Robert Kirkman’s longtime collaborator and childhood friend Tony Moore is suing “The Walking Dead” co-creator over the proceeds for the wildly successful zombie property. According toThe Hollywood Reporter, Moore filed suit today, claiming he was duped into signing his interest in “The Walking Dead” over to Kirkman in 2005. Moore co-created and launched “The Walking Dead” comic at Image Comics with Robert Kirkman in 2003, serving as ongoing artist from issues #1-6 before current artist Charlie Adlard took over. Moore provided cover art for “The Walking Dead” until issue #24 and also collaborated with Kirkman on “Battle Pope” and “Brit.”
In the complaint, Moore alleges he initially signed a deal with Kirkman which would entitle Moore to 60 percent of “Comic Publishing Net Proceeds” and 20 percent of “motion picture net proceeds” for “The Walking Dead” and “Brit;” and 50 percent of “motion picture net proceeds” from “Battle Pope.” In 2005, Moore claims he was informed by Kirkman a television deal for “The Walking Dead” was on the table, but “Kirkman would not be able to complete the deal unless [Moore] assigned all of his interest in the Walking Dead and other works to Kirkman,” Moore signed the contract, believing the deal would not go through and claims Kirkman was attempting to “swindle” him out of his 50 percent interest in “The Walking Dead’s” “motion picture net proceeds.”
“Each of these works was prepared by [Moore] and Kirkman with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or independent parts of a unitary whole,” the complaint states. “[Moore] and Kirkman were thus joint authors and co-owners of the copyrights in these works.”
Moore’s complaint further alleges Kirkman and his company “have not issued a single statement or allowed access to their books and records in accordance with the reporting obligations of the agreement.”
AMC’s “The Walking Dead” launched in October 2010 to critical acclaim. The second season of the show premiered in October 2011 and its mid-season premiere, “Nebraska,” airs this Sunday, February 12 on AMC. The show has become basic cable’s highest-rated series, boasting as many as 7.3 million viewers. The trade paperback collections of the comic are a constant bestseller according to Diamond’s monthly sales statistics, with“The Walking Dead” Volume 1 selling over 4,000 units in January 2012. The ongoing series is fast approaching its 100th issue, with “The Walking Dead” #94 in stores on February 29.
Kirkman’s lawer Allen Grodzky called the lawsuit “totally frivolous,” further stating, “Mr. Moore is owed no money at all. And 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.”