NYCC 2013 – Max Brooks: Response to World War Z Adaptation, Possible Television Version of Extinction Parade
Many people know Max Brooks as the author of World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide, but what some may not know is that he is the son of comedic actor/director Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles, History of the World: Part 1). At New York Comic Con recently, Brooks spoke at a panel to promote his new comic book series, The Extinction Parade, which shows the zombie apocalypse from the point of view of vampires. However, he also talked with his fans about the recently released World War Z film. His comedic talent, probably inherited from his father, had the entire panel audience in stitches throughout our time with him.
Brooks was very clear that the World War Z movie was not his book. He said that he was able to separate the film from the book because of how very different they were, and this disconnect was how he was able to enjoy the film. He said that ultimately, though, it was his book that kept him sane. The film did not change his book—it is still the same work that it was before. He told fans the story of how his friend, Frank Darabont, created The Walking Dead TV show, and was subsequently fired. In talking to his friend about the World War Z film, Darabont reassured him that it was better than being a screenwriter and having your work “mangled” while still having your name on it. In that case, you have work tied to your name that is not truly your own. A friend of Darabont’s also emailed Brooks and encouraged him, saying that this film could only bring new life and new fans to his work. At this point in the story, Brooks hesitated, and then revealed to the audience that it was Stephen King himself who sent that last email. The kind words of these two authors helped Brooks gain some perspective on the film version of his book, as well.
Brooks also gave his thoughts on why these end-of-the-world type tales have become so popular. His belief is that we are currently living in uncertain times. Because of that, people want to explore their anxieties while also keeping a safe distance emotionally. The element of zombies gives people that disconnect from reality that they need, while still exploring paths for survival if the end of the world as we know it did happen.
As for his comic book series, he told the fans that there is someone who wants to make Extinction Parade into a limited TV show and that they are close to signing a deal, but he cannot make an official announcement yet about who it is. So stay tuned for more Max Brooks-inspired television!