I don’t watch a lot of television. I watch a lot of movies, I watch a lot of shows on Netflix and Amazon, but I don’t watch a lot of live television. I don’t like commercials, I don’t like censorship, I don’t like having to wait until next week. (This, by the way, is why I started reading a lot of comics—as a distraction for the monthly wait.)
I was at work, watching television, and I saw something that told me that Robert Kirkman is currently the best-paid creator in comics.
Sure, he’s got The Walking Dead show on AMC. That’s making him a lot of money. But he’s also got merchandise and licensing royalties from all of that. One of the licenses is for a scratcher game for the lottery.
The Walking Dead lottery tickets. That blew my mind.
It’s part of the zeitgeist, and Kirkman basically never has to work again.
Remember when Todd McFarlane’s Spawn was lighting up HBO? That was almost 20 years ago, and it only ran for 3 years, from 1997 to 1999. It won an Emmy. McFarlane thought he was on top of the world. No, you don’t remember? All you remember is the cheesy movie? That’s okay. Like I said, it was almost 20 years ago. A lot of things can change in that amount of time.
The Walking Dead is bigger than Spawn ever was. It’s on basic cable, which means almost anyone can watch it. Aside from George Romero, it’s the reason why zombies are on everyone’s mind. (Sure, video games and movies help with this, but not to these levels.) You can hardly turn around without seeing some sort of something that is either directly related to The Walking Dead, or reminds you of it.
Universal is gave it a theme park, for goodness sake.
From an ownership point of view, Kirkman is the highest paid creator in comics. Stan Lee may be one of the longest paid creators in comics, but as long as Kirkman made a good deal, he’s going to be paid for an extremely long time to come off of this.
He’s the ultimate outlier, and he’s forging the way for the rest of us.