New Book: REBELS

Only one person guessed my teasers correctly, and its this: Northlanders-style series set in and around the American Revolution. It’s called REBELS.

(click to see that image big)

There’s a long article up on Nerdist with quotes from myself and the team, but the basics:  new monthly from Dark Horse starting in the late winter/early spring, Andrea Mutti drawing, Jordie Bellaire coloring, Tula Lotay on covers.

Nerdist: http://www.nerdist.com/2014/07/sdcc-exclusive-brian-wood-sets-revolutionary-war-era-series-rebels-for-dark-horse-comics/

Getting back to the sort of comics that  make me happiest.

The Thing Is, I Stutter: Megan Washington TEDxSydney 2014

This is basically what I sound like when I don’t go covert.

brianwood:

Another teaser.  There’s a very obvious clue here that only a few will get, and if you are one of them, please keep it to yourself for now!  edited:  actually, the first person to email the right clue to: northernboy at gmail wins a care package.

Re-posting.

      On Vikings, Or The Lack Thereof

brianwood:

I always figured I would revisit Northlanders in a new form, do another series on Vikings, make use of the unused stories. I had made it something of a priority, actually, and have been telling people about it.

Now, I don’t know. Maybe that’s lazy of me. Also, perhaps dangerous to try and capture…

Re-posting this.  Something will be revealed soon.

Its All From The One Big Box Of Ideas

Sometime late last summer I was asked to pitch for that Magneto solo book, a pitch that was accepted but then I declined for financial and scheduling reasons.  It was sort of a bummer, as I thought I had a decent idea.  It was a Magneto story written like a Jack Reacher novel, but with a complex, emotional side narrative dealing with his adult daughter Polaris.  It was that side narrative I was most interested in writing*.  Sometimes I regret turning it down.

(*Justin Giampaoli’s said that he views The Plague Widow as me adjusting to fatherhood, and I’ve written infants and children a few times since, reflecting my own experiences and emotions related to raising two little ones. The father/adult daughter relationship is something about which I have things to say.)

A short time ago a longtime collaborator of mine emailed to say he was up to starting something new, and did I have any ideas kicking around.  I have lots, so I sent them all over and what came back was something from 2009, called STARVE, that had, pretty much, the exact same father/daughter story I has pitched for Magneto.  But better, obviously, as this is creator-owned and therefore not tied to system that requires X amount of people-punching per 20 pages.  

I wrote half an issue of STARVE yesterday.  STARVE has a funny history, now that I recall, as it was original devised as my DMZ follow-up, before being rejected by DC, then rejected by Oni, then by Dark Horse, all for various reasons.  My agent looks at it then looks at me like I’m crazy.  But fuck it, we’re pressing ahead.  More on this soon.

Gettin’ Hammered

So I participated in a twitter discussion that this article on the Beat is about.  I never know when some random exchange is going to be Storifyed and presented as something official, but this one was, and so everyone’s comments.

Heidi at The Beat did her usual thing and summed up my comments in a sloppy way, which in this case was: “Wood felt it was part of a fratty, juvenile culture”.  Which is sort of true but a deliberate simplification of my comments.  I do agree the sort of drinking being discussed is juvenile, but there’s a reason for that.

The specific sort of convention drinking that I find personally problematic is the reckless kind, the sort that interferes with the drinkers being able to actually function at the convention.  When a buncha dudes smuggle a suitcase of cheap beer through the hotel bar and out back so they can keep the party going until dawn, and show up at the show a few hours later behind dark glasses, still drunk and reeking?  Sure, I’ll call that juvenile.  And unprofessional and dangerous and disrespectful to fans. Who wouldn’t agree with that.

I’m not a killjoy and don’t object to Barcon in general.  But I object to that sort of excess.  Its so pervasive, its so alienating to a lot of fans, and its behavior that I feel belongs to one’s teenage years more than their 40’s and 50’s.  

As Heidi summed up:  ”Being the sloppy drunk guy at Barcon can also stop a career dead in its track.”  Which is not true because some of the most influential people in comics are sloppy drunk guys at shows.  And they’re celebrated for it, patted on the back, and are the subject of legendary stories.  Which is not something unique to comics, but what is unique to comics is the close interaction of professional and fan, and the last thing we need as an industry is the visual of a fan having to hold a favorite creator’s hair back as she/he vomits all over the floor.

I invite everyone to read that Storify. 

I myself am an erstwhile member of a group that regularly drank to excess, and I’m better off to have separated from them.  But at the time it was suggested to me by a person in authority that I should come out and play in order to cement my status, to be one of the crew.  Which is fucked up, because one’s comic career should be about the work and the work only, not about how many hotel room afterparties you get invited to.

Becky Cloonan’s new cover art for the DEMO omnibus.  The 2014 version of the 2003 original.
To answer a common question: these will be softcovers, but high end softcovers, with thick paper, dozens of pages of extras, spot gloss covers, and so on.  Very much like the Channel Zero edition Dark Horse published.
ZoomInfo
Becky Cloonan’s new cover art for the DEMO omnibus.  The 2014 version of the 2003 original.
To answer a common question: these will be softcovers, but high end softcovers, with thick paper, dozens of pages of extras, spot gloss covers, and so on.  Very much like the Channel Zero edition Dark Horse published.
ZoomInfo

Becky Cloonan’s new cover art for the DEMO omnibus.  The 2014 version of the 2003 original.

To answer a common question: these will be softcovers, but high end softcovers, with thick paper, dozens of pages of extras, spot gloss covers, and so on.  Very much like the Channel Zero edition Dark Horse published.

Omnibus Editions of DEMO and NEW YORK FOUR

So in November of this year and April of next, Dark Horse is publishing deluxe, omnibus-style editions of those two books.  THE NEW YORK FOUR will combine that book plus The New York Five, and 25-odd pages of of extras.  DEMO will collect all 18 issues of the series, plus an extras section as well.  Both will be high-end softcovers, just like my Channel Zero omnibus.

New York Four is 300+ pages for $20.  November 5th.  Here’s Ryan Kelly’s amazing cover.  The Demo details are still to come.

hip hop video angle, always a classic
ZoomInfo
Camera

iPhone 5

ISO

50

Aperture

f/2.4

Exposure

1/427th

Focal Length

4mm

hip hop video angle, always a classic

Stuttering

image

My name is Brian Wood.  There’s a decent chance that if you asked me to say that sentence to you in person, I might not be able to.  I’m 42 years old and I’m a stutterer.   A couple weeks ago my 3-year-old son started stuttering too.

I’m what is known as a covert stutterer.  I’m sure that most of my close friends realize I stutter, but a lot of people don’t.  A covert stutterer is someone who represses their disfluency through an ongoing, in-real-time stream of substitutions and evasion.  Since I first became aware of my stuttering at age 5, I’m very nearly perfected the art of staying covert.  I have a database in my head of words I know I can’t say, and alternates to replace them with.  I can anticipate several words ahead of myself in conversation and select a substitute for something I sense I won’t be able to say.  I buy time with filler words, or I’ll pronounce a partial word, often not speaking the first sound (i.e. Pacific Ocean will be “acific Ocean” and most people don’t notice).  I’m successful in this most of the time, and the result most people get is a slightly halting experience speaking with me, with awkward word choices sometimes, or a phrase rearranged, maybe a pause in an unusual part of a sentence, and lots of ‘umms’ and ‘likes’.  I don’t get to say what I actually want to say.  This is the price I pay for speaking: eternal vigilance and compromised communication.

As a child, and a teenager, the stutter was profound, and despite my older brother and at least one cousin also stuttering, there was not a lot of support or understanding to be found in semi-rural Vermont in the 1970’s.  My tactic was to put my head down, only talk when necessary, and lamely grin along when jokes were made at my expense or people mocked me, just to make it through the day.  Other parents thought I was stupid, mentally delayed, and would keep their kids away from me.  Put bluntly, it was humiliating and sorrowful.  Add to that the fact I was painfully skinny, wore glasses, had pizza face, didn’t have a father, and my family was Jehovah’s Witnesses, I was a target in pretty much every way possible.  I looked inward for happiness: reading, running, making art, being alone.

But in the end it was fine, I exited my teenage years with some solid friends, and onto into college where I made a few more.  The stutter lessened a bit and I got better at staying covert and I began to learn that I could hide it from some people entirely, which changed the game.  But I never spoke about it.  Never, ever, ever spoke about it.  If someone brought it up to me, I could redirect that conversation in about two seconds flat.  I would cringe at the very thought of having to speak about it.  I still do.

So in that way my career as a comic book writer was great, because I could just sit alone in a room and have the written word be my voice and could take my time to properly construct my thoughts.   But when the social part of my budding career became a reality (signings, conventions, interviews, panels), it was a like middle school all over again.

I’ve mostly made my peace with it now.  I know that when I sit on a panel at a convention with a microphone in my face, with twenty people in the front row recording it on their phones, when it’s live-cast to the web, I’m going to stutter a few times.  Sometimes more than a few times, as has happened.  If you are a blogger who has asked me for one of those station identification soundbites (“This is Brian Wood, writer of X-Men, and you’re listening to the such-and-such podcast!”) you almost certainly have me on tape stuttering.  Somewhere StarWars.com has video footage of me attempting one of those station idents easily a dozen times (they eventually gave up).  But before I made my peace with it, I would straight up refuse video interviews; I would shirk from panels, and was generally pretty bad at this aspect of my job.  Publishers and editors were mostly supportive, with few glaring exceptions.

So, back to my 3-year-old son.  Having children was, for the longest time, a big fear of mine for this exact reason, that this kid would inherit some combination of my unfortunate traits, the stutter specifically.  My older daughter went through a couple weeks of it as a common language development phase, and honestly, it seems my son is growing out of it as well (but time will tell).  But the agony I felt of listening to him in his worst moments struggle to even say one single word, to take 20 or 30 attempts to get past the “d” in “daddy” sort of forced me to consider my own thoughts and emotions on this subject.  In other words, I had to get a grip.  So at age 42, I’m going to start owning this so that if and when I need to help my son with it, I’ll be emotionally ready.

I read these periodic articles that talk about all the famous people who were stutters.  Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, James Earl Jones, Joe Biden, Emily Blunt, Tim Gunn, Shaq, and so on, and while that’s really cool to hear, they are all people who, at least from what I can tell, have corrected their stutter.  I always wished for someone on that level who still openly stuttered and prevailed despite it.  Because, at this point in my life, my stutter isn’t going away.  I kind of don’t want it to.  It’s as much of who I am as anything else.  I’ve lived with it longer than anything else I have going on, so sometimes I think it’s the most defining thing about me.

I’ve only met one other person in the comics industry who stutters, that I know of – there may be others out there even more skilled at being covert than I am.  There HAVE to be more, so if there are - on the professional or the fan side - I’d love to hear from you.

(northernboy at gmail dot com, or twitter: brianwood )

This week, May 12-18, is the National Stuttering Awareness Week.  I’m taking this time right now to make a first step towards publicly accepting myself, and probably working on that for the next 30 years or so. 

b

(photo by www.lifelurking.com)