To promote a documentary called Comics in Focus: The Image Revolution, The Hollywood Reporter posted a short clip with Robert Kirkman, and Image publishers Eric Stephenson and Jim Valentino. Kirkman had been trying desperately to have his zombie graphic novel idea picked up, despite the skepticism of the publishers who initially turned it down. They indicated that there had never been a successful zombie book in the history of comics. They wanted a hook. Here Kirkman discusses how he finally sold his idea:
Kirkman recalls his discussions with the publishers:
Oh, I forgot to tell you that this is actually a big setup for an alien invasion.
Stephenson continued describing Kirkman’s additional pitch:
The zombies have been created by the aliens… because there’s this alien race that wants to take over earth, and they want to wipe out humanity first, so they’re doing it with the zombie virus. Over the course of the zombie part of the story, I’m going to be laying all these hints, so that when people go back and read it, they’ll say “Oh man– he did this here and here and here– I didn’t even see it.
Valentino adds begrudgingly:[I said] Well OK, as far as I knew, that had never been done.Kirkman continues:
So they accepted the book based on that, and once the book came out, I remember Eric Stephenson calling me up and saying…
You know, this is awesome– I gotta hand it to you, you’ve got me reading these zombie comics– one thing has bothered me through all three of these issues. I don’t see any of these easter eggs for the alien invasion in here, and Robert just starts laughing maniacally and says: “There’s no alien invasion. I just made that up just to get you guys to do the book! You said you wanted a hook.”
HOLY ZOMBIE VIRUS! Could you imagine that twist revealed at some point in the existing graphic novel and the television show??? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could’ve gotten to my TV remote fast enough! How about you?