What events led up to the most brutal battles yet between humans and their simian counterparts? David F. Walker (co-writer of Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes) will answer that question in BOOM! Studios' comic book series prequel to War of the Planet of the Apes, coming out this July just before the new film hits theaters from 20th Century Fox. For our latest Q&A feature, we had the chance to discuss the new four-issue series with Walker, as well as his Day of the Dead and Escape from New York dream projects.

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us today, David. How did you initially get involved with the new War for the Planet of the Apes comic book series from BOOM! Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products?

David F. Walker: I was co-writing Tarzan on the Planet of the Apes with Tim Seeley for Dark Horse and BOOM! Dark Horse editor Scott Allie had approached me about the book, knowing I’m a huge POTA fan. Dafna Pleban and Alex Galer from BOOM! introduced themselves at a convention to tell me how much they liked what Tim and I were doing in the Tarzan POTA series, and I mentioned my love of Planet of the Apes. That was the beginning.

Were you a big fan of the Planet of the Apes franchise when you were growing up?

David F. Walker: That would be putting it mildly. Planet of the Apes is my favorite franchise of all time. I grew up in the 1970s, during the height of the “Go Ape” craze. I had the comics, the action figures, the coloring books, trading cards, candy—you name it, I probably had it.

The War for the Planet of the Apes comic book series takes place between Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes. What was it like for you to explore the timeline and the state of the planet between those two films?

David F. Walker: Working on a series like this an interesting experience, and I mean that in the best way. Your beginning and end are pretty much defined for you—you can’t start before a certain point, nor can you end after a certain point. It is all determined by the two films, which serve as bookends for the story you want to tell. I read the screenplay for War of the Planet of the Apes, which I loved, and from there I thought about how the characters had gotten to the point where that movie starts. I also thought about stories we weren’t seeing on the screen, and how those might fit into the timeline I needed to fill. From there, the story started coming together.

Can readers expect the four-issue series to spend time on both sides of the apes versus humans conflict? Will we see the return of any familiar faces?

David F. Walker: Yes, I’m exploring both sides of the conflict, or, perhaps more specifically, both sides of the struggle to survive. We’ll see some familiar characters from the earlier films, as well as the new movie, as well as some new characters. I wanted to bring something new to the larger story, and hopefully play around with some of the questions die-hard fans like myself might have with this new exploration of the franchise.

You’ve previously written animal-centric storylines in The Army of Dr. Moreau graphic novel. Did your work on that story (also based on a popular film) help prepare you for War for the Planet of the Apes?

David F. Walker: It all comes back to my childhood. I first read H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau when I was a kid, shortly after I discovered the Planet of the Apes films. These are the stories that ignited my imagination. I was writing stories as early as first grade, including my own POTA stories. One of the challenges of writing The Army of Dr. Moreau was finding the humanity in these hybrid creatures that are part animal and part human. There were similar challenges in War for the Planet of the Apes. In both cases, the goal has been to get the reader to empathize with characters that are not human.

What has it been like working with artist Jonas Scharf and seeing him bring your story to life with illustrations in War for the Planet of the Apes?

David F. Walker: I’ve never met Jonas, or even communicated with him, but his art is amazing. I wanted to craft a very visual story, with lots of emotion, and he is nailing it in every panel and on every page. His attention to detail, and the extra things he brings to the images, really make this book stand out. I recently saw his pages for issue #2, and I felt like it would be a shame to ruin the art with my words. His storytelling is so tight, and so precise, that you can follow the story just by looking at the art.

War for the Planet of the Apes is currently planned as a four-issue series, but have there been any discussions or desires to extend this story beyond that four-issue arc?

David F. Walker: Not at this point. Though every few days I email my editors at BOOM! and say, “Please, let me write more Apes.”

Are there any other film franchises or media properties that you would love to explore further in a comic book series?

David F. Walker: Back in the 1980s, George Romero wrote a draft of Day of the Dead that was never produced. I would love to write a comic adaptation of that, as well as a series based on Bub, the lead zombie in the version of Day of the Dead that Romero got to make. I’d love to do an adaptation of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. There’s a great sci-fi novel by Walter Tevis, Mockingbird, that would make a great comic series. And of course, I’ve been pestering BOOM! to let me do a comic about the life story of the Duke of New York, from Escape from New York. I have this amazing story in mind that would be a masterpiece—something Shakespearean.

With the first issue of War for the Planet of the Apes coming out on July 12th, what other projects do you have on deck that you can tease?

David F. Walker: I’m currently writing Luke Cage for Marvel, and Superb for Lion Forge. I have a few other projects I’m working on, but I can’t talk about those just yet.


"War for the Planet of the Apes #1 (of 4)

Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: David F. Walker
Artist: Jonas Scharf
Cover Artists:
Main Cover: Mikhail Borulko
Subscription Cover: Jay Shaw
FOC Cover: Paolo Rivera and Joe Rivera
Format: 32 pages, full color
Price: $3.99
On sale: July 12, 2017

Synopsis: San Francisco lies in ruin as the war for survival between man and ape rests on the shoulders of one solitary soul. Prequel to the upcoming blockbuster film from 20th Century Fox!"

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.