Date/time:11 a.m. Saturday
The gist: Comic writer and recent TV mogul Robert Kirkman, the man who created “The Walking Dead” comic book upon which the hit AMC TV show is based, was a little under the weather for his first of two SXSW panels (the other is at SXSW Gaming with his Skybound Entertainment cohorts). But he was no less enthusiastic than usual as he spoke about his many projects, from the TV show to a spinoff TV series to a movie starring Norman Reedus, “Air,” to video games and “Outcast” a whole separate comic property coming to TV screens. Kirkman has his hands in a lot of places and has been able to hand off some responsibilities (like the critically acclaimed Telltale Games “Walking Dead” video game series) while still being available for feedback and creative input. Kirkman clearly works hard (he joked that Hollywood writers are often pretty lazy, starting work at 11 a.m.), but he believes there are people with much more talent than he does who have tons of tools at their disposal. (He also gave a shoutout to the brilliant comic “Saga,” which he says may at some point dwarf his “Walking Dead” work.) Kirkman says the TV and video games are similar to the comic, but there are certain ways they won’t cross over: Daryl Dixon from the TV show and Clementine from the Telltale games will not show up as characters in the comic. Kirkman says it would steal away from their coolness in those other mediums.
Takeaways: Kirkman says artists shouldn’t be afraid to work for big companies like, say, Marvel, but that they should always keep their own best interests at heart. Sometimes, he says, it’s about waiting for the right deal instead of jumping on the first opportunity (as he did with “Walking Dead” for TV). He says you should use your contacts (he’s not against nepotism) as you try to break into a career, but he promises you’re not likely to get his phone number. So with all these TV and video game projects, why do a new comic like “Outcast” at all when it’s already been sold to Cinemax? “Comics are better. You all just haven’t realized it yet,” Kirkman said.