An interview with ‘Rubicon’ writer Mark Long


Rubicon (Archaia) sounds pretty cool and has a good pedigree.

The story is by Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie and a founding member of SEAL Team 6, Dan Capel. It’s written by best-selling author, Mark Long.

Here is the solicit blurb:

Five paramilitary Navy SEAL operators defend a remote farming villiage in Afghanistan from marauding Taliban attacks.  Led by the war-weary Hector, the operators and villagers form mutual bonds of honor and respect leading up to a climactic battle where the “Lions of Panjshir” are desperately outnumbered.  Akira Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai reimagined through the lens of the Afghanistan War. 

The preview pages available on the book’s Tumblr are pretty intense.

I’m republishing here a Q&A with Long that you can also read on PreviewsWorld and I wanted to share.

I think I’m going to buy this book.

PREVIEWSworld: How did you get the idea for the Rubicon graphic novel? How did the project come about?

Mark Long: Dan [Capel] and I were searching for a project to do together. We were in LA and had dinner with Chris [McQuarrie], who, we both knew, but separately. Chris’s brother is a SEAL and I knew him when he lived in Seattle. Chris said he’d really love to do something with SEALs in Afghanistan—”A movie like Zulu.” When I got back to Seattle, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.

I emailed Chris, “You know what’s better than Zulu with SEALs in Afghanistan? Seven Samurai.” Chris replied, “Yes, it is. With the Taliban stealing opium poppies instead of rice.” And that was it. I asked Chris if we could use his idea, and he offered to collaborate.

PREVIEWSworld: Was there a specific message about the nature of war or the military that you wanted to convey?

Mark Long: Yes, a few. I’m a fan of the genre, but rarely does a fictional account of special warfare deal with the true nature of war the way Seven Samurai did.

011_PANJSHIR_AC.pdfFirst, does a warrior betray his family by risking his life for his country? You rarely see the home lives of Tier One operators in fiction, except to kiss their perfect wife and kids goodbye. The truth is, these guys are often struggling with failing or failed relationships. They’re never around, or they’re gone without notice, or maybe even worse, gone frequently with notice on deployments to the “sandbox.”

It takes years to get to their level, so they’re often older, with teenage kids, too. And maybe a hot mess of a younger girlfriend. Second, are the themes of honor and brotherhood, which are expressed brilliantly in Seven Samurai. The SEALs, like the samurai, have nothing to gain and everything to lose in defending the villagers. It’s not their job, it’s not their expertise. It’s not even good strategy.

As Smash tells Hector, “Rommel said never fight a battle if you don’t gain something by winning it.” And later, it turns out some of the farmers fought and killed American soldiers in the recent past. The SEALs do it for each other, for their teammates, and the other “Lions of Panjshir.”

PREVIEWSworld: How important was it to you for the military details to be authentic? What kind of research did you and your team do to keep the story grounded?

Mark Long: Well again, we had the best technical advisor you could hope for in Dan. The myriad of details in this book that speak to authenticity all come from Dan. And complete scenes, too.

The scene with the Taliban bomb maker strapped to the hood of the truck was all Dan’s. But to give you an idea of the details considered, there’s an inaccuracy in the way Hector is holding his pistol—”cup and saucer” style—that drives Dan crazy every time he sees it.

Rubicon hits store shelves in June.


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Filed under Comic Previews, Random

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