Robert Kirkman Launching ‘Outcast’ With Paul Azaceta, Already In Development For Television [NYCC 2013]
The horror comics genre has been very good to Robert Kirkman. The Walking Dead, the writer's most endearingly popular work, is now well past 100 issues, and the fourth season of AMC's immensely successful television adaption of the series begins this Sunday. And now the writer is returning to the genre, as today Kirkman announced Outcast, a horror comic about exorcism and demonic possession, to be illustrated by veteran artist Paul Azaceta and published under Skybound, the imprint Kirkman founded in partnership with Image Comics. Further, the writer revealed that Outcast is already in the works to be adapted to television by Fox International, with whom Kirkman has a partnership.
In a conference call earlier today, Kirkman expressed his excitement about launching a new comic, saying that though he's been working quite a bit in television lately, he "still loves comics," and they are his main focus. Taking inspiration from The Exorcism and other fiction with similar themes, Outcast focuses on Kyle Barnes, a young man whose mother was a victim of demonic possession, and who has been plagued by similar events his entire life. Without revealing too much, Kirkman said that after years of torment, Barnes reaches a point in which he decides he needs to explore exactly what has been occurring to him and the people around him all this time. Eventually he'll discover that the issues go far deeper than just what has been done to him and his loved ones, and will potentially affect the entire world. The series will have a "real world, dramatic focus," in a similar fashion to The Walking Dead, according to the writer.
While they are very different thematically, there are certainly similar themes that can be explored with stories about demonic possession and zombie invasion, and while Kirkman said there would inevitably be some minor thematic overlap, Outcast will allow him to address and explore different ideas. There will also be a large ensemble cast for what Kirkman called an "epic" story.
As far as adapting the comic to other media, Kirkman shared that Outcast is already in development with Fox International -- who handles the international distribution of The Walking Dead television series -- as he continues to put the comic together. Kirkman will be writing the pilot himself, though he stressed that "this was only ever intended to be a new comic book series," and expressed that he's fortunate to be in a position in which people are interested in looking at his works and potentially adapting them to other media before they are even released. As with The Walking Dead, he'll be working on the comic and the television series simultaneously.
Discussing his collaborator on the title, Kirkman said he's been a fan of Azaceta since the veteran artist's work on the series Grounded, and felt his style was well-suited for Outcast. Though he's previously worked on several titles for Marvel, Dark Horse, Vertigo, Boom and more, Azaceta has yet to be the regular artist on any long form series, but Kirkman felt his "moody, atmospheric style," and use of heavy black was ideal for what he has in mind. Also, unlike much of his previous work, Kirkman revealed that he already has the end of Outcast completely worked out, and in constructing the series he is building to the conclusion he's already decided on.
There is no official release date attached to Outcast at this time, but the book is set to debut in early 2014.