Posts tagged with 'press'.

Los Angeles Times piece on The Massive

Here’s a short interview re: The Massive.  I tried to be really candid with this one, and there’s interesting bits about research and writing and format, and also this:

HC:  There’s been so much post-apocalyptic fiction in recent years and wonder whether it’s because we are so anxious in an age when technology has advanced so far while ethics have not — intelligence run rampant, wisdom withering. Then part of me thinks that maybe it’s just a way for storytellers to find a wild frontier now that the western is gone…

BW: It’s certainly a rich genre for writers to tap into, and there is a real coolness factor to it. But for me what drives me to it is fear. Meaning, actual tangible, real-life fear, mostly as a dad of two little kids. I believe hard times are coming, and maybe I’ll grow old and die before it hits, but I bet my kids won’t, and it’s tough to think about the reality that they’ll probably not have enough free water to drink, or will suffer in some other way like that. Will they be able to spend time in the sun? For their entire lives they’ve lived in an America at war — ones of its own choosing. Will they never know a different America? Maybe I’m exorcising demons in writing about this. But maybe I just can’t stop thinking about it.

Channel Zero

Andy Khouri gives me the Channel Zero interview I’d been waiting for, and also gets more out of me re: my “bleeding” essay from last week.  I enjoyed the hell out of this.

Please read, and comment.

CA: One of the things that people took notice of when Channel Zero was originally released (and rereleased) was its strong zine vibe. Here was this professionally published comic with a sophisticated narrative that was seemingly created in a method us kids could comprehend. I think it’s safe to say CZ inspired a lot of people in that way, making “making comics” seem like something demystified and attainable. I recall a distinct sense of community around this book in the comics scene, don’t you? 

BW: One mistake that is often made is for this book, and for me, to be labeled as a product of the [Warren Ellis Forum, a heavily trafficked comics advocacy/criticism/meme discussion board that ran from 1998 to late 2002] when the reality is that Warren and I connected, I believe, before the WEF started. I forget exactly when, but it was early enough that I was able to get a pull-quote from him to run on the cover of Channel Zero #2, which was released around April of 1998 [by Image Comics]. I started my own Delphi forum right around the time the WEF was born. But I was very active on the WEF, and most people who read CZ were, like you, reading the 2000 [trade paperback] edition from AIT.

And CZ had that strong zine vibe because that’s exactly how I created it. I didn’t own a computer. I used ink, paper, glue sticks, and a lot of blackmarket Kinko’s copy cards (I had friends on the inside). I eventually bought my own desktop photocopier, which changed my world. But by that point I had a lot of experience in making photocopied minicomics… we all did, that was what you did… and there was no other way I could have approached the making of Channel Zero at the time. Looking back, I’m struck at how easy it was: you make your marks on paper, paste it up, run off copies, and staple it. The end product is rough, sure, but there is no way that is harder than doing it all digitally. You just need the tools, and space. I guess you need a lot of space for that. It’s messy.

Not to sound old and overly nostalgic, but that was just a magical time for me, where I felt more creativity and freedom in a single day than I do in a week or a month now.

"Brian Wood is one of my favorite comic/graphic novel writers. I’m more of a novel reader in general, but when I read DMZ, I realized how deep the format could go. This story about an alt-USA split by revolution is amazing and has poignant analogies to our current political climate. Thought provoking and engrossing."
Actress Felicia Day

Me on Gothamist Talking NYC

Q:  In DMZ, Matty seems to constantly struggle with being an outsider. Even after years of living in Manhattan, he is still seen as a “transplant” who doesn’t understand the struggle of DMZ life by many there. A lot of people go through similar struggles when they move here and start calling themselves New Yorkers. Do his experiences in assimilation in any way parallel your own of being a city “transplant?” 

A:  Maybe. Maybe subconsciously. I can’t remember at which point I considered myself a New Yorker, officially. Maybe after I graduated college? One of Matty’s defining characteristics is his endless struggle to “belong”, and typically he is struggling too long and too hard and that’s where the mistakes come in. He earned the respect of the locals pretty early in the series, but he clearly doesn’t feel like he has. Maybe the true New Yorkers are the ones who don’t talk about it, who just get on with life and aren’t always trying to prove it to you.

More:  http://gothamist.com/2010/05/13/brian_wood_graphic_novelist.php

G4 TV on LOCAL

A city-hopping indie collection that’s destined to be one of the best releases of 2008.

If you’re tired if superheroes please please please check out one of the best ongoing indie comics of the last 3 years, its the giant collected edition of Local.

Local gives us 12 stories set in 12 different cities all loosely connected by a girl named Megan who drifts from city to city reinventing herself in each new town.   Sexy, devious, insecure, resourceful, infuriatingly selfish and painfully relatable, Megan is a deeply complex character who’s intriguing evolution takes us on a journey that grounds each chapter in the distinct feel of the city its set in.  If you want to know what a quality indie looks like, read this.

The Blogosphere on The New York Four

Been meaning to post these.  Lots of interesting (and flattering) reactions to the book:

Broken Frontier:

You have to wonder how much of Wood is at display in his books. From the ever hiding Megan in Local to the naivete of Matty in DMZ to the reluctance of Sven in Northlanders, the common thread is a social awkwardness. Sven and Matty have to be tough because they are the male hero of their story, and while Megan and Riley are just as tough, they are more likely to wear their emotions on their sleeve. Having met Brian, he is a nice guy. However, it is easy to understand how this quiet and lanky guy may have had a hard time standing out in the crowd. Does he turn inward as easily as his characters or is it an understanding of the human psyche that has come through keen observation of those around him?

The best writers will tell you to write what you know. I think Wood is writing semi-autobiographical stories in his best work, because the way I see it from Demo to this work, he has been meditating on the meaning and ramifications of identity….



Bust Magazine:

Brian Wood has mastered the art of writing female characters.


The comments regress into the “men can’t write women” and “where are the women Minx writers”, and one person even suggested that I am dangerous and creepy for writing this book.

Newsarama - a “Ladies Choice” discussion:

Sarah: …I like that the lead character is a mess. And we get to hope she pulls out of it, but it isn’t neatly resolved.

Janelle: Well, they’re not caricatures or 2-D outlines. They’re very much three-dimensional. And as such, are flawed and a little crazy. Every character in this book is that way.

Sarah: Yes. Which is funny, because they could easily start out as stock characters. The sexy girl, the wild big sister, the socially-awkward girl, the tomboy, the artsy one…I can’t wait for Merissa’s story, personally. (Bonus points for two of the four not being white girls, too.)

Janelle: It starts as stereotypes and then becomes something much more. I can’t wait for any of the other stories. I think that Riley is definitely the one I personally connect with the most, but I also think that it will be interesting to read about the rest of them.



Rack Raids/Trade Winds:

With the setting elaborately rendered by Ryan Kelly, it’s almost like being there. Apartments, cafes, subway cars, taxi cabs, libraries, bars, the interiors breathe NYC just as much as the skate parks, street scenes, museum exteriors and city parks. Over his 12 issues with Wood on Local Kelly has developed a definite knack for visually capturing the feel and ambiance of a place, just as Wood is able to subtly identify its charm with words. Kelly not only groks the streets and surroundings of NYC, but the people as well


The X-Axis:

It’s a gentle plot, but it works because the characters are detailed and believable enough to make us care about them and their essentially universal problems.  New York is used well; to be honest, you could do the same story in any major city with a university, but the story makes good use of the way Riley is able to slip into anonymity and isolate herself in the city crowds.


Shuffleboil
Beaucoup Kevin

Blurred Productions:

The great creative synergy that this team brought to Local is in full display here. The tone of the book skews younger (of course, this is a Minx book) but that doesn’t mean that Wood is talking down to his audience. While it is clear that Wood is playing towards Minx’s intended audience, he never allows whatever constraints the Minx line brings with it to overwhelm his story and his being in evoke character and place… There is no one I would not recommend this book to.

DMZ in The Independent

(link)

In DMZ’s ill-defined near future, the US has been divided after the civil war between government forces and the insurgent Free States Army, whose soldiers and ideology have conquered a substantial portion of the mainland. Manhattan is caught in the middle, largely inhabited by disaffected non-combatants, subject to violent incursions from both armies, fear of local crime syndicates, and the whims of snipers.

Many elements of the story are deliberately familiar. The sinister Trustwell Corporation undertaking the reconstruction of the city bears more than a passing resemblance to Halliburton. The aftermath of a notorious massacre is based, Wood says, on the fallout from the November 2005 massacre in western Iraqi town of Haditha. The conduct of the war itself is based heavily on Iraq, too. “I rely heavily on Iraq’s insurgency model for DMZ,” Wood explains. “As Iraq proves, you don’t have to be a standing army to oppose a larger force. All an insurgency really has to be is an idea. It doesn’t have to win to win, it just has to exist to win. DMZ depicts that kind of battle within the US.”

Kirkus on The New York Four

(link - pdf download)

Indie insider Brian Wood, creator of several series, including Demo, Local and DMZ, makes his first foray into comics for young people with new offering The New York Four from DC’s Minx line, starring Riley Wilder, a freshman at New York University. He also cleverly exploits the chance to give readers an intro to New York City. With black-and-white panels marked “NY 101,” Wood offers a brief history and modern-day description of such landmarks as St. Marks Place in the East Village, so neophytes can feel like pros, and illustrator Ryan Kelly (co-creator of Local) perfectly emulates the whirlwind pace of the city. “If there is any underlying message to this book, or many of my others, it’s to embrace your flaws,” says Wood. “Young people especially are under pressure to define themselves, either by their friends, what song’s on the iPod or what causes they support, but I always felt that one’s flaws are the most unique thing we have, so we shouldn’t want to hide [them].”

IGN on DMZ #32 (‘Blood In The Game’ pt 4)

(link)

As the mean age of the medium’s fan base continues to grow, it’s not a stretch to believe that books like DMZ are the future of the comic book industry. This book is so smart, so thought provoking, that it’s strengths make it accessible to audiences ranging from the politically minded college student to the well-read Baby Boomer. Wood uses each of his story arcs to attack pertinent issues from just about every angle, making DMZ the perfect mature comic - and perhaps most impressive, he accomplishes this using intelligent expository examinations, as opposed to the cheap thrills of sex and infeasible violence.

Released right alongside this year’s election season, Blood in the Game has been an interesting look into the unforgiving process of political Darwinism. DMZ #32 continues to examine the win-at-all costs dynamic, focusing on the potential power of martyrdom and the quandary of competitive compromise.

Parco Delgado’s ascent to power has been utterly fascinating and it should be fun to see how the upcoming election turns out. In many ways, Delgado is the quintessential DMZ character. His motives are presented as ambiguous at best, while he does seem to have a firm grasp on the agenda driven politics deep-rooted in the DMZ’s social infrastructure. His life is more or less a constant juggling act of ideals and realities- though he manages to survive by understanding the line between acting ethically and shooting yourself in the foot.

I find it rather disappointing that the repetitive world of super-heroics dominates the sales charts while books like DMZ and Scalped struggle to break the top 200. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a place in the industry for a bit of romping nostalgia - but this book, along with a few others, is helping to set the standard for what the current generation of comic fans will expect from their adult oriented comics in the years to come. Take this sentiment as idle speculation if you will, but the truth is, I honestly don’t know if I’ll be reading comics like Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk when I’m 60 years old, but I am certain I’ll still be reading books like this one.

Print Magazine on DMZ and others…

Print Magazine! Now the boys back at art school will respect me!

Seriously, here we go. Some snippets pertaining to DMZ, but read the whole thing for Army@Love, Civil War, and World War Hulk, courtesy of Douglas Wolk.

A rocket explodes in a neighborhood in the middle of a war zone, and a U.S. Army division arrives to survey the scene. The commander turns to the embedded photojournalist who’s been traveling with them and suggests a way to characterize the photographs he’s taking: “Insurgent cell defeated en route to engage American forces’ or something. Whatever. And crop out the small bodies.”

It could have happened last week in Baghdad or Fallujah. But this scene is set in downtown Manhattan, in the future—in the comic book DMZ for Vertigo/DC Comics. Writer Brian Wood and artist Riccardo Burchielli’s ongoing series, which imagines a devastating civil war in the United States, is one of a new class of mainstream comics: stories that are clearly responding to the war in Iraq without referring to it directly. Using settings and characters that are futuristic, surreal, or satiric, these new comics go where the network news fears to tread.


One of the chief differences between the current war in Iraq and earlier wars is the way its public perception and media coverage is being managed by the American government. Both
DMZ and Army@Love riff on that theme. The protagonist of DMZ is Matty Roth, an embedded photojournalist in a near-future American civil war in which Manhattan has become sealed-off “neutral territory”—one army occupies New Jersey, the other has Long Island. Both sides want to make Roth a mouthpiece for their propaganda, and his friends in the city’s war zone just wish they could get back to their lives. Meanwhile, the Halliburtonian corporation Trustwell is making plenty of money from the conflict.

Every element of DMZ can be understood as a commentary on Iraq. Images of Herald Square as a bombed-out ruin and the Queens waterfront as a confusion of sniper scopes and military satellite dishes transfer the familiar look of Baghdad under fire to a setting that hits home. “You can watch the war like a TV show, if you want, which is an idea I find equally disgusting and fascinating,” says DMZ writer Brian Wood. “But a side effect of that is it can stop feeling real, it can stop seeming like news, and it dulls you down to the point where you stop thinking or caring that real people are being killed and dying, all in our name.”

One of the wittiest installments of DMZ so far also plays with the way the Iraq war’s images have been packaged. “New York Times,” drawn by Wood himself, is a set of war-journalism vignettes laid out with the aesthetic of an urban listings and lifestyle magazine like Time Out. A guide to music venues offers tips on how to avoid snipers while standing in line; a “photo” spread lists its subjects’ names, ages, and militia affiliations.

DMZ isn’t just a critique of Iraq; it’s a commentary on the way a distant conflict is experienced by Americans through media. Wood says the seeds of the series lie in the presentation of the first Gulf War on television. “The thing that struck me was how much access we had at home watching it on TV,” he says. “It was such a media-heavy war that we learned the names of theater commanders. We knew what MRE stood for. Military language became household words—phrases like ‘on the ground’ and ‘shock and awe’ and ‘ink spot’—and with the current war, they evolved into marketing slogans.” He adds, “If the Pentagon can use it to sell their war, I can take it and slap it on the cover of my book.”