Back in 1988, an insane slasher film titled Maniac Cop was released on the world and was followed by two cheapo sequels. Cut forward to 2017, and writer/director Nicholas Winding Refn started talking about a remake of the movie, along with his Too Old To Die Young collaborator Ed Brubaker. Like a veritable slasher himself, the reboot was then announced to be dead, only to come back several times over the years, once as a TV show. But as Brubaker told Comic Book Club when he appeared on our live show, the Maniac Cop reboot is finally, officially dead. Probably.
“It got greenlit at HBO at one point,” Brubaker said when asked about the back and forth on the reboot. “I had written a movie version of it. And then I and then I worked with Refn, and another friend of ours to sort of figure out a way to take some of the movie script, and then do a rewrite on and turn it into the pilot episode of like, a mini, eight-episode thing instead. And so I did that on spec for him while we were working on [Too Old To Die Young].”
However, it wasn’t meant to be. As you might be able to intuit from the title, Maniac Cop is about an undead police officer who returns to murder the people who killed him in the first place. Around about the time Refn and Brubaker were working on Maniac Cop, the country exploded in protests against police violence.
“It got announced,” Brubaker said. “And then a month later, basically, everyone in the world was like, hey, maybe not everything about cops… So I have a hard time seeing a world where Max especially makes a show called Maniac Cop.”
Even with the reality that the show will never see the light of day and the real-world implications of a Maniac Cop, it seems like Brubaker had a great time working on the series with Refn.
“We were leaning in very hard to the expectations of what that would be,” Brubaker continued. “And the tension of the moment, the opening scene, the five pages of that pilot version are f**king terrifying and also hilarious. It’s kind of a black comedy… I don’t think anything will ever happen with it if I’m being really honest. But we’ll see. It’s Refn. So you never know.”
Brubaker’s latest collaboration with artist Sean Phillips, Where The Body Was, hits comic stores on December 13, 2023.
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