CHARLIE Adlard: “You can do what you want about the zombies.
The extreme stuff that happens to the characters is quite rare and a
lotmore powerful when you do it to a human being rather than the
monster.” KIMBERLY DELA CRUZ
In person, British comic book artist Charles “Charlie” Adlard is a lively, talkative fellow, the exact opposite of the shambling, moaning, flesh-eating zombies he has brought to un-life as the penciller of “The Walking Dead,” which is now a record-breaking cable TV drama with fans worldwide.
Adlard came on board in 2004 with the art chores on issue No. 7 and has not stopped—drawing more than 100 issues of the black-and-white comic book. He will soon begin work on issue No. 130. He even has a cameo appearance as one of the zombies in the pilot for the hit AMC TV show.
The 48-year-old Adlard was in Manila early this month as Fully Booked brought him in to do signings and answer fan questions.
Of the shocking character deaths in the book, Adlard says: “You can do what you want about the zombies. The extreme stuff that happens to the characters is quite rare and a lot more powerful when you do it to a human being rather than the monster.”
The Shrewsbury, UK-based Adlard chatted with Inquirer Lifestyle Super at Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street.
How did you get the gig to draw “The Walking Dead”?
Robert Kirkman (the series’ writer) e-mailed me out of the blue, asking if I’d like to work on this small comic book called “The Walking Dead.” He had published “Codeflesh,” a series I worked on with Joe Casey. To be honest, the reason I said yes at the time was because I was between jobs. I was literally looking for the next thing as any struggling comic book artist. It had to be seriously bad for me to refuse to do it.
What’s it like to see the property become such a huge success?
Obviously it’ s amazing, but it’s also kind of surreal. I live in a very rural part of the UK. I feel very removed from the mania of “The Walking Dead.” My day hasn’t really changed from the day I did issue 7 to now when I’m doing issue 130. It’s kind of a surreal experience when I come to places like this and I see the crowds.
It was bizarre on set just seeing our creation come to life, and seeing the money they put into it, and walking around four blocks of Atlanta which they sealed off just to shoot the zombie apocalypse. It felt like you were in a movie and not a TV show. So those moments are really kind of special moments but it’s also nice to get back to the normality of my existence at home.
What challenges you about working on the book?
It’s the challenge that excites me. If it didn’t, I wouldn’t draw it. If it were a really easy thing to do, I don’t think I’d have the inspiration and excitement for it—how am I going to solve this problem every day, and for me that sounds fun. It’s not a chore. It’s not a problem. If you’re not thinking about getting better, you just might as well give up.
What’s next for you?
Obviously I have no intention of leaving “The Walking Dead” just yet. We have another book in the works called “The Passenger,” but it’s different because it’s a one-off and in the style of a French comic book album, just 50-odd pages.
After that, because of my love for French comic books, I’m doing a two-book series for Soleil in France called “Vampire State Building.” I think it’s pretty obvious what that’s about.
Has Robert shared with you the ending of “The Walking Dead”?
We have talked about that. It’s not a secret that we’ve got an ending planned. We’d be foolish not to have an ending planned at some point.
Where we implement it is a different thing. It’s the sort of thing we can start implementing 12 issues from now, or 200 issues from now. Who knows? It all depends on so many factors.
What do you enjoy most about “The Walking Dead?”
The money, of course! (Laughs) Actually, it’s the freedom it’s given me to do whatever I want within this industry now. I feel very privileged. Robert and I are our own bosses. We can pretty much do whatever we want to.
It’s great working for Image, which is a great publisher. I could walk away from “The Walking Dead” tomorrow and just be whatever I want for the rest of my life. I don’t necessarily have to work for the money, like what the majority of comic book artists have to consider. I can choose something because I like it.