Max Brooks Talks About ‘A More Perfect Union’ at The Nerdist Podcast

For the full podcast, listen to this episode of The Nerdist
For the full podcast, listen to this episode of The Nerdist

In August 2016 Max Brooks was interviewed at The Nerdist podcast. He spoke for a bit about his Cinema Purgatorio creation A More Perfect Union, illustrated by Michael DiPascale. Listen to the whole interview if you want all the details (including ideas behind Brooks’ earlier Avatar Press title Extinction Parade), but here are a few things he mentioned that shed light on where Union is headed. (starting at minute 15)

We’ll start off with pop culture… Alan Moore wanted to put together an anthology of horror stories and he got together the awesome-est of the awesome-est. Garth Ennis, Kieron Gillen, Christos Gage. So he got together this awesome team, and then me.

I had a story I wanted to tell, but it wasn’t what I consider to be traditionally horror. When I think horror, I think dark alleys, and AAAAH! and suspense… and mine’s not. Mine is actually a throwback to the old 1950s movie Them!, which was one of my favorite movies of all time. The one thing Them! never did was have a giant ant battle. Because they couldn’t afford it. They could afford like three animatronic ants and that was it.

Movie poster for the 1954 movie Them!
Movie poster for the 1954 movie Them!  – via Wikipedia

So I actually went back to the studio and I pitched them Them!. Now we can finally do the Act III that they’ve never done. They loved it. I went up through the chain of command. Finally I got the note “does your giant ant movie have to be giant ants?” They said to me “do they even have to be giant?”

I said alright. We are done. Because it occurred to me, I only need you guys as a title – Them!. I don’t need you to do a giant bug movie. They’ve been done.

I thought as long as I’m breaking why does it have to be the 1950s when we had the technology to wipe ’em out. What if there was a giant bug war at a time when our technology was just in its infancy? Not so infant that we’d get slaughtered, but not so advanced that we would do the slaughtering.

1863. Battle of Gettysburg.

Robert E. Lee [is the] commander of the American Army. There is no Civil War, because it never happened. Because the outbreak happened right before the South seceded. At that point, the greatest military mind in America was Robert E. Lee, so he is commanding what’s left of the army of the Potomac, facing this horde that’s coming from the south.

It’s not going to be a victory. All he’s hoping for is a stalemate. Because if he can halt this colony long enough, then all our technology that’s coming up – all the idea of repeating rifles, chemical weapons, human flight, electricity – all these things are starting, but they need time.

Can Lee buy us enough time? Because if they break through and go north, we’re done. North America is done.

So that is the battle of Gettysburg.

And that was my story. I wrote it up and I gave it to Alan Moore and I said “I know this is nothing like you normally do.” He read it. He said “that’s exactly why I want it.” So God bless Alan Moore. He said “yeah – you’re in.”

What was cool about it was my story unfolds very very very slowly. Because there’s also a social undertone in it. It’s about not having the luxury of prejudice. The story starts out issue one you think it’s Gettysburg. Then you realize oh – some of these soldiers are from the South. Issue two: commanding general Lee – what’s going on? Then later issues “wait a minute” there’s black soldiers fighting alongside white soldiers. There’s women fighting alongside men.

Basically we don’t have the luxury of dicing our species up into little categories and picking our favorites. We’re all in. It’s either all of human talent or none of us survive. That is A More Perfect Union.

Listen to the full interview here.

 

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Max Brooks Talks About ‘A More Perfect Union’ at The Nerdist Podcast

  1. A More Perfect Union is one of my favorite runs right now.
    I’ve always had a fondness for imaginative alternate history Science Fiction, Not to mention the mother of all giant insect movies; THEM! 🙂

    Like

  2. “Them!” was one of my dad’s favorite movies, and I fondly remember watching it with him as a kid.

    Also, this is just hilarious:

    “So I actually went back to the studio and I pitched them Them!. Now we can finally do the Act III that they’ve never done. They loved it. I went up through the chain of command. Finally I got the note “does your giant ant movie have to be giant ants?” They said to me “do they even have to be giant?””

    It reminds me of Christopher Guest’s “For Your Consideration” (a mockumentary about making a film), where the Hollywood executives are giving ridiculous notes to the filmmakers, and ultimately change the film from “Home for Purim” to “Home for Thanksgiving” for marketing reasons haha.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s