OUTCAST #1 is out tomorrow! In the leadup to the issue being released, Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, Invincible) sat down with Entertainment Weekly to discuss OUTCAST.
EW: Okay, Outcast. Demons. Possession. What else can you tell us?
ROBERT KIRKMAN: Outcast is the story of Kyle Barnes, who is an average guy who has been dealing with the phenomenon of demonic possession his entire life. He’s had a lot of people over the years, very close to him, suffering from this affliction. He’s at a point in his life where he doesn’t want to take it anymore and decides he’s going to set out to find answers, and to figure what’s going on around him, and why this constantly seems to be happening to people he’s close to. Through that journey, what he discovers is something larger and more far reaching than he could have ever imagined, and it might just be that he’s the key to stopping whatever it is that’s going on.
EW: Can we expect to see exorcisms and things of that nature?
KIRKMAN: Oh yeah. It’s definitely my take on the exorcism genre—if that is a genre. Just trying to find some new angles to explore, and also to pay tribute all the great things that have been done in that genre just like [how] The Walking Dead tries to find new angles to the whole zombie thing, but is also paying homage to the works of Romero and other fantastic things. I’m trying to carve out another corner of the horror universe.
EW: Any story about demons or possession usually involves religion and God on the other side. How big a role will religion play in this comic?
KIRKMAN: It certainly has a presence, but unlike most exorcism stories, it’s not the driving force or a main component. This doesn’t deal with Catholicism in any way, which I think is somewhat unique. It takes in place in West Virginia, so it’s much more of a small-town Baptist kind of take on religion when we do deal with it. To a certain extent, this is kind of a non-religious exploration of what exorcism is, which is definitely going to have moments where we deal with religion, but this isn’t going to be the book’s core focus.
EW: So the concept behind The Walking Dead was to create a zombie story that doesn’t end. At least not for a long, long time. Is that the same idea here?
KIRKMAN: It is kind of the same, but I think that the difference there is that most exorcism stories don’t treat it like a solvable phenomenon or something that can actually be overcome or that it’s a conflict that can be won. What makes Outcast an epic story and a very long form story like The Walking Dead is that it’s a story that will strive to solve this problem, which is something no one has ever really done.