Brian Wood Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
Debuting in April from Dark Horse, the monthly series teams the writer with artist Andrea Mutti (DMZ, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), colorist Jordie Bellaire (Moon Knight, Pretty Deadly) and cover artist Tula Lotay (Supreme: Blue Rose) for an exploration of the lives of soldiers, and ordinary colonists, in the era of the Revolutionary War.
Wood tells Nerdist that while Rebels is rooted in the nation’s past, its themes will resonate with modern readers.
Brian Wood has unveiled Becky Cloonan’s new cover art for Dark Horse’s upcoming Demo omnibus, which will collect both volumes of their breakout series. As the writer notes, the art is an updated version of the cover for 2003’s Demo #1.
Dark Horse announced last week that it will publish the collection of Wood and Ryan Kelly’s 2008 graphic novel The New York Four and 2010 sequel The New York Five in November, followed by Demo in April. According to Wood, both will be “high-end softcovers,” with plenty of extras, akin to Dark Horse’s 2012 collection of Channel Zero.
Dark Horse will publish omnibus editions of The New York Four and The New York Five, by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, and Demo, by Wood and Becky Cloonan. Editor Sierra Hahn told Publishers Weekly the acquisitions are part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the young-adult market.
Published in 2008 by DC Comics’ short-lived Minx imprint aimed at teen girls, The New York Four centers on four young women who move to New York City to attend New York University. A sequel miniseries, The New York Five, debuted in 2010 from DC’s Vertigo imprint.
Demo, released from November to 2003 to November 2004 by AiT/Planet Lar, was the breakout book for Wood and and Cloonan, who had previously collaborated on Channel Zero: Jennie One. The 12-issue series, which tells self-contained stories about young people with supernatural powers (well, mostly), was most recently collected in 2008 by Vertigo, which later published Wood and Cloonan’s sequel.
Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey have commented on Wednesday’s announcement that they’ll leave Marvel’s Moon Knight after August’s Issue 6, with the artist revealing he’s taking a break from monthly comics.
Part of the publisher’s All-New Marvel NOW! initiative, Moon Knight debuted solidly in March, landing in Diamond’s Top 20 and earning praise for both the characterization by Ellis and the art by Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire (she’ll remain on the series).
“Issue 1 went to three printings, and 2 and 3 went to two printings, and so I consider that a job reasonably well done,” Ellis wrote in his email newsletter. “The job has been, simply, reactivating Moon Knight as a productive property for the Marvel IP library. And, in personal terms, producing six single stories that held together, because I thought it would be amusing to provide a book that could be entered at any point and still give the reader a complete experience. Which goes against the grain a bit, because the modern commercial-comics reader has been very much entrained to expect long arcs rather than singles. I’m sure there are plenty of complaints out there about the lack of character arcs or long stories. But the book is still getting bought and reordered. So I guess we found an audience after all.”
As you’ve likely already been reminded by Google or morning television, today is Earth Day, a worldwide observance designed to demonstrate support for environmental protection. To celebrate the 44th annual event, Dark Horse is offering a special digital deal on an ecological cautionary tale: The Massive.
The five-issue miniseries finds Brown teaming with writer Ales Kot to craft the new adventures of former Secret Avenger Jim Rhodes (while it is currently a miniseries, as noted in this late January tweet by Kot: ” … there is room for more if the series does well. We might just extend if so”). Given that Brown is a 2010 graduate of The Kubert School, I took the opportunity in this brief interview to also discuss that experience and its impact on him.
In 2007 Brian Wood led a proverbial raiding party of Vikings into the comics landscape with the Vertigo series Northlanders, which was canceled in 2012 after 50 issues. But now Wood is plotting a return to the history books and the battlefields, only not at the DC Comics imprint.
In a blog post titled “On Vikings — or lack thereof,” Wood explains he always planned to revisit Northlanders given the intense research and unpublished stories. But when it came time to working it up, something happened.
Like with the pulp space pitch the other day, Tony Lee has shared several other failed pitches on his Twitter feed (#ForgottenPitch). I’ll leave most of them for you to discover yourself (there are lots of wonderful ideas on show), but Shieldmaiden caught my eye for a couple of reasons: First, it would have been drawn by Dan Boultwood, creator of the current series It Came! that I’m enjoying so very much. And second, Vikings.
Sadly, it was the Vikings that killed the comic before it began. Lee pitched the idea in 2011, the year that Vertigo canceled Brian Wood’s Northlanders. Ivan Brandon’s Image series Viking had ended prematurely the year before after only one story arc. So, when Lee was told that no one wanted new Viking comics, publishers had some evidence to back that up.
Still, Lee and Boultwood had a different take from the realistic comics by Wood and Brandon. Shieldmaiden would have included a mythological element as a young woman led her clan in battle against the gods during Ragnarok. That, plus Boultwood’s art, makes me wish it could have found a home.
Comics love kids. Whether as protagonists or antagonists or (especially) readers, comics have a long-established history with the young and young at heart. Youth are blessed with innocence and wonder, easily fitting into fantasy situations without fail and delighting in the escapism that most “grown-ups” would dismiss with cynicism or disbelief. It’s an easy starting point for a story to begin in a character’s youth or with the cliche “I was born …,” because it’s something everyone reading can relate to. We can all shout, “Hey, I was born once, too!” and suddenly everyone’s on the same page.
So, it sort of makes sense that comics hate parents. Any chance they get, parents are abusive, neglectful, swept off stage or, frequently, killed. Having parents around limits a character’s independence. They drag a “real world” sensibility into fantastic situations where we all have to wonder who are the people putting these kids up at the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, taking us out of the fun of just having a super-powered school in the first place. Parents also tend to prove that kids don’t really “know everything,” and can put a damper on the adventurous spirit that kid superheroes require. And, let’s face it, not everyone has been a parent and, sadly enough, not everyone has had parents that stuck around. Aside from some debatable exceptions (and one awesome mom in Sue Storm), parents don’t get panel time in comics unless they are an obstacle to overcome.
As Stan Lee sayings go, “Every comic book is someone’s first” isn’t quite as well-known as “With great power comes great responsibility,” but it’s nevertheless one that comics editors and creators should integrate and internalize just as thoroughly. It’s probably much less true today, now that comics are sold primarily through specialty shops (and, increasingly, online) instead of on newsstands and spinner racks, than whenever Lee first said it.
But regardless of whether Executive Assistant Assassins #13, Fearless Defenders #7 or Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #81 — to pick three titles from this week’s shipping list — will actually be anyone’s first comic book, as long as publishers continue to sell comics as serialized stories, then the thought that one of those could be someone’s introduction is a pretty good guiding principle for creating those comics.
With that in mind, this week I read a handful of second issues of some prominent new books from the biggest players in the direct market, with an eye toward how friendly the material might be toward a new reader starting the series — or comics in general — with that issue.
The new X-Men title by Brian Wood and Olivier Coipel, which debuted Wednesday, has received a lot of attention for its all-female team. Honestly, when I heard the news, I didn’t find it surprising — in fact, I had to ask myself, “Is this really the first time we’ve had an all-female cast in the X-Men?” As an old-school Chris Claremont X-fan, I guess I’m used to characters like Storm, Rogue and Kitty Pryde having as much prominence on the team as Cyclops, Colossus and … yeah, I was going to put Wolverine there, but he’s always been in a class by himself due to his popularity. But you get where I’m coming from.
There were certainly X-Men stories where the women outnumbered the men during Claremont’s run — I’m thinking of an issue where Wolverine, Shadowcat, Rogue and Rachel Grey, I believe, were on a mission, and Wolverine turned leadership over to Kitty because he didn’t like being leader and she had “seniority” — but I can’t think of a time when they were male-less for a significant period. If someone pops up in our comments section to tell me otherwise, though, I won’t be surprised, because the X-franchise just seems like the natural place where this would happen. It’s notable that just about every one of the main characters in the book were co-created by Claremont, the only exception being Storm, who was actually created by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum. But Claremont obviously put his stamp on the character in his long run on Uncanny X-Men.
But yeah, a female X-team? It’s been a long time coming, if indeed it has never occurred. But enough about the make-up of the team; how was the book itself? Here are a few opinions on the first issue from around the internet, and you can check out the CBR poll to see that almost half of respondents gave it five out of five stars:
Retailing | Diamond Comic Distributors runs the numbers on Free Comic Book Day: 1.2 million fans went to 2,000 participating comics shops and picked up 4.6 million free comics, generating $2.2 million worth of publicity along the way. And fans reported on their experience with more than 66,000 tweets with the FCBD hashtags. [ICv2]
Conventions | The Philadelphia Daily News previews this weekend’s Wizard World Philadelphia, which marks the return of Marvel after a several-year absence. [Philadelphia Daily News]
A great artist can make readers stand up at attention, while a fast artist can make editors’ lives a lot easier. Luckily for fans and publishers alike, Declan Shalvey is both.
Taking the artistic reins on Deadpool in August, Shalvey is in the middle of an epic upward-bound trajectory in comics, drawing books for Marvel and Dark Horse. His career began with a 28 Days Later comic for BOOM! Studios, but fans didn’t really take notice of his work until he began alternating arcs of Thunderbolts with Kev Walker.
Despite its frantic biweekly shipping schedule, Thunderbolts was an ideal showcase for Shalvey’s gritty, textured illustrations (with a bounce reminiscent of emotive newspaper cartoonists). After working on that title, and its successor Dark Avengers, for two years, the Irish artist was tapped to follow after Tony Moore on Venom. But stand back: Shalvey isn’t just a superhero artist. While tackling those comics for Marvel, he also illustrated graphic novel adaptations of Frankenstein and Sweeney Todd for European publishers, and arcs of Vertigo’s Northlanders and Dark Horse’s Conan the Barbarian.
Graphic novels | April was a slow month for new graphic novel releases, so the BookScan Top 20 had plenty of room for some backlist titles. The Walking Dead dominated, of course, but the 10th volume of Sailor Moon was there for a second month and actually moved up a notch. And the first volume of Saga came in at No. 12, perhaps because people were curious as to what all the fuss is about. [ICv2]
Editorial cartoons | Nick Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Houston Chronicle, has responded to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s criticism of Jack Ohman’s cartoon with a cartoon of his own. [Comic Riffs]
Conventions | Jeff Smith, Brian Wood, Sean Murphy and Raina Telgemeier are the headline guests at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland on May 19. [Foster's Daily Democrat]
In case you somehow overlooked the listing in Dark Horse’s July solicitations, Ryan Kelly is reteaming with frequent collaborator Brian Wood for a three-part arc on Star Wars, beginning with Issue 7. The duo previously worked together on Local, The New York Four and its sequel The New York Five, and arcs of Northlanders and DMZ.
Teasing his debut on Star Wars, which is set between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Kelly has previewed on Instagram his renditions of Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, C-3PO, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.
Star Wars #7 arrives July 10.