Robert Kirkman is doing very well financially as the creator of The Walking Dead franchise, but a lion’s share of profits come from the popular comic books.
There is no denying that The Walking Dead has become a worldwide phenomenon. The franchise stretches over comic books, television shows, video games, board games, trading cards, apparel, toys, and just about anything else fans can imagine.
It would be easy to think that the creator of the franchise would be getting mega-rich off the popular AMC zombie drama programs. However, it is the comic books where Robert Kirkman is doing extremely well.
At the time of this publishing, an issue of The Walking Dead comics will retail for $3.99, which is pretty standard for a comic these days. According to Kirkman during his appearance during episode 404 of Kevin Smith’s SMODCAST, the creators of the comics are doing VERY well for themselves based on the sales of their issues.
"“Because of the Image Comics deal, because of what the Image founders — Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Jim Valentino, Erik Larsen, Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, Whilce Portacio — because of the company that those guys set up, again, me, Charlie Adlard, Tony, the profits from that book, the lion’s share go to us,” Kirkman said. “You pay the same fee as if you do a small bit of business for Image Comics. The fee doesn’t go up.”"
While there is no clarification for what “the lion’s share” is in terms of a numerical value, it would be fair to say that Kirkman and comic artists Charlie Adlard and Tony Moore have done quite well off the profits of the hugely popular series.
Choosing Image to publish The Walking Dead has turned out to be one of the best decisions Kirkman has ever made. Not only is he able to create his own vision with the support of other creative minds but he retains the rights to his property and can profit off their flat-rate pricing.
"“So when you have a monumental success, it would be as if all of the money that Scholastic gave…I shouldn’t say this..but all of the money Scholastic keeps from the Harry Potter books, they gave to J.K. Rowling instead,” he explained. “So the publishing on Walking Dead has generated more for me than the show.”"
Of course, there are a lot more mouths to feed when it comes to the shows as well. The cast, crew, advertising, promotion, sets, props, and everything that goes along with bringing the story to life costs a lot of money. When it comes to the comics, things get much more simple and there are fewer individuals to divide the profits between.
The best news of all of this is that The Walking Dead comics seem to be safe for a long time. Robert Kirkman and the team always seem to come up with compelling storylines to keep readers coming back, and the fact it makes a healthy profit is a good incentive to do so.
Hopefully, The Walking Dead franchise can continue to grow and develop as the flagship AMC show starts its ninth season and the companion series fourth season draws to a close. Meanwhile, the popular comic series is still going strong, with issue 184 set for release in October 2018.