Comics Creators

Wednesday Fan-Chat #15 - Brendan McCarthy


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:


Writers drive me nuts, because you can write something in a few minutes that takes the poor artist a year to draw, mainly because it’s so complex. It’s why I increasingly write my own stuff.

Mark needed a genius artist like Bryan Hitch to carry off all those huge, bombastic scenes of Marvel mayhem, but his more recent stuff is a bit more laid back. I could never hope to draw those type of comics.


It seems like the roles can be inversely proportional. The less time it takes to write the more their is to draw and vice versa. Have/would you ever written/write for another artist? Anything planned coming up in comics or film?

Also, Mad Max: Fury Road is on my to-watch list. The other Millarworld mods raved about it when we got together in Chicago a month or so back. It’s also kept a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes since its release which is unheard of.


I loved Fury Road and thought it was the first time that Max ever felt truly mad. You guys all did a great job. Would you be interested in doing a Mad Max comic? Since there are a few tie-ins coming out these days I’m sure the thought has run through your mind?

Also, what’s your favourite Kurt Russell movie?


I laugh at some writers who write so much dialogue that you end up with 20 pages of head-shots. You’ve got to find the balance.
Also, I prefer the Wagner/Millar concise type of scripting, rather than the more incontinent verbiage of other ‘superstar’ writers – who I won’t mention here. I’ve heard of a writer giving a whole page description of a room and the objects in it, none of which were necessary to the plot. You generally find, as writers mature and work more, they write less stuff that isn’t ‘on the page’.


What was the feeling of working in Mad Max Fury Road as fanatic? working with that universe?


Yes, I was offered some Mad Max comic stuff, but I was too busy on my series Dream Gang (Dark Horse Presents) to get involved. I’m happy to have done the movie.

I’m not a big Kurt Russell fan, so I’d say The Thing… It’s the only one that comes to mind right now.

I wrote Fury Road with George Miller and it was originally going to be the fourth in the Mel Gibson series. I kind of imagine Mel in the role still, frankly! Mel has more screen weight and would have balanced out the Charlize Theron character more evenly I feel. Not that Tom Hardy didn’t do a decent job.


@BrendanM Are there any projects you have lined up next (comics or otherwise) that you could give us an idea about? Could you give a bit more detail on the Dark Horse one you mentioned?


Creating a new Mad Max movie from scratch, would be like a Star Wars fan getting to do the new Star Wars.
And I was absolutely relentless that this new Mad Max movie had to be as good as – if not better – than Road Warrior. Which was a tall order, seeing as RW is/was the greatest action movie ever made. The bar was set very high before we even started!

But, hell, we pulled something off that eventually came out far better than I’d hoped. You have no idea of the amount of trouble it took to get this film made. It’s a testament to George Miller and Doug (producer) Mitchell’s sheer grit and determination that they pulled this off.


That’s interesting to hear. Did Mel not want to come back or was it something else entirely?


It was. Probably one of the best movies, action or otherwise, I have ever seen. I just loved it.


I have had a few movie offers after Fury Road, but at the moment my main focus is on getting Dream Gang finished.

I did discuss with Al Ewing a while back a story idea about another Zaucer of Zilk story for 2000AD/IDW. But I’m not sure that one will fly. Maybe with another artist. like Philip Bond, if I’m not available.


It would be cool to see you back in the pages of 2000AD! I recently finished reading all of the Dredd Complete Case Files and have to say this image of yours is one of the ones that stuck with me. Love all the different designs going on in it.

I notice a few of the artist credits had you listed as joint credit on art - most noticably you and the late, great Brett Ewins. How did these work? Was it a case of one pencilled and the other inked or was there more in the terms of collaboration back and forth?


Well, regarding Mel, it was bad timing, when he was signed up and we were all ready to go, and then the Iraq war killed the US dollar and the funding fell apart. When things got going again, Mel’s implosion had happened and he moved on. George Miller has said that Heath Ledger was slated to pick up the role, but sadly, we know what happened after the Batman movie.

I met Mel a few times in Sydney while working on developing the movie. I had some interesting chats with him about The Prisoner remake he was going to do in the 90s, which of course, never happened.

And also that he had the rights to Johnny Nemo (by Brett Ewins and Pete Milligan) and was intending to play the futuristic detective. (‘Lock, Stock and 2 Flaming Bladerunners’). Now that, I would have loved to see!


The late Steve Whitaker inked that one!


Okay everyone, it is time to let Brendan go.

Thanks to everyone who stopped in to ask questions and big thanks again to Brendan for taking the time!


I realised that once I’d posted it! I must admit I don’t really recognise his name. Was it the same with Brett? You penciling and him inking?


@BrendanM - Thank you for joining us today. Feel free to come back any time. It was always nice to see you pop up on the old board.