[NYCC '13] Interview: Max Brooks Pits Zombies Against Vampires In ‘The Extinction Parade’

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Because the party never ends for them, Laila and her immortal sister are living recklessly, having a wild and fun time. As they drown themselves in blood, the vampire sisters do not realize the upcoming apocalypse is heading towards them. The zombie plague is spreading and their human food supply is slowly running low. From Avatar Press, get ready for the all-out war between zombies and vampires in Max Brooks’ “The Extinction Parade.”

During the New York Comic Con, I spoke with the “World War Z” author about how the comic came about, doing research on the Malaysia setting, and how the zombie plague would affect vampires.

Bloody-Disgusting: Tell me how the concept came about.

Max Brooks: You know, I had done so much work on how humans would survive or not survive a zombie plague. I thought, what about another species? A species that has sort of been created at the top of the food chain. And I really wanted to explore the notion of privilege, of when everything is handed to you, what the price of that is? And the price is I think it robs you of your survival mechanism. I believe as individuals, and also as a species, struggle builds character. And struggle is what makes you accomplished.

I think that most people are accomplished because they are compensating for say weaknesses in their childhood. So if you’re given everything, you just can’t survive. So I thought, what if there was a species that essentially are aristocrats? Never had a job, never had to work, never had to struggle, never been afraid. That’s vampires to me. To me, vampires are the aristocracy. And when I see them in movies, they’re cool and sexy. But I look at them and I’m like, “You don’t have a job.” Even Dracula had Renfield to do all his dirty work for him. Dracula didn’t pay his property taxes, Renfield did.

So I thought, what if you had a species that initially thought the zombie outbreak was awesome? Because the zombies are destroying human civilization and they like that. “Good! It’s like Mardi Gras! We can kill anybody we want! No more cops!” But then, they have their own “Inconvenient Truth.” Oh crap! What are we going to eat? Because that would dawn on them slowly. If you’re immortal, you’re not attuned to change, so things are happening too fast for you.

So that’s where the premise came. So I really wanted to explore the notion of vampires as being pampered heiresses.

BD: Tell me about the time jumps in the narrative.

MB: Well, in “Extinction Parade,” it’s all happening at once, but you keep having flashbacks. You know, because they have been around for hundreds of years, so they’re always flashing back. I mean, issue two only takes place a couple of weeks after issue number one. Actually you jump a couple of years as the plague sort of expands, but it doesn’t jump that far.

BD: Did you do research on the time periods and different locations?

MB: Oh God yes! I research for a novel but that’s just facts, figures, and culture. When you do a comic, when I do a comic, I have to do a lot more research. Because when you write a novel, you only put as much information you think is important. You can cut out the rest.

When you do a comic, you have to see everything. So I have to literally download 3D satellite maps of say Kuala Kapoor and when I give them to our artist, to Raulo Caceres, I have to say, “Look if our characters are standing on this street corner, facing this direction, but we’re looking at them over their shoulders, here’s what the skyline would look like.” Because the story is set in Malaysia, I always live in fear that somebody from Malaysia is going to be like, “Dude, somebody give Max Books a ticket to Malaysia!”

You know because I’ve seen foreign films where they’re like in Los Angeles where I’m from, and they’re all over the place! “Rumble in the Bronx,” the Jackie Chan movie, the camera pulls back and it’s like the hills of the Bronx! They’re no hills! What are you talking about? So yeah, research is very important to me.

BD: Tell me about the vampire sisters Laila and Min.

MB: They’re initially arrogant as all aristocrats are. To me. they’re the Hilton sisters. Everything has been handed to them. They’re loving their life. They think the plague is kinda cute and fun. And then they go through ecstatic, “Wow this is awesome!” You’ll see in issue three, “We just killed a couple of cops in the middle of the street! And nobody cares!”

BD: What can you tease about the next issue?

MB: In the next issue, you’re going to start to see panic. Not so much panic, just anxiety. It’s going to be like “Oh! This isn’t just fun.” Because Laila and her sister are always assuming the humans are going to get the house in order. They’re like, “hey! We better enjoy this zombie plague while we can! Eventually, the humans will get it under control. They’ll take care of the zombies. And we’re going to have to go back hiding.” So they’re going to run the entire emotional gambit.

“Extinction Parade” #3 is out in stores now!

Interview by – Jorge Solis

 
  • Canucklehead

    Lazy vampire 1% ers I tell ya they’re gonna get it!

    • JorgeSolis

      The first three issues are really good. Raulo Caceres artwork is really impressive, especially the 2-pagers. Can’t wait for the next issue!