falls on the 10th anniversary of the book,” meaning they’ve churned out “on average ten issues a year for ten years. I think that worked out, numbers-wise.”
The topic then switched to the upcoming Witch Doctor: Mal Practice Volume 2 six-issue mini-series, due November 28, 2012. Brandon Seifert likened it to “Dr. House fighting supernatural diseases,” and proceeded to offer the following: “It opens with the Doctor going into a bar, meeting a girl and then waking up and having no memory past that. This kicks off the worst 36 hours of Dr. Marrow’s life.” Artist Lukas Ketner clearly couldn’t be happier with the direction of the story, saying “this story arc has got some of the stuff I’ve been waiting to draw since the beginning of the series. I can’t wait to draw it and see it.” He also teased, “in the third issue, the Doctor gets stitched inside a voodoo doll.” The audience was clearly intrigued.
Andy Diggle, who will be writing the third arc on Thief of Thieves as of issue 14, is also quite pleased with his gig. “I’ve spent the last year saying I’d rather write capers than capes. It’s great fun. I’m really enjoying it. You guys have created these really strong characters – I know who they are and how they talk. I wrote it fast, and normally it’s like pulling teeth with me.” The storyline is considered the largest heist in the series thus far. “It does feel like it’s been building up to it for a year – it’s been a long tease so we have to make sure it pays off.”
Robert Kirkman then revealed that the newest villain to appear in the pages of Super Dinosaur is named Tyrannosaurus X and set to appear in issue 18. To everyone’s relief, the slideshow came roaring to life, revealing covers of Invincible, Super Dinosaur, Thief of Thieves and a new book, Clone, set to debut in November, written by David Schulner (of NBC’s new series Do No Harm, which will air in January).
From there, the Q&A portion began, with every second person in line offering heart-felt praise and thanks en lieu of inquiries. “We’re actually not accepting questions anymore. We just want you to say thank you for everything!” Kirkman quipped. Among the compliments they received: “Thank you for taking everything Marvel and DC does and do it better and in less time.”
One fan asked how a specific scene from The Walking Dead, in which the Governor commits a rape, would translate to the television. “You’re standing in front of a crowd of people asking, ‘is there going to be the rape? Where’s that rape?’” Kirkman teased. “We’re not going to pull any punches. AMC has been good to let us do a lot of stuff, but we haven’t really hit any restrictions yet. I’m not going to say we’re adapting things directly, but the Governor is going to be the Governor.”
Another wondered how many of his various original properties he is able to oversee. “I’m able to retain control over a lot of things. It is sometimes difficult to maintain control over everything to do with The Walking Dead…but I try to make sure I have an active hand in making sure everything is cool.”
Differences between the comic and the show were also discussed. “There were a lot of changes made to the second season. We killed off Sophia and Dale,” Kirkman began. “There’s been some stories transposed onto other characters, and that’ll happen in season three. Just because Dale died in season two doesn’t mean that the hunter storyline can’t be done now. It’ll just happen and maybe what happened to Dale will happen to somebody else or maybe it’ll be a different thing.” He believes strongly that allowing his writers to explore new territory makes the best use of their skills. “There are things that naturally move the story away from the comic as we do the adaptation,” he continued. “I think it’s a really cool thing because it keeps you guessing and keeps things different.”
Fans were happy to hear some Skybound merchandise is on the way to store shelves. “You’ll be able to get a Super Dinosaur sled at Wal-Mart later this year”, Kirkman revealed and hinted at Witch Doctor t-shirts coming as well.
One fan asked whether Invincible might ever be adapted to television or film. “I would be happy to do that,” Kirkman shared. “There’s always been interest. It hasn’t happened yet…it’s certainly not something I’m opposed to. But there’s more superhero stuff out there, so it’s a bit harder. We’ll get there!” A young woman commented on the book’s focus on a father/son relationship, prompting the creator to get a little personal. “My father owned his own business when I was growing up and was successful.” Having been told it was the destiny for every new generation to be better than the one that came before it, Kirkman “thought it would be cool if there was a son growing up in a Superhero’s shadow. Are you going to surpass your father’s successes? I thought that would be an interesting story to mine.”
Finally, he noted some interesting recent news. “Thief of Thieves is currently in development at AMC,” he shared. “We’ll find out if it makes it to air eventually. I’ll be an executive producer on that show and maybe I’ll write episodes. Who knows?”
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