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During a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Kirkman revealed the cover (above) and that he’d develop the project with artist Paul Azaceta (Amazing Spider-Man) — whom he’s long been a fan of.
“I’ve been working in TV a lot but I still love the comics, that is my main focus. I’m exited to be getting back into it and doing something new. This is the first time since The Walking Dead that I’ve done a comic that is a very real-world dramatic take on a horror concept, and this is going to be me doing that again,” Kirkman said.
Outcast centers on Kyle Barnes, who has been plagued by demonic possession since he was a child. Now an adult, he embarks on a spiritual journey to find answers, but what he uncovers could mean the end of life on Earth as we know it. “He’s going to try and look for answers and figure out what he’s experiencing and along the way he’s going to discover there’s a bigger picture here,” Kirkman said of the title, which will arrive in early 2014. “It’s a big, epic story that involves exorcism and demonic possession, and we’re trying to shine a new light on that genre of horror-fiction.”
(Outcast posters will be distributed at the Image booth this weekend at New York Comic Con.)
The monthly title, which hails from Kirkman’s Image Comics imprint, Skybound, is also being developed for the small screen via Fox International Channels, a strategic partner on The Walking Dead who also identified the zombie drama during its script stage. FIC has exclusive first-window broadcast rights to the show outside of the U .S., where it broadcasts it in more than 100 territories worldwide. A network for the adaptation has not yet been announced. Kirkman and Circle of Confusion’s Dave Alpert (The Walking Dead) will executive produce the drama. (For those keeping score, the project is Kirkman’s fifth scripted TV series in the works: Walking Dead and its upcoming companion series; Thief of Thieves‘ adaption at AMC; and Clone, which is in the works at Universal Television.)
For their part, Kirkman said FIC got an early look at the comic Outcast and he’ll be writing the pilot script for the TV adaptation as well. And, like The Walking Dead, he’ll be deeply involved with both. “It’s a fun balance to strike, but the two projects are kept very separately in my head,” he said of the process.
Kirkman said Outcast will explore similar themes to The Walking Dead — most notably the urgency that comes with loved ones affected by an outside force (possession instead of whatever is behind the zombie outbreak). “There are some similarities but hopefully we’ll be [covering] new ground that makes this very different from The Walking Dead,” he noted. “This is going to be a big, epic story with a lot of characters and we’ll probably lose a few along the way. I don’t know if it’s quite as much of a bloodbath as The Walking Dead has turned out to be but there certainly is an element of, ‘No one is safe.’ “
The prolific comics scribe (Invincible, Super Dinosaur) noted he has had several horror ideas in mind for a few years but only recently felt like the time was right to further explore them as the genre has seen a renaissance both in comics and on the small screen.
Unlike The Walking Dead, Kirkman noted that Outcast marks the first time he’s gone into a project knowing how it all ends. “The hope is [Outcast] will continue for years and years but I know exactly where this is going,” he noted of the process.
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