'Walking Dead' Creator Robert Kirkman Settles Lawsuit Over Ownership, Royalties

Kirkman settles litigation with a childhood friend who was trying to grab co-control over the lucrative zombie franchise.

The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman has resolved a lawsuit brought by a former collaborator who accused him of leaving him for dead and walking away with profits from the lucrative franchise.

Michael "Tony" Moore, sued Kirkman in California state court in February, claiming to be entitled to has much as half the proceeds from the comic book franchise, which also includes the hit AMC series.

But both parties now jointly tell The Hollywood Reporter that they have figured out a way to kill the dispute: "Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore are pleased to jointly announce that they have reached an amicable agreement in their respective lawsuits and all parties have settled the entire matter to everyone's mutual satisfaction. Neither side will be discussing any details but will instead happily and productively spend their time focused on their own work and move on in their lives."

In his lawsuit, Moore alleged that he grew up with Kirkman and had worked on the Walking Dead comics series and other projects. He said that Kirkman and his agents had duped him into assigning his interest in the material over to Kirkman but that his deal granted him 60 percent of "comic publishing net proceeds," 20 percent of "motion picture net proceeds" and further financial interest in other projects.

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Arguing that he had never received much revenue nor any profit statements, Moore demanded a rescission of the copyright assignment.

That led to counterclaims in which Kirkman alleged that he had overcompensated Moore for his work and was entitled to money back. Kirkman also demanded damages because Moore allegedly had breached the confidentiality provision of their agreement.

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The lawsuit briefly was moved to a federal court as Moore added a new claim seeking a declaration that he was the co-owner of the Walking Dead copyright.

The litigation featured no shortage of inflammatory words. Moore called Kirkman "a proud liar and fraudster" in the lawsuit. Kirkman responded to Moore's claims by saying "the lawsuit is ridiculous" and that Moore had been paid for his work as a penciler and inker on the first six issues of the Walking Dead comic book.

At Comic-Con in July, Kirkman said the sides were working through the issue. Despite some of the heated rhetoric and moves in the discovery stage, the parties managed to do just that. A notice of settlement was filed Monday in California federal court.

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner