Just in time for the mid-season premiere of AMC’s The Walking Dead, series creator, Robert Kirkman is being sued by childhood friend and collaborator who claims that he helped create the beloved comic series and is entitled to half of the proceeds made from its success.
The Hollywood Reporter states that comic book artist, Michael Anthony Moore, filed his claim with the LA Superior Court last Thursday. In his complaint, Moore insists that he unknowingly signed over his rights to Kirkman and was basically duped out of making the fortune that inevitably came from the series. Moore explains that he has not received much money for the comics and has failed to receive money for other projects developed from TWD.
The suit reads: “Each of these works was prepared by [Moore] and Kirkman with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or independent parts of a unitary whole…[Moore] and Kirkman were thus joint authors and co-owners of the copyrights in these works.”
Moore, who grew up with Kirkman, states that he was misled by Kirkman’s agents in a fraudulent scheme to sign over copyrights, granting him 60 percent of Comic Publishing Net Proceeds in reference to TWD, 20 percent of motion picture net proceeds in regard to TWD, and 50 percent motion picture net proceeds regarding another project that the pair worked on together.
The comic artist says that in 2005, his friend informed him that he would not be able to make a TV deal for the series unless Moore signed over his rights, and in fear that the project would fall through, the artist obliged. Since this fateful day, TWD has become one of the highest rated shows on cable and Moore has yet to receive any of the royalties from the series.
The claim alleges cause of action for fraud, breach of written contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, money had an received and accounting.
Despite the case, Kirkman’s attorney refuted claims and told THR that the case is, “totally frivolous. Mr. Moore is owed no money at all. And Mr. Moore’s contract has an attorneys’ fees clause in it so we will be going after him to collect attorneys’ fees. We are taking this matter very seriously.”
This news makes me sad and I really hope that it isn’t true. In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy my zombie fix through The Walking Dead, lawsuit and all.