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For die-hard fans of The Walking Dead comics, digital one-shot The Walking Dead: The Alien is a must-read.
The issue was written by Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Saga) and Marcos Martin, who founded digital distribution platform Panel Syndicate, which released the issue Wednesday.
The single issue reveals a massive secret about Rick Grimes — the hero played on the AMC drama by Andrew Lincoln.
And that secret is … the fate of his kid brother, Jeff Grimes, first mentioned in the third issue of The Walking Dead.
“I’d been fascinated by the idea of Rick Grimes’ long-lost kid brother ever since he was first mentioned waaaaaay back in Walking Dead #3,” Vaughan wrote in the afterword of the issue.
The one-shot is available for download now at Vaughan and Martin’s PanelSyndicate.com, which aims to distribute comics inexpensively for everyone. Those interested in scoring a copy can name their price, all the way down to $0. But take note: The creators do all the work for free upfront and get paid only if the audience wants to support it.
To hear Vaughan and Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman tell it, The Walking Dead: The Alien came about when the latter wanted to publish Panel Syndicate’s first venture — 10-parter The Private Eye. Vaughan and Martin agreed to a slick hardcover for a price: only if Kirkman would allow them to create something in the Walking Dead universe.
“It felt like the kind of fun, old-school comic crossover that never happens anymore because comics companies are owned by major corporations and there’s too much red tape and hassle,” Vaughan said in an interview with Kirkman about the origins of The Walking Dead: The Alien. (Watch the full interview, below.)
The one-shot takes place in Barcelona — where Martin is from — and reveals that the apocalypse isn’t just happening in America.
“In the comics, we’ve stayed in the continental United States; we haven’t really ever explained what’s happened outside of it,” Kirkman said. “I used to joke that people are hanging out in Australia and they’re fine and it’s just the American continents that are all messed up — but that’s not the case.”
The Walking Dead: The Alien centers on Jeff Grimes, who wakes up in Barcelona and meets local girl Claudia, a museum curator, and their efforts to return to the states where the American government is rumored to have found a way to contain the outbreak.
Click here to buy/download the issue.
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