Originally published July 12, 2012 at 1:59 p.m., updated July 14, 2012 at 6 a.m.
It's no secret that I love zombies so when I had an opportunity to interview Max Brooks ("The Zombie Survival Guide" and "World War Z") at Comic-Con on Wednesday I shambled... um, I mean I leapt at the chance.
Here's the thing, zombies may be braindead and mentally challenged but the people who make good zombie movies and books are often smart, irreverent, and quite astute about social issues. What these clever folks realize is that zombies are the perfect blank slate for social commentary. George A. Romero knew that when he launched the modern zombie film in 1968 with "Night of the Living Dead." Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright reaffirmed that with "Shaun of the Dead" in 2004. And Max Brooks proves it with his books "The Zombie Survival Guide" and World War Z."
The Zombie Survival Guide" provides useful information in fighting off zombies or dealing with any type of disaster. The tips are genuinely useful so it annoyed Brooks that the book was placed in the humor section. So he followed that up with the novel "World War Z," in which a zombie outbreak leads to a breakdown in social order and structure. "World War Z" is currently in troubled production with Brad Pitt starring and producing. Brooks has nothing to do with the film and confesses that he doesn't know much about the production.
Here's an interview I did with him on Wednesday.
Brooks' panels at Comic-Con (and I highly recommend any panel he's on because he's great fun and very smart):
Thursday, July 12
1:15-2:15 Not with a Bang, with a Bite— Great prophets, religious scriptures, and scientific evidence points to an apocalypse in 2012...but these authors envision the end of the world in the form of a zombie pandemic. With their decaying, disintegrating, and sometimes flesh-eating tendencies, zombies have lurched their way into science fiction and fantasy novels and are here to stay. Doomsday takes on a whole new meaning when losing limbs and lumbering across the earth are involved. Learn how to survive everything from zombie invasions to viral zombie infections from panelists Jeyn Roberts (Dark Inside), Michael Spradlin (Blood Riders), Mira Grant (Blackout), Diana Rowland (Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues), Stephen Blackmoore (City of the Lost), Dana Fredsti (Plague Town), Susan Dennard (Something Strange and Deadly), and Max Brooks (World War Z), led by John Hornor Jacobs (This Dark Earth). Room 6A
5:00-6:00 Legendary Comics— Legendary Comics presents a behind-the-scenes look at its upcoming slate of must-read projects. Get first-look access to new content, grab limited-edition giveaways, and ask questions of your favorite creators. The panel is hosted by the nerdist himself, Chris Hardwick. Panelists include The Tower Chronicles creators Matt Wagner (Grendel, Mage) and Simon Bisley (Lobo, 2000 AD), Shadow Walk creators Max Brooks (The Zombie Survival Guide, G.I. Joe: Hearts & Minds), Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, The Flash), and Shane Davis (Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns, Superman: Earth One). Joining this all-star cast are co-creator of The Tower Chronicles and Shadow Walk, Thomas Tull (founder and CEO of Legendary Entertainment) and editor-in-chief Bob Schreck (All-Star Superman). Don't miss breaking news regarding our next project from an elite creator in the comics industry who will be making a surprise appearance. Room 6A
7:00-8:00 History of the Modern Zombie— Zombie Research Society hosts a panel of leading zombie experts moderated by ZRS founder Matt Mogk (Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies). Panelists include Max Brooks (Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z), Scott Kenemore (Zen of Zombie, Zombie, Ohio), Aaron Sagers (CNN Geek Out, entertainment writer, TV host), Steven Schlozman, M.D. (zombie autopsies, Harvard Medical School), and Bradley Voytek, Ph.D. (University of California, San Francisco). Join them for a spirited discussion about the evolution and impact of the modern zombie, and get all your pressing questions answered before it's too late! Room 7AB
Sunday, July 15
2:00-3:00 Max Brooks: Zombie Survival 101— Max Brooks, screenwriter and author of bestselling books The Zombie Survival Guide, World War Z, and The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, is the world's leading authority on the defense against a ghoulish uprising! Renowned for his campus and convention lectures nationwide, Brooks comes to San Diego Comic-Con to share his insight into the rotting minds of the undead, reveal how the Zombie Survival Guide came into existence, and field questions from zombie-phobic fans! You dare not miss this lecture -- your very life may depend on it! Room 7AB