Like many teenagers, Robert Kirkman loved reading comic books and going to horror movies. Unlike many teenagers, Kirkman made that love into a career.
In 2003, Kirkman released the first issue of The Walking Dead, a grim, gory horror comic about a group of people struggling to survive a zombie apocalypse. In addition to achieving great critical and commercial success, the comic caught the eye of acclaimed director Frank Darabont. Kirkman and Darabont's TV adaptation of the series has netted dozens of glowing reviews and earned AMC its best ratings ever.
Last week, The Atlantic spoke with Kirkman about the comics, the TV series, last night's season finale, and his personal tips for fighting off the walking dead.
You're the creator of The Walking Dead, and you've been extensively involved with the Marvel Zombies comic series. Why are you so interested in zombies?
Well, they're kind of awesome. [laughs] Also, as far as horror goes, your stories have to be about the people—just because zombies can't talk ... When you're telling a horror story that's about regular people dealing with these fantastic problems, I think that's always going to have a lot more appeal than watching vampires go and get coffee together, or seeing werewolves hanging out in the woods. No one can really relate to getting bitten by a werewolf, and turning into a werewolf, and how that's going to affect them, and how hard that is to deal with. But being chased by something scary, having to figure out how to survive ... those are all emotions that people can relate to on a human level.
MORE ON The Walking Dead:
Scott Meslow: 'The Walking Dead': When Friends Turn Into Zombies
Alyssa Rosenberg: 'The Walking Dead': Clint Eastwood Meets 'Gone With the Wind'
Jared Keller: Can 'The Walking Dead' Revive the Zombie Genre?
What's unique about your take on zombies in The Walking Dead?