Comic Watch’s own Ross Hutchinson recently got a chance to speak with artist David Mack at Comic Con Africa 2019, where they discuss everything from Mack’s work in progress, how much we like Chuck Palahniuk, to what he draws inspiration from. Check out the full interview below!
Comic Watch: Hi David and thank you for once again talking to Comic Watch. The first thing I have to ask is what do you think of South Africa?
David Mack: Hello everyone from South Africa. Been here for almost a week, got here last week Wednesday. We did a Safari on Friday. Saw the rhino’s, the Lions, the Zebras. It was pretty amazing. It’s been a great convention. everyone’s very positive.
CW: What’s your impression of South African Con Goers versus say the millions of others you’ve attended around the world?
DM: A lot of the people I’ve met here, they’re very enthusiastic. There’s a lot of people who are really happy I was here and are really passionate readers, people who have been following Kabuki for 20 years.
CW: In your last interview with us you broke the news that you and Brian Bendis were meeting in Los Angeles with some interest in bringing Cover to television. Has anything come of those meetings?
DM: Yeah. We’re still working on that, I’ll let them announce all the stuff when the time comes, but yeah Bendis and I are still gearing up for the next project we are working on. It’ll come out from DC next year and yeah we working behind the scenes to bring Cover to the screen.
CW: Speaking of working behind the scenes. How is the development of Kabuki going at Sony? You have been working behind the scene for years now to bring this to a screen of some sort for years now.
DM: Yeah. I feel like these days, we have tried it as a film as well on TV but I have always liked the idea of doing it as a TV series and these days the landscape of telling stories in long-form on television has never been better, so I really feel its the natural kinda way to tell the story and I am just doing my best they need from me that I have to do or meetings I am there with it.
CW: So what is your actual role? Executive producer? Are you managing the script or if it gets to that point would you write the script?
DM: Yes, I am an executive producer, but also I will be part of the writer’s room as well.
CW: Stepping away from projects in development for a second. You have worked in a massive array of mediums. You’ve made toys, advert campaigns, album covers, music videos. Is there something in media, besides television which you obviously working tirelessly to bring to market, that you would like to have a stab at or should I say try?
DM: Sure yeah. You know I have enjoyed making music videos, I’ve really enjoyed doing opening titles for Jessica Jones and the main titles for Winter Soldier and there’s a couple of other projects that I am scheduled to do main title stuff for. I really like that but I love the idea of working collaboratively, its a very collaborative field (film and TV) whether its more opening titles, whether it’s writing, whether it’s doing stuff or art on the screen or a variety of other things I am open to all of that.
CW: You travel extensively around the world promoting your art and other works. if you had to pick a favorite place to spend a length of time (aside from home) where would you say that is and why?
DM: Oh that’s a good question. Well I am scheduled to spend some time in Japan in November and then from Japan, I am going to go right to Singapore and I’ll be in Singapore for a while too. They are both places that I go to on a yearly basis and really like spending time in both those places. Singapore and Japan are wonderful places to not only like do gallery events, signings and conventions. I enjoy doing work there and I enjoy the environment there so I am looking forward to more of that.
CW: Getting back to comics. Are there any traditional big two characters you would like to still tackle or are you kind of done with caped superheroes?
DM: Oh Yeah, I would be happy to do some others. You know a long time ago probably almost 20 years ago I had an invitation to write a Batman story and at the time I was busy doing a lot of stuff for Marvel and it didn’t work out but I would love to do a Batman project someday whether its writing it or doing the art or something else that would be a blast.
At this point in the interview, I nerd out a bit and started talking about David Lapham and Sienkiewicz’s Batman story that never saw the light of day (we did a piece on it you can read about it HERE) and David offered his thoughts on the topic…
DM: It is weird how you’ll have an incredible creative team and a project will never see the light of day. There’s been stuff like I have done covers for and the project gets scrapped for one reason or another. Speaking of Sienkiewicz, we did that series Daredevil: End Of Days. Bendis And I wrote it and the majority of the art was by Bill Sienkiewicz and Klaus Janson who are both guys who’s work Bendis And I grew up reading when we were younger. It was incredible working with them. It was this great collaborative team of Daredevil artists who had all spent certain amounts of their career on Dardevil all working together and I really loved writing all the characters in that story. I loved writing the Punisher in that story and I had starting writing quite a bit of writing for a sequel called Punisher: End of Days which Klaus wanted to be a part of it, Bill Sienkiewicz, we were all going to do it but Brian went to DC and he still gave us the blessing to do it at Marvel without him cause he’s exclusive DC and I’ll still hear from Klaus every now and then about how much he wants to do it you know. So I wrote much of that story already, I wrote the beginning, middle and ending and some pivotal points in between and it would be fun and schedules allow it. I really like writing the Punisher.
CW: You’ve carved out a marvelous career as a unique voice in the comic world and the art world. Now at this point in your career, who and what do you draw inspiration from?
DM: There’s no off switch for inspiration. I always want to have an open mind to be inspired by everything I am experiencing and comics for me have kind of been my laboratory for making sense of everything I experience in life, be inspired by, or interested or things I am learning. I am always purposely learning or researching something and that somehow works its way into the story. I can’t help but be filtering things I am inspired by all the time. That being said, guys that were inspiring to me in my formative years were Frank Miller, Bill Sienkiewicz, Kent Williams who’s a good friend of mine now and honestly a lot of those guys like Bill Sienkiewicz and I are really close friends, Kent Williams and I are really close friends. He (Kent) has a big studio in Los Angeles and I work at his studio a lot and spend a lot of time with him in L.A. When I am at Kent’s studios seeing him paint or even just hanging out with him talking about art, I can’t help but be inspired, I feel like I get smarter and better just being around those guys, just talking and hearing their aesthetics it makes my world a little bigger.
CW: So are you still draw inspiration from your peers?
DM: Yeah, just by being around them, and Bendis too. We met when we were young. I was 20 years old he was like 25 and we kind of met each other at the right time in a very formative stage of our lives where we were both creating stuff at the beginning of our careers. But you know he is still a guy who is very smart and it’s really useful for me to discuss things with him. Real life stuff but also storytelling and art. He is someone that always gives you a new perspective to think from.
CW: Let’s talk a little about the comics industry in general. In this modern age of constant online access do you think the industry and publishers are doing enough to reach, find and gather in new comic readers whether its in print or digital?
DM: Well there is the one argument that people who see all the movies and stuff, that introduces them to the comics. So there is this idea that the mainstream has kind of embraced stories we enjoyed a generation ago, are now mainstream everywhere now. I don’t know how much of that lead people into comic book stores but I imagine some percentage of it does but I don’t know it a direct percentage. That being said, you know comics are just like a weird animal that attracts an interesting group of people so I don’t even know if comics would ever be super mainstream like in Japan.
CW: Thanks, David. Here are some quick-fire questions to round off our interview. Favorite book one choice only?
DM: The Bible (laughs) just kidding…There was a certain time when probably my favorite author was Chuck Palahniuk and I like Fight Club but I really liked Choke.
CW: (gushing slightly) I liked Invisible Monsters.
DM: That was the second one I read. it was interesting because I read it on a train to Paris. It was right around the same time I was doing a series of Kabuki that kind of paralleled a lot of similar themes that were in Invisible monsters. I felt like we were working in a lot of the same headspaces with what we were doing with the story, so that was pretty surreal for me but because of that it was almost too close to what I was working on. Choke was very interesting to me because it was a little more foreign to me. I got to say I read a lot of nonfiction too.
At this point in the interview, there are several distractions as its busy around his table and he turns the tables on me and asks me what my favorite book is, which I tell him (it’s Dune) and the conversation resumes from there as we discuss my favorite book. Wait, how did that happen? After I blab for a minute or two the conversation then turns to David Lynch’s movie version which it turns out he loves as well until I try to steer him back to my question.
CW: Hahaha David you hedging, you still haven’t picked a favorite book…
DM: It’s a good question. I am bad at picking one favorite thing.
CW: We won’t hold you to it then.
CW: Favorite artist? It doesn’t have to be comics, it can be traditional.
DM: The artist I have yet to become…
CW: Ha very good answer. 10 points for that one.
DM: (Laughs) That’s a silly answer but we’ll go with that.
CW: The best meal you have ever had?
DM: The next one (again laughing)
CW: What’s the first comic you remember reading?
DM: The first one I coherently remember reading at the youngest age that left an impression on me was Frank Millers Daredevil. It was Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, it was a Daredevil issue, I’m thinking 182 or 183 (it’s 183). its the one that has the Punisher and Daredevil on the cover where it’s the profile, the one where the Punisher is shooting Daredevil with concentric circles in the background. I was about 9 years old. I was at a friend’s house and they had it sitting there and I read it. It was a pretty intense book, a crime story where little kids were selling and taking drugs, the Punisher was murdering everybody. It was outside of my comfort zone and not what I expected from a comic book. It was a very visceral feeling and I read it very young. Then magically maybe two to four years later in a second-hand store I stumbled on the very next issue and bought that for myself for like 60 cents and then read it. By then I was at an age where I could really process it and really see the intelligence behind the panels. I was really hooked on comics.
CW: Do you watch movies? What’s your favorite?
DM: I used to say Fight Club (chuckles), its a great intersection between book and film. I feel like the cinematic and the literary mesh together well in that film. That said I like all Kubrick’s films and I like those for the same way because they cinematic experiences but they feel like literary experiences you know what I mean? That said I still love Dune because it’s like a headspace more than a film. The films I like, put you in a state of mind. I can sit and watch them entirely as a film but if I am sitting working and I’m going through the channels and I see Fight Club or Kubrick or Dune I will immediately have it on even if it in the middle of the thing because it’s just a state of mind that I want to live in or work to.
CW: Thanks for talking to us David and we look forward to what comes next!
Always Learning: An Interview With David Mack
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