Zenescope's JUNGLE BOOK Writer on Changes and Controversy
Zenescope JUNGLE BOOK Writer on Changes
Newsarama: Mark, you've written a few different comics at this point, but Jungle Book certainly seems to have the most hype behind it — a full teaser campaign from Zenescope and all that. As someone who is known for talking to people who make comics, is that surreal to watch play out?
Mark L. Miller: Most definitely. I’ve been writing and editing the comics section at AICN Comics for about ten years now. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I actually thought I might toss my hat into the ring and take a crack at writing my own comics. The process of how The Jungle Book came to be is sort of a whirlwind at this point. Raven Gregory warned me of this when I pitched it to him last summer. He said that all of a sudden The Jungle Book would be ok-ed and I’d have to churn out a script ASAP. Luckily, I had a lot of time to stew over the story, so once word came down from on high that it’d be happening it was relatively easy to get down. Seeing the teasers and doing the interviews has been a great experience. I just can’t wait for folks to actually read the story. I really am very proud of it all.
Miller: Well, it wasn’t until after the script for issue one was complete that I began seeing the pencils and inks come in. But Carlos is a fantastic artist. Everything is there that I wrote; every subtle nuance and slight expression. His animals are both realistic and able to convey the human qualities I’m anthropomorphizing into them such as speech and expression. His work is also extremely detailed, which is a type of art that I love. You’ll want to really scan and study some of his big panels just to get every little detail he’s put into them.
Miller: A lot of Animal Planet and Discovery Channel shows have been watched. Actually, that’s not completely correct because I’ve always watched those shows. I’m constantly watching shows like Meerkat Manor and Planet Earth, so they are definitely influential in the making of this story. I was addicted to Meerkat Manor in particular a few years ago. Every day is a battle for survival.
Nrama: Over at AICN, you talked about your fondness for the comic's source material — Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. What is it about the story that's resonated over the years for you?
Nrama: That said, clearly there are a number of changes from the original text in this comic book version — what went into deciding what to keep and what to alter? What would someone with a fondness for the source material recognize in your comic book? And given the apparent extent of the changes, why was it important to call this "Jungle Book" — and not just make it a series with a new name?
Plus, who wants to reread a word for word copy of the original story? Just read the original story, if you want that. This is a new version that is heavily influenced by the original, but different in ways that make it a fresh and unpredictable read. Heavy elements of the original story still remain. The overall themes of a child growing up among strangers—discovering new challenges in this jungle as that child grows into an adult—that’s all still in there. Additional elements have been added to fit it into a comic book format and into the Zenescope Universe. Though we don’t directly cross over into the rest of the Zenescope Universe, it definitely fits into it and will most likely tie into it more in the future.
Miller: I understand that would be the gut reaction people would have at first glance. But I think it’s going to be obvious after reading the first issue that there was a little more thought into turning Mowgli the wolf boy into Mowglii the wolf girl than putting boobs on the cover. Above all else, I noticed that in nature, the female is the most ferocious and deadly of the species. They have their young to take care of and often times, it’s the female animal that is the one you have to look out for. I also recently saw a film by Lucky McKee called The Woman about a feral woman captured by a suburban family. The film had such an impact that I was really looking to tell a story about a female raised in the wild. It opens the doors for a lot of interesting conflict. The events that happen in the first two issues of The Jungle Book place Mowglii as responsible for the future of her wolf tribe on the island all of these animals reside on. Though she won’t be birthing any wolf cubs or anything like that, but she is going to be the one who protects her tribe and makes sure they survive this battle.FACEBOOK and TWITTER!