KIRKMAN Announces New Image Horror Title: OUTCAST - an Exorcism Exploration

Credit: Skybound
Credit: Skybound

With three teasers in one day, Image Comics released only the following information: "New Horror. Kirkman & Azaceta."

Luckily, they're not making us wait all the way till New York Comic Con this weekend, instead revealing the new series in a press conference call Tuesday afternoon. Stay tuned, and refresh as we cover the call live to find out just what Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta are up to!

The call is beginning, and the title of the new series has been revealed, Outcast. The teaser image also gives a tagline of "It's what's INSIDE that matters."

Ron Richards of Image Comics introduced the call and the creators to kick things off.

Kirkman started by saying, "I'm very excited to be announcing a new monthly comic. I still love comics, that is my focus. This is the first time since The Walking Dead that I've done a real-world dramatic take on a horror concept, that's very exciting. The book is Outcast. It's a book about exorcism. It focuses on a guy named Kyle Barnes, who has been plagued by demonic possession his entire life. Now he'd delving deeper into what he's experiencing. Along the way, he'll discover a bigger picture here and something that could threaten the entire world, and he's the key to stopping it.

"It's a big story on exorcism and demonic possession, we want to shine a new light on that. Teamed up with Paul Azaceta on this story, and we're looking to launch early 2014."

Kiel from CBR started off questions, asking what Kirkman's background of exorcism is that he wants to draw from.

"I've seen every exorcism movie. I feel like it's a genre that is very open to a realistic interpretation. Something I feel TWD does well is taking the zombie tropes and dealing with them realistically. So that's what I hope to do here with exorcism," Kirkman said.

Joe from ComicsAlliance asked Kirkman about writing horror comics in general, and about overlapping themes here.

"There is a little overlap in that loved ones are affected. Having loved ones possessed and sort of "taken from you" is something that overlaps a bit in Outcast, but hopefully we'll be doing things very differently from TWD."

Jesse from IGN asked about the larger ensemble cast.

"There will definitely be an ensemble cast around Kyle Barnes, we'll get more into that as we approach the launch of it. We'll definitely be introducing characters along the way, and losing characters along the way. It won't be as much of a blood bath as TWD turned out to be."

Credit: Image Comics

THR asked the next question, with this comic also being developed for TV with FOX, and if the series will be parallel.

"Because of my relationship with FOX International, who does the distribution internationally for TWD, they got an early look at Outcast and we've been developing it for TV. That is something I'll be writing the pilot of, and we're moving full steam ahead on that process. This was only ever intended to be a new comic book series, and I'm very fortunate that people are interested in what is coming out. The two projects are kept very separately in my head, at least."

Tony from Comicvine asked about the head start he has on it, to keep his balance of work.

"The series isn't launching until 2014, but I've been working on it behind the scenes for almost two years. I don't have any concerns about my workload, though, I've been managing my time well. Things are continuing smoothly, and I wouldn't have any concerns."

Next from us, we asked what changes in Kyle's life that makes him suddenly decide to explore more.

"Kyle's mother was possessed when he was very young. There was an event with his mother that... no, I'm going too far with this. That event has effected everything that's come after that. So when we pick him up with #1 of this series, he hits a point where he's hit rock bottom, he's been living as this outcast. He decides he doesn't want to do that anymore, he wants to start "living his life" and doing things better. So he's trying to discover what demonic possession really is, how he can combat it, and that's what the series will be exploring."

CBR asked about Paul Azaceta's involvement.

"Grounded was the first thing I really saw from him, and his style fits this perfectly. One thing I thought was interesting was that he only did a few issues at a time of a project, this is the first time that he's going to invest in something for the long haul. That can be daunting, but he's really invested and the work he's turning in is absolutely spectacular. I love watching the evolution of guys like Charlie Adlard and Ryan Ottley, seeing the old issues of them and seeing how they change and get more comfortable. It's a fun process to witness."

ComicsAlliance asked about why he wanted to do another horror comic.

"I like to play with different genres, but I do gravitate to these kinds of stories. I've held back on a lot of horror stories over the years, because I didn't want to do anything too close to The Walking Dead. I think I'll break new ground and do new things with this title."

IGN asked what makes the Horror genre fit in comics so well.

"I think comics are going through a bit of a renaissance that comics are adaptable to all different kinds of storytelling. it's unfortunate that superheroes have dominated for so long, it's swinging back to where comics should have been without the kneecapping of the industry. Horror comics I think are about getting emotionally invested in characters, and that's something comics do really well. The reader is so much more in control of the pace of the story than in other mediums, you can hang on things, you can consider things. It lends itself quite well to horror and can make things so much more gut-wrenching as you read it."

Comicvine asked if Kirkman has a big gameplan, or plans to just let things go.

"This is a weird one, because I have a very specific end in mind for Outcast. I know the story I'm trying to tell and the beats I have to hit. While this is a long running series and I hope it will continue for years and years, I know where it's going."

Last question, from us, what have you learned from the development process of prior works and brought into this?

"As I've grown older and weaker and slower - but also more mature! (laughs) When I was younger, I did have series where I just kind of jumped in. I don't realy do that as much anymore, now I'm much more meticulous in my planning. As I said, I have been working on Outcast behind-the-scenes for about two years, quite a bit of work before my fingers hit the keyword to type the first script.

"To be honest, I think that's something I learned from television writing, because when we're in the writing room, there are a lot of pads and possibilities of where the story goes before we get started on actually writing the script. So that's something I've definitely taken into this."

There will be Outcast posters at the NYCC Image Comics booth. Kirkman says to "come out and get a high five!"

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