Tony Moore Sues Robert Kirkman Over The Walking Dead

It's not like The Walking Dead needed any hype for it's anticipated return this Sunday. I mean, the mid-season cliffhanger was quite the emotional rollercoaster and left a ton of questions that need answering.

Apparently artist Tony Moore disagrees with the above statement. Not the emotional rollercoaster piece, but the hype piece. The Hollywood Reporter has just revealed that Moore is suing writer Robert Kirkman over profits from the franchise.

The suit, filed by Devin McRae, William Wright and Mary Gordon at LA's Early Sullivan Wright Gizer McRae firm, alleges causes of action for promissory fraud, breach of written contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, money had and received and accounting.

In a word: wow.

Moore's lawsuit claims that he was duped into signing over his interest in the work to Kirkman, who's made quite a handsome sum on the post-apocalyptic look at the human condition. He further goes on to say that he's not been able to access profit statements from the property and has seen very little compensation from its success.

It seems in 2005 that Kirkman told Moore a big TV deal was on the table, but "that 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 wasn't confident the TV deal would go through, leading him to sign the papers and be on his merry way.

At this stage in the lawsuit it's really hard to know the facts considering it's so early. One thing is known though: it must suck to be these two right now. Kirkman and Moore broke into the industry together and are really good friends and now one is suing the other. There are a lot of questions raised here.

For one, why did Moore sign over the interest, even if he assumed the deal would fall apart? Kirkman's "ultimatum" really seemd to be "sign over your interests and lose potential profits so I can make more money or neither of us makes more money." That doesn't really seem like too sweet a deal for Moore and hopefully it wasn't as simple as that.

If Moore did sign over his interest as reported why is he waiting until now to sue Kirkman? Once the deal for The Walking Dead was finalized and he knew AMC was putting their efforts behind it wouldn't he have known then it would be a big deal? Has this lawsuit been percolating for a while and is only being acted on now?

Another question is did Kirkman really do this? That is, did he "swindle" Moore?

It's been a little strange that Kirkman has been the face of The Walking Dead and all its popularity. And that's fine, considering he is the writer. As far as I know though, it was co-created by Kirkman and Moore (likewise for Brit. To be fair, Moore only illustrated through the seventh issue, when he was replaced by Charlie Adlard.

Kirkman has done his part promoting the property and becoming the face of the franchise so to speak. He's even parlayed that success to other endeavours, including his Skybound imprint. He's definitely reaping the benefits of The Walking Dead and it's a little disheartening that for some reason Moore felt he had to sue Kirkman for some of those benefits.

You also have to wonder about Frank Darabon't departure. Reports indicated that the reason he left was because of issues with AMC and their desire to cut the budget, but did he know that this lawsuit was on its way? Did Darabont really leave because he learned what Kirkman did and was digusted? It's purely speculation on my part, but it's something that merits at least some thought.

Personally, I don't know either Kirkman or Moore. I can't speak for either of their characters other than what's been presented via conventions, Twitter and other outlets. And I don't want to cast aspersions on the character of either, nor am I looking to say one is right and one is wrong.

What I do know is this lawsuit is shaking the entire comic's community, primarily because The Walking Dead is one of the best examples of a creator owned work becoming big. And now the two friends behind it are at odds. I'm sure more details of the case will be revealed as it proceeds, but my guess is that this gets a little ugly as it unfolds.