‘The Walking Dead’s’ Charlie Adlard on Rick, Negan, and ‘All Out War’

(CBR) “The Walking Dead” artist Charlie Adlard was recently a guest on the Under the Comic Covers podcast, and the most famous zombie artist in the industry took listeners on a journey through his career, from the time he accepted Robert Kirkman's invitation to illustrate the series over 100 issues ago to now. 

Below, CBR presents the complete transcript of the interview, in which Adlard reveals his thoughts on being inked by Stefano Gaudiano throughout the “All Out War” storyline and beyond, provides an update on his and Kirkman's sci-fi original graphic novel “The Passenger” and discusses the sometimes unsettling nature of the reference material required to do his job properly. Adlard also heads back to his childhood to reminisce about where his love of comics originated in the first place, before flashing into the future with his guess as to the final fates of characters Rick Grimes and Negan. The podcast is available at https://underthecomiccovers.com/episodes

Under the Comic Covers: One of the first questions that I've had and I've always wondered about was, how exactly did you get involved in “The Walking Dead,” after Tony Moore's departure?

Charlie Adlard: It's not really a particularly exciting story. [Laughs] Basically, Robert [Kirkman] just emailed me one day, out of the blue. Robert and I knew each other from a few years previously, because our mutual friend, Joe Casey, sort of put us in touch because I was working with Joe on a comic strip called “Codeflesh” at the time, and to cut a long story short, Robert came in to finish off a few episodes that were left hanging because Image, basically, didn't publish everything we did, and obviously Robert was running an indie label at the time, called Funk-O-Tron, and Joe and I published the last three chapters of that story with him.

So, that's how I kind of got to know Robert. I think I met him a couple of times in San Diego over the years, previously, but I don't think we exchanged more than ten minutes worth of chat between ourselves, over that time. Then, all of a sudden — BING — there was this email. Basically, just saying, “Would you like to take over this small zombie comic?” [Laughs] I'd not even heard of it, so he sent me the previous few issues that Tony had drawn, and he obviously sent all the scripts. He sent the script to Issue #7, and to be honest, I was in between jobs at the time.

Oh, perfect!

It would have been truly awful to me to have turned it down. [Laughter]

And ten years later, here you are. I feel your style is a just perfect fit for the mood of the story of “The Walking Dead.” It fits so well.

Oh, thank you. It was an interesting decision on Robert's part because, obviously, Tony and I draw completely differently to each other. Tony relies a lot more on linear art work. He's a lot more “cartoony” than I am, and he told his story in a lot more in the grey tones that he used in the book, which was probably one of the reasons he couldn't keep up with the schedule because, not only was he penciling and inking, he was greytoning the book, as well. I came on board and I, obviously, have a more realistic “darker style,” which, arguably, probably does suit that genre a bit more than Tony.

I also understand that your process, the way that you've always done it, is somewhat different or unusual, in that you'd go straight from the pencils to the inks, correct?

Well, yeah, the benefit of working for Image is that we don't have an editor, or anybody to go through to seek approval, or anything like that. So, the first thing that Robert would see of the pages is literally the finished page. Obviously, there is a time factor involved, as well, which means we haven't really got time, to and fro, between pencils and inks, if we wanted to. So, it's one of those things where he just trusts me. Hey, I'm a professional! He trusts me to get it right the first time, hopefully. With monthly comics, there are going to be mistakes, we all admit that; it's just part of the game you play. If we had two months to do every issue, and someone noticed a mistake, fair enough; we'd hold our hands up and go, “We screwed up there — sorry, guys.” But when you're knocking out a book every month. I was doing — “Was,” he says — [Laughs] doing pencils and inks every month, things are going to go awry. Like I said, it's just part and parcel of doing monthly comics.

So, it's nice, though, that you are allowed to work with Robert in a way that you don't have to do — it's not comics or art by committee, it's just you guys trust each other and pump it out, right?

Yeah. Yes, basically. The weird thing is, I've always been an advocate of having an editor! [Laughs] Because, sometimes, it is beneficial to have someone there telling you not to overindulge, primarily, and obviously, there to seek out mistakes or whatever. So I'm not decrying the whole idea of not having an editor.

How much direction, or detail, or freedom is given to you by Robert when you guys are creating the story? I feel so much of the pacing and the mood is created by you and your art, so I wonder, with different panels, and how they are laid out — how much direction does he give you, or do you have a lot of freedom?

I think I'd say that I have a lot of freedom. Robert and my relationship, work-wise, is definitely 50/50 on the comic. I always say, “He writes the script and I do the drawing.” It's as simple as that — I very rarely point out stuff in his script and he very rarely points out stuff in the artwork. Probably, the longer we've worked together, the more simplistic his scripts have become. Purely, because he pretty much knows what I'm going to do. So, that's the benefit of having a long working relationship. I think Robert and I now have probably — I believe, I'm not absolutely sure of this, but I think we have broken a record; especially, in the American industry — I think we are the longest serving, unbroken run as a team on any comic book ever.

Wow, congratulations! That's fantastic. It's like a marriage — working together.

Yeah, it's not secret! [Laughs] Nothing particularly serious, but we have had the occasional up and downs, that's for sure, like marriage has had over the last ten years.

Have you actually hit the ten year point? I know there was the ten year anniversary, but because of that few months lag before you got on — Have you hit ten years now?

This month is my ten year point, but I'm not celebrating it. [Laughs] To be honest, I'm sick of celebrations.

[Laughs] You've had a lot lately. It's been a run.

Yeah, we've literally had — within just over a year, we had Issue #100, then we had a bit of a celebration for my 100th, which was #106. We thought we'd pushed the boat out with Issue #100, but the 10th anniversary was just insane. The amount of extra work that I had to do on that was just mad. So, after that I said, “Robert, no! Please, please, let's not do any celebrations until at least Issue #150,” or something like that. [Laughs]

Yeah, that was a lot of back to back milestones that you guys had there.

Yeah, precisely. It's all very nice, but after a while — it just becomes a chore. [Laughs]

Especially, now that you guys are doing the [biweekly] issues.

Well, we've finished with that now. Yay!

Before we move on to “All Out War,” which we have plenty of questions about, I would like to ask, just to keep it in the same vein — How much do you and Robert discuss, when a new character is introduced, how that character is going to look? Such as somebody who is very distinct, like Ezekiel, or as Negan. Is there a lot of back and forth on that? Does he just give you a general description, or do you just go with it — whatever you feel it should be?

It depends, really, on the character. The more out there characters like Ezekiel, like Jesus (to a lesser extent), like Negan — Robert had given me a little more detailed descriptions, but primarily, most of them have been designed directly on paper. I might have penciled them first, within the story, but there certainly wasn't much to-ing and fro-ing with designs, and what have you.

Believe it or not, Michonne was the only character that I did a separate design of and the only reason I did a separate design of Michonne that stands alone, and has never been seen in print, or anything like that, was only because Tony was still doing the covers. So, Tony, obviously, needed to see Michonne before she was in the story, to be able to do the cover. So, it was more done for his benefit, but everything else — well, obviously, there has been to-ing and fro-ing, and there's been the odd bit where Robert has said, “Oh, no, can you make him or her more like this.” Most of the minor characters have been designed directly onto the artboard without much to-ing and fro-ing.

I'm curious about Nicholas, because I have this theory that you made Nicholas, and then Robert is thinking, “Now, why does he have this outdated '80s mustache.” So that's why Negan made that one comment later in that one issue about his outdated mustache. [Laughs]

It's weird that you bring that up; I was actually going to mention Nicholas straight after what I was just saying. Nicholas is a good example of Robert introducing a character — we didn't do much — we communicate, Robert and I, much more, nowadays. [Laughs] Only because we realize that we get so busy that we tend to let so many things slip. We try to talk on Skype roughly once every two weeks, just to see what's what and what's going on, but when Robert described Nicholas, I didn't realize that he was going to play as pivotal a role. I don't think Robert did either, that he was going to be in other plotlines. So that was just a hasty, scribbled-down character, assuming that he was just going to be in that tiny bit at the beginning, when they entered Alexandria. So, it was just this vague character. I thought I'd put a mustache because that would slightly differentiate him from everybody else. [Laughter] Then, of course, you're stuck with that. So, that's one of those things — if Robert is going to create a character now, I'm going to ask him in the future, “Is this guy going to play a more pivotal role later on?” [Laughter] So at least I don't make him look like an idiot.

Well, he's gotten a little scruffier in the most recent issue that I saw him in. So, I was like, “Alright, he's getting into the '90s now, this is good; he's got a grunge look.” [Laughter]

He's got designer stubble. Yeah, again, it's interesting Nicholas and Eugene are characters that I'm trying to slightly get away from their original look. Eugene was just a weird one; I don't know what I was thinking when I designed him. [Laughter]

OK, this absolutely leads into another question I had — I heard in a previous interview that you were not originally crazy about the choice of David Morrissey for the Governor in the TV show and how he was depicted. I'm very curious how you feel about the almost exact depiction of the cover of Issue #53 shown on the show recently, with Abraham, Eugene and Rosita lined up there.

Yes, it's almost as though in the last three episodes they've completely gone to the comic and thought, “Oh! There's a lot of good stuff here!”

Yes! Exactly, that's what we keep saying. We keep laughing about this with the show. Scott Gimple, the new showrunner, I do get the sense that he said, “Ya know guys, there is this book that you might want to read that's pretty good; maybe we can take something from it. [Laughter]

Even when the show has gone off on a completely different tack, it always does come back to [the comic] and various imagery. The bit with Rick and Carl in the house and Abraham, Rosita and Eugene's appearance, which is almost pose for pose, straight off of that front cover. I just think, “Good God, they just tore that from the comic book page!” [Laughs]

It's great to see — the Governor, it's no secret, I've said in interviews, even before Michonne and the governor were introduced in the show, before I'd seen the actors and how the characters were going to look, I've always said, “I don't care what the characters look like, so long as they play the characters; that's the important thing.” Andrew Lincoln doesn't look like my Rick, but he is Rick, word for word. It doesn't really matter. They are dealing with a realistic show, so it's stupid to try and get an actor for just what they look like. What I did say is that there are two important characters that should look — foolishly I said — which should look like the characters in the book, up to that point, and that was Michonne and the Governor. So, I was 100% over the moon with Michonne — not so much with the Governor, but, having said that, it is just what he looked like, but David Morrissey was still a great choice of the character of the Governor in a lot of ways. I think he played it — especially, in the first initial few episodes — he played it a lot more subtle than our Governor in the comic book. So, he gave him another layer, and I've got to admit, when you do see him with longer hair and a beard, I wasn't thinking that now he looks like the Governor from the comic book, I was just thinking, “He looks like a real disheveled Snake Plissken.” [Laughs]

Exactly. He was exactly Snake Plissken. I thought the exact same thing, but I did get a kick of, eventually, when he did have an eye patch and he did go for the long duster coat, we did have a few moments when we had shades of the comic Governor. Finally we got a little bit of it.

Exactly. So, in the end they got there. Hopefully, Abraham, Rosita and Eugene — I've only seen up to [their introduction] as well — believe it or not, I haven't seen more than their introduction. So, I've got my fingers crossed that, hopefully, they will be the characters, and not just look like the characters. I think we've got some really good plans for them in the show; I know that much. I was very excited.

Being on the artistic side of “The Walking Dead” is kind of weird when you come to the TV show because you're just not as involved. That's when your involvement with things outside of Hollywood directly become less because you just can't contribute as much. I could be on set, and I could be making comments, I could be doing character designs, I could be doing storyboards, and stuff like that. I don't want to, because that will take me away from drawing the comic, and personally, I don't want to go for the same for the same brand twice. But from Robert's point of view, that's when he can get really involved. From my point of view, that's where I step back and say, “OK, just go for it.” So, I think it's an added thrill for me when I see them taking visuals from the comic book, without alerting me to it, or having their arms twisted into it. [Laughter] It's just happening, and you just think, “Yay!”

I don't think you could have found a better Michonne than Danai Gurira. Not only is she playing her just like I imagined her, but the look is just perfect.

She's utterly, utterly brilliant. I was on set for a tiny segment when they were filming Season 3, and when I met her and I saw her, it was a hair standing up on your arm moment, that's for sure.

I believe it. That must have been fantastic, yeah. So, I would like to talk about “All Out War.” Your process and the whole pace of the thing just completely changed, once that kicked in, once you started going once every two weeks. How are you able to keep up with that, and how has the introduction of [inker] Stefano Gaudiano [worked]?

Well, Stefano is the reason I can do two issues a month. I'm bloody fast. Not many people can do an issue a month — pencils and inks, anyway. We are a fairly exclusive breed of comic book artists, but even I'm not fast enough to do two issues a month. Something, obviously, had to give. I reluctantly conceded the inks to Stefano, initially. I didn't want to give up the inks because, for me, that's where I'm most excited creatively. I tend to — when I'm penciling, it tends to feel like — if you're a filmmaker, more like going out and doing the on location shooting, and everything. You've got all the information, which is a bit more like information gathering. Just a bit more of a chore. And then you've got the editing, and that, to me, is the inks. Which, for me, is a lot more creative and fun, and I tend to draw a lot in ink anyway. So, the pencils for me — I'm just getting done really quickly. They are more like layouts. I just have more fun with the inks, so it was kind of hard for me to give over, arguably, the most fun side, but there was no other way around it. I certainly wasn't going to give over the penciling, and then just me ink it. That would seem ridiculous. So, we had a good think about who we wanted to use, and Stefano was a name Robert came up with, actually. We'd had a couple of false starts, shall we say, and I'd already hit a brick wall. [Laughs] Robert suddenly mentioned his name and I just thought, “That's brilliant!” I love his work on Michael Lark, on “Daredevil,” and things like that, and I thought he's perfect because he's got that rough edge that I, personally, enjoy and that's how I ink. He's got a good sense of black, etc. He's, obviously, fast — it was kind of a marriage made in heaven, really.

Wonderful! Do you feel that it has been working for you now, and you are OK with that transition?

Yeah, more and more. I don't think I'll ever be fully — the frustrating thing for me is, while Stefano's inking — as great of an inker as he is, and I'm more than happy with how the book is turning out per issue. I was 70% happy with the first issue he did, I was like 75% happy with the second issue. It's just gone up increasingly, every issue he's done. I'm thinking, “He's hit it. Brilliant. Perfect.” There's always the frustration with me that I can't ink it. Which is a shame. I think because I've inked everything in the last 20 years of my career. There is always that element of, “I'd have done it this way.”

Right. It's hard to give up that control, I'm sure.

Yeah, that's really not taking away from anything that Stefano does. I've never been 100% happy with anybody, but Stefano is as close as we're going to get, and that's a brilliant achievement on his part. So, I don't want to take away what he's adding to the book, that's for sure. The fans seem really happy; that is great.

Yeah, we think the art looks beautiful — No, no, no, what you're meant to say is, “No, I really miss your inking!” [Laughter]

That's funny. [Laughs] It looks great, and we also noticed that [Stefano's] name is on Issue #127. Is he staying on, or is it just going to be through that double issue, or can you even tell us?

He will be staying on for the foreseeable — put it that way. That's all I can really say. Primarily because — my other big frustration — it was more to do with all the anniversaries and stuff, that was taking up all that extra little time that I did have — was that I did have other projects that I wanted to do. It's great for a writer, because most writers tend to do their monthly comic, or how ever many monthlies they have, but by the factor of that, they can do more than one comic a month, anyway, if you're pretty efficient. So, you can kind of get over the fact of — to fulfill your creative urges. It's frustrating for somebody like me; especially, if you are on a monthly. Basically, that's filling up all your time. You get offered stuff, and you think, “I can't do it!” So, I wanted to, at some point, step back and have a bit more spare time.

And this is allowing you to do that a bit?

Yeah; especially, after Issue #127. Once we go back to serious normalcy, I will have quite a bit of time to get these other things done and finished.

I had read that you and Robert have a new project that you are working on together. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Well, it's called “The Passenger.” It's been gestating for about the past three or four years I think, now. [Laughs] Again, this is part of the frustration, the problem. It was sort of sitting in my cupboard, half done, for about the last two years, and then all the anniversaries hit. I was just not getting it done. It's the sort of project that you can't just go away — if you've got a day to spare, you can't just go on to it for a day, and get in the mindset to do it then go back on to “The Walking Dead,” literally, the next day after. It just wasn't the sort of project to do this. It is a completely different stylistically thing to do for me. I needed a good chunk of time. Actually, remarkably, in this ridiculous deadline biweekly [schedule], I actually got ahead of “The Walking Dead” — those initial twelve issues — enough to give me this month, February, a month off. [Laughs]

That's great!

“The Passenger” — it's not finished, but, by God, it's a lot nearer the end than it was about a month ago.

This is a science fiction [story]?

It's a science fiction. It's a European French de bandes dessinées-style comic album. It's that sort of — I don't know how familiar you are with French-type style comic books.

I'm am not.

OK; most of them are produced in this sort of large format, hardback style; a lot bigger than an American comic book, at least twice as big. Sort of approaching a three size; although, that's a bit too huge. They are big.

So, a complete story?

They either do complete stories, or they do two or three album series, but it's never more than two or three. Unless, it's a monumentally successful series. It's normally 48 pages upwards. The average is about 48-56 pages, but the storytelling within it is really intense. You're not talking the traditional 5-6 panels a page, that American comic books are. You're talking more like 10 panels a page. The Europeans are a lot more obsessed with a lot more with backgrounds, and things like that; so, you feel the urge to put in that detail, and put the work in. I love the industry, to be honest. If I could just work for the French [Laughs], in between issues of “The Walking Dead,” I'd be more than happy. I love their style; it's a beautiful style. If you're not familiar with it, you should seek it out a bit because the standard of artwork there is — I'd arguably say, is a lot higher than the American and UK comic book market. There is just some incredible artwork out there. It's beautifully done; the paper quality is great. It's regarded as — they call it the “ninth art,” over there in France and Belgium, which are the two main producers of de bandes dessinée. Which, is obviously, the French version of comic books. They, literally, hold it in as much esteem as painting, sculpture, whatever. Hence the word “ninth art.”

I was in Belgium, in Brussels, last weekend at a book fair, and they've got a designated national comic book museum. Which, if you look at all the tourist leaflets on Brussels, it's always in the top ten. It's recommended because it's a proper, full-on museum. [Laughs] You don't get that over in our country, or in the States. It's a completely different atmosphere over there. They have a convention in a small town called Angoulême, in France, in January. It's actually bigger than San Diego. It takes over the town. In terms of people, there are more people that go to Angoulême [International Comics Festival] than people who go to San Diego Comic Con.

Wow, I had no idea. We recently, back in November — Grace and I, Jason and Karen, and a number of people, attended Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta. It was the first of that convention. This year, they said, “OK, we're doing two.” They're doing one in Chicago next month, and then again in Atlanta again in October. They just announced that they're doing a Walker Stalker Con Paris. My first thought was, “Is there a market for this in Paris?” and from what you are telling me, yeah, obviously there must be a big market for this. So, that's a great idea.

Well, just “The Walking Dead” alone — we're very good at being an anomaly in the comic book industry, but in France, Delcourt, the people that publish “The Walking Dead,” who are also going to co-publish “The Passenger” as well. It's their biggest, most successful non-French comic book in the market, at the moment. Arguably, we probably sell, per person, more comic books in France than any other country, in terms of the trades. Obviously, there are less people in France than there are in the states, but, per person, I think we sell more books over there in France because they love their comics out there. [Laughs]

And that's very good for you! [Laughs]

I tend to do Angoulême [International Comics Festival] every other year. Pretty much like how San Diego Comic Con is working out at the moment as well. I tend to do San Diego every other year, now. I like to do every other year. Unfortunately, Angoulême is not very near Paris. [Laughs] It's about a 3 hour train ride south of Paris, but, again, it's another place with its own designated national museum of comic book art. I'd say it's better than the one in Brussels because the Brussels one is a bit more Belgium centric.

A lot of Asterix and Obelix and that sort of thing?

Not in Belgium, because that's French. [Laughs] A lot of Tintin and the Smurfs. The Smurfs are Belgium.

That's right.

The two big competitors are Asterix and Obelix in France, and you've got Tintin in Belgium. Ironically, in the museum in Brussels, there wasn't a single bit of original “Tintin” artwork. [Laughs] They're missing a point there, aren't they?

I grew up with a little Italian mother — I was raised reading Italian versions of Asterix and Obelix, and Tintin — a lot of Pinocchio.

The first two comic books I actually got into, when I was about six or seven, were my dad bringing home “The Mighty World of Marvel” #1, which is a British/UK reprint of Marvel comics, the first time they were actually published chronologically in our country (in black and white) as an anthology, which is what British comics were best at doing. At the same time, there was a garage in our town running some sort of promotion; if you filled up your car enough times, you got tokens to buy an Asterix book. The petrol company — they'd done their own version of the Asterix books. Same format, same size, just slightly different, probably with the petrol company logo on it somewhere. I think my dad filled up enough that we got one of those, and I was hooked after that. I remember pestering my dad to get petrol all the time from this particular company, so I could get another Asterix book, eventually. I think they only did four, at the time. Unbeknownst to me, I was being introduced to French comic books. I didn't know they were French, I wasn't even aware that Gaul was France, when I was six or seven. So, I think that is what influenced me a lot, in my early years. The fact that, on one side, I was being influenced by American comic books, but on the other side, I was getting the influence from the continent, as well.

Well, two different sensibilities, and here you are drawing zombies. [Laughs]

[Laughs] Yes, but with very realistic backgrounds!

Absolutely! And I've got to say, lately, some of those spreads that you've been doing, have just been fantastic. Even the lovely shot from Issue #122, which I just read this morning, where you just see the Hilltop, right as everybody is [arriving]. I just thought, “I love these.” There have been very lovely two page spreads, or just full panels that have just been very atmospheric and nice.

Thank you. Just think of me hating drawing them.


It's one of those things Robert will put in, “double page spread — draw everybody.” [Laughter] It's so easy to write this!

Well, the fans appreciate it — when we've been doing our [podcast] episodes on each one of these issues as they are coming out, we get at least two or three people commenting on how amazing some of these two page spreads, or some of the big ones, have been. We appreciate the work you're putting into it, so thank you. They have just been fantastic. It's my pleasure. [Laughs] Just know that I have the book open, and for minutes I'm just staring at some of these panels, just taking it all in, and taking the mood in. So, I hope you think that makes it more worth your while. I don't know. [Laughs]

I appreciate that. I'd just like to say, I've always believed that comic books are first and foremost about the story. Personally, for me, when you do the double page spreads, it's like taking me out of the story a little bit. Again, going back to the slightly more chore-y style, rather than doing a nice sort of sequence. Which is, again, what it's all about. I also do appreciate that you appreciate [Laughs] and the fans appreciate it. Actually, still one of my favorite pages from all the issues I've ever done is, arguably, the shot of the zombies (we're talking quite a while back now) assembling in the street in Washington D.C. before they horde and attack Alexandria. There is just this shot of them all, in a double page spread, in Washington D.C. I remember finishing that and thinking, “Yeah, that's pretty good!”

That's a great one. I have to comment, I love how you've dealt with skull-faced Carl by giving him his very emo hair [Laughter] kind of going over that; so, you don't have to keep drawing that horror show on his face.

To be honest, I don't really want to draw it. So, the least we can draw it the better, because it's pretty bloody disturbing. Robert sent me, eventually — when we realized that we were eventually going to have to show something, he did a search on line and said that he just couldn't take it anymore. He was having to go into not too nice websites, to —

Yeah, it's grim material.

He didn't really want to get arrested for anything. So, we said let's just try and make it up. Then, just before I was going to have to draw something, I think somebody sent him a picture of a really unfortunate African child that had been blown up by a landmine and, literally, his face was half blown away and he was still alive a few months down the line. Perfectly alive, but with just half a face. I do, unfortunately have a copy of that printed out, but it's buried deep down in my research. [Laughs] So, I don't always have to look at it.

Yeah, that's not something you want as a, “Good morning, let's look at this picture. My day is going to be better –“

Yeah, it's a truly disturbing picture. I needed it [for] when he does eventually take his bandages off. I'm glad it was there, because it had to be realistic. I know we're doing a book about the zombie apocalypse, but everything else within that story has to be as real as possible, that's the whole reason for “The Walking Dead.” If you are going to go off into the realms of fantasy, and have Carl with half a face, you're breaking the trust. So, we did need that research.

As the apocalypse keeps continuing and going on and on, as was the plan from the beginning, we are beginning to get more disfigurement. Now, we have Heath and his leg stump, of course Rick and his stump. You've got Dwight and his melted face — I even love the fact that you've kept in the bullet hole in Lucille that Carl gave. Even Lucille is now, somewhat, disfigured.

[Laughs] I like that, I didn't even think about that, but yeah. [Laughter]

Even somebody like Dwight — when you created Dwight, was it with the understanding that this was a guy whose face had been ironed, or was it just make some scarred face?

Ironed. [Laughs]

I don't think Robert told me at the time this was the reason for his scar. He just said it was a guy with this scar. Then, it's revealed [how it happened]. He's become an interesting character. I've kind of gotten to like Dwight more — when Robert first suggested him, I was thinking, “Are we doing this just to get the readers excited that this might be Daryl.” He's got a crossbow and, of course, the first cover is just the guy with the crossbow.

I wondered the same thing when I saw the crossbow.

I was a bit dismayed. I knew we weren't going to have Daryl in the book, but I was a bit dismayed that we were playing that kind of game, as well. [However,] he's become a character in his own right, which is even better, and he's not the one-note bad guy that he was in the beginning, either. He's an interesting character.

He is, and he's interesting to look at too, with his melted face, as people refer to it a lot. He's just an interesting character visually.

What's exciting is — the further we get down with the story of these characters — bearing in mind we also now have a blacksmith. That's all I'm going to say. [Laughs] I'm talking of attachments. [Laughs]

We were just talking about that. Although, we do fear that we may never get to see what it is that he may make for Rick. We do have our fear that Rick is not going to make it out of this arc. Or Sutton, one of the two.

I'm very much looking forward to how this whole arc is going to end up because I'm excited. When Robert Kirkman had said that everything was going to change after this, that sent everybody's wheels spinning, and I love all the speculation, and people's theories on what's going to happen. I threw out a ridiculous prediction, myself, which got a lot of people thinking I was just crazy.

What's your prediction then?

Oh, my goodness. OK. It is crazy, but I believe Rick and Negan are going to kill each other, in a very “John Boorman, Excalibur-style” way, with one sword going through Mordred and the other one going through Arthur as they just come together and meet, and then I maybe even suggested that there might be a time jump, and we get to a 17 year old Carl who's dating Sophia, and he's now running things with Maggie and Maggie/Glenn's baby is about five years old. Just ridiculous things. Everybody thought I was nuts.

[Laughs] Well, you know, that's an interesting theory.

I will reiterate what Robert said, because when Robert told me what his plans were, quite a few months ago now — put it this way, it got me — not that I wasn't excited about the series anyway, but it got me excited again about the series, because it's very good. [Laughs]

It's going to be so hard to wait!

All I can say is, the end of “All Out War” is probably not what you expect.

Fantastic! That, I think, is the perfect way to end this. Thank you so much for coming on and talking with us, Charlie.

My pleasure; cheers.