Tillie Walden Talks Clementine Book One And the Emotional Exploration Of the Popular TWD Character
Skybound Entertainment is taking fans back into the Walking Dead universe that has expanded past many of the original beloved characters. None stands out more than Clementine. Since we met her as a young child through the eyes of Lee Everett in the first episodes of Telltale’s The Walking Dead, we have watched her grow as she experiences one of the most emotional journeys in the Walking Dead universe in comparison to other entries.
After her nearly fatal wound at the hands of a walker, we thought her journey had ended but thanks to cartoonist Tillie Walden, her journey is set to continue with a series of original graphic novels that will expand her story even further in Clementine Book One.
We had the opportunity to ask Walden a few questions about Clementine‘s upcoming journey back into the post-apocalyptic wasteland that more often than not, brings more dangerous threats than walkers into our survivor’s paths. Enjoy a look into the world of Clementine Book One from Walden themselves below:
GN: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
Tillie: Sure! I find it strange when people refer to me as ‘Tillie Walden’ since I really am just Tillie. Or Til, or T, depending on how well you know me. I never really expected to become a cartoonist. I grew up in New Jersey and Texas, and I was a figure skater for a long time. I always enjoyed art, but never seemed to excel at it.
It wasn’t until I was 16 and I took a workshop with Scott McCloud that I really discovered comics. I had been reading them (mostly manga) but this workshop opened my eyes to the idea that I could make them. Haven’t stopped since.
GN: How familiar were you with Clementine and her story when signing on for this project?
Tillie: I was a big fan of TWD comics and tv show, but I hadn’t known about the game or Clementine. When they asked about my interest in the project, I immediately played the games to see what this was all about, and fell in love with her character, and her story. I have since gone back and played the game again, as well as watched some different play through’s for different perspectives. Strange to think there was a time when I didn’t know who Clem was, but I certainly do now.
GN: You’re no stranger to implementing strong emotions into your projects, do you feel like this helped set you up for bringing Clementine’s story to comics?
Tille: I think it did! I think the root of my interest in storytelling is emotion and memory, both of which feel really relevant to Clementine’s story. When it came to bringing her story into the comics I was really excited because I realized I’d have so much space and time to explore Clem’s emotions and memories than there was in the games.
Part of what makes the games so fun is the pace is so fast, and so much is happening all the time. What I love about comics is how much the pace can vary. Clem has a lot of quiet time in this book, a lot of time for reflection, which was really important to me.
GN: Your story in Skybound X served as a bridge between Clem’s journey in the games to her journey in this new trilogy, can you tell us how if at all the world and characters of the Telltale games will play a role in her new adventure?
Tillie: Like anyone, our past will always inform our present, and influence what future we go towards. In that sense Clem is no different – her past from the games will absolutely play a role in her future, but how it does that is not so easily seen or answered.
GN: With Clementine’s story moving into print, can we expect The Walking Dead universe and its characters from the comics to be referenced or be focused on more moving forward?
Tillie: I was really excited to bring the perspective of a queer teenage girl. Obviously I’m a little biased, as a former queer teenage girl myself, but I think Clem’s take on the world around her is fascinating. She’s a person who’s whole life was forged in trauma, she’s an amputee, she’s moody, she’s got a big heart. What’s not to love? I think I was also really excited at the prospect of thinking about how she would grow from a teenager to an adult.
It’s such a raucous, sensitive time – your late teens – that ends up defining you for such a long time. And I love the idea that everything Clem is going through is also not new – yes, there are zombies, those are new (ish), but like every other 17-year-old in all of human history she’s still dealing with developing her sense of self, understanding what love is, what family is, and what purpose is.
GN: You have a summer book tour coming up! Anything you’re looking forward to the most about the tour?
Tillie: I do! I leave for it quite soon, actually. I’m really excited to meet other people who care about Clementine! Those who have played the games, those who are new to it all, and especially other queer fans. I also have quite a few ‘in conversation’ events with some very cool people. It’ll be a whirlwind, though, probably when I get home from it I won’t remember a thing I said!
GN: Thank you so much and best of luck with Clementine Book One and the book tour, anything else you’d like to add or say to the readers?
Tillie: Just a thank you back – for your interview, and for anyone who takes the time to read the first book in this series!
Clementine Book One will be available at your favorite local comic shook, digitally, and everywhere books are sold on June 28th, 2022.