Mack the Knife: David Mack talks "Se7en"

Mon, January 29th, 2007 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Emmett Furey, Staff Writer

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Last May we brought you the news first about a new comic series based on the hit horror film "Se7en." The series, published by Zenescope Entertainment, takes place prior to the events in the film and has given readers a chance to learn more about the killer, John Doe, played in the film by Kevin Spacey. With the prequel comic moving forward quickly, CBR News spoke with writer David Mack, who penned the penultimate issue, "Se7en" #6: Envy.

"[The series] ties into moments that you see in the film, but this time entirely from John Doe's point of view," Mack told CBR News of "Se7en." "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 prophecy merge."

"Se7en" #6, page 1
"The film made an impression on me," Mack said of Fincher's opus. For Mack, the test of a great film is whether or not it compels him to shell out another ten bucks to see it a second time in the theater, and Fincher's work passes with flying colors. Mack listed "Se7en" and "Fight Club" as two of the few films to earn that distinction.

Zenescope approached Mack to write this issue at the suggestion of writer Raven Gregory. "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,'" Mack said. Mack has since learned that he has their mutual friend Amanda Kurley to thank for landing this gig: Kurley lent Gregory her copy of the sixth "Kabuki" trade at this past year's Comic-Con International in San Diego. "It was when [Gregory] read that volume, which is a kind of urban crime story, that he decided I should contribute writing to 'Se7en,'" Mack said.

Mack was originally slated to write the final issue, "Wrath," but his brother and sometimes-writing-partner Steven Mack convinced the writer that "Envy" was the story he wanted to tell. "[Steven] 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," Mack said. "John Doe is judging others and then upon the guilty epiphany of acknowledging his own sin, he must turn that judgment on himself and his own desires. As soon as my brother spelled that out, the entire story clicked into place for me."

"Se7en" #6, page 6
Mack admits that of the seven deadly sins, wrath is probably the one he's been most guilty of in his life. "I tend to be the kind of person that is very accommodating and kind to people up to a certain point," Mack explained. "But once they pass a certain point of repeatedly rubbing me the wrong way, I've 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 being interested in giving them the benefit of the doubt. I've been trying to be better about that."

Mack handpicked artist Lief Jones to bring his vision of "Envy" to fruition. "I knew he would bring a lot to the atmosphere of the story," Mack said. "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."

Though Mack is an accomplished artist himself, he still relishes the opportunity to collaborate with his peers. "I love working with an artist who brings their own thing to the project," Mack said. "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.

"It was a Joy to write 'Daredevil' with Joe Quesada drawing my Daredevil story," Mack continued. "He took the blueprints of my layouts and merged them with his own flair and created a kind of hybrid new story-telling approach." Mack went on to laud artists Michael Avon Oeming and Dave Johnson for their contribution to "Kabuki" volume 3.

"Se7en" #6, pages 16 & 17
Mack provides his artists with a full script and often a series of layouts which he stresses merely serve 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," Mack said. "And when I starting writing [John Doe's] diary from his first person perspective, the story just flowed and came together immediately. I wrote it very quickly in one sitting. 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." Mack likens this stage of the process to the editing of a 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 breathe."

In addition to his continuing work on "Kabuki," Mack is also co-writing a Daredevil project with Brian Michael Bendis which boasts three "legendary" artists. "The DVD of my work: The Alchemy of Art has just arrived in stores that have advanced ordered it," Mack said. "If you missed it, retailers, and readers can order it online form herovideoproductions.com while supplies last."

A full-length, hardcover children's book written and illustrated by Mack entitled "The Shy Creatues" is also slated to debut in the coming year. And "Kabuki" fans new and old will be happy to learn that all six trades are back in stock. "You can find out more about these and other projects at davidmackguide.com which is updated with new art and news each day," Mack said. "And be my invisible friend at http://www.myspace.com/davidmackkabuki."

When asked if he was envious of anyone at the present time, Mack answered honestly: "I'm pretty happy being me." "Se7en" #6: Envy hits stands on March 14 th .

 
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