The Walking Dead has a fairly unique fan-base; they are spread out over Telltale Games and their award winning video game; AMC with their, also, award winning show and the man who created it all via a comic book series, Robert Kirkman. It is the creator who has his hands in each slice of this walker pie and the man who helps to make all the different verses of the Walking Dead work.
Of course, Kirkman has help, no man is a walking dead island and the 35 year-old comic book writer has worked hand in hand with both AMC and Telltale Games to bring the world of the dead to life. Back in 2003 Kirkman began working on The Walking Dead comic book with Tony Moore, who was later replaced by Charlie Adlard around issue #7 of the comic.
The comic has a huge amount of fans who link and compare the comic’s storyline with the one featured on the AMC television show; developed by Frank Darabont who was the series first showrunner. Darabont was let go amid a certain amount of controversy and replaced by Glen Mazzara who was then replaced by Scott Gimple. There seems to be an almost revolving door policy in place concerning showrunners with a new one being appointed with each new season.
The AMC television show came first – after the comic – and it featured many of the same characters that were in the comic book with a few changes here and there as well as the creation of a few new ones. While Kirkman does not write many episodes, it should come as no surprise that the Walking Dead creator does write some of the more memorable ones. February 9 with its second-half season four premiere entitled After was Kirkman’s baby and it showed. A brilliant blend of tragedy, pathos, humor, angst and tears. The master took a moment to show just how is should be done.
Apart from being there for the AMC television show, Robert Kirkman worked with Telltale Games during the development stages of The Walking Dead Season One. Throughout the development process, Telltale games and Kirkman appeared in development videos posted regularly on YouTube and gaming channels on the Internet. Besides getting fans of the comic book and the TV show excited, the videos showed just how excited the game makers at Telltale Games were about bringing the books world to life.
There were those who weren’t pleased that the game did not cross over with the television show, being focussed with a different group’s travels to Macon, Georgia. The two main protagonists include Lee; a convicted murderer who looks after, Clementine; a girl thought to be orphaned by the zombie apocalypse. Various other characters join up with the two survivors and they all head to Macon to look for Clementine’s parents. This displeasure was soon replaced with wild praise for the game and its protagonists.
Telltale Games decided, along with Robert Kirkman, to focus less on action tropes in the zombie video game genre and looked to other games that focussed on character development, interaction and player’s decisions influencing the outcome of the game like Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain and BioWare’s Mass Effect trilogy. This shift in gameplay as well as the game mechanics enabled The Walking Dead to win Game of the Year in 2013.
By the end of the video game’s first season Clementine was alone, sans Lee, and fans of the game could not wait for the next season to come out. The first Walking Dead was released in 2012 and season two became available on December 17, 2013 for PC/Mac via Steam and on PlayStation Network and a day later for Xbox Live and PlayStation Network Europe as well as iOS. Fans of the game returned to play as Clementine.
She is now older and more battle scarred and the first episode, titled All That Remains, is just as gripping and engaging as the whole first season of the video game. At the end of the first episode it is revealed that someone Clementine thought dead is alive. Fans all believe that it must be Kenny, but, others are just as convinced that it might be Lily. If these names mean nothing to the reader it is suggested that they go and play the first season immediately, if not sooner.
Fans of The Walking Dead, whether it is the comic books or the AMC series or Telltale Games’ video game, owe a debt of gratitude to Robert Kirkman. The creative genius who has worked with the two other forms of media enabling them to enter the world of the shambling dead. Kirkman has revealed that AMC’s season four, in its second half, will be more intimate in nature. More time will be spent with various members of the survivors after they were split up at the prison. Moreover, with one nod to the video game in the form of Michonne reference of going to Macon, there are hints that more “crossovers” could be upcoming in the show, although Robert Kirkman isn’t saying when. Perhaps Michonne and Clementine could meet up. Just a suggestion, but, one which many would find very exciting. So…Robert?
By Michael Smith