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Robert Kirkman: Growing Up with Jawas and Zombies

Bonnie Burton | October 14, 2011



(Photo by Megan Mack)

Interview by Bonnie Burton

You can’t be a fan of zombies and not know the name Robert Kirkman. As the creator of the award-winning comic book series The Walking Dead for Image Comics and the hit TV show The Walking Dead airing on AMC with a new season starting Oct 16, Kirkman is making us all a little more nervous when we hear something go bump in the middle of the night. Kirkman’s talents have also extended to other comics such as Invincible, Haunt, Guarding the Globe, Ultimate X-Men and Marvel Zombies, just to name a few.

StarWars.com chats with Kirkman about why The Walking Dead needed to give zombies and the people fighting them a story worthy of both comics and television. Kirkman also geeks out about Jawas, George Lucas and why Boba Fett would be great at fighting off hordes of zombies.

ON THE WALKING DEAD:

What was the genesis for your wildly popular comic book series, The Walking Dead?

The main idea that resulted in The Walking Dead is the fact that I do not like the way most zombie movies end. I’m a fan of zombie movies; they’re always entertaining; but they only have only one of two endings — everybody dies or the people who survive run off into the sunset and you never see them again. It always occurred to me that the most interesting stories could be told after that point. How do they continue to survive? Where do they go? How do they find food? How do they build shelter? How do people interact in a world like this one or two years later? Is society rebuilt or is civilization lost for good? These are the kinds of questions that I would always think about.

At the time I was trying to come up with a new comic book series and I just thought, “Wow, that’s a story that I could really kind of dig into and tell for decades. My main goal in life is to create a comic book series that I’ll be able to write for years and years for as long as I wanted and be able to control it and tell the stories I wanted. And that became The Walking Dead.

How has the experience differed for you working on The Walking Dead TV series on AMC of your own comic?

It’s been easy because the comic book still exists; I’m still writing every month — that’s what I do and I do whatever I want with those stories; and nothing has changed at all in any way in as far as how the comic is made. When it comes to the television show… I don’t know how to make a television show. I don’t act, I don’t operate a camera, and I don’t know any of the things that go into making a TV show. So it hasn’t been difficult at all to go, “Okay, this is a completely different medium that I know nothing about, let’s work with 5,000 very talented people to try to come up with how this works.”

A lot your comic book fans have been debating why certain characters and story lines have gone in a different direction on the TV show. Has it been strange seeing The Walking Dead morph into something else on TV? Is the writers’ room like a zombie battlefield where you are fighting to keep certain elements from your comic in the show, or are you more flexible with the adaptation?

Being in the writers room is actually really fun because we’re delving into stories that I told years ago. The material that we’re adapting into the show now is stuff that I wrote 8 or 9 years ago. Being the guy who wrote that stuff, I look back on it and think about how I might do something different or better. I don’t look at that stuff and demand that things don’t change. I’m actively excited about changing things and adapting it and making it better by doing different things with it. If anything, I’m the guy i the room saying, “We don’t have to do that! What are you talking about?”

Other people are actually trying to convince me to keep things in the show from the comic. It’s a fun process and it hasn’t really been that hard for me to let go on the TV show just because I’m surrounded by such talented people.

ON GROWING UP WITH STAR WARS:

You’ve been quoted in your most recent bio, that you wore out your VHS copies of Return of the Jedi, what were some of your childhood memories of Star Wars?

I actually saw Return of the Jedi first. I watched that VHS copy so much that I didn’t even know it was the third movie in a trilogy. I didn’t see Star Wars until I was in ninth grade. I lot of people debate whether or not to see the prequel trilogy first because if spoils the reveal that Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father. I don’t think I ever didn’t know that Vader was Luke’s father. I guess I came across Star Wars in a weird way, but I guess that’s just how it happened.

As child of pop culture, you were a fan of G.I. Joe and Transformers as well as Star Wars. When you started drawing at a young age, did you ever merge your fandoms into one comic?

I don’t still have the drawings, but I know I drew Spider-Man and Batman with lightsabers and stuff like that.

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Star Wars Shortbread Cookies

Bonnie Burton | October 12, 2011

For fans that want to make a dessert worthy of a Kessel Run, grab your Williams-Sonoma Star Wars cookie cutters and make some tasty treats with this Star Wars Shortbread Cookies recipe from LondonBaking.com!

Jawa & Chewburgers! Utinni!

Bonnie Burton | October 12, 2011

Everything Burger blogger Charlton Yu made these delicious homages to Star Wars for the fan site Star Wars Remix.

Yu writes:

Have you seen Star Wars Remix yet? This website celebrates the Star Wars universe by featuring non-traditional “artwork,” similar to some of the things I was doing for Burger365. Of course I had to create some Bonus Burger365 pieces and came up with these “Jawa Burgers.”

Yu writes:

Here’s another burger that I created for Star Wars Remix. In hindsight, I should have used a Boca Burger patty to create “Chew-Boca.”

Read more:
Jawa Burgers (via Everything Burger)
Chewbacca (via Everything Burger)

DIY Baby Yoda Costume!

Bonnie Burton | October 11, 2011

With Halloween around the corner, now is a great time to start thinking of which Star Wars characters to dress up as.

Parents in search of a fun costume for their younglings might want to check out this fan-made Yoda costume with some rather impressive ear hair!

Find out how to make it here:
Yoda Costume for Baby (via Instructables.com)

Jedi Disney Princesses Cake!

Bonnie Burton | October 10, 2011

Remember that awesome dad who photoshopped Ewoks into his family vacation photos so his kids could believe Ewoks were real? Now he’s responsible for giving his daughter an adorkable birthday cake mixing the two things she loves most: Star Wars and Disney princesses!

If there was a Nobel Peace Prize for being an awesome dad, Anthony Herrera would get our vote!

Anthony Herrera writes:

My daughter really enjoys Star Wars. Like many other little five year old girls my daughter also likes Disney Princesses. As parents my wife and I like to encourage both. So when it came to planning a birthday we opted to try a little combination. Why not? Nothing says that a Disney Princess can’t get along with a Jedi or a princess from a galaxy far, far away.

In steps our friend Trisha Patterson, a creative superstar when it comes to making cakes. We asked her to make our daughter a cake knowing what interests her most. This is what she came up with. Nothing beats the look of a little girls face when she sees two things she loves to put together on a cake made just for her.

Check out the photos here:
Star Wars Disney Princess Cake

Ewoks Photobomb Vacation Photos!

Bonnie Burton | September 26, 2011

While most of our parents let us believe in Santa, the Easter Bunny, Hanukkah Harry and the Tooth Fairy for as long as they could, not every many of them would photoshop them into your family vacation photos.

So when awesome “Dad of the Year” Anthony Herrera photoshopped imagines of Ewoks into his family’s vacation photos so his kids could continue believing that the beloved inhabitants of Endor really existed.

You can check out all his Yub Nubtastic photos here:
This is What Happens When Your Dad’s A Graphic Designer: Ewoks!

Anthony Herrera writes on his blog:

Being the Star Wars geek that I am (so is she), I told her that this is where the Ewoks live. She spent a good chuck of our time hiking keeping a lookout for any Ewoks. Coming home I can’t say that she wasn’t disappointed that we didn’t find any. I had to explain that they are extremely shy and hardly ever let anyone see them. After we got home, and after I had a little time alone with the photos, I told her I thought I saw something strange in a few pictures.

We viewed them on the TV to get a larger image. You can imagine how surprised and excited she was when we discovered that we didn’t see any Ewoks, but they saw us, and had certainly taken an interest in her and her little brother. Maybe I’m a little wrong for lying to her and falsifying the pictures, but I don’t care. She’ll never forget the time she spent in the big woods with Ewoks.

Read more about it here:
A Dad Photoshopped Ewoks Into His Family Pictures to Convince His Kids Ewoks Were Real (via Gizmodo.com)

AT-AT Pancakes

Bonnie Burton | September 20, 2011

Nothing makes breakfast more fun than eating an AT-AT invasion! Find out how you can transform boring pancakes into yummy vehicles headed to your plate!

Learn how to make these pancakes here:
Star Wars Pancakes

Death Star Cosplay Dress!

Bonnie Burton | July 29, 2011

When I first came across vlogger and craftster Jennifer Landa and her awesome Star Wars videos on Youtube I knew eventually she’d create an amazing cosplay Star Wars costume, and sure enough she did!

At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International, she debuted her fancy Death Star dress complete with galaxy tights and a TIE Interceptor hair accessory! StarWars.com chats with Jennifer about her Imperial couture that would make even Darth Vader smitten.

Why did you decide to make a cute dress of the Death Star?

For months I couldn’t decide what I wanted to cosplay as! I just knew I wanted to do a quirky take on someone or something from the Star Wars universe. I had seen a Death Star costume before and loved the idea of cosplaying as a thing instead of a person. I love personifying objects! So when I saw Robin E. Kaplan’s adorable print of a girl dressed as a Death Star, I freaked out. Her Death Star character was so cute and feminine and anything but a scary super weapon! After that, I knew I had to go as Miss Death Star.

How did you come up with the design?

I wanted the costume to have a space-age yet retro feel! So I decided to make the Death Star more like an exaggerated bubble skirt. I cut the skirt so it was a shorter length and chose a form-fitting bodice. For me, it was important to keep the whole look feminine and flattering. When I was designing the costume, I came up with the character “Miss Death Star.” I imagined her to be a cross between Ethel Merman and Judy Garland. I know, it’s a little strange but the fun part about cosplaying is really getting into character!

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The Giant Cardboard R2-D2 You’re Looking For!

Bonnie Burton | July 18, 2011

Star Wars fan Len Komanac made this gigantic R2-D2 for an art exhibit.

OddityCentral.com reports:

Len used to 4 fridge boxes, 5 AC boxes, 3 dryer boxes, 3 rolls of blue duct tape, 1 roll of aluminum tape, 52 glue sticks, 1 can of white paint and 2 sharpie pens to make this gigantic R2-D2. He worked on it for 50 hours. This super-sized version of R2-D2 will be showcased at the “Dr. StrangeLen or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Make the Art” exhibit, in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, so if you’re in the area between July 16 and September 2, don’t miss the chance to check it out.

Read more about it here :
Star Wars Fan Builds Giant R2-D2 Model

Make These Clone Trooper Desserts!

Bonnie Burton | June 22, 2011

Nothing tastes better than clone trooper helmet… if you know how to make it with the right ingredients! Dot shows off how she made these yummy clone trooper candy pops and cupcakes on Instructables.com!

These Clone Trooper Candy Pops are made using Rolo candies and marshmallow fondant!

Dot says about her Clone Trooper Cupcakes:

For The Clone Wars birthday party, we came up with the idea for upside down clone trooper helmet cupcakes. These cupcakes were the hit of the party with the five-year-old boy set!

They are not only impressive looking, they are also tasty. The marshmallow fondant on the outside actually tastes like marshmallows, not not regular, mediocre tasting fondant.

These cupcakes could easily also be adapted to be stormtroopers rather than clone troopers, if your Star Wars fan is more old school. Simple change the pattern on the cupcake!

May the dessert be with you!