Media developers have been hungry for another Robert Kirkman series since The Walking Dead premiered. Before Kirkman’s demon-possession comic even hit stores, it was already in talks for a television adaptation. Cinemax bought the rights to adapt Outcast, screened a trailer at Comic Con last year, and just announced at SXSW that it was renewing the series for a second season, though the first season’s pilot has yet to air. Kirkman also confirmed that Outcast will air on Cinemax beginning June 3.
We haven’t had a new issue of Outcast published since February, but #17 will hit stands on March 23. Shortly after the show begins airing, the comic will release its third bound volume, meaning the show will likely overtake the comics’ plot and will continue it in a new direction. As Kirkman established with The Walking Dead, he’s an author fond of discordant universes; though he’s continued to publish issues of his comic, the plot is very different from the TV adaptation. The Walking Dead video games use yet another, different timeline, and Kirkman has said that he enjoys experimenting with his characters in each version of his story. Outcast, then, will follow this format.
Kirkman told Comic Book Resources, “We’re definitely going to be, you know, straying from time to time and adding new elements and doing that kind of thing. But, listen, you watch “Walking Dead” Season Four, Five, Six — they’re actually very close to the comic, but there’s new elements added. We keep things exciting, and “Outcast” is very much going to be like that. But, one of the cool things about what we’re doing with “Outcast” is that, you know, a comic book — 22-page story — is only going to fill about 18 minutes of content in a television show. So we’re actually expanding the cast, adding new characters and adding storylines to what we have in the comic book series. So the comics will be adapted, not exactly, but, you know, very closely.”
Kirkman’s voice is at its strongest when he’s allowed to be steady, character-driven and mournful, and as we described back in December, Outcast allows him to do what he does best. If this show is as brooding as Kirkman’s Outcast comics are, it might succeed as The Walking Dead’s more thoughtful, introspective cousin.