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This has been a year of change in comics — for creators, for individual titles, for companies and for the industry at large. For Brian Wood, it was professionally one of his most volatile years since he quit his day job as a designer to work in comics full-time. It saw Wood end his twin creator-owned titles at Vertigo (DMZ and Northlanders), end his exclusive contract with DC Comics, and begin a new era mixing creator-owned with an unprecedented (for him) number of work-for-hire books
As we stand on the edge of this year and peer into the next, Wood is looking to build on 2012 projects like Conan the Barbarian, The Massive and Ultimate Comics X-Men with a new creator-owned series, Mara, debuting next week from Image Comics, and then on Jan. 9 launching his highest-profile project to date: Star Wars, a highly anticipated Dark Horse monthly set between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and featuring familiar characters like Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo. Brian Wood Month redux? Perhaps.
Comic Book Resources has interviewed Wood about each of his upcoming projects, so in this conversation I’m able to focus on the big picture, addressing his career and the context of his projects. Wood and I discuss changes at DC that led to his departure, what could have been had he stayed, and his plans both inside and outside of comics.
Since I began interviewing comics creators back in 2005, I’ve talked to Brian Wood more than two dozen times. When we first spoke, Channel Zero had just been collected by AiT-PlanetLar and he was working on his second creator-owned project, The Couriers. Since then he grew into one of the biggest names in independent comics before graduating to the offices of DC’s Vertigo imprint, where he’s entered the mainstream with works like DMZ, Northlanders and his return to Demo. He recently completed writing his first work on company-owned characters in almost a decade, reviving Wildstorm’s Dv8 series. With DV8 and Demo v2 behind him and DMZ counting down to the final issues, Wood is redoubling his efforts on his Viking crime series Northlanders while getting ready for a new round of series — including one chronicling musicians that sounds like my new favorite comic.
Chris Arrant: Let’s start with an easy one – what are you working on today, Brian?
Brian Wood: Oh, I guess we’re starting off with me being lame and saying “its something I can’t talk about,” that’s yet to be announced. So let’s forget I said that and instead I’ll lie and say that today I started the first issue of the final year of DMZ. I’ll probably actually start on that tomorrow. I’ve also been on a real tear recently with coming up with new ideas and pitches, for some reason. I have that fear that all of us have at one point or another, which is the fear of not having another good idea ever again, the fear of not being able to create something to follow a current critical success. I mentioned DMZ in its final year. I also concluded Demo recently, and I finished writing DV8 many months back. A lot of stuff ending, and requiring a bunch of new stuff to replace it. A new “era” in my career, really, especially when it comes to doing something to follow DMZ. Anyway, after worrying too much I’ve enjoyed a real run of creativity, and have seven or eight mostly completed pitches just sitting here. Enough to last me a while.