The AMC network is doubling down on its rising star and developing a second TV series based on a comic book series from Kirkman’s Image Comics/Skybound imprint. Kirkman is teaming up again with Walking Dead producer David Alpert and Chic Eglee, who worked on the first season of Dead as well as on Showtime’s secret life drama Dexter, to bring Kirkman’s latest comic book series Thief of Thieves to the small screen. Obviously AMC is hoping that Thief will do for the caper drama what The Walking Dead has done for the zombies.
So far only three issues of Thief of Thieves, a saga of a master thief with a double identity who only steals what has already been stolen, have appeared to solid, but hardly spectacular success in the comic market (issue #2 sold just under 15,000 copies in March (see "Top 300 Comics Actual—March 2012"). Interesting Nick Spencer is writing the first Thief of Thieves story arc, which should make the rights situation a little more muddied, especially since the extremely busy Kirkman adopted a “writer’s room” approach to the new series, which makes it a highly collaborative affair (see "Kirkman & Spencer Adopt a Writer’s Room Approach").
Kirkman, who is obviously hoping for the same sort of success he scored with The Walking Dead, told The Hollywood Reporter, "Much like The Walking Dead brought horror to television in a unique and groundbreaking way, I feel Thief of Thieves can do the same for heist stories, showing the humanity of all the characters including the criminals."
Will Thief of Thieves achieve anything like The Walking Dead’s success? Well AMC needs to pick up the pilot episode first. If that happens Chic Eglee is slated to become the series’ showrunner. As comics fans know from bitter experience, many are the pilots that are not picked up (Eglee is currently involved in trying to get Brian Michael Bendis’ Powers picked up by the FX cable network, but that project is apparently in some sort of “turnaround” as the cast for the original pilot has not had their options renewed, and the head of the network keeps kvetching about how “difficult” a project adapting Powers for TV has become).
So stayed tuned for developments—as the success of The Walking Dead has demonstrated, a TV series can be a mighty sales driver. Kirkman’s Walking Dead collections are clearly the bestselling graphic novels in both the bookstore and direct markets, and the individual monthly The Walking Dead comic is now typically the bestselling non-Marvel/DC title month in and month out.
Given the amount of time it takes to develop a series, even if it gets an early green light, AMC’s Thief of Thieves won’t be on the air anytime soon, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it should allow the Thief of Thieves comic book series enough time to come out in at least one graphic novel collection before it appears on the small screen.