Though many of its characters are morally gray, The Walking Dead has always been a black and white affair…at least in terms of the paper it’s printed on. Now, that’s set to change.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Walking Dead will return this October as The Walking Dead Deluxe. Creator Robert Kirkman’s studio Skybound Entertainment will be re-releasing each of the series’ 193 issues with some added features. For the first time ever, The Walking Dead will be printed in color, with colorist Dave McCaig joining the project to add color to illustrator Charlie Adlard’s art. Additionally, each issue will include a new installment of “The Cutting Room Floor,” which features original handwritten plots by Kirkman along with commentary about arcs the comic opted not to explore.
The first issue of The Walking Dead Deluxe is set to arrive on October 7. The series anticipates launching the next two issues in November and will continue to release two issues a month going forward. The news was first announced at the Skybound Xpo panel “Skybound: Past, Present and Future.”
Previously, only the covers of The Walking Dead issues were in color. The Walking Dead Deluxe will continue that tradition with a host of artists contributing to special edition covers of the Deluxe series including David Finch, Julian Totino Tedesco, Arthur Adams, and original Walking Dead co-creator Tony Moore. But the pages of the comic’s story themselves have always been in black and white.
Eleven years ago, before The Walking Dead TV show had even premiered, Kirkman explained his choice to make the series in black and white in an AMC interview, saying:
“That actually came from our original idea because [co-creator Tony Moore and I] believed Night of the Living Dead was in public domain. We thought it would be neat to just go out and do a comic book series that takes place in that world, and do it in black and white. In the end, we decided to do something completely different, but to keep the black-white thing because you could get away with more gore. It’s not all bloody and violent with red all over the page, so it seems a little less offensive. It’s also a little cheaper to print.”
Black and white was a stylistic choice for the series as Kirkman and Moore wanted the series to resemble a classic horror movie. Not only that, but foregoing color made the comic cheaper to produce and easier to maintain a monthly release schedule.
As time went on, however, the series evolved from a simple horror concept into a more adventurous story filled with epic worldbuilding. With that in mind, it should be interesting to see how the latter issues of The Walking Dead look in color. It might just be some time before The Walking Dead Deluxe gets to them. The comic wrapped up its story in Issue #193 last year. On a twice-monthly schedule, it will take The Walking Dead Deluxe eight years to tell that same story in color.