Home Interviews Seven #6: Envy - Questions and Answers 2007
Below are the original questions and answers for ComicBookResources.com's interview with David Mack on January 29, 2007 about Seven #6:
Emmett Furey at ComicBookResources.com: How did you come to write this issue of Se7en?
DM: Raven Gregory who wrote the first issue of SE7EN, recommended my work to the publishers at Zenescope based on him enjoying my writing in Kabuki. The publishers then approached me at my table in Wizard World Chicago and spoke with me about it. Iíve since learned that it was a long time reader of my work named Amanda Kurley who lent Raven her trade of KABUKI Vol 6: Scarab - Lost in Translation while they were at the San Diego Con. Raven had read some other Kabuki stories, but Iíve learned that it was when he read that volume which is a kind of urban crime story, that he decided I should contribute writing to SE7EN.
EF: Did you get to choose which sin you wanted to tackle?
DM: Yeah. Luckily, I did. I was originally set up to do the climax of the story and write the final issue, #7 , which is WRATH. Iíve been co-writing some things with my brother Steven Mack who is also a writer, and I was discussing story ideas with him. He pointed out that ENVY was a much more interesting sin to write about because it was the sin that John Doe himself was guilty of. So there was a natural personal arc to the story of that sin. John Doe is judging others and then upon the guilty epiphany of acknowledging his own sin, he must turn that judgement on himself and his own desires. As soon as my brother spelled that out, the entire story clicked into place for me. I called up Zenescope and asked if I could change my sin from WRATH to ENVY. They were kind enough to accommodate my request. And then the story just flowed quite naturally from that concept.
EF: Are you envious of anyone right now?
DM: Hmmmm. Iím pretty happy being me.
EF: Which of the seven deadly sins do you most identify with?
DM: Wrath is the first that comes to mind. Which is one of the reasons, I originally asked for that. Now that I think of it, I suppose that would be the sin that I have been most guilty of in my life. I tend to be the kind of person that is very accommodating and kind to people up to a certain point. Sometimes even if they are being rude or inconsiderate. But once they pass a certain point of repeatedly rubbing me the wrong way, Iíve had a history of immediately being fed up with them and acting on that. When what I should have done is politely checked them on what bothered me earlier on. Before it passed the point of me no longer interested in giving them the benefit of the doubt. Iíve been trying to be better about that.
EF: What can you tell me about the plot of this issue?
DM: Well, it is kind of a prequel to the film SE7EN. And it ties into moments that you see in the film, but this time entirely from John Doeís point of view. It covers his epiphany of why he must do what he does. How he sets about doing that. And his point of realizing his own failing and what he must do about it. There are some artifacts in the film that have a larger life and history in this story. And then there are some twists when you see that history and prophesy merge.
EF: Are you a fan of the film? Did you rewatch it or dust off your copy of Danteís Inferno for research?
DM: The film made quite an impression on me. I saw it twice in the theaters. Which is rare for me to do. I also did that with Fight Club (which I realize is also a film by David Fincher). So Iíd give David Fincher quite a bit of credit for that. In the Fight Club case, Iíd also give that credit to Chuck Palahniuck, whose work I really enjoy. On a side-note, Kabuki: The Alchemy #8 has some things Chuck Palahniuck sent me that I collaged into the artwork of the issue. The SE7EN film was pretty fresh in my mind from watching it on Andy Leeís DVD. I didnít consciously reference anything from Danteís Inferno for SE7EN, but much of the Kabuki story has been a conscious parallel to Danteís Inferno (it is even referenced a couple times in the current Alchemy series), so there is a chance that I already have that in my other work on a sub-conscious level.
EF: What was your collaboration like with Leif Jones? What are your collaborations with artists like in general, do you think the fact that youíre an artist yourself helps you communicate with other artists better in your scripts?
DM: I chose Leif Jones specifically for this project. I knew he would bring a lot to the atmosphere of the story. He also knows the film story inside and out so he was a big help with story continuity and a visual continuity in making this back story stitch itself in
between scenes of the film.
In general my collaborations with other artists have always been very rewarding and exciting. I love working with an artist who brings their own thing to the project. It was a Joy to write Daredevil with Joe Quesada drawing my Daredevil story. He took the blueprints of my layouts and merged them with his own flair and created a kind of hybrid new story-telling approach. It was a joy to get new pages in from Joe on my Daredevil story. Now that Iím co-writing another Daredevil related project (with Brian Bendis), it is a joy to see the pages that that artists are turning in. Also working with Mike Oeming and Dave Johnson on Kabuki Vol. 3: Masks of the Noh. It was great to see how these mega-talented artists brought my scripts to life. Fortunately Iíve always been able to work with mega-talented uber-artists. Real heavy-hitters that elevate the entire project. I tend to write a different script depending what artist that I am working with. I want to write to what I think their strengths are and to what they are interested in drawing.
EF: Tell me about your writing process. Do you write full-script?
DM: I do write a full script. And often I do layouts as well that they can use as a jumping off point. In the case of SE7EN, I had the pieces and atmosphere and attitude of the story brewing in my mind for a bit. And when I starting writing his diary from his first person perspective, the story just flowed and came together immediately. I wrote it very quickly in one sitting. All the words very quickly. And then it took me about another two or three days to divide them up into panels and pages to get just the right rhythm and flow for each page. That is a very fun part for me and I labor to get it just right. What would be the editing stage in film. After having the raw footage, how to cut it up and pace it and finesse it to get it just right and make it larger than the sum of its parts. To make it really sing and breath.
EF: What other projects are on your horizon?
DM: Iím still very hard at work on Kabuki: The Alchemy from Marvelís ICON imprint. #8 of that should be coming out right about the time people read this, or a little before.
And Iím writing some other Marvel projects. Such as the Daredevil related project co-written with Brian Michael Bendis and boasting three legendary artists that he called in and announced on the recent radio interview I did on FanBoy radio.
The DVD of my work: The Alchemy of Art has just arrived into the stores that have advanced ordered it. If you missed it, retailers, and readers can order it online form herovideoproductions.com while supplies last. They have a trailer of the DVD that you can watch on their site. It is a full length DVD with lots of extras.
I have a childrenís book that debuts in 2007 from Holtzbrinck publishingís new kids book imprint. The book is called THE SHY CREATURES. It is a full length hardcover childrenís picture book that I wrote and illustrated.
And the new issue of Reflections will be out soon from Marvelís ICON which is my series of art books. #ís 5-7 can still be re-ordered from Marvel.
And all six of the Kabuki collected volumes are back in stock.
You can find out more about these and updated projects at DavidMackGuide.com which is updated with new art and news each day. And be my invisible friend at http://www.myspace.com/davidmackkabuki.