‘Walking Dead’ Creator Stays ‘Invincible’ During Show’s Hiatus

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Comic-book writer talks to MTV News about what to expect in season three, which begins filming next week.
By Josh Wigler

Jon Bernthal in “The Walking Dead”
Photo: AMC

Robert Kirkman is a busy man. Not only is the comic book writer and executive producer behind the flesh-craving juggernaut known as “The Walking Dead” currently hard at work on the AMC series’ upcoming third season — “We begin filming next week,” Kirkman told MTV News during a recent interview — he’s also keeping his nose buried in the paneled page, cooking up brand new highs and lows for longtime readers of his flagship titles.

In the pages of Kirkman’s superhero epic “Invincible,” the writer has put lead character Mark Grayson through the wringer recently. “He’s been a bit under the weather, slightly near death,” Kirkman cracked during our chat. Replacing him in the yellow-and-blue tights for the time being is Bulletproof, an “Invincible” mainstay who always harbored a secret desire to wear the Invincible uniform. It’s all part of the build-up toward the milestone issue #100, launching in January 2013.

“That’s actually the 10-year anniversary of the first issue shipping. We totally shipped some issues late to make sure the timing worked out,” he joked. “We know what we’re doing here!”

Staying in the “Invincible” universe, Kirkman’s bringing the superhero team at the center of “Guarding the Globe” back for an all-new ongoing series from writer Phil Hester (“Firebreather”) and illustrator Todd Nauck (“Young Justice”), with the Bulletproof-Invincible tagging along for the ride.

“He’ll be a big part of that series,” Kirkman revealed, adding that “Guarding the Globe” was created out of a desire to explore the many characters that “Invincible” doesn’t have room to focus on in depth. “Corey Walker, Ryan Ottley and I have created a bunch of characters for Invincible, just something that we’d like to do. After we’d done 100 issues, we figured if we gave everyone a page, we’d still only see them every four or five issues. There are just so many characters we never get around to showing or doing anything interesting with. It makes sense to have this second book that can focus on Brit, Black Samson and some of the newer cast like Yeti and Kaboomerang, a favorite of mine.”

Of course, Kirkman’s also been working on a little thing you may have heard about: “The Walking Dead.” Like “Invincible,” the “Walking Dead” comic book series is rapidly approaching its 100th issue. The milestone event will hit comic shops this July, right in time for Comic-Con, and smack dab in the middle of the writer’s “Something to Fear” story line.

“They basically discovered this larger community that’s part of a network,” Kirkman said of what’s been happening in recent issues of “Walking Dead.” “To be a part of this network and to share resources, they have to become involved in this sort of barter system, where everybody contributes where they can to get something in return. Rick realizes that the only thing he can contribute is protection and, essentially, being a badass — because everyone in his group is a bunch of badasses. This other group is beholden to this very violent group of people who basically rule through intimidation. Rick says, ‘I’ll take care of this group for you if you put us into your bartering network, and give us food.’ Now Rick has to go back to his allies and sell them on it. He’s gone out on a limb and volunteered them for something very dangerous.”

Very dangerous indeed, if the recently revealed “Walking Dead” #100 cover is any indication. The illustration depicts the most prominent deceased characters from “Walking Dead” lore strewn about a virtually endless pile of bodies — needless to say, don’t go seeking out the cover if you’re afraid of “Walking Dead” TV spoilers. Given the nature of the upcoming arc, it’s looking like even more bodies will join that pile by the time issue #101 hits shelves.

“Maybe slightly before #101,” he teased. “We’ll see.”

Kirkman’s work in comics goes far beyond “Invincible,” “Guarding the Globe” and “Walking Dead.” His latest book, is currently developing for television (once again through AMC). At the moment, however, much of the writer’s time is devoted to “Walking Dead” season three, which begins production next week and hits airwaves next fall. Season two cleaned house on several fan-favorite characters including Shane and Dale, leaving the door wide open for some new memorable faces, such as the despicable Governor played by British actor David Morrissey.

But easily the most anticipated newcomer of the bunch is Michonne, the sword-wielding zombie killer introduced in the season-two finale. Danai Gurira plays the role in season three, and Kirkman said she has a lot of hard work ahead of her.

“Danai is an absolutely fantastic actress,” he said. “That role is going to be absolutely grueling. It’ll put her through her paces. She’ll have to do a lot of sword work. I can’t say a lot about what she’s going to do, but everyone who has read the comic knows Michonne is a badass. We’ll see a lot of that in the show as well. Danai has really been diving into that head first with lots of sword training. We begin filming next week, so we’ll be working with her a lot, and we’re excited to have her on board.”

What do you think of Robert Kirkman’s comic book updates? Are you excited to see Michonne more in season three? Let us know in the comments section below!

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