Max Brooks INTERVIEW
Interview conducted by James Ferguson
Max Brooks is a New York Times bestselling author with works such as The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z. He's recently been writing Extinction Parade, a comic published by Avatar Press in which vampires find themselves in a difficult situation when zombies begin popping up around the world. Faced with a sudden shortage of their food supply, the bloodsuckers must fight to survive. Mr. Brooks spoke with HorrorTalk about the project and what's on the horizon for Extinction Parade.
James Ferguson: How is it writing a comic versus writing a novel?
Max Brooks: Comics, at least for me, come with a lot of extra homework. I don’t get to pick and choose what information I put on the page, the reader actually sees it. Even if the clothing, hairstyles, architecture and technology is not important to the story, I have to make sure that it’s all correct because it’s going to be seen.
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JF: The comic provides the vampire perspective of the zombie apocalypse. Will there be a human point of view too? Or are they just food caught in the middle of this war?
MB: Humans are always seen through the point of view of the vampires. They are always seen from the outside. This is a vampire story, the story of a species that, until the zombies rose, sat happily and arrogantly at the top of the food chain. This is a story about the pitfalls of privilege, how having everything handed to you can make you fatally vulnerable. Humans might appear weak to the eyes of vampires, but it is that weakness, or rather, the compensation for that weakness, that makes humans much more resilient, adaptable, and, in the end, stronger than these supposed super beings of the night.
JF: How was it working with artist Raulo Caceres?
MB: Raulo is amazing. He’s the rock star of the project, no doubt. Comics are a visual medium and so the artist always deserves the lion’s share of the credit. His attention to detail is astounding and his ability to wow me never ceases. The crazy part about our relationship is that we’ve never actually spoken. I email my script to William Christensen, the owner and managing editor of Avatar Press, who then passes them on to Raulo, who then sends him back the rough artwork, which William then passes on to me for any notes. I’m not sure how people did this before the internet age. It really is, as Thomas L. Friedman said, the “flattening of the world”.
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JF: Are there any plans to incorporate other supernatural creatures into Extinction Parade?
MB: Werewolves are often not far behind vampires. Maybe someday I’ll write about werewolves, but Extinction Parade is strictly a vampire story. I wanted to really dig deep into the psychology of a supposed super race, and pick apart each of their hidden weaknesses. Bringing another creature in at this point would just muddy the waters.
JF: What are the future plans for Extinction Parade?
MB: Issue number five just came out where the vampires have finally, painfully, come to the conclusion that not only is the rise of the undead a bad thing (what the hell are they going to eat after all the humans are zombiefied), but that they, the passive, parasitic bloodsuckers are actually going to have to fight. The question is, can they? This is a race that has never known fear, has never had to learn from its failures (because they’ve never had any), and has never had to adapt, organize, prioritize, or act on species-wide scale in order to avert annihilation. Can they learn all the survival skills before it’s too late? That’s what we’re going to see in the next act of “The Extinction Parade”.
HorrorTalk would like to thank Max Brooks for taking the time to speak with us. The first five issues of Extinction Parade are currently available at your local comic shop and digitally via ComiXology. They will also be collected into a trade paperback to be released on July 1st, 2014.
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