Peter David Returns to "Epic Mickey" for "Tales of Wasteland"

Warren Spector and his team at Junction Point Studios are hard at work on the follow-up to the popular Disney Interactive game "Epic Mickey." Titled "Epic Mickey: The Power of Two," the game incorporates two-player cooperative split-screen action, along with the involvement of a new playable character -- Oswald, the first character Walt Disney ever drew.

The game will have quite a story to tell, but for good measure, Disney Interactive also brought on fan-favorite comic book writer Peter David to pen a series of digital comics tying-in to its universe. Titled "Disney's Epic Mickey: Tales of Wasteland," the series acts as a tie-in, broken into six eight-page stories that detail events that occurred between the original "Epic Mickey" game and its sequel. In addition, he's also working on a 64-page graphic novel illustrated by Fabrizio Petrossi, Giuseppe Fontana and Massimo Rocca. The graphic novel and digital comics should be available around the same time as the game, which hits November 18.

To get a little more insight about "Tales of Wasteland," CBR News spoke with David, who provided more backstory for the miniseries as well as his source for inspiration behind the project.

CBR News: Peter, how did the idea for another "Epic Mickey" graphic novel come about? Was Warren Spector looking for a side story to accompany "Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two," or did it come from a different direction?

Peter David: I honestly don't know. Here's what happened: I was visiting Disneyland with my nine-year-old daughter, Caroline. And while we're standing in line for the Peter Pan ride, my cell phone rings. And I looked at caller ID and saw that it was Warren Spector. I thought maybe he was in the park and was calling to say, "Hi, I'm standing right behind you." But no: he was calling to tell me that they had just gotten the go-ahead for a graphic novel adaptation of "Disney's Epic Mickey 2."

Apparently there'd been discussion going on for months and they'd only just then finally agreed that it should be done. But because of the delay, they now had an insane deadline. And since Warren knew that I knew the material and had already novelized the first game under similar tight circumstances, I guess he figured I was the go-to guy for the project. I never really asked the details as to what brought the project about. It didn't seem terribly relevant. I concentrated on what needed to be done, not on the circumstances that had brought us to that point.

What did you have in mind for the graphic novel story? Were you looking for something to supplement the game's content or perhaps open up the tale a bit further?

My goal was the same as the first one: to find ways to take 20-some hours of game play time and condense it to a few dozen pages. To try and include all the bits that I thought people would most remember and make sure they're featured. Beyond that, all that mattered was managing to abridge the story without making it seem rushed.

What can readers expect from the story? Will it give a little more background on Oswald at all?

Sure. Oswald is featured far more heavily in this outing. He has a lot more to do in the game and is even a playable character, and that increased screen time is reflected in the graphic novel.

How deep did your research go when it came to putting together the graphic novel? Did you work closely with the folks at Disney? Anyone in particular?

I couldn't have been closer. I set up shop at Junction Point and I was there for two solid days doing nothing except working on the graphic novel. I was constantly going to the various guys at JP asking for visual reference and to be walked through various points in the game so I could see them more clearly.

What kind of art style do Fabrizio Petrossi, Giuseppe Fontana and Massimo Rocca bring to the project?

I think it looks great. It captured not only the game, but the wonderful European style of Disney comics.

Beyond this adaptation, are there plans for a series of other graphic novels set in the "Epic Mickey" universe?

Well, since there was a previous graphic novel, I guess we've more or less got a series at this point. A series of adaptations. And if there is a third game and they want me to do it, I'm certainly on board for it.

Have you had a chance to look at the game at all? What do you think about Spector and Junction Point's take on the Mickey Mouse legacy?

I've had a chance to look at it and even play it. It promises to be as good as, if not even better than, the first game. I think Warren's and JP's take is terrific. There is just clearly so much love for the character and the Disney universe in the game. It is not only incredibly well thought out, but there are little Easter eggs throughout for the most hardcore of Disney enthusiasts.

What's next for you after the Disney "Epic Mickey" graphic novel?

Well, I already have a couple of steady gigs for "Marvel: X-Factor," and "Stephen King's Dark Tower." If you're asking about Disney-oriented plans, there aren't any at the moment that I know of. But if someone decided that an ongoing "Disney's Epic Mickey" comic would be a good idea, I'd be first on line to write it.

"Disney's Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two" arrives in stores November 18 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii. The novel and digital comics will available through Disney's digital application close to the game's release.

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