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A "godfather" of Skybound's massive empire, Shawn Kirkham, is exiting the company

The Walking Dead empire's senior VP of business development is leaving in days

Shawn Kirkham and an Invincible statue at Comic-Con International: San Diego 2022
Image credit: Shawn Kirkham

Longtime Skybound Entertainment executive Shawn 'Big Clutch' Kirkham has announced he is leaving the company mid-February after nearly 12 years with the company. Kirkham, who was one of co-founders Robert Kirkham and David Alpert's first hires just months after the company's inception, helped guide the company as senior VP of business development from being a comics imprint of Image Comics into its own freestanding company of 50+ employees with divisions for TV/film, gaming, digital content, and more. In a years-old post on Skybound's own website, Kirkham was referred to as "the Godfather of all of our clothing, hats, toys, events, specials, cons, etc."

(And no, he isn't related to Robert Kirkman... although the similarity of their last names (Kirkham, Kirkman), has been brought up to him on more than one occasion.)

If you've been to a convention and visited a Skybound booth, it's likely you were greeted warmly by Kirkham as he was a fixture on the con circuit - as well the leader of the long-running Skybound video series Comics Vault Live.

Kirkham joined Skybound four months after the launch of The Walking Dead live-action series and was part of the company for major business development initiatives including foreign publishing deals (independent from Image), first-look deals with Amazon Studios, Universal Pictures, and Audible, as well as spinoff companies Skybound North, Skybound Games, and Skybound Stories.

"Just about 12 years ago, a couple of guys took a chance on a young-ish man to join their startup production company. Ups, downs, and all arounds, it’s been an amazing ride," Kirkham says in a tweet announcing his departure. "On Feb 15th, I’ll be leaving Skybound to look for my next adventure."

Without parsing too much of the statement, "to look for my next adventure" infers Kirkham may not have his next full-time job lined up. Still, although he's leaving his staff role at Skybound, he has confirmed he will be back to host at least one more episode of Skyboud's Comics Vault Live on February 23.

"To say that working for Skybound has changed my life would be an understatement," says Kirkham. "If we’ve worked together for 12 years, or 12 days, I want to thank you for having an impact on my life."

As part of whatever's next, Kirkham has launched his own free newsletter on Substack, with the initial messaging saying "Give me a few weeks to get my ish together and we’ll start sending out updates."

This is the second big piece of news out of Skybound this year, after it was revealed the company is opening itself up to public investment.

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Chris Arrant avatar

Chris Arrant


Chris Arrant is the Popverse's Editor-in-Chief. He has written about pop culture for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel, Newsarama, CBR, and more. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. (He/him)