An interview with Extinction: 2040 writer Paul Goodenough

“Professionally, I work in understanding ‘future threats’ – and the wars of tomorrow will not be conflicts between nations, where a line on a map is the reason we are enemies, but rather our enemies will be decided based on their opinions and which camp they identify with.”

Paul Goodenough
Paul Goodenough

Paul Goodenough is an Emmy nominated writer, producer and creative director, working for companies like Warner Bros, Cartoon Network, Sky and BBC; with environmental organisations like Greenpeace, World Land Trust, Born Free, Global Wildlife Conservation and predicting future trends and threats with governmental agencies. 
Extinction: 2040 brings together all Paul’s work, research and experience into one story… 

The77Publications: Paul, we understand you’ve a new comic project that is seeing the light of day this spring. Would you care to tell us a little about ‘Extinction 2040’ and how you got involved with The77?

Paul: Sadly, I really can’t remember how I got involved in The77! I met Ben at Thought Bubble when I was chatting with John Wagner, and I assume Ben and I just chatted from there. I know I was particularly taken with his vision and the core principles behind The77.
As for EXTINCTION:2040, it hopefully channels some of that 1980’s/1990’s feelings about future nationality and societal collapse, but you know…. in a cool way.
So I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But being British will go the same way as landline calls and milk deliveries. It’ll be for the few not for the many. Professionally, I work in understanding ‘future threats’ – and the wars of tomorrow will not be conflicts between nations, where a line on a map is the reason we are enemies, but rather our enemies will be decided based on their opinions and which camp they identify with.
Social media and media at large will continue to drive a wedge between us. Previously calmly and carefully held considered opinions will be replaced with supercharged ideological fervor. It happens now, we can see the seeds. For example, I’m a keen environmentalist, so I associate far more with the views and the goals of Greenpeace than I do with any political party.
So what will that mean for tomorrow? Well, in my opinion, groups will replace countries. So I won’t be British, I’ll be a citizen of Greenpeace and identify as such…. keep that in mind when you read our story. I’ll help 😉
In terms of the actual story, our narrative revolves around the very real probability that climate change will cause billions of people in the global south to be unable to live and grow food in their own countries. So they will be forced to emigrate or die – creating literally billions of ‘climate refugees’ and causing an ‘us and them’ situation – as there simply won’t be enough food for everyone. These climate refugees will have no choice but to brave the long long trip to the global north to the less affected areas of the world…. places like Britain…
So in response to the growing fears that refugees will break the already strained communities of the global north, they turn their otherwise unemployable young people into a child army to patrol their borders and keep out those who would take what’s theirs. And EXTINCTION:2040 follows the struggles of three young people as they’re forced out into a world they don’t understand, to fight an enemy they don’t hate.
I guess if you’re looking for likeable stories, it’s a little bit of a mash up between CHARLEY’S WAR and BAD COMPANY.

Extinction 2040. Art by Ian Stopforth

The 77Publications: You’re working with the artist, Ian Stopforth, who will be a new name to many. What does he bring to the strip and could tell what it’s been like working with him?

Paul: Ian’s bloody marvellous. He’s the best of us. I don’t think I’ve met many people in my life who are as wonderful, thoughtful and amazing as he is… He makes me seem like an utter crapbag in comparison.
And his art… wow! If you don’t know already, Ian is a fine artist, working in oils and mixed media – and what I think we’ve both found is a natural rhythm between us. He from a perspective of mood, tone, beauty and poise, and me from sequential storytelling and overarching aesthetic. It just works. But that’s mostly because he’s easy to work with, as I can be quite demanding.
I’m absolutely not comparing us, but in terms of the partnership, we’ve got this whole thing going on a little like Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack – in as much as I write the general script, Ian paints his vision, I then re-work the script based on his art. It’s very fluid and his art for episode 2 will knock you on your ass – it’s breathtaking.

Paul Goodenough introduces Extinction 2040

The77Publications: How does this type of project differ from the work you do on a day to day basis?

Paul: Weirdly, it actually doesn’t! It combines a lot of my day-to-day work which is: working to stop species extinction, writing and producing comics, films and TV shows and helping predict the future societal threats that face humanity.
So yeah, this is basically my entire day job wrapped up in a comic 🙂

The77Publications: When creating narrative fiction what advice would you give new writers?

Paul: Get your stuff made. Really. Nothing tells you how good your script is, or how honed your talent is, like seeing in drawn.
Also, it’ll really show you where your scripts need more, or less, description – because I’ve worked with some artists and I (for the life of me) can’t understand how or why they’ve drawn a certain thing a certain way. Almost every time I get art back from any of the artists I work, there’s something new I learn and am struck by. It’s a beautiful thing.
So if you’re starting out, either find some aspiring artists online or draw it yourself. Learn pacing, learn the structure. Writing for comics isn’t hard (in terms of the technicals), but writing good comics is an art. And art takes practice.

The77Publications: Which other projects of yours that you’re able to discuss are in the pipeline Paul?

Paul: Argh!! Very little sadly. I’ve got a few TV series in the works, an animated series, hopefully another thing with Marvel/Disney – and a massive international charity project that hopefully will launch in April… but it’s all currently under wraps. Sorry!!!
I’m always doing something though – games, films, tv shows, radio interviews, gag shows…. I’ve got an open Facebook and Insta profile, so just add me there. That’s the easiest way to keep up to date. And trust me, once I know I can talk about it, I’ll be telling the world!

The77Publications: Thanks Paul.

Back the77 issue 5 here

Buy The77 issues 1-4 here

Paul Goodenough on IMDB

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