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Interview: Max Brooks Discusses Extinction Parade, Harlem Fighters and more!

ExtinctionParade-vol-1-tpb (2)Max Brooks is a busy man. Not only is he penning Avatar PressExtinction Parade and its next volume Extinction Parade: War, but it was announced that the comic series has been optioned by Legendary Television and Digital. On top of his comic book duties, the writer has his recently released graphic novel Harlem Hellfighters making its way through the movie process.

We got a chance to chat with Brooks about Extinction Parade, Harlem Hellfighters, and a certain zombie film based off a best selling book of his.

Graphic Policy: First, congrats on the deal with Legendary. But before we get to that, for those that don’t know, what is Extinction Parade?  

Max Brooks: I’ve written a lot about zombie survival, about what individuals and nations would need to endure. This is also a zombie survival story, but a story about the necessary psychological, mental, and emotional tools. The series is anchored to the philosophy that if a species is fixed at the top of the food chain, its soft, easy existence will rob it of any survival skills. That species is vampires. They are supposed super beings, they have all these amazing physical gifts. But those gifts are actually curses because it has not prepared them to be problem solvers (unlike the ‘weaker’ humans). So when the zombies rise and start eating the vampire’s one food source, they find themselves completely unprepared for a crisis that could wipe them out.

ExtinctionParadeWar1-regGP: Where did the idea come from and why did you decide to do this as a comic as opposed to prose?

MB: I’d already written a short story version and William Christensen of Avatar Press offered me the chance to adapt it. I’d never done a sequential comic series before (G.I. Joe was more a character study), so I looked forward to the challenge.

GP: When did you first get the idea you wanted to turn this into a television series and what was your interest in doing so?

MB: I was about a third of the way into the comic series when I realized that each issue would make a great television show. Everything else I’d seen with vampires never dealt with the notion of privilege (or rather the pitfalls of privilege).  I thought, in the right hands, this could be a meaningful message.

GP: You have had a novel get turned into a movie, a graphic novel turning into a movie, and now this as a television series. How has your involvement been different with each?

MB: I literally had nothing to do with the World War Z movie whereas this process begins with me. We’re still in the earliest phases so I’m not sure how involved I’ll get to be with Extinction Parade. We’ll just have to wait and see how it shakes down.

ExtinctionParadeWar1-EndofSpeciesGP: Are there things you’ve learned as you’ve adapted your works from one medium to another?

MB: I’m always learning. I hope I never stop. There’s nothing healthier than feeling like the dumbest guy in the room. It keeps me sharp and alert and humble. Specifically transitioning from prose to comics has taught me how much effort goes into describing the work and how much research is needed to make a visual work accurate. There’s a lot of extra homework that goes into making a comic book, and, in a way, it makes me grateful for all the extra hours a dyslexic kid like me had to spend trying to get through school.

GP: You’re writing the first episode of the television series, what will your role be after that? The release said you’d be “closely tied” to the development.

MB: At this point, I am contractually obligated to write the pilot (if we ever get to that phase). Who knows what will happen after that. We’re talking about Television so I try to manage my expectations.

GP: What did Legendary bring to the table that had you set on working with them?

MB: There’s nobody else I’d rather work with than Legendary. They are smart, brave, and successful. I love their work. I love that their products have to makes sense as well as be fun to watch. I like that there is a level of depth rarely found in their competition. I’d match their Dark Knight series up against any and all other super hero movies. I’m also in awe of 42. Who doesn’t want to work with the folks that gave us 42?

GP: Extinction Parade in its simplest form is zombies vs vampires, how have you worked to make sure the series has stood out with something new and exciting?

MB: I don’t know if it’s new and exciting. I’ll let the readers make that judgment. For me, the whole point of this series is to expose the weakness of given strengths.  So far, I haven’t seen a vampire or zombie story that focus specifically on that philosophy. As a parent, trying to teach my son to survive out in the world, the notion of paying your dues drives so much of what I do.  Hopefully that will come across in the series.

GP: The series does focus on cultures in decline and the perils of privilege, is that a commentary on today’s society? A bit of a warning in the form of an allegory?

MB: Definitely a warning! Growing up, I saw kids who had to struggle and kids who had everything handed to them (which included physical gifts like strength and beauty). The kids had to struggle are now successful, resilient, and infinitely better off than the kids who never had to overcome great challenges. What scares me now is that emotional coddling has become our national culture. We’re living in a country where both little league teams get trophies, where college students get their parents to call their professors about grade and where 20 something’s are actually going to job interviews with their parents!  I keep hearing this term “epic fail” and I can’t understand why that’s a bad thing. Without epic fails you’ll never have epic lessons or learn epic survival skills!  In a country where the Kardashians are the gold standard for young people, is it so hard to make the jump to vampires?

GP: What else can expect from you over the year?

MB: I’ve still got to wrap up the Extinction Parade comic series and write the screenplay of Harlem Hellfighters.  When EP goes forward as a TV show, it’ll be a very busy year.

Max Brooks Announces: Extinction Parade War

Avatar Press has announced that New York Times bestselling author Max Brooks, unleashes the next exciting chapter of his Zombies vs. Vampires comic book series Extinction Parade: War in July.  Brooks has been a driving force behind the resurgence in zombie interest over the last decade with his seminal prose works The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z.  Fans have flocked to his novels and panel presentations to get the latest undead survival techniques from the charismatic master scholar.

This is the horrifying continuation of Brooks’ groundbreaking series chronicling the breaking point for vampires as the privileged aristocratic race of immortals is finally forced to face a critical realization – that the human race won’t solve the zombie plague without their aid.  And when these powerful undead creatures are finally mobilized the violent clash of Vampires and Zombies is summed up best in the new chapter’s subtitle:  War.

Brooks explains the philosophy behind exposing the weaknesses of the vampire race in Extinction Parade: War, “Every individual human being knows life is hard. Sooner or later adversity’s gonna come knocking. But if you’re a vampire you’ve had a thousand years of comfortable joy. You’re not ready! You don’t have those survival skills.”

Extinction Parade: War #1 is a super-sized July shipping comic book that continues the story of Extinction Parade following issue #5.  War #1 includes the previously solicited single issue comics content of Extinction Parade #6 & #7 which have been cancelled.  Fans who want to step into the terrifying world of Max Brooks’ Extinction Parade can do so with the electrifying first chapter of the story in the Extinction Parade Trade Paperback Collection also shipping in July and available for pre-order it now from your favorite retailer! Available at comic shops and retailers including Amazon.com and BN.com

About Extinction Parade:

In a world where the zombie plague has put the human race on the endangered species list, another predatory undead species realizes that to stand by idly means the end of their food supply.  Vastly outnumbered by the zombie hordes, vampires descend into all-out subdead war, with humanity caught in the crossfire.  This series further examines Brooks’ fascination with the lethal races of the undead and brings his unique voice to comics at a time when horror fiction is at an all-time high in popularity.

Extinction Parade, a softcover graphic novel with color interiors, 6.5″ x 9.5″, 160 pages.

– ISBN 978-1-59291-234-6

– $19.99 (US)

ExtinctionParadeWar1-reg

Extinction Parade Optioned By Legendary for TV

Another comic property is making its way to another medium. Avatar Press today has announced that Legendary Television and Digital have optioned Max BrooksExtinction Parade for development as a television series. Brooks will work closely with the development of the project and will be writing the pilot episode. Brooks is best known for his previous work World War Z and the Zombie Survival Guide.

Brooks brought the work to Legendary due to their quality of work and he felt he’d be proud of the final product. Extinction Parade features a rich tapestry of cultures in decline and a biting indictment of the perils of privilege.

The first trade paperback collection of Extinction Parade comes out this July, and is a perfect place for individuals to start to check out the series.

ExtinctionParade-vol-1 (2)

 

Movie Review: World War Z

World_War_Z_posterI loved Max Brooks‘ book World War Z and to see that on the big screen would have been the start of zombie movies for adults, as it’s a book that breaks the mold and has the genre “growing up” from it’s generally non-respected roots. That book and this movie have little in common other than a name. That’s the first thing about this summer’s Brad Pitt attempt at a blockbuster, going in thinking you’re about to see an adaptation of the book is a mistake.

World War Z isn’t bad at all. I expected a disaster and it’s far from that. But, just because it’s not bad, doesn’t make it good. The movie was just so-so for me. There’s some good stuff here and great action sequences, but a sequence or two doesn’t make a movie. The movie itself is an amalgamation, a Frankenstein of a movie.

The movie has a habit of borrowing from numerous movies that have come before. This is noticeable from the beginning when during the credits the music playing evokes The Exorcist and it goes on from there. Take 28 Days Later mix it with Contagion, add in a little of I Am Legend and then take the title from a popular book and you get this movie.

And that’s part of what frustrates me about the movie. It would be one thing if it changed the book improving on it, but it doesn’t. Instead it generally chucks it’s source material, picking from the movies listed. A scene in a building evokes 28 Days Later. Scenes with people debating the cause is Contagion and the general plot and ending are I Am Legend (which itself made changes from the original material and not for the better.

Then there’s the idea of a “white guy” saving the world. Brooks’ book was international in scope showing heroes from across the world. Here, the main characters, other than one UN official, are all white. The movie white washes the source material in a horrible way. For a star with a global scope in doing good, it seems to have not played a part when it comes to casting.

There is a way to save this movie in the long run and the answer is sequels. By making this movie one story in the bigger picture, it comes closer to Brooks’ original book and by tying in the movies slightly even more so. We’ll see how far the movie gets past its opening weekend. As a summer movie it’s ok, but with so many other and better choices out there, this wouldn’t be close to a must see movie of the summer.

Direction: 7 Acting: 6 Plot: 5 Overall: 6.5

Review: Max Brook’s The Extinction Parade #1

ExtinctionParade1It’s finally here – the long awaited first issue of Max Brooks’ new Zombies vs. Vampires series, Extinction Parade!  Perfectly timed for the theatrical release of World War Z, Brooks unleashes his talents on a new series that takes his familiar and past subject of zombies and adds the elements of zombies. As a huge fan of his book World War Z, I couldn’t wait to read the comic, but is it any good?

Vampires have always been the elite of the undead.  These apex predators have never feared foe or lack of food…until now.  By remaining too out of touch with the modern world they have failed to notice the subdead zombie race turning the tide over the human population.  Now, perhaps too late, the vampires must stop the encroaching shambling dead or find themselves starved out of existence.

I went into the comic brimming with excitement and hoping we’d get Brooks’ spin on the vampire mythos. This story is pretty simple. With vampires existing and needing humans to survive, wouldn’t they protect their cattle from zombies which threaten existence? That makes sense to me, and when I got to the end of the comic I was a bit mixed in my feelings.

The first issue does a lot to set up vampires in this world, and does so in an interesting style. In the full comic, there’s all of 15 speech bubbles on 3 or 4 total pages. The rest of the comic is written as inner monologue. It reads more like a prose book with pictures with that. Next is the motivation of the vampires. It gives us their personality and the world they inhabit, but I didn’t get a sense they were any urgent rush to protect the humans they feed upon. Instead these vampires came off as elitist and aloof. That’s part of the point but instead of actually dealing with the zombie issue in the first issue, they more go on a safari, which was a bit odd to me.

Overall, the story was just ok. I have high expectations for brooks, especially when he takes on the subject of zombies. He’s shown a mastery of the subject, but also a new way of telling stories about them. This comic doesn’t have that. There’s a different voice in that there’s little dialogue between characters, but that makes me wish he played with the storytelling elements even more so.

If you’re a fan of vampires or zombies it might be worth checking out the series, but overall for me, it’s pretty average.

Story: Max Brooks Art: Rauolo Caceres
Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75 Recommendation: Read

Comic Con – The Science Of Zombies: How real is a “zombie” virus? Friday July 22 @ 7:30 pm, Room 8

Official Press Release

Comic Con 2011 – Deep Silver Presents the Best Damn Panel Ever: “The Science of Zombies”

Top Neuroscience Professionals Converge with World’s foremost Zombie Authorities to Discuss the Threat of a “Real Zombie Apocalypse” and Examine the Myths and Truths of the Zombified Human Brain

LARKSPUR, Ca. – Hmmmm Brainnnnsss. Today Deep Silver  announced it will host a panel at Comic Con 2011 that promises to blend the pop culture fascination with zombies with realities of medical science titled, “The Science of Zombies.” The panel will take place in room 8 of the San Diego Convention Center on July 22 at 7:30 p.m. and will explore  society’s fascination with the Zombie genre as a whole, and demonstrate how creative talent are harnessing medical science to define and explore horror entertainment in more realistic (and therefore more frightening and engaging) ways.

The panel features the creative talent behind the acclaimed and highly anticipated Dead Island™ (www.deadisland.com) game, the world’s foremost zombie enthusiasts, esteemed interactive entertainment industry journalists and the nation’s leading medical professionals in the field of brain research and brain disease. Scheduled particpants include:

·        Max Brooks, universal zombie expert and author of The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

·        Haris Orkin, writer of the anticipated video game, Dead Island

·        Steve Schlozman, M.D., author of The Zombie Autopsies and assistant professor of psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

·        Bradley Voytek, Ph.D., Post-doctoral Fellow: Neuroscience University of California, San Francisco

·        Andrew Groen, freelance journalist and editor of GamePro Magazine’s “Real Science” column

·        Bruce Geryk, M.D.,  Resident Physician, Department of Neurosurgery, University of North Carolina Hospitals

“We’re excited to bring some of the world’s great medical minds together for what promises to be an intriguing discussion about the human body and its capabilities,” said Deep Silver Chief Operating Officer Geoff Mulligan, quickly hiding a plastic bin filled with suspiciously grey and squishy looking unidentified objects under his desk . “I have an ongoing  belief that brains are a vastly underrated source of vitamin B12 and thus will base my potential intake of human brains on this panel’s ultimate decision on whether or not this is a solid nutritional strategy. I look forward to this discussion at Comic Con 2011.”

Dead Island  is the upcoming gruesome zombie action game with RPG elements developed by renowned developer Techland and combines first-person action with a heavy focus on melee combat, character development and customization of a vast array of weapons. All of these gameplay features are presented in a dark story inspired by classic zombie movies with a gritty and engrossing campaign that can be played with up to four players in co-op mode.

The Dead Island Special Edition is now available as an automatic upgrade to early preorder customers at GameStop stores nationwide for a limited time, while supplies last.

Dead Island launches on September 6, 2011 at retailers across North America.

Official website: www.deadisland.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/deadislandgame
Twitter: http://twitter.com/deadislandgame
About Deep Silver, Inc.
Deep Silver develops and publishes interactive games for all platforms, seeking to deliver top-quality products that provide immersive game experiences driven by the desires of the gaming community.  The company has published more than 100 games worldwide since 2003 and is currently working on the launch of its highly-anticipated zombie action thriller, Dead Island™.  Deep Silver, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Media, GmbH.  For more information, please visit www.deepsilver.com.

About Techland
Techland is a leading Polish developer, publisher and distributor of PC and console games since 1991. Its proprietary Chrome Engine 5 technology is among the world’s most advanced game engines, with full Xbox 360™, PC and PlayStation®3 system compatibility. With a staff of nearly 200 specialists in two development offices in Wroclaw and Warsaw, Techland is committed to delivering top-quality titles for worldwide markets. Currently the company is working on several high-profile titles for consoles and PCs.

SDCC – “Deadliest Warrior – Vampires vs. Zombies” Panel Session

Official Press Release

Spike TVdeadliest warriorSpike TV

 “DEADLIEST WARRIOR – VAMPIRES VS. ZOMBIES” PANEL SESSION

WHO:    WES CRAVEN (“Scream,” “Nightmare on Elm Street”) – Panelist

        MAX BROOKS (Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z) – Panelist

        STEVE NILES (30 Days of Night) – Panelist

        RICHARD “MACK” MACHOWICZ (“Deadliest Warrior” host) – Panelist

        DR. ARMAND DORIAN (“Deadliest Warrior” host) – Panelist

        RASHA DRACHKOVITCH (“Deadliest Warrior” executive producer) – Panelist

        ROBERT DALY (“Deadliest Warrior”) – Panelist

        GEOFF BOUCHER (LA Times writer, HeroComplex.com founder) – Moderator

WHAT:   “DEADLIEST WARRIOR – VAMPIRES VS. ZOMBIES”

Vampires and Zombies have terrorized and tantalized their way through pop culture for decades – from “Dracula” to the “Twilight Saga” to “Walking Dead.”  SPIKE TV and its “DEADLIEST WARRIOR” franchise are going to finally answer the question – which of these mythical creatures would come out on top in a fight to the finish?  “DEADLIEST WARRIOR” steps outside the confines of history for this groundbreaking fantasy episode destined to rouse heated debates amongst fans in the blogosphere for months.  The special episode features an array of icons of film and fiction who are authorities on the topic.  Through these expert interviews, scientific tests and careful analysis, it will be determined who would win in a battle to the death between these two iconic groups, Zombies and Vampires. The “DEADLIEST WARRIOR ” team of Richard “Mack” Machowicz, Dr. Armand Dorian, Rasha Drachkovitch, Robert Daly and special guests Wes Craven, Max Brooks and Steve Niles will be on hand for this special Comic Con panel to make their case for who is, indeed, the fiercest.  Acclaimed Los Angeles Times writer and HeroComplex.com founder Geoff Boucher will serve as moderator.

WHEN:   Thursday, July 21 from 10–11 AM

WHERE:  Room 25ABC

Max Brooks Pens Next Generation of G.I. JOE Comics

Official Press Release

New York Times bestselling author and IDW release new comic series in May

[G.I. JOE: Hearts & Minds #1 cover]San Diego, CA (March 4, 2010) – The critically-acclaimed and bestselling author of World War Z, the Zombie Survival Guide and The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks brings his unique and acclaimed style to G.I. JOE comics with a five-issue miniseries: G.I. JOE: Hearts & Minds, coming in May under license from Hasbro. The award-winning Max Brooks crafts a G.I. JOE series for an America at war, starkly contrasting intensely brutal portrayals of the dark side of the human condition with the light of hope in the most unlikely places.

“I tried to write a series as harsh and complicated as the times we’re living in,” said Brooks.

Exploring the effects of real-world war on the individual, every issue of G.I. JOE: Hearts & Minds features two chapters, each spotlighting a different G.I. JOE or COBRA character. Brooks pulls no punches from the very beginning, starting the series with chapters on MAJOR BLUDD and SPIRIT.

“This is the G.I. JOE book that isn’t about action figures. It’s about people like you and me,” said IDW G.I. JOE editor Andy Schmidt. “And that makes it even more chilling than any zombie novel could be, because this one isn’t about a plague–this one is about us.”

Brooks’s dark stories are masterfully brought to life by artists Howard Chaykin and Antonio Fuso, who will each also provide covers. In addition to the regular edition, IDW will be offering a limited number of signed editions.

An award-winning writer, Brooks has brought his own unique style to both TV and print, including as part of the writing team for “Saturday Night Live” for forty episodes from 2001 to 2003, which won an Emmy in 2002. Brooks’s The Zombie Survival Guide was released in 2003 and has sold well over one million copies worldwide. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War followed in 2006, became an instant bestseller and is currently in development to be a major motion picture.  Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, Brooks’s most recent book, debuted at number one on the New York Times graphic novel bestseller list.

G.I. JOE: Hearts & Minds #1 (of 5, $3.99, 32 pages, full color) will be available in stores in May. Diamond order code: MAR10 0998.

G.I. JOE: Hearts & Minds #1 Signed Edition ($9.99, 32 pages, full color) will be available in stores in May. Diamond order code: MAR10 0999.

Visit IDWPublishing.com to learn more about the company and its top-selling books.

About IDW Publishing
IDW is an award-winning publisher of comic books, graphic novels and trade paperbacks, based in San Diego, California. Renowned for its diverse catalog of licensed and independent titles, IDW publishes some of the most successful and popular titles in the industry, including: Hasbro’s The Transformers and G.I. JOE, Paramount’s Star Trek; Fox’s Angel; the BBC’s Doctor Who; and television’s #1 prime time series CBS’ CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. IDW is also home to the Library of American Comics imprint, which publishes classic comic reprints; Yoe! Books, a partnership with Yoe! Studios; and is the print publisher for ComicMix.

IDW’s original horror series, 30 Days of Night, was launched as a major motion picture in October 2007 by Sony Pictures and was the #1 film in its first week of release. More information about the company can be found at IDWPublishing.com.

About Hasbro
Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS) is a worldwide leader in children’s and family leisure time products and services with a rich portfolio of brands and entertainment properties that provides some of the highest quality and most recognizable play and recreational experiences in the world. As a brand-driven, consumer-focused global company, Hasbro brings to market a range of toys, games and licensed products, from traditional to high-tech and digital, under such powerful brand names as TRANSFORMERS, PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, CRANIUM and WIZARDS OF THE COAST. Come see how we inspire play through our brands at http://www.hasbro.com. © 2010 Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.