7 Questions with… Invincible creator Robert Kirkman: You are totally unprepared for this animated Amazon superhero series

The Boys meets The Walking Dead in Amazon Prime Video’s highly anticipated animated superhero series Invincible. We hear from the comic and show’s creator Robert Kirkman about why this show is a little different to anything else on TV right now.

By Alex Fletcher Published: 26 March 2021 - 1.33pm

If you’ve watched the trailer and seen the pictures of Amazon Prime Video’s Invincible, you might think you know what the animated superhero series is going to be like.

But you couldn’t be more wrong.

Bringing together the creative talent of Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), arguably the greatest voice cast of all time (Steven Yeun, JK Simmons, Sandra Oh, Gillian Jacobs, Walton Goggins, Jon Hamm, Seth Rogen, Mahershala Ali) and the power of Amazon Prime Video, Invincible sounds on paper like a big deal.

However, what really makes this animated series special isn’t the big names and pedigree of the creative team, but rather it’s bold and original take on the superhero genre.

Key art for Amazon Prime Video's adaptation of comic series Invincible

Violent, bloody and twist-filled, it will frequently leave your head spinning. But the series is also rooted in emotional family drama and themes around identity and anxiety that will leave you floored.

If you enjoyed the way The Boys ripped up the superhero rule book, Invincible is going to be right up your street.

We heard from the comic and TV series head honcho Robert Kirkman to find out why he thinks the world is ready for Invincible to be unleashed.

1. How prepared do you think non-comic fans are for the craziness of Invincible?

Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) and Nolan Grayson (JK Simmons) Amazon Prime Video
Mark Grayson (voiced by Steven Yeun) and Nolan Grayson (JK Simmons)

In a sense I hope they’re not prepared. What this show provides is a sense of something new, a sense of something unexpected. It couldn’t come at a better time. Everyone is very well versed in what makes a superhero TV show and a superhero story, but Invincible is very good at pivoting away from you expect a superhero story to do.

We’re in the best of times to come in and say, you think you know what you’re getting, but we’re giving you something completely different. In some ways people are totally ready for this and in other ways they are totally unprepared, which is exactly what we want.

2. The animation feels like a throwback to classics like Batman the Animated Series…

Clancy Brown voices Damien Darkblood Amazon Prime Video
Clancy Brown voices Damien Darkblood

I would hope that it would honour Batman the Animated Series, that would be amazing. I hope we’re able to live up to the amazing gravitas that series accomplished.

3. Why did you decide to go down the route of animation rather than live action?

I think by being animated, one thing we’re able to do is really embrace the silliness of the superhero genre. We’re able to see undersea kingdoms and Mars colonies and aliens and demons, loads of really weird elements that get stripped away from most adaptations because they’re trying to make them more serious.

Invincible is serious and it is dramatic, our drama has weight and doesn’t shy away from the ramifications of violence, but it’s great to see these things side-by-side.

We can have all the more classic areas of comics and superheroes that make them more fun and so exciting and so different, but also have the dramatic weight.

I don’t think we’d be able to have those two things balanced if it wasn’t animated. I mean, we have people with fishheads.

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4. The superhero genre plays on our fears. How do your own fears play into Invincible?

I think my biggest fear is the people closest to me turning on me. The things I find familiar suddenly being unfamiliar. That is something everyone is terrified of. People who you believe you know very well, you realise you don’t know them at all.

That is something this series explores on multiple different occasions – not to spoil things too much. That’s a terrifying aspect of life we all experience from time-to-time and through the lens of superheroes, we can make that a much more dramatic prospect and really heighten that sense of fear we all know.

5. What is the difference between Invincible and the rest of the superhero genre?

Omni-Man (J.K Simmons) Amazon Prime Video
Omni-Man (J.K Simmons)

The fact that most stories in these types of universes shy away from consequences. There is an unending well of drama from realistically portraying superheroes. I think that it’s something which will really set Invincible apart.

When you watch The Avengers and Captain America jumps on a car, he just says, ‘We’ve evacuated the street’ and you just think, ‘Really? That quickly?’ That might be what you want for a movie. But for a TV series to live in this world, you want to hear about how a building collapsed on people or how superhero tactics lead to a bridge collapsing. 

Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) and Debbie Grayson (Sandra Oh) Amazon Prime Video
Mark Grayson (Steven Yeun) and Debbie Grayson (Sandra Oh)

We have an opening sequence with The Guardians of the Globe – the premium superhero team in this world – and they know exactly how to handle this world that they’re in. We show them controlling the situation, removing citizens and only then do they do the work against the villains. Showing those tactics and showing how superheroes really work is very different to how you see them in other shows.

6. You’ve got a Walking Dead reunion on the show with Steven Yeun. Why did you choose him to play Mark Grayson?

Atom Eve (Gillian Jacobs) and Invincible (Steven Yeun) Amazon Prime Video
Atom Eve (Gillian Jacobs) and Invincible (Steven Yeun)

I’ve worked with a lot of actors and I don’t have a bad word to say about most of them, if not all of them. But Steven is one of the hardest workers I know. Not only does he give everything he has to everything he does, but he considers every single aspect of the character. How they are feeling, what the audience is feeling, how he is feeling at any given moment.

It’s remarkable to see him put that extra level of detail in. He really embodies Mark Grayson and he’s very familiar with the comics. Everything from the smallest line of dialogue, he’s pulling me aside to explain why he’s playing it a certain way and who this will feed into something in season 2 and season 3. To see an actor digging into a character’s journey in a way that a writer normally would is amazing.

I will always want to work with Steven Yeun. He’s not here is he? I don’t want him to hear that!

7. Which moment are you most excited for viewers to see in Invincible?

There are very dramatic consequential events, tent-pole moments that keep the series exciting. I’m very excited for each one of those to be revealed. There will be more than a couple in every season. Coming at those and heightening those moments is really cool.

Also, the fact that Invincible has a conclusion is really cool. It’s a very rare comic series in that it has a definitive beginning, middle and end. You see a character go on a very well defined journey and very changed at the end point. Doing that over again in animated form, improving it, changing it and make things better, exciting and cool – I’m really excited to have the opportunity to do that.

How to watch Invincible in the UK

Invincible launches on Friday, March 26 on Amazon Prime Video.

The first three episodes will be released on the premiere date.

New episodes will then be released weekly every Friday.

The season finale will be released on Friday, April 30.

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Get your fix of great new shows including Daisy Jones and the Six, The Power and Clarkson's Farm, and there's one month on us.