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Kirkman Sued over Walking Dead

Kirkman Sued from Walking Dead inker.

By Jarrod Sarafin     February 10, 2012
Source: Deadline

Robert Kirkman and THE WALKING DEAD
© AMC Television

With the second half of season two of "The Walking Dead" set to premiere in a few day's time, series creator Robert Kirkman found himself with a lawsuit this week. Deadline reports:

That Michael Anthony Moore, alleging he is co-creator of The Walking Dead comic on which the hit AMC series is based, has filed suit against his onetime partner Robert Kirkman, accusing him of promissory fraud, breach of written contract and other charges. Moore claims that Kirkman persuaded him to assign his rights on Walking Dead and other properties to a limited liability corporation controlled by Kirkman, who allegedly hasn’t shared any royalty or other payments for Walking Dead or any of the other works.

Reached by telephone for comment on the suit, Kirkman’s attorney Allen B. Grodsky told Deadline, “It’s pretty ridiculous. Mr. Moore is owed absolutely nothing. There is no fraud. No money owed. No credit.” He suggested that “when all is said and done Mr. Moore is going to end up paying Mr. Kirkman’s attorneys fees.” Additionally, Kirkman’s camp contends that Moore’s credit contractually and in the first six issues of the comic is listed as: penciler, inker, gray tones.

Moore asserts that in September 2005 he and Kirkman entered into the agreement which assigned Moore 60% of comic publishing net proceeds for The Walking Dead and another title Brit, 20% of all motion picture net proceeds for Walking Dead and Brit and 50% of all motion picture net proceeds in connection with another title Battle Pope. Moore says in the suit he was reluctant to enter into the agreement. But he claims Kirkman informed him that if he didn’t assign his rights as specified it would kill the “large television deal on the table” and no one would receive any money. Kirkman allegedly promised to pay Moore royalties and provide regular, accurate accountings. Moore claims that Kirkman has never paid any royalties or provided an accounting of profit or loss.

Moore seeks damages in association with his purported share of any money Kirkman has already received plus his any share of any money outstanding. He’s asking for a court order for Kirkman to provide complete and timely accounting as well as payment of accrued interest and court costs.

Thanks to lusiphur for the submission.




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jedibanner 2/10/2012 9:53:46 AM

Wow...Kirmman's lawyer seems to really downplay the involvement Moore had with the creation of Walking Dead and should not speak too fast....stupid lawyers.

In any case, it's sad that this has to come down to involving the suits but If Moore has details in writting and has not been paid, good for him.

alienstatue 2/10/2012 10:02:47 AM

I agree, it does sound like his involvment is downplayed by the attorney

It's always hard to judge these types of stories. On one hand you MIGHT have a guy just trying to get some press time, on the other hand the guy could have been really screwed over by Kirkman. Hopefully for him, he does have some documentation.

I have a buddy who talked about starting a business. One day we were hanging out and I gave him a crap load of ideas to get started including a business name and products. He gets praised for it all the time and tells people he just came up with it out of no where. Sucks, but not worth my time to get my credit - I always wonder what I would do if some how he becomes a billionaire.

jedibanner 2/10/2012 10:16:57 AM

alienstatue....if you didn't put anything in writting, no contract or anything like that, if your friend becomes a billionaire, tough luck for you my friend.

i work a lot with lawyers and believe me, the one thing that always comes up is: anything you say, share, discuss in a meeting or on the street, if there is a possible dispute involved, write everything down and have it confirmed by the other party.

If Morre has details in writting that this was the agreement, then Kirkman is dead, if he doesn't and it was a discussion over the phone, then Moore is screwed.

The issue with Image is that their sharing of royalties and ownership can get complicated. Let's hope they can fix it before going to court.

I would say let's hope it doesn't affect the show but, at this point the TV show has so little to do with the comic, it wouldn't matter much.

rogue188 2/10/2012 10:23:38 AM

They are just going to settle  out of court for a tidy sum. That is how these things are handled.

redvector 2/10/2012 12:14:59 PM

Even if Moore's claims are borderline he'll get some kind of settlement from Kirkman just for it to all go away, but it won't be anywhere near the 60% he's claiming.

Wiseguy 2/10/2012 1:26:36 PM

Those seem like very specific claims but yet I can't help but have some doubts because this happens so often once a property becomes popular and profitable. Plus the ones making the claims seem to always embelish their involvement and/or claims and rarely succeed in court.

 Anyway we'll see I guess how this ends up.

DaForce1 2/10/2012 1:34:43 PM

 This is why you retain your own separate lawyer, no matter what deal your business partner is involved in at the time. Especially if it is in relation to a creative piece of work (which are much harder to assign titles and percentages to) AND more importantly if a big company is involved too. This happens more often than you would think in the comic book industry (just ask Ben Templesmith about Steve Niles, and you'll see the nostrils flare) in creator-owned books. 

Moore trusted Kirkman to do what was right. But like most writers, Kirkman doesn't see the artwork as being important to the success of the original work. Also, as the artist, I'm more than sure that Moore had input into the way the story flowed onto the page. That's the way these things work. 

Wyldstaar 2/10/2012 2:24:44 PM

The key term here is "net proceeds" because when it comes to the finances of the entertainment industry, it's the gross proceeds that are king.  If you are promised net proceeds, you are SOL.  Even if Moore was intimately involved with the creation of The Walking Dead comic in every way, if his contract states that he is entitled to net proceeds, it doesn't matter.  That contract is worthless.  If he'd had a lawyer look at the contract before he signed it, he wouldn't have done so.  No competent lawyer would ever agree to net points. 

scytheofluna 2/10/2012 3:25:51 PM

 I wish we could sue him for selling out & letting AMC bend the story over a table & f**k it with no lube.  Maybe if this other guy had stayed more involved, creatively speaking,  the show wouldn't be the pathetic mess it is.  Of course he has no real grounds to expect royalties from the TV series because it's related to the comic in name only.

InnerSanctum 2/10/2012 7:11:45 PM

Sue about what?  Using Romero's idea?  Shouldn't Georgie be suing all these rip offs of his idea?  Please.  Move on.  

And, the show isn't a mess.  It is pretty much following the freakin comic.  It is a slow placed book where zombies sometimes go issues without showing up.  There are plenty of fast running, gobble you up zombie fare for those who are not interested in the human aspect.  

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