Baldwin City comic book artist Ande Parks on his journey to hit Netflix screenwriter
Ande Parks at PCC. // Photo by Chris Ortiz
Transitioning from a comic book artist to a hit movie writer is not always the easiest career change, but for Baldwin City’s Ande Parks, it was a match made in writers’ heaven.
“I’ve written a lot of things that had Hollywood potential,” says Parks.I learned to be pretty jaded about all that because Hollywood is fickle. So, to have that process play out over 12 years, with Ciudad and Extraction, and to have one happen finally, it changed many things for me. There are the financial changes—I have a little back end that they pay me when they film. It also opened up some possibilities to transition more and just say I’m a writer now.I don’t have to chase inking deadlines. I can afford to just write.”
For Parks, this means a career that started in 1991, which included inking some of the biggest names in the comic book industry, including Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, Superman, Daredevil, Spiderman, Ant-Man, The Green Hornet, Zorro, and others for DC Comics.
His work has also included three graphic novels, one centered around the Union Station Massacre, one about Truman Capote’s time in Kansas researching and writing his book In Cold Blood, and his last graphic novel that came out in 2014 called Ciudad.
A graphic novel stuck gold after turning into the Netflix blockbuster movie Extraction, which featured Chris Hemsworth as the lead character, Tyler Rake. The movie would ultimately become the most-watched original Netflix movie in history, with a reported 99 million views in the first four weeks of it being released.
“I helped develop [the movie], then I went away and wrote a graphic novel, and the Russo brothers (Joe and Anthony) went and wrote a screenplay. So, it is kinda the same parent that split off and made different formats. There are things that they always loved in the outline that I would bring to the table and say, ‘That’s perfect, but you have to do it in the graphic novel because it is way too awful for the film—they’ll never let us do that,’” says Parks. “You can get away with some more shenanigans in a graphic novel without $100 million invested. It is just you and the page, and you can kinda wing it. So, maybe a little more freedom.”
Parks’ first two graphic novels were historical fiction, so he had to get things in the book right. This included a lot of research and having a huge printout of downtown Kansas City, Missouri, hanging on his office wall so he could get the last detail correct for the graphic novel Union Station. “
I could tell you what store stood on what corner in 1942 in Kansas City,” he says.
With Ciudad turned into the movie Extraction, it was set in a real place.
“A lot of research was about what the place was like, but then we just went crazy on the story,” says Parks.
With three other screenplays for both TV and film in the works, Parks is most focused on the follow-up, Extraction 2, which comes out June 16.