On Friday afternoon, Image Comics’ partner Robert Kirkman held a panel that focused on his upcoming projects from Image Comics. Readers should be aware that some of the information provided at this panel was also released at the Image Comics Show panel earlier in the day. Kirkman spared no quarter with his quick-witted quips and good-natured sense of humor; and, at the start of the panel, ruined the surprise of Todd MacFarlane’s plans to join the panel unannounced.
Kirkman apologized to the audience if they had been to the earlier panel and promised to not sound like a robot. Marketing Director of Image Comics, Joe Keatinge, acted as the AV guy to Kirkman—whose boisterous antics and positivity kept the panel laughing for nearly the entire duration of the panel.
Kirkman quickly spoke of the latest release of Invincible—issue #64 and he apologized to the audience members who had not read the book because it contained a pretty hefty surprise for faithful readers of his—that Atom Eve was, in fact, alive and well—much to the delight of the fans. Kirkman was quick to shoot back, “Well, I killed her—and now I’ve brought her back…so I can kill her again. He mentioned that issues #66 and #67 would feature the return of co-creator of Invincible, Cory Walker. The audience was given a changc to look at the first 5 pages of new art.
The next set of slides involved projects like Invincible Returns—which features both Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley and has a rebirth of sorts that also brings the character to his roots by retuning him to his original costume.
Kirkman quickly discussed his work on The Astounding Wolf-Man—announcing that #25 of the series would in fact be the end of the series. He spoke, “I just knew that this story arc couldn’t be topped currently—so it’s fitting that there are four or five issues left—we’ve still got time to perfect our ending.” Kirkman also restated the fact that he’s excited to be writing an ending to a series for a change.
The crowd erupted with cheers and applause as Kirkman announced the next couple of story arcs for the popular zombie survival comic, The Walking Dead, citing similar details about the series that he had mentioned earlier that day. He attempted to explain a bit about the upcoming arc by saying “Fans of The Walking Dead don’t want to see a world where everyone lives happily.” At that point, a small boy from the audience asked, “Why do you kill everybody off,” he jokingly added, “I hate myself so when I create them I hate them too.”
It was then that Image Comics Co-Founder, Todd MacFarlane joined the panel and apologized, “Sorry I was hanging out with someone who is bigger than Robert Kirkman—Stan Lee.” Kirkman felt bad but said, “I’m way bigger than Stan Lee; I could eat him whole and still have room for him to fit inside of me ,” adding, “I’m not scared of [Stan Lee]--he’s nothing but hair, bones, and excelsior.”
The two creators discussed the origin of the Haunt concept at length and showed a number of slides regarding the project which will feature pencils by Ryan Ottley and inks by Todd MacFarlane. Todd added, “When we started out, Ryan wasn’t sure if he could do two books a month—so we’re also going to have Greg Capullo providing layouts on each issue.” Both Kirkman and MacFarlane spoke highly about the perks of working with one another as they bantered playfully back and forth.
As the panel came to an end, one of the audience members asked about the potential for a Walking Dead television show or movie; Kirkman was frank as he assured audiences that there were talks but that he could not discuss anything at length. He joked, “I don’t know if you guys know this but I’m a—cover your ears kids—whore. So if Michael Bay wants to make a Walking Dead movie…I’m there. Bring on the exploding zombies!”