When Walking Dead co-creator Robert Kirkman was introduced alongside Dawn of the Dead director Zack Snyder at Friday night’s screening of the film, he claimed he was “only here to ask him (Snyder) about the Superman movie”. Kirkman, who recently completed The Walking Dead issue #99 and an early draft of the eighth episode of Season 3 of AMC's hit TV series, said it was both “weird” and “kinda cool” going back and forth between the two incarnations of his creation.
Snyder seemed to think the biggest difference between the person who directed the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead and the director he is today was additional tattoos. He explained that there seems to be a prevailing attitude suggesting that when you make a successful film, you then get to do more of what you want and less of what you have to. With Dawn of the Dead, that simply wasn’t the case. “[Dawn] was personal and fun to make; it was a great experience, I really enjoyed the material and I really like that zombie world.” He attributes much of the creative freedom exercised during the filming to a lack of supervision. Had the studio had a heavier hand in the film, those delightful, and surprisingly funny, moments of contented existence within a zombie-infested world might have been lost entirely in favor of “jumps”.
Looking back on their early inspirations, Kirkman revealed that, as a child, he was only allowed to watch one horror film per year on Halloween and he alternated between Hellraiser and Hellraiser 2. So when he finally did see films like Friday the 13th, he found them to be “kinda hokey”. Consequently he is on a mission to ensure that his kids watch them by age ten so they will be able to experience the fear factor he missed out on. Naturally, this will happen when their mom is “on a trip or something” and the children must agree to never to speak of it to her.

Snyder says classics including The Thing, The Shining, and Alien “really fucked me up, in a good way”. And of course he attributes some zombie fascination to George Romero, saying that you “kinda have to” acknowledge his influence, since he really created the genre as we know it.

According to Snyder, he heard that, at one point, Romero wanted to fight him. Despite Romero’s age, Snyder was not so certain that he could easily defeat the Godfather of all Zombies, since he is very tall (6’5”!). However, he would much rather fight him than Alan Moore, creator of Watchmen, the film adaptation of which Snyder directed.

Which brought up the question who are more fanatic? Zombie fans or Watchmen fans? Answer: zombie fans, because there’s just no reasoning with them. Snyder has received a lot of flack for the running zombies present in Dawn of the Dead but says he likes zombies of both the fast and slow variety. Kirkman agrees, saying that there is room for both “shamblers” and “runners” within the zombie-apocalyptic universe.

As to the evolution of Walking Dead the comic being influenced by the evolution of the AMC show, Kirkman insists he will not allow it. “I feel like the comic existed for a long time before the show and I would be doing a, ya know, disservice to myself if I changed the way I did anything. So I still kinda, ya know, make things up as I go along, fly by the seat of my pants, and I don’t try very hard.” He does, however, feel that being in the writers room on the show has made him a better writer.

Unfortunately, though Kirkman claimed everyone would wait in the theater for the director to go retrieve a copy of it, all Snyder would say about his latest project Superman: The Man of Steel was that he was in the editing process and it was going “really well”. On a happier note, Snyder did suggest that he would definitely be interested in directing an episode of Walking Dead, though he would have to seriously adjust his usual one shot per day filming schedule. Cue thunderous applause and (hopefully) drafting of contracts.


Emma Fyffe is writer slash actor slash host of the (mostly) comedic variety residing in Hollywood. She would like to read other books but is currently in it to win it with the George R.R. Martin series A Song of Ice and Fire. She also thinks the presence of two "R"s as middle initials is recipe for success. Tweet-tweet: @EmmaFyffe


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Travis Moody is a writer for Comics Bulletin