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DF Interview: David Walker talks of taking Tarzan to the Planet of the Apes
By Byron Brewer
This fall, Dark Horse Comics will publish a new Tarzan tale with the help of BOOM! Studios, taking Edgar Rice Burroughs’ iconic hero to the Planet of the Apes, titled (coincidentally enough) Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes!
Heavyweight writers David Walker (Shaft: Imitation of Life, Power Man and Iron Fist) and Tim Seeley (Alice Cooper vs. Chaos, Revival) will script a five-issue miniseries with Fernando Dagnino (Suicide Squad) on interior art and Duncan Fegredo illustrating stunning covers.
Wanna know more? Of course you do. Enter: Your DF correspondent with Mr. Walker.
Dynamic Forces: Wow, David, I have seen some franchises mixed – Dynamite just did Aliens/Vampirella – but this one really makes the mind reel! How did this miniseries come about?
David Walker: I know Dark Horse editor Scott Allie, and both of us are huge Planet of the Apes fans. We share a mutual appreciation for a lot of other films and a variety of genres, but we’ve probably had more conversations about POTA than anything else. As this particular project started coming together, Scott reached out and asked if I’d be interested. Tim Seeley was already on board, as was the artist, but the story was still being developed, and Scott felt it needed someone with a Dr. Zaius tattoo on their arm to really make it all come together. Fortunately, I’m the only writer he knows with a Dr. Zaius tattoo on their arm.
DF: So you are co-writing with Tim Seeley?
David Walker: Yes, Tim was already on board when I came on to the project. I knew him through his work, and we had met once or twice in person, and I was looking for an opportunity to co-write something. Co-writing is a completely different dynamic, which I’m not used to doing. Like myself, Tim is one of those people that spends a ridiculous amount of time doing research, and he really jumped in feet first when it came to the Tarzan stuff. As for me, I’ll take any excuse to watch a Planet of the Apes—except for the Tim Burton one. Hell, I watch the animated series, and that is terrible. I tried to get Tim to watch the old cartoon from the 1970s, but he had to draw the line somewhere. Oh, well. His loss.
DF: I understand in this reality, Tarzan and Caesar are brothers?
David Walker: Yes, they are adopted brothers, raised by Caesar’s biological parents, Zira and Cornelius. In the original Tarzan books by Burroughs, he is orphaned as a baby, and raised by a tribe of intelligent, talking gorillas called the Mangani. In this reality, Cornelius and Zira have assumed leadership of the Mangani, after having traveled back in time, and crashing off the coast of Africa.
DF: What else can you tell us about the storyline of this five-issue mini?
David Walker: It is pretty epic. There is time travel, and lots of action, and all the things both fans of Tarzan and Planet of the Apes are going to want. At the heart and soul of this story there is Tarzan and Caesar, both characters of strong convictions, trying to do the right thing in the face of moral corruption and violence.
DF: David, didn’t you tell me once that Planet of the Apes was important to you at an early age?
David Walker: Yes, this is my all-time favorite franchise. I saw my first Planet of the Apes movie when I was about three or four, and it sparked my imagination. Before the marketing craze of Star Wars, there was POTA. There were comic books and toys and trading cards, and just about anything you could imagine. I had all of it. My first book report in school was on the Beneath the Planet of the Apes comic.
DF: Did I hear somewhere that this series actually goes to the Center of the Earth? (Is that yet another franchise arising here? lol)
David Walker: Is that the rumor? I can neither confirm nor deny any time spent at the Earth’s core in the land of Pellucidar.
DF: How does it feel to be working with artist Fernando Dagnino?
David Walker: Fernando is amazing. Actually, that’s not an adequate description of his artistic ability. Honestly, the success of this book is going to be the art. I like the story Tim and I have put together, but the art takes it to another level. I keep telling people, “Buy it for the art alone.” Don’t get me wrong, because I’m happy with the story Tim and I have done, and I stand by it. But the art? The art is something else.
DF: And I don’t suppose it is a coincidence that this book hits around the same time as the new film, The Legend of Tarzan?
David Walker: Come on, you know that everything that happens in the comic industry is either coincidence, dumb luck or a happy accident.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank David Walker for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes #1 from Dark Horse and BOOM! Studios hits stores September 20-Ape! Er uh, September 28th!
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