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'World War Z's Max Brooks visits hell on Earth in 'Shadow Walk'

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Shadow Walk 01
Legendary Comics

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” — Psalm 23

Max Brooks takes the fantastic extremely seriously. In 2003, he published The Zombie Survival Guide, a meticulously researched how-to manual to manage everyday life among the undead. Three years later, he wrote World War Z, an oral history that became the basis for Brad Pitt’s hit movie about the zombie apocalypse. So it’s no surprise that the author who treated zombies with a historian’s eye for detail had a somewhat similar approach to Shadow Walk, the new graphic novel he created with writer Mark Waid (Daredevil) and artist Shane Davis (Superman: Earth One). The Valley of the Shadow of Death is a Biblical reference, long assumed to be a metaphor, but Brooks was tasked to create a world where such a place really existed.

In Shadow Walk, a team of soldiers and academics are sent into a mysterious hell-hole that American grunts have stumbled upon while fighting in Iraq. Within its borders awaits one nightmare after another, and the crew is tested in every way: physically, mentally, spiritually.

Brooks checked in with EW before the book goes on sale on Wednesday, Nov. 27, to discuss how this collaboration came about, what he loved about working for Legendary Comics, and whether Shadow Walk has a future on the big screen. Click below for an interview and six exclusive pages of Shadow Walk.

You’re credited as a co-creator of Shadow Walk. How did this work as a collaboration?

You know, they say it’s one part inspiration, nine parts perspiration? All I had to do was be inspired. The rock stars on the golden chariot are Mark Waid and Shane Davis. They did the perspiring. But it all starts with the chairman of the board, Thomas Tull, who is a genuine fanboy who wants to produce the kind of media that he would want to consume. He came up with this idea. He called me into his office and said, “What if the Valley of Death was a real place? What would be the science behind it? What would be the history behind it? So build me a defensible, honest, practical world around this place.” That was my marching orders. So I went and I hit the books, and I built a world around that.