Well it seems a little self-serving to post this, since unlike Sean or Shawn I post here pretty much daily. But I guess I never addressed my history with The Walking Dead, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let them post and not try and get some of that sweet, sweet #TWD10Years attention, so here goes.
By 2006 I had pretty much checked out of the comic book scene. The big titles I loved didn’t seem to be going anywhere and I got more into movies and video games. I hadn’t been to a comic shop in years. Then I started hearing about a zombie comic book called The Walking Dead. I’m not sure how it popped onto my radar but for a comic to be popping up on my pop culture radar must’ve meant it was a pretty big deal. So when I saw Book One on my friend’s shelf I decided to give it a glance while I was in the bathroom. Big mistake. My feet fell asleep while I read the entire thing.
I started waiting for the books to come out, and then the trades, and then the issues. I was hooked. Here was a story that, yes, on the surface was a zombie book, but really went so much deeper into humanity (or lack thereof), larger-than-life villains, conflicted heroes, and huge moments that come up out of nowhere and knock you on your ass.
When AMC announced they were adapting TWD into a show I was over the moon. I was a TV junkie at this point. When the show launched I even recapped it for a TV and Movie site at the company I used to work at. For free. It wasn’t part of my job. I just did it because A) I love attention and B) I love The Walking Dead.
Cosmic forces conspired and my coworker and friend Jon Small AKA Kid Finesse asked me if I was willing to consult for Skybound. Uh, yes. Absolutely, as Shawn “Big Clutch” Kirkham likes to say. So I consulted, got a check, got a free Invincible Compendium (which I burned through in about 3 days), and thought that was that. But it wasn’t. A few months later Shawn told me they were looking for someone to come onboard full time to oversee TheWalkingDead.com and all other web activities. “Uh, yeah, I’ll quit my job.”
A few months later I was starting work at Skybound’s new offices in Culver City, and before I knew it I was off to Seattle for Emerald City Comicon, went to Philadelphia for The Walking Dead Escape, finally got to go to E3, hit San Diego for Comic-Con International, visited England for the Eurogamer Conference, and now I’m on a plane heading to New York Comic Con (hey industry, can we agree on a spelling for “Comic Con”?) to celebrate TEN YEARS of The Walking Dead.
What Robert has accomplished with The Walking Dead is incredible. A small, black-and-white comic about the zombie apocalypse has seen over 114 issues published, a major television show become a monster hit, a video game that earned something like 100 game-of-the-year honors, a gigantic obstacle course/zombie run, and more on the way, including a SECOND show. And the comic is STILL my favorite part: Negan is one of my favorite bad guys of all time, Jesus is awesome, Ezekiel has a tiger, and I have no idea what’s going to happen next (hey Mackiewicz, where are the 116 proofs?).
So let me end with some gratitude. Huge thanks to Shawn, Robert, and DA for letting me be a part of this and sending me all over the US and England (can we do Japan next?). Thanks to Sean, Helen, Lizzy, Kemper, Dan, and Neil (and Dan and Nick at the warehouse) for making the office a great place to come in to every day. And thanks to all the fans that I get to talk with on Twitter, Facebook, and at conventions. I can talk Walking Dead until your ears fall off, so bring it.