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SDCC: The Walking Dead Panel
Walking Dead Owned Comic Con!
By Robert T. Trate
July 26, 2010
Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic is coming to AMC
© Bob Trate
What is amazing about Comic Con is seeing and meeting people that share a common interest. Sure many of us like comics and movies but the exact same ones? Mania arrived at The Walking Dead panel a few hours ahead of time (yes, you read that right) as a precaution. Last year we had been shut out of few because at Comic Con there are just too many like-minded people. Apparently The Walking Dead has a huge following as the line for the room stretched into several different hallways. In camping out we learned just how many people had the same passion for Robert Kirkman’s and Tony Moore’s comic. What we began to realize was that AMC might have been the one entity that didn’t realize the level of passion the fans of the book have. Many people were turned away that day and if this series gets picked up The Walking Dead panel at Comic Con 2011 might just be in Hall H.
Comic to Screen:
Robert Kirkman was quick to point out that he wants the comic and television series to exist as separate entities. Producer and Director (of the first six episodes) Frank Darabont followed up Kirkman’s statement by assuring fans that the comic is our path to follow. At any time they may explore avenues in which Kirkman hadn’t thought of or had the time to do. Rest assured if The Walking Dead series gets off the comic’s path Darabont would get it back on. Later this opened the floor to questions about which characters we will see from later in the series as well as who will live and die. In exploring the characters further and free reign (at times) from the book, not everyone is going to live and die as they do in the comic.
The question was brought up whether or not the series will have black and white episodes. This question and imploring from the fans to do so has reached AMC. They are considering Blu-ray and DVD versions that will be in black and white.
The panel asked Darabont exactly what the series would be shot on film or digital video. He responded with “Super 16, lush and creamy”. The footage shown had a real film element to it where the story might have been small but the scope was huge.
There was an edited for Comic Con trailer shown at the panel and on a perpetual loop on the show room floor. This was watched several times but our Mania staff. It was incredibly intoxicating to see Rick Grimes come to life. It wasn’t panel from panel from the comic but after seeing how faithfully the spirit of Kirkman’s written work came to life, you couldn’t wait for this series to begin. What has been screened, so far, by Standards and Practices has not met with any cutting yet.
What was shown was footage were we see Rick’s accident and his “birth” into this frightening new world. There were a few scenes with Lennie James (Jericho and Human Target) that did nothing but drive the panel crazy. Perhaps straying away form the comic really is a good thing if done under the proper guidance (Kirkman himself just wrote and episode as well). Yes, there are zombies on this show, but as many zombie movies forget it’s all about the people who survive.
The Cast’s Reaction:
Without a doubt the one question that is always asked at Comic Con is, did you read or know of the comic? Outside of the production staff, that obviously found it, loved it and wanted to make it a series, the answer was no. What reaffirms our faith in this project is that each and every cast member went out, and got the first trade paperback. Only later to go back again and buy every single one after that. This show us that The Walking Dead series now lies in the hands of the most important people, the actors who love the comic and are bringing it to life.
Awesome Comic Con Moment:
Since this is all about Comic Con we thought we would reveal what Robert calls “Comic Con Karma” (see his column). A theory, which Robert believes, that if something incredible happens to you at Comic Con you should pay it forward. Well whatever Robert did for our readers in his “Survival Guide” columns must have helped out somebody because he now has Frank Darabont’s autograph on a Walking Dead poster (see poster below). While getting in line to get one a fellow conventioneer walked by and handed him a VIP pass to get to the front of the line. Yes, we too hate him.
This is more than just a zombie television series. This is a comic book brought to life. What reaffirms us is Darabont’s and Gale Anne Hurd’s passion for the source material. They both were thrilled to have the opportunity to take a break from the storytelling one can only deliver in a theatrical release. They want these characters to live and breathe. They believe they have found their cast to do so. After hearing Andrew Lincoln, Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, Laurie Holden and Emma Bell talk about their characters and “get it”, we believe AMC is going to have one hell of a series on their hands.
Look for Robert’s interview with the cast and crew as the series makes its debut in October. To hold you over, until them check out the site on AMC here.
The Walking Dead poster by Drew Struzan from Comic Con:
Robert Trate writes two weekly columns for Mania the DVD Shopping Bag and the Toy Maniac. Look for his coverage of The Walking Dead, The Expendables and the JJ Abrams/ Joss Whedon Comic Con panels.