Comics Creators

Wednesday Fan-Chat #15 - Brendan McCarthy


Joining us Wednesday, July 8th at 2pm New York Time (7pm UK) for the latest in our series of hour long fan chats will be comic creator (Zaucers of Zilk, Spider-Man: Fever, Freakwave) and Mad Max: Fury Road co-writer and designer, Brendan McCarthy. Please feel free to post any questions you might have here ahead of time. Posts other than questions will be deleted. Thank you.

I'm struggling with my Top 10 movies of 2015

I absolutely adored Mad Max. It was the rare action movie that I also am still thinking about weeks and weeks after the fact. It felt like a completely realized world, like everything in it made sense in context, even down to the shoe measuring device being used to hold down a gas pedal.

What was the one bit of the movie that you had a hand in that you were the most proud of.


I didn’t realise you were involved in designing the look of 90s CGI cartoon ReBoot until I read about the new series. Have you heard anything about this new version? Are you involved in anyway at all with this at all and what are your thoughts on the series being resurrected?


@BrendanM - Thank you for joining us for the fan chat. I apologize but I haven’t had much experience with your work. I seem to be surrounded by long time McCarthy fans among my Millarworld peers. I’ve been researching your work and find it very interesting. I’m sorry I haven’t read any before. If you had to recommend one book to someone who has never read your work, what would it be?


Thanks for joining us, Brendan! There’s a unique hallucinatory quality to your work, something that chimed very nicely with Milligan’s writing back in the nineties for example, and the most recent example for a really visually trippy work is probably Saucer of Zilk. I’m wondering whether you have found it difficult to reign in your personal preferences when you were working on properties that require a more sober approach - I imagine this would be even more of an issue in TV and movies, and that Fury Road was a different/better experience in that regard than it is a lot of the time.


Hello Brendan,

Swimmini Purpose is literally like the Holy Grail of comics for me. I haven’t found a single copy in the wild or online.

Is there an eta for the new expanded edition?

Also, any further work with Mr. Milligan planned?

Also, your Johnny Sorrow work in Solo #12 is my favorite comic short ever. Great stuff for a guy who went K-12 through a Jesuit education.


@BrendanM I know your comics work is much better known by the UK fans here than in the US where you’ve just done a couple of books (and the Shade covers).

Was that because the TV work took most of your time when they were picking up everyone from 2000ad in the late 80s/early 90s or you were too far off any ‘house style’ to get the offers there?

What is your personal favourite of your comics work? Skin and Rogan Gosh are mine.


The first half of the movie was very ‘McCarthy’… The Buzzards, chroming War Boys, Rock Riders… I spent a long time with George Miller working those shots out, pacing, inventing characters etc.


How much of Fury Road is like the draft you first talked about way back? Was the structure always there or did it change through time?

Your Scots pal,

PS You directing a DC movie - which would you pick?


When you think about it, Fury Road is pretty surreal. It’s got a feverish, crazy energy. But the reason I liked the Mad max trilogy in the first place, above all the other 80s franchise movies, was the manic madness of it all, especially Road Warrior. Thunderdome had some brilliant sequences too.


It’s hard for me to think of one of my pieces, but maybe the Strange Days comics might be good. It’s hard to see now, after all these years, how ahead of their time they were. Plus Brett Ewin’s Johnny Nemo is in there too!


Swimini Purpose does sometimes turn up on ebay. I’ve heard of a few going for between $200 to $300.

No work with Milligan planned… but yah never know.

Yes, Johnny Sorrow I thought, was a good interpretation of the character. I was very pleased with that SOLO issue. It’s one of my favourites.


Yeah, SKIN and Rogan Gosh are two fine graphic novelettes. And really different to each other.


@BrendanM - I’m the last person in the US who hasn’t seen Mad Max: Fury Road. The trailers gave me a strong impression of the madness that the series had reached with Beyond Thunderdome almost reprocessed through the even madder riff on the material, the Tupac/Dr. Dre video for California Love? Did the music video have any influence on the film?


Hi Mark.
The final Fury Road was about 90% what I wrote with George Miller about 17 years ago. I still have all the various drafts of the scripts etc. A new writer was brought on when Tom Hardy was cast and they changed some stuff, mainly for the better, although naturally, I disagree strongly with a few scenes that were altered.

Directing a DC movie? Hmmmm…
Dr Fate could be good, but it depends on what Dr Strange turns out like. Grant’s Doom Patrol could be good HBO style TV series, but done like a madder ‘True Detective’.


When working from another writer’s script, what is the one thing that writers tend to do that make life more difficult for the artist?


Never heard of that video. I’ll have to You-Tube it and have a look. But no, it was never an influence.
The biggest influence on Fury Road was the first three movies, and extrapolating out of them what a fourth should be like… I think Fury Road was the ‘McCarthy’ one. If they ever make another, I’m sure it will have its own atmosphere and tone different to MMFR.
Fury Road came out really well. I was very happy with how it turned out, overall. There are a lot of ways anew one could go. It was a long standing ambition of mine to leave a mark on the Mad Max mythology and George Miller was game enough to let an untested lunatic like me loose on his creation!


As an artist, I’ve been very lucky to work with some sympatico talents like Mr Milligan. His scripts were always a joy to read. The script to SKIN was a masterpiece.

My biggest nightmare would be an opening page written by a writer in about 2 minutes that says: "We open in downtown New York, it’s rush hour, thousands of pedestrians are fleeing the assault of a dozen helicopter gun ships as an army of Skrulls blast buildings to smithereens and a legion of your favourite superheroes are flying in to do battle. In the background Galactus is eating the empire state building."
That one picture would take me a month to pencil and ink.

That’s why I avoided working for the big two generally.


It’s worth a watch especially if you’re a Mad Max fan. It came out about 1995.


You’ve worked with @Mark_Millar before, right? I thought that’s how all of his scripts began. :wink: