‘The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman Sued By Former Partner Over AMC Series

Michael Anthony Moore, alleging he is co-creator of The Walking Dead comic on which the hit AMC series is based, has filed suit against his onetime partner Robert Kirkman, accusing him of promissory fraud, breach of written contract and other charges. Moore claims that Kirkman persuaded him to assign his rights on Walking Dead and other properties to a limited liability corporation controlled by Kirkman, who allegedly hasn’t shared any royalty or other payments for Walking Dead or any of the other works.

Reached by telephone for comment on the suit, Kirkman’s attorney Allen B. Grodsky told Deadline, “It’s pretty ridiculous. Mr. Moore is owed absolutely nothing. There is no fraud. No money owed. No credit.” He suggested that “when all is said and done Mr. Moore is going to end up paying Mr. Kirkman’s attorneys fees.” Additionally, Kirkman’s camp contends that Moore’s credit contractually and in the first six issues of the comic is listed as: penciler, inker, gray tones.

Moore asserts that in September 2005 he and Kirkman entered into the agreement which assigned Moore 60% of comic publishing net proceeds for The Walking Dead and another title Brit, 20% of all motion picture net proceeds for Walking Dead and Brit and 50% of all motion picture net proceeds in connection with another title Battle Pope. Moore says in the suit he was reluctant to enter into the agreement. But he claims Kirkman informed him that if he didn’t assign his rights as specified it would kill the “large television deal on the table” and no one would receive any money. Kirkman allegedly promised to pay Moore royalties and provide regular, accurate accountings. Moore claims that Kirkman has never paid any royalties or provided an accounting of profit or loss.

Moore seeks damages in association with his purported share of any money Kirkman has already received plus his any share of any money outstanding. He’s asking for a court order for Kirkman to provide complete and timely accounting as well as payment of accrued interest and court costs. You can read the lawsuit here.

Comments (44)

  • Woah. This will only get uglier.

    Comment by Aidy P — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 5:59pm PST  
  • Hollywood friends, the best kind.

    Comment by captain Lashout — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 6:04pm PST  
  • Going to get interesting!

    S

    Comment by superchopper — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 6:05pm PST  
  • Moore quit after 12 issues and was replaced by Charlie Adlard who has drawn about 75 issues after that.

    Comment by Jp — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 6:33pm PST  
    • Actually, Moore was fired by Kirkman after 6 issues because he couldn’t deliver the work on time. They were already 6 weeks behind schedule by issue 6 (Moore’s last), and Kirkman couldn’t justify keeping him on — the series has never been that far behind in all the time Adlard has been drawing (issue 7 through present). And Moore was NOT a co-creator, he was a work-for-hire artist — and from what I hear from multiple sources, a lazy, second-rate one. Sad but not surprising that he’s trying to cash in on Kirkman’s success.

      Comment by Michonne — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 9:23pm PST  
      • That you, Kirkman.

        Comment by Anonymous — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 11:57pm PST  
        • Nope, but I’ve worked with him. Truth hurts — right, Mr. Moore?

          Comment by Michonne — Monday February 13, 2012 @ 9:16pm PST  
      • A ‘second rate’ artist? Are you kidding?? Have you actually SEEN the difference in quality between Moore’s work and Adlard’s? – ie: With the Moore issues I can actually tell the difference between the characters? Whatever else anyones opinions are on what is going on here (and most likely none of us will ever know – it’s just sad to see a friendship go down the gurgler over the almighty dollar – and a pretty damn creative one at that) I think you can hardly say Moore is a second rate artist :) . as for people saying that an artist of a book, particularly in its opening stages, isnt a ‘creator’…well, who do you think gave us those iconic images of main characters that have translated into the show? Rick in his silly cop’s get up? Riding that horse into the ravaged city (OFTEN used in promos for the series…its on the cover of the DVD’s for chrissakes!!) I find it quite strange that people always give the artist half the credit of the writer…comics are VISUAL medium people…without the artists…you have a novel. go pick one of those up and create how the characters look in your own brain if you prefer…but in this case, I think it fair to say that, if you are the guy who comes up with the look of the main characters in the first issue, you have a claim to being a co-creator.

        Comment by Captain Flay — Monday June 18, 2012 @ 10:57pm PDT  
    • Not to diminish Adlard’s work, but Moore established the look of the comic. Directors who do a pilot of a TV show get a residual for every ensuing episode, because they established the style of the show. Whether or not Moore signed his rights away, I don’t know.

      Comment by Chet — Friday February 10, 2012 @ 7:28am PST  
  • Why would you assign your rights to Kirkman if he’s threatening to blow up a big TV deal. Call his bluff. He doesn’t get anything unless he has a clean chain of title and without your signing off, he doesn’t have it. That said, Kirkman is not a straight shooter.

    Comment by Anonymous — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 6:40pm PST  
  • The dead may walk but the living will always sue.

    Comment by Jack Flack — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 6:54pm PST  
    • The dead may never rise but the living will always sue. If only it were the other way around…

      Comment by bonerman — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 10:54pm PST  
      • The living may never rise but the dead will always sue? Wtf?

        Comment by b — Friday February 10, 2012 @ 9:38am PST  
  • If the allegations are even remotely true, there is a very large check that will be changing hands in a very short amount of time.

    Comment by Insideman — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 6:55pm PST  
  • Fun Fact: Kirkman has acknowledged openly that he originally was just going to call the series NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, as it is a pretty straight up sequel to George Romero’s classic film. He changed it for the same reason he considered using that title in the first place- there’s no copyright protection because the film is now public domain.
    I’m pretty sure NO ONE involved with THE WALKING DEAD has ever considered cutting a check to Romero- or ever will.

    Comment by cst — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 7:45pm PST  
  • Tony Moore is a fantastic artist, and I think his work on the first year of the book helped the book find the audience it did (even though another great artist, Charlie Adlard, has drawn the majority of the issues). It’s sad to see a great success story for three independent comic creators turn into this.

    Comment by Bird — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 7:49pm PST  
  • Hey cst, I’m no defender of Kirkman’s character… But Romero has publicly acknowledged ripping of I Am Legend when he wrote Night Of The Living Dead. I think Kirkman really ripped off Zach Snyder’s remake of Dawn Of The Dead.

    S

    Comment by Superchopper — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 8:15pm PST  
    • The comic came out in 2003. Snyder’s remake came out in 2004.

      Comment by Mr. Happy — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 9:41pm PST  
      • Yeah, I was gonna say… yer an idiot, chopper! I mean, isn’t that what remakes are anyway? Glorified rip-offs?! haha

        Comment by bonerman — Thursday February 9, 2012 @ 10:50pm PST  
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