Comic-Con 2016 day two is in the books and what a day it was. The big show always promises to deliver big thrills and huge announcements, and Skybound’s The Walking Dead panel came through in true Walking Dead fashion. Heading up the panel were series creator Robert Kirkman, pioneer series artist Charlie Adlard, and Skybound Entertainment editorial director Sean Mackiewicz. The moderator with sass running this strange class was Jason Mantzoukas – best known for his roles on The League and Brooklyn Nine-Nine – and Mantzoukas kept the energy in the room fully charged throughout.
The panel kicked off with the normal questionnaire fare, from introductions and rehashing of where The Walking Dead comic has been, to quips from Adlard about how he “traveled 10,000 miles just to attend Comic-Con.” An impromptu offer for Kirkman to hold an audience member’s baby; however, sparked a ten minute hiatus to the session. The invitation was given, and Kirkman weeded through audience members like a walker on the prowl to get the baby. The exchange was made, and the superhero clad lad went up on stage to sit with the panel while questions about skin suits and disemboweling were discussed.
The baby was fine with the ordeal throughout, but Kirkman; unsure about how to undo the snowball he started rolling, finally relented with a, “Well, I’m going to give this baby back now, because I have no idea how to get out of this.” The hand-off was punctuated expertly by Adlard who stated, “I traveled 10,000 miles to talk about skin suits in front of a baby?”
The remainder of the panel was as to be expected, with Kirkman playing coy about many upcoming story themes and offering little in the way of spoilers. When the panel was opened up to questions from the audience more sketchiness ensued. One audience member asked if Rick’s group – like the Whisperers – would be donning skin suits of their own at some point, and once again Kirkman remained coy. When pressed for a yes or no answer; however, Kirkman stated that he wasn’t trying to be annoying, it was just that the audience member, “might be onto something with that line of thinking.” Kirkman then hinted that another “Whisperer War” was on the horizon.
Additional audience questions allowed Adlard to admit that he was, “very shocked by the ‘line of heads’ death,” but that he has never tried to talk Kirkman out of killing a character. Kirkman then admitted that he wished he could still be writing for “Tyrese,” and Adlard seconded his regret by stating, “I wish I was still drawing Tyrese.” The duo then went into their collaborative character design methods, speaking about how sometimes they will base a character on a celebrity; sometimes around a particular weapon; and sometimes, as Kirkman puts it, “I design them simply because that particular issue is boring and I’m trying to liven things up.”
Editorial director Sean Mackiewicz yielded most of the talking time to Kirkman and Adlard, only briefly interjecting a wry quip about Adlard’s insistence on flying 10,000 miles just to attend the panel, and humbly adding what some of his job responsibilities at Skybound are. With the hour almost spent the panel slowly wound down. Kirkman thanked the audience, the moderator, and both Mackiewicz and Adlard…especially Adlard. After all, Charlie did fly more than 10,000 miles to be there and all he got to do was play with a baby.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”