It seems like every time a comic makes the jump from the page to the screen and makes any money, somebody who had a vague relation at all to the comic will come out and try to sue to get money. Well, now you can add AMC’s mega-hit show ‘The Walking Dead’ to that list.
When ‘The Walking Dead’ first hit comic shelves back in 2003, it was written by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tony Moore. After six issues, Moore left to work on some of his own stuff and his creator-owned comics, and art duties on the title were picked up by Charlie Adlard who has been penciling the book ever since.
Well, it seems like Moore’s titles aren’t garnering him the acclaim that he was hoping that they would. Deadline reported yesterday that Moore has filed a lawsuit against his former collaborator Robert Kirkman. Moore’s claim is that he is co-creator of ‘The Walking Dead’ and that Kirkman ripped him off. Kirkman is accused of promissory fraud and breach of written contract, among other things.
According to Moore, Kirkman convinced him to sign over his rights to ‘The Walking Dead’ to a company owned by Kirkman. Moore states that Kirkman told him that, if he didn’t sign over his rights, it would kill a “large television deal”. Now that the series has since gone on to become the highest rated show on cable television, Moore says Kirkman has not shared any royalties or payments due for ‘The Walking Dead’ or any other works on which the pair collaborated.
Deadline spoke with Kirkman’s attorney Allen Grodsky, who told them, “It’s pretty ridiculous. Mr. Moore is owed absolutely nothing. There is no fraud. No money owed. No credit.” Kirkman’s claim further states that contractually Moore’s contribution to ‘The Walking Dead’ is limited to penciler, inker, gray tones for only the first six issues.
If Moore’s lawsuit is unsuccessful, it could come back to bite him on the rear. Attorney Grodsky further told THR that “Mr. Moore’s contract has an attorneys’ fees clause in it so we will be going after him to collect attorneys’ fees. We are taking this matter very seriously.”
The lesson to be learned here is this: If you work on any creative endeavor and want to keep the rights to it, make sure you have everything in writing and that you don’t sign those rights over to anyone else under any circumstances.
‘The Walking Dead’ will be back on February 12th, 9pm Eastern time on AMC.