Robert Kirkman’s Former Collaborator/Childhood Friend Sues Him Over Walking Dead Profits
The original artist of The Walking Dead, Tony Moore, is suing his former collaborator Robert Kirkman (the creator and writer of the graphic novel) over the proceeds from the now-hit AMC show. Way back in 2005, Kirkman told Moore that their popular, award-winning graphic novel had the chance of becoming a TV show. Moore wasn’t so sure about that, so he was convinced enough to sign over his rights to Kirkman completely. But now The Walking Dead is the highest-rated show on cable, and Moore is calling foul. Does he have every right to do this? Let’s take a look at the back story.
Beginning in 2003, when the novel was first published by Image Comics, Moore worked on the first six issues of The Walking Dead with Kirkman, then was replaced by Charlie Adlard in 2007. (Moore continued to do the covers.) Obviously, Moore had some rights to this work, and in 2005, he was granted 60 percent of “Comic Publishing Net Proceeds,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. In addition to that, he was entitled to 20 percent of “motion picture net proceeds” for The Walking Dead, as well as Brit. At some point that same year, Kirkman and his agents told Moore that there was a possible TV show in the works for The Walking Dead, but in order for that to happen, Moore would have to sign all of his rights over to Kirkman.
But Moore, not having any faith in the show and assuming it would fall through, did as Kirkman asked and signed his rights away. As we know, the TV didn’t just happen, it became a huge success. And now Kirkman is rich, and Moore hasn’t seen any money. Or, at least, not enough to his liking. Not only that, but Moore isn’t even allowed to check to books to see if he is, indeed, owed anything.
Moore is crying foul, saying that Kirkman “swindled” him and manipulated him into handing over his rights, and now he wants what he feels he is owed. For Kirkman’s part, his attorneys are calling the lawsuit “frivolous,” but are still taking it “very seriously.”
Not knowing how, exactly, this works (referring to the handling of a creator’s rights when something is going to be adapted into television, why someone would agree to sign over their rights over completely, rolling the dice, losing, then claiming it was all a trick), I’d have to say that Kirkman will come out in favor. But I’m not a lawyer, nor was I in the room when Moore signed over his rights. But it’s a real shame it ever had to happen in the first place, considering how it was Kirkman’s and Moore’s collaboration (with their longtime friendship as fuel) that put The Walking Dead on the map.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)