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When AMC turned The Walking Dead from a mega-popular comic series into an even more successful TV series, they also turned creator Robert Kirkman from a comic book heavy into a household name. Outcast, a horror series that Kirkman writes with artist Paul Azaceta (Amazing Spider-Man), is one step closer to finding a televised home now that Cinemax has officially ordered a pilot. Let’s see how premium cable takes to these guys’ dark imaginations.
Image Comics only released the first issue of Outcast a month ago today, but Cinemax first got involved back in November of last year, when they acquired the spec script. It’s Kirkman’s first pilot, and he’s the perfect person for the job, for unlike The Walking Dead, where the massive world-building allowed for stories to be changed completely in the transition from page to screen, Outcast is one man’s story. Okay, so it’s also set in what looks like it will also be an ever-expanding world, but Kirkman already knows how this story ends. That’s almost necessary in today’s TV.
At the center of Outcast is Kyle Barnes, a young man who has been plagued by demonic possession for his entire life. With the help of a reverend, Kyle steps into adulthood seeking the answers behind his problem, uncovering secrets that may have extremely dire effects on the entire planet. (Of course.) Kirkman has already shown his skill for humanizing the tired zombie sub-genre, and he’s initially done the exact same thing with the overused trend of possession horror. He even makes light of that in his Twitter announcement.
Kirkman will be executive producing the pilot along with former HBO exec Sue Naegle and Sharon Tal Yguado of Fox International Channels, the company that teamed with Kirkman in developing the project. Hopefully they’ll find a really solid visual creative team for this series, as the work of colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser (Velvet) is just as essential to Outcast #1’s effectiveness as Kirkman and Azaceta. Do comic artists transition to set designers often? I have no idea.
Will Cinemax try to top AMC over the amount of adult situations they can give viewers, basically boobs and more blood? It’ll be a while before we even know what this pilot looks like, much less getting to the point where people can watch it. In the meantime, issue number two of Outcast should tide you over nicely when it comes out on July 30.