Everything You Need to Know About Adapting Comic Books for TV

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The Writers’ Room Goes Behind the Scenes With Comic Book Adaptations
by Michael Schneider

Zombies have treated the brains behind AMC’s The Walking Dead very well. But Robert Kirkman, who originated the comic book series that inspired the show, admits the early days of his career were slower than, well, the undead. “You have to be crazy to get into [writing],” Kirkman tells SundanceTV’s The Writers’ Room, which digs into the art of creating some of TV’s biggest series. “I went massively into debt.”mag-writers-room1

On April 25’s special comic book-themed episode, Kirkman recounts some of the obstacles he faced in getting the TV adaptation of The Walking Dead made. That includes the NBC development executive who gave Kirkman a disheartening note: “I love this, but does it have to have zombies in it?”

Also in this episode, Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar discuss how they fought the odds to get their show on the air in 2001 — back when comic book adaptations weren’t in vogue. “Pre-9/11, the reaction was negative,” Millar says of his series. “But after that, people were ready for a hero.”

Smallville aired at a time before social media, streaming and time-shifting changed the way viewers experienced television. Kirkman admits it’s tough now to ignore all that chatter, but in the end, “we only try to satisfy ourselves. That’s the big truth.”

In Season 2, The Writers’ Room also features the writers, executive producers and stars ofScandalHouse of CardsThe Good WifeSons of Anarchy and Pretty Little LiarsJim Rash, who plays the naive Dean Pelton on NBC’s Community, returns as host.

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