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3 YEARS

'Walking Dead' Creator Robert Kirkman Responds to Fraud Lawsuit

Original Walking Dead Cover Art - P 2012

Robert Kirkman, the comic book writer who created The Walking Dead and the hit AMC television series by the same name, is firing back at the lawsuit filed Thursday by childhood friend and collaborator Tony Moore, who claims he was duped into signing away his rights to the lucrative franchise.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Kirkman, repped by attorney Allen Grodsky, writes:

"The lawsuit is ridiculous, we each had legal representation seven years ago and now he is violating the same contract he initiated and approved and he wants to misrepresent the fees he was paid and continues to be paid for the work he was hired to do. Tony regularly receives payment for the work he did as penciler, inker and for gray tones on the first six issues of The Walking Dead comic series and he receives royalties for the TV show, to assert otherwise is simply incorrect."

Kirkman also provided images of the first few editions of The Walking Dead comic (left) that label him as creator and Moore as "penciler, inker, gray tones."

As we first reported yesterday, Moore says in the lawsuit that he was fraudulently convinced to assign his interest in the material over to Kirkman but has received very little compensation and has not be able to access profit statements from properties including Walking Dead.

Moore, who grew up with Kirkman and worked together on several projects, claimed his deal granted him 60 percent of "Comic Publishing Net Proceeds" in connection with Walking Dead and another project called Brit; 20 percent of "motion picture net proceeds" in connection with Walking Dead and Brit; and 50 percent of "motion picture net proceeds" from another project called Battle Pope.

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But Moore says he hasn't received much revenue nor any profit statements from Kirkman or his company, despite the success of his projects. "Indeed, they have not issued a single statement or allowed access to their books and records in accordance with the reporting obligations of the agreement," the complaint alleges.

Walking Dead premiered on AMC on Halloween 2010 and has since become basic cable's highest-rated series, drawing as many as 7.3 million viewers.

Email: Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

Twitter: @THRMattBelloni