@’s by Legendary Entertainment Writer
AMBUSH BUG (BUG): Hi Mr. Brooks. You’re doing something with Legendary…
MAX BROOKS (MB): I am.
BUG: …but I know next to nothing about it.
MB: I’m working on a special Legendary Comics graphic novel called SHADOW WALK, which I co-created the idea with Legendary creator Thomas Tull. We sort of came up with the idea, and it’s being written by Mark Waid. Bob Schreck is overseeing it, obviously. It is, there’s not much we can say about the details. The premise, if I can say this, well, what if a Legendary place was real, and what would be the repercussions for the real world? That’s kind of why he brought me on. I try to make everything realistic. I do way too much research than is needed. I’m a nerd, what can I say?
BUG: And are you planning on doing some of the writing for that as well?
MB: This is, no. I created the world. I created the concept and the world...
MB: The heavy lifting is Mark Waid.
BUG: OK, cool. Can you tell us anymore about it or what realm it is that you’re talking about?
MB: It takes place today. Obviously, it’s fantastical, but it’s modern day. Basically, this is not the first project I’ve done with Thomas where we have explored these. What Thomas likes to do is bring me on, and we kick around the idea of legends and myths, but we try to make them real, as real as possible. I kind of bring a Tom Clancy-esque level of research to everything that I do, not that I’m as good as him, but I’m certainly a devotee of him. So, we try to get away from the fantastical. Basically, Thomas comes to me with a premise, and he goes, “alright, if this did exist, how would it exist? What would be the science behind it, what would be the history behind it?” because I’m also a huge history nerd, before I’m anything, I’m a history nerd. So, I don’t just build a world around it, I build a history behind it, so I build a backstory. That’s pretty much my job.
BUG: What kind of digging or research did you have to do for this world in particular?
MB: That was some crazy stuff. There was a lot of cultures. It tied in a lot of not just Middle Eastern history but European history as well. A lot of military history, tying in the first world wars, the cold war, dating back to the Roman empire, dating back to, I’m not even sure if it’s going to be in this because a lot of the backstory we might not even use, but it’s there to be there as a guideline. We went back to the epic of Gilgamesh. So that’s what I try to do, I try to do as much research as possible, and whether ten percent of it is used or not it doesn’t matter. It’s so we can all be on the same page.
BUG: Very cool. And you approached WORLD WAR Z in a very similar way.
MB: That’s right. Thomas, he read WORLD WAR Z, he called me into his office, “hey, I’m Thomas Tull, how are you doing?” He said, “I love what you did with WORLD WAR Z, I love that you took a very simple premise, but you went into such depth and detail. I’d like you to do this for other projects for me,” and I said, “sure,” that’s apparently where my mind goes, and I think for me, I was so enamoured of his work after I saw THE DARK KNIGHT. Because I thought, THE DARK KNIGHT, that’s what Batman is supposed to be. That’s like Frank Miller, because to me, I hated the campy Batman. He’s not f**king funny. He’s a bonebreaker. He’s hardcore. And I hated that the BATMAN movies started out cool and then by the end, they were right back in Adam West territory. So, I loved that Thomas gave us THE DARK KNIGHT back. Batman has his nards back. So, I was like, “yes! I will totally work for you!” When I saw Heath Ledger as the Joker, I was like, “finally! The Joker, how he’s meant to be!” Also, what I loved about Dark Knight was it was in the real world.
BUG: Yeah. Well, back to this project.
BUG: Are you planning on doing more with Legendary afterwards?
MB: Oh yeah, Thomas and I already have a project in the works. This is actually, this is number four of five projects I have worked on with Legendary. We worked on another, most have been movie ideas. The first thing was, Thomas had a comic book that he bought and was going to turn into a movie, and he said, “but I want to make, if it becomes a movie, I want to franchise it, and I don’t have a world behind it. I have no backstory, I have no character development, I have no science, I have no politics, no economics, I have no grounding, I have no bible.” He said, “I want you to write the bible for this,” so I did. Apparently, he liked it so much he brought me on for another project, and then I sold him a movie idea, DEVOLUTION, and that’s in development. So then, this thing came along, oh no, then there was THE GREAT WALL, the other movie that Ed Zwick is doing. And then, this thing came along, and now we’ve got another thing that’s hovering.
BUG: You sound very busy.
MB: I really like working with him. He has my respect.
BUG: Good. Well, I have to ask about WORLD WAR Z, do you know anything about the film and it’s ongoing development?
MB: No...thank you, thank you though, for presuming that there’s a chance that I don’t know anything. I wish I did!
MB: I actually know more about what happened backstage of THE WALKING DEAD politically because I’m friends with Frank Darabont.
MB: I don’t know! I literally, they flew me over to Europe about a year ago. It took a whole day to set up one shot because it was so complicated. It did look awesome. I will say that one shot, if they release that as a teaser trailer, it would look amazing. But, I haven’t read the script, I don’t know what’s going on. I’m just going to let…plus, I don’t bother with rumours, I’m clearly busy, I have other things to do. So, I’ll give it a year. We’ve got a year to see what happens. I wish it well. I hope it does well for their sake.
BUG: One more thing: I was a huge fan of your G. I. Joe series, HEARTS & MINDS.
MB: Oh, thank you, bless you.
BUG: Are we going to see any more series like that?
MB: You know, I don’t know. I really, that was the first time in a while I felt like a writer again. And I really poured my heart and my soul into those.
BUG: You could really tell, it was great.
MB: Thank you so much, yeah. I tried to make them all, I put a lot of, actually, personal stories in there, so there’s a lot of really deep, deep stuff in those. Because those are stories I’ve been thinking of since I was a kid.
BUG: Yeah. I had all those figures, and it was great that you paid attention to the characters that usually only get one line in the stories rather than the usual go to characters.
MB: Right. I remember Interrogator, he had some corny helmet that did a spiral. I was like, “no, no, what if he was a real interrogator?“ is where I’d go. I always tried to make it real. What if you’re a real interrogator? Like Firefly, what if you’re a real saboteur? Saboteurs don’t jump over fences in the dead of night, they walk in through the front door like a plumber. And then they walk away and something blows up. So, that’s what I try to do.
BUG: Well, best of luck with SHADOW WALK, it sounds really cool, I can’t wait to find out more about it. When is it going to be available, do you know?
MB: You know, that’s a really good question. I don’t know.
BUG: Maybe Mark [Waid] will know that. I’m going to be interviewing him next.
MB: Yeah, he probably knows.
BUG: Thank you so much for everything, I appreciate it.
MB: Thank you!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/reviewer/co-editor of AICN Comics for over ten years. He has written comics such as MUSCLES & FIGHTS, MUSCLES & FRIGHTS, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND & has co-written their first ever comic book LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in late 2012 as an 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark has just announced his new comic book miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment to be released March-August 2012. Also look for Mark's exciting arc on GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-80 which begins in August 2012.
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G