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Robert Kirkman Reveals More of Skybound: Witchdoctors, Thieves, Dinosaurs and Pouches [Comic-Con]

Prodigious Image Comics writer and partner Robert Kirkman held court at Thursday’s Skybound panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego. The imprint was founded by Kirkman to publish original works that he curates, promotes and helps develop for the mass media. Titles include old Kirkman-written favorites like The Walking Dead and Invincible, Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner’s Witch Doctor and Kirkman and Rob Liefeld’s upcoming The Infinite. Seifert and Ketene were on hand to discuss their book, as was Nick Spencer, writer of Skybound’s forthcoming Thief of Thieves.Kirkman told the San Diego crowd that he’s very pleased with Skybound’s success since the venture was first announced one year ago. Witch Doctor is performing particularly well, with the first issue selling out. The four-issue series Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketne, about a magician surgeon, will be immediately followed up by Witch Doctor: The Resuscitation, a December one-shot that begins with a man waking up in a bathtub full of ice with an incision over his kidney. Apparently someone has removed one of his organs and replaced it with another. But whose? And why? The Witch Doctor investigates in his typically arcane way, using tarot cards in concert with x-rays. A second miniseries will begin in March.

Thief of Thieves is a title directly inspired by Kirkman’s work on The Walking Dead television series. Borrowing the writers’ room process, Kirkman is working with Nick Spencer on the first arc of the series, with other collaborators to follow. The story is about a man called Conrad Paulson whose addicted to his job as a master thief. Now of retirement age, Conrad looks back on his life of crime with regret, a feeling informed by his family. But unable to kick the robbing habit completely, Conrad chooses to steal only from other thieves.

“It was a real honor to get asked by Robert to get asked to do this story,” said Spencer. “I was blown away by this character, who’s so richly imagined. If you’re interested in good character study in a noir/heist caper, this is a book for you.”

Thief of Thieves debuts February 12.

The Infinite is a forthcoming time travel action adventure by Kirkman and Rob Liefeld. The book is about a freedom fighter from the future who travels back in time to team-up with his younger self to save the world. The story deals heavily with the concept of a younger version of oneself learning to trust or perhaps even not trust their older wiser self.

Principally, The Infinite was inspired by Robert Kirkman’s desire to work with Liefeld and see the artist draw more characters wearing enormous shoulder pads, pouches and guns. Kirkman cited a recent X-Force story by Liefeld in which the characters appeared without such copious gear and said he was disappointed to see Liefeld distancing himself from his design traditions. Liefeld said that Kirkman implored him to “embrace” the pouches and guns. The duo also promised that The Infinite would answer the question all Liefeld observers have asked: what’s in all those pouches?

The Infinite’s fourth issue is in production and Kirkman said the series would ship on time.

Kirkman briefly touched on his all-ages Super Dinosaur book and told the crowd, “It’s everything that I would have wanted in a comic book when I was 15. I dare you to not like this comic.”

Album is a new endeavor by Kirkman and The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard whereby they create self-contained, 48-56-page hardcovers every year or two, depending on availability. The first Album is called “The Passenger” and is due in mid 2012. The story takes place in a future where humanity is still dependent on fossil fuels, ones imported from distant planets. It takes two years there-and-back to bring space crude oil back to Earth, and the journey is made more dangerous by the ship’s protector robot malfunctioning and trying to kill everybody. Album One: The Passenger will be published in North America and France simultaneously.

Little was revealed about The Walking Dead beyond the title of the new story arc, “A Larger World.” Readers will be introduced to new communities of survivors, some friendly to the series’ leads and some not.

Asked whether The Walking Dead will ever end, Kirkman said that it will either when he dies or he simply doesn’t wish to write it anymore. But that won’t be any time soon. “I feel to this day that I’m just getting started,” he said. There’s much more ahead than there is behind. I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. I think we’ll make it to 300 and far beyond that.”

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