Q&A: “WORLD WAR Z” author Max Brooks on new undead comic, “EXTINCTION PARADE”
When a person mentions zombies in polite conversation, several things tend to come to mind: George Romero, THE WALKING DEAD, B Movies, to name a few. In recent years, another name has been added to the ever growing history of the undead, Max Brooks. Brooks, best known for the ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE and WORLD WAR Z, is internationally renowned for his factual-like take on the ghoulish plague while re-sparking interest in the genre.
Now, Brooks continues his expansion into comics (following the SURVIVAL GUIDE tie-in RECORDED ATTACKS), working with Avatar Press on his upcoming title EXTINCTION PARADE. The comic is set in a post-apocalyptic future where humans have become endangered and zombies and vampires are forced to fight over the scraps.
FANGORIA: Why did you adapt the EXTINCTION PARADE short story into a comic?
MAX BROOKS: I’m constantly fascinated by how we as humans react to a zombie plague, how it brings out the best and worst of our core nature. In the short story of EXTINCTION PARADE, I wanted to explore the core nature of another species. How would Vampires, who are seemingly at the top of the food chain, respond to an existential threat? What would their reaction say about their real strengths and weaknesses and did they have what it takes to, as the US Marines say, improvise, adapt, and overcome? After writing the short story I was lucky enough to take part in the episode of DEADLIEST WARRIOR that pit zombies against vampires. The experience left me wanting to say so much more on the subject that wasn’t covered in either the TV show or even my short story. So I decided to expand the latter into a comic.
FANG: The artist, Raúlo Cáceres, is known for doing large, over the top horror work. Did you have a hand in picking him to illustrate the comic?
BROOKS: William Christensen at Avatar recommended him to me. I wanted someone who was highly detailed, and highly realistic. All William had to do was show me Raúlo’s work on Warren Ellis’ CRECY and I was hooked. Raúlo has an amazing eye for the finer points, and his ability to draw humans (and, now zombies) is spot on. It’s really a joy to work with him.
FANG: Why did you choose Avatar Press to debut EXTINCTION PARADE? Is it because they are known for allowing more creative freedom than other publishers?
BROOKS: Creative freedom is exactly why I love working with Avatar. If William Christensen believes in a project, then he gets behind it all the way. Working with him is also the only time I don’t have to deal with red tape. He essentially is Avatar so once he makes a decision, the process can move forward.
FANG: You have done a few works in the comic industry so far (GI JOE, SHADOW WALK) but it seems like you really like it. Is this the beginning of a beautiful friendship?
BROOKS: I hope so. I enjoy writing comics because they give me a visual outlet without having to worry about the collaboration (or budget!) of a movie or television studio. Something from my head can go right onto the page without having to worry about how much it’s going to cost. That’s incredibly liberating, especially because I have always tended to think big. For years, I tried shopping around a World War 1 movie script that was consistently rejected because everyone said it was too big and expensive. Now it’s going to be a graphic novel and it’s going to be massive!
EXTINCTION PARADE is out June 19