British artist Charlie Adlard has ostensibly defined the look of The Walking Dead for the past decade. We sat him down and asked him to answer a few questions. At gunpoint, naturally.
Article and interview by Mihk Vergara
Like most creative greats in the current comic industry, artist Charlie Adlard is a British import. An alum of 2000 A.D., Britain’s most popular comic anthology and the title that gave us Judge Dredd, Adlard is indeed a great artist, but not necessarily a mainstream one.
Since taking over art chores in issue 7 of The Walking Dead, Charlie Adlard has more or less set the template for what a walking dead visual should be. The numerous iconic moments, at least those on print, anyway, are all the more iconic thanks to Mr. Adlard. From the videogames, the merchandise and the wildly successful TV series, it’s a shame that for so many fans Kirkman is the go-to name for all things The Walking Dead. Not that it isn’t well deserved or a bad thing for Kirkman, of course. We like him.
Part of the problem lies with the fact that most of Adlard’s earlier and current works aren’t as prolific and readily available as The Walking Dead to fans. Kirkman has Invincible, Battle Pope, Marvel Zombies and a whole gamut of other works for people to pick up and get familiar with. With Mr. Adlard, you’d have to track down copies of the aforementioned 2000 A.D. or Topps’ Mars Attacks!, and X-Files to get your Adlard fix.
Much like Steve Dillon or Frank Quitely, his art style takes a while to warm up to, especially for the regular capes and tights reader. Indeed, if you got into The Walking Dead from the TV show, the art may not be what you expect from a comic book—but that’s okay. It pays to branch out sometimes, and the rewards reaped from seeking out old and new venues for artists are satisfying. Like most of his contemporaries, it is an acquired taste, one honed with the consumption of other books that aren’t your typical mainstream fare. A contradictory statement, given how The Walking Dead’s popularity has indeed made it mainstream already. The core aesthetics haven’t changed though, and Adlard’s style remains his own. There are no mandates to make the book look like the show and quite thankfully, vice versa.
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