Today we’ve got David Walker and Tim Seeley joining us for a quick interview on ‘Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes’! The two have previously worked on ‘Revival’ and ‘Powerman and Iron Fist’ and are now delivering a grand concept for us. The book is described as “Raised as brothers but separated by slave traders, Tarzan and his ape brother Caesar reunite when the war between man and ape takes them from the jungles of Africa to the center of the earth” with Fernando Dagnino on art.
Science Fiction (SF): Thanks for taking the time to join us today, first if you can tell us a bit about what we can expect from ‘Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes’?
David Walker (DW): Spectacular simian smackdowns stimulating your senses. Ape-tastic action assaulting your amygdala. Gloriously gratifying gorilla gunplay. And that’s just in the first issue.
Tim Seeley (TS): A good, pulp, since-fictiony good time with some glorious artwork.
SF: On the surface the idea of throwing the King of the Jungle in against the ‘Planet of the Apes’ is a no brainer but how did you come up with the idea?
DW: Tim was already developing a story with editor Scott Allie, who knows that I’m a crazy Planet of the Apes fan. Scott asked if I’d like to be involved, and as someone with a tattoo of Dr. Zaius on his arm, and being a fan of Tim’s work, I jumped at the opportunity. Tim and I took the initial ideas he and Scott had developed, and then we began to put together the story as it exists. Both of us really examined the separate mythologies, and looked for ways we could bring them together.
TS: Some genius at Dark Horse or Boom! came up with it. And then even greater smarts were shown, when Scott Allie dangled it in front of me and David.
SF: What inspired you to set Tarzan and Caesar as friends at the start and at odds with each other’s species when they reunite?
DW: Exploring how external factors can create conflict between even the closest of friends is the stuff of good drama. Seeing if the damaged relationship can be repair is the stuff of good drama. Watching characters grow and evolve is good drama. Frankly, I think that if there were no conflict between Tarzan and Caesar at some point in the story for them to resolve, then we would have written a stort that did not live up to it’s fullest potential.
TS: We talked about how best to make the properties worked together, and it seemed like the best choice was to combine the THEMES of the individual properties. Both are really about man’s inhumanity to man, as reflected via these primate characters. The best way to portray that theme seemed to be starting Caesar and Tarzan out on the same side, and then splitting them apart.
SF: What did you feel about being able to tackle these two classic properties and bring them together?
TS: I know David is a huge PotA fan. And But as much as I enjoy the films, and have always wanted to have a book on my shelf with Tarzan on the spine, for me the real draw was getting to work with David and Scott Allie.
SF: ‘Planet of the Apes’ has a complex history. Which set of films, comics, or books are you using for continuity?
DW: The original film series is the continuity that matters most to me, and it was the only one relevant to both the story Tim and I were looking to tell, as well as what the various publishers and license holders were looking to combine.
TS: We pick up from “ESCAPE FROM THE PLANET OF THE APES.” There’s a lot of stuff in there from other stories as well.
SF: Was there any additional challenges as this was a concept brought together by both Dark Horse Comics and Boom! Studios!?
DW: There’s always challenges in bringing together two completely different franchises, but most of those are creative. As far as Dark Horse, Boom, or Fox Studios, I don’t recall ever getting a note suggesting we do anything specific, or saying that something was off limits. There were characters they talked about including, but there was never a mandate. I think there was one email that said, “Would you consider using Dr. Zaius in the story somehow?” I immediately fired of an angry, all-caps email, saying that this was impossible to use Dr. Zaius, and it would ruin the integrity of the story Tim and I were building. I sent the email, and about a minute later, I though of way we could possibly use Dr. Zaius. I’m pretty sure I haven’t apologized for that.
TS: Just schedule, really. It was hard to get two scatterbrained writers like us together for 5 issues with all of our other commitments.
SF: How has the creative process been while working with one another on ‘Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes’?
DW: It was like a two-person group therapy session for a pair of uber-nerds, constantly geeking out. I am, of course, referring to Tim and Scott. I was like the therapist saying, “Yes, all of this simian action is fine, but let’s be professionals and not a bunch of fan-boys.” In all seriousness though, working with Tim was great. We constantly bounced ideas back and forth, and really did the best job we could, to make this the best comic possible.
TS: Our process was to talk out stories and plot points, and then we alternated issues as ‘solo’ writers. Scott Allie did a lot of heavy lifting too.
SF: How has working with Fernando Dagnino on point for art been through the creation of the series??
DW: Okay, as the co-writer, I’m supposed to talk about what a great time I had working with Tim, and how compelling the story is, and blah blah blah. But seriously, get this book for the art. Tim and I wrote a good story, but Fernando drew an amazing story. He made what we wrote better than is was – taking it to an all-new level. I’m a die-hard Planet of the Apes fan, and I have almost every comic ever published in America, and this really is one of the best looking in terms of art, if not the best.
Tim Seeley (TS): He’s amazing. This is definitely one of the best looking projects I’ve ever worked on. Really epic and classic feeling. We were really lucky to have him, and our colorist on board. And let’s not forget our incredible cover artist, Duncan Fegredo.
SF: Tim, ‘Revival’ often blends in the overall narrative with the personal stories of those who have lived through the events of the dead returning to life. Are the more personal stories one offs or is everything part of a greater plan?
TS: It’s certainly intended to be both. There are no wasted pages in REVIVAL. It’s a story about a town, and every character is part of the tapestry.
SF: David, with ‘Powerman and Iron Fist’ trying to have the heroes stay out of Marvel’s ‘Civil War II’ not working out too well for them, will the consequences of their choices in the upcoming couple of issues be felt beyond the tie-in?
DW: Most definitely and indeed. I’m having a lot of fun working with Luke and Danny, putting them through their paces, and seeing them evolve as characters. Our first story after Civil War II finds them caught up in gang war to control Harlem. And then, after that, things will become so awesome that new adjectives will need to be created just describe what Sanford Greene and I are doing.
SF: Thank you for joining us today. Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?
DW: Beware the beast man, for he is the Devil’s pawn.