|Cover art by Tommy Lee Edwards|
There has never before been a Mad Max comic book until Fury Road. I've always felt it was ripe for at least one and there are many many comics that pay homage or are heavily inspired by Mad Max. But now finally Vertigo comics is producing some.
Mad Max: Fury Road is an amazing film, but as writer and concept artist Mark Sexton makes clear, the movie's only part of the story. For the rest, you'll have to head to the comic shop.
Back in the dim, distant past—well, late 1982—I was a guest at a twelve-year old birthday party in a small flat somewhere in Adelaide (yes, I was twelve too, I’m not that old). Sugared-up and full of red cordial, we bounced off the walls and each other, generally causing chaos but not too much property damage. The flat was a nice one, and under the television it sported a VCR (remember those?) and a small library of video cassettes in their clunky black plastic covers. In the midst of the hyperglycemic activity, one brave kid found a title with "R-rated” splashed across the spine, and in a thrill of illicit excitement, he stuck it in the VCR and pressed play.
It was Mad Max 2. You folks in the US of A know it as The Road Warrior.
And when the sound of that shrieking blower filled the air, and the camera pulled out of the darkness to begin 90 minutes of nitro-fuelled violence and nihilism, every single kid sat down in front of the television and didn’t move until the credits rolled. God knows where the adults were...
Suffice to say, I’d never seen anything like it. I was hooked.
|Interior art by Mark Sexton|
Fast forward seventeen years—1999. I was in my third year of a career as a storyboard artist working in Sydney. I got a call to come in to the production company of George Miller to talk about a film he wanted to do, something about a dancing penguin… I had heard on the grapevine of dark rumours that something else was happening in the building… That after 24 years, the director of the Mad Max films was secretly working on a sequel. A dancing penguin didn’t seem like quite the same thing, and I figured that it was just that: rumour.
So I went into the magnificent old Art Deco theatre and was directed up to the big room in the centre of the building that George used as his office. I wandered in through the glass doors and stopped dead in my tracks.
On a big electroboard in black ink was a logo. Harsh, jagged, bold and arresting. Four words.
Mad Max: Fury Road.
And art! There was art. Crazy, bonkers stuff. Wild vehicles, combinations of classic cars with airplane tails and shopping trolleys, spiked metal and harpoon cannons, crossbows and carnage. My heart nearly stopped. The rumours were true!
|Interior art by Leandro Fernandez|
I did end up working on the dancing penguin movie, Happy Feet, following the animated adventures of Mumble and spending five years designing the white and blue world of a digital Antarctica. But before that eventuated, I spent two glorious years sitting in that big room with George, co-writer Brendan McCarthy and vehicle designer Peter Pound and we boarded the crap out of a wild, totally insane story that the world is just discovering now.
Peter and Brendan moved on to other jobs and other projects, and at the end of 2001 it was just George and I who finished the boards. Two years! But I wanted to stay in that world…
“George? Have you ever considered doing Mad Max comics?”
George looked thoughtful. “Oh. Let’s see… Hmmm. I’ll think about it.”
Fast forward another thirteen years—2014. Fury Road had achieved the impossible and had actually been shot and was in the throes of post-production. It was thrilling to know the insane project had actually happened, but bittersweet having not had anything more to do with it. Ah, well. Then my phone rang—it was George.
“Hi Mark. About those Mad Max comics? I think it’s a good idea…”
|Interior art by Riccardo Burchielli|
And so these four stories—prequels of some of the key characters of Fury Road—are finally realised. These are not just mere ephemera—not just cynically produced stories that have been hacked out to tie into a summer movie. These are legitimately authentic tales that were dreamed up by George during the production of the film and were told to the actors themselves—tales that gave the characters they played depth and history. The tales of Nux and Immortan Joe. How Furiosa came to meet the Wives. And Max, making his way through the twisted and poisoned wasteland. All stories that flesh out these richly layered and fascinating people, and how they came to be what they are at the beginning of Fury Road. Stories taken from the mind of George Miller... Given flesh by one of the co-writers of the Fury Road screenplay, Nico Lathouris, and myself. Illustrated and colored with enthusiasm and care by talented artists scattered over the globe. Every detail pored over and considered, altered and beaten into shape by the creators through the prism of years of immersion in the world of Mad Max. Stories that will give those folks who enjoyed the brilliant film a greater appreciation of the world and its history.link
These are tales from the Fury Road.
So strap in, flick the kill switches, kick the engine over—and enjoy.
Mark Sexton worked as storyboard artist and concept artist on Mad Max: Fury Road. He is also the co-writer, along with George Miller and Nico Lathouris, and co-artist of the Mad Max: Fury Road comic series. The debut issue, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD: NUX & IMMORTAN JOE #1is now available in print and as a digital download.
finally. An official Mad Max comic!
At this time it appears there are three titles.
- Mad Max: Fury Road: Nux & Immortan Joe (issue #1 now available)
- Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa (issue #1 available 6/17/15)
- Mad Max: Fury Road: Mad Max (issue #1 available 7/8/15)
- Mad Max: Fury Road: Mad Max (issue #2 available 8/5/15)
- Mad Max: Fury Road graphic novel (available 8/26/15)