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Max Brooks Wages World War Vamp in “The Extinction Parade”

by  in Comic News Comment
Max Brooks Wages World War Vamp in “The Extinction Parade”

It’s all-out supernatural war this June as vampires take on zombies in Avatar Press’ “The Extinction Parade” from Max Brooks, the first creator-owned miniseries from the author of “World War Z,” featuring art by “Crossed: Badlands” artist Raulo Caceres. Based on one of Brooks’ short stories, “The Extinction Parade” takes place in a zombie-infested world where vampires have come out of the shadows to devour the panic-stricken humans en masse.

Brooks, whose most recent comic book project was IDW’s “G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds,” spoke with Comic Book Resources about “The Extinction Parade,” revealing what readers can expect from the post-apocalyptic series, as well as sharing his personal favorite comic books, what zombies represent in his stories and more.

CBR News: Max, what’s “The Extinction Parade” about?

Max Brooks: You might call it “An Inconvenient Truth” for vampires, although I’m not really sure if the metaphor is entirely accurate. The story deals with a zombie plague told through the eyes of vampires. Initially, the bloodsuckers welcome the zombie rise because the ensuing chaos allows them to kill without fear of repercussions. Only later do they realize that the ‘subdead’ ghouls, who don’t even notice the vampires, are slowly eating away at both species’ only food source. In the midst of their bloody frenzy, they realize, “Hey, wait a minute — what are we going to live on when the humans are all gone?”

What inspired “The Extinction Parade?”

What interests me about zombies is our reaction to them. I’m constantly fascinated by how the human heart-mind-body-spirit reacts to crisis. It intrigues me on both the micro and macro level. With “EP,” I thought I’d explore how another species might react, a species that supposedly would have incredibly advantages over the weaker humans they feed off of. I wanted to explore the supposed pitfalls of all these privileges and how they only come to light during a crisis.

How closely does the comic follow your original short story?

The comic is similar to the short story. I’ve changed a few of the characters; I’ve changed a few of the scenes. Most importantly, I’ve gone deeper, much deeper, than in the short story. I tried to dig into the bottom of vampire psychology, as well as pull out the long, slow descent into Armageddon. I wanted to illustrate each individual vampire shortcoming and how they try to correct them. As far as research, scope and detail, the comic series will be light years beyond the story.

Do zombies always represent the same thing in all your stories? What do the undead masses represent in “The Extinction Parade?”

Zombies are pretty consistent in my stories. They’re a test for us, as individuals, as nations, as a species. Now they’re going to be a test for another species, one that’s always been used to perching comfortably at the top of the food chain.

Why did you decide to put out your first original miniseries with Avatar Press?

I’m happy at Avatar. I’ve never found a better partner. They’re dedicated, flexible, confident and brave. Damn, are they brave. They don’t have to answer to anyone; they let creators follow their passions. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to true synergy between commerce and art.

Do you have any hopes to adapt “The Extinction Parade” further, to film or TV?

I can’t even begin to think about that right now. I’ve too much comic writing to do!

Too much comic writing, eh? So, can fans expect to see more Max Brooks comics soon?

I actually do have a graphic novel coming out next year, one that I’ve worked on for almost 14 years. It’s a true story; no zombies or vampires or anything supernatural. It’s a story that takes place during the First World War and it’s a story I’ve always wanted to tell.

Personally, what are some of your favorite comics? Any recent favorites?

As far as all-time personal favorites — jeez. I’d have to write a whole book on that one. I bounce around a lot. My love for “ROM the Spaceknight” is as deep as it is for Art Spiegelman’s “MAUS.” I’m as happy reading Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” chronicles (which I just went back over again) as Guy Delisle’s “Pyonyang.”

Right now, I just burned through the first two issues of Steve Niles’ new Frankenstein sequel [“Frankenstein Alive, Alive!”]. Damn, it’s good!

“The Extinction Parade” #1 by Max Brooks and Raulo Caceres is out this June from Avatar Press.

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