Robert Kirkman speaks: The Walking Dead creator talks video games and zombies
- — 13 January, 2009 17:32
The writer/creator of the zombie-filled graphic novel series, "The Walking Dead," talks Resident Evil, zombie culture, and writing the most outrageously violent (and addictive) graphic novels since Preacher.
Be sure to check out Robert Kirkman's website: Kirkmania.com!
While researching Resident Evil 5 for an exclusive hands-on report, GamePro senior editor Sid Shuman reached out to one of the top zombie experts in the world: Robert Kirkman, creator of the brutal, disturbing, and darkly humorous graphic novel The Walking Dead. And what do you know - Kirkman's a gamer himself.
The Walking Dead's Premise:
The Walking Dead, currently on its fourth hardcover book, is an ongoing graphic novel series that chronicles a group of ragtag survivors in a world ruled by the undead. In the first book, local lawman Rick Grimes searches for his missing wife and child. In the following books, supply shortages, group infighting, and shocking murders push Rick's struggling group to the breaking point. And then, the real insanity begins. "If you're going to read one graphic novel this year," GamePro senior editor Sid Shuman says, "it's got to be The Walking Dead -- prepare to be floored."
GamePro: For the newcomers in the GamePro audience, how would you best describe The Walking Dead?
Robert Kirkman: The easiest way is "It's the zombie movie that never ends." The Walking Dead is a long-term examination on the zombie apocalypse. We follow a band of survivors as they try to do just that... survive. Our main character is small town cop, Rick Grimes, but there are dozens of other people that weave in and out of the story. It's much more of a character study than just a zombie tale.
GP: Why are zombies so damned fascinating? Do you have any insight into why they have become such an integral part of pop culture in the last five years?
RK: They're pretty damn cool, visually and thematically, and that goes a long way. The more artsy way of putting it is they play on our worst fear: the fear of death. They're a mirror image of our future. So they're much more threatening than the average vampire or werewolf on a symbolic level.
GP: You once mentioned that you love zombie films and that creating The Walking Dead was a way for you to keep a "zombie apocalypse" premise going indefinitely. In your opinion as a zombie fan, what are the all-time best zombie movies?
RK: George A. Romero's movies are the zombie bible. Those four movies are must-sees (I don't count Diary of the Dead, but Land of the Dead is great). As for something more obscure, I've gotta go with Zombie (or Zombi 2, the original Italian title) by Lucio Fulci. It's a great movie, it's got cool effects and one of those eerie out-dated soundtracks that make horror movies so cool. I do feel the need to say Shaun of the Dead is the best zombie movie of the last 20 years... and the Night of the Living Dead remake directed by Tom Savini is pretty damn great also. Oh, and Dead Alive is certainly a must see!
GP: Do you consider yourself a gamer? What game(s) would you say nail the definitive zombie experience?
RK: I'm a BAD gamer. I'm just not very good at it and I don't have the time to commit to getting better. I own all the current systems and I have a few games for each. I have Dead Rising but haven't played it yet. Resident Evil 4 was fun, but I can't get past that town where the guy carries the chainsaw. I played the first Resident Evil almost completely through, and it's great, nice and creepy. I'd have to say Resident Evil [is the best "zombie game"] just because I've played it the most, but my video game experience is sadly limited. There's a new game coming out called Left 4 Dead that looks ground-breaking in terms of zombie games... I'll be checking that out for sure.