Word Balloon: Brian Wood - Northlanders, Demo, DMZ & More

Word Balloon: Brian Wood

Northlanders #17, on sale this week

On this edition of the Word Balloon podcast, writer Brian Wood previews Thursday's release of Northlanders #17. In this self-contained story, Wood and artist concurrently weave the elements of a fierce blood match, a History Channel style commentary of weaponry and warriors, and a plain speaking narrative that showcases the adventure behind epic poetry. The result is a excellent one-shot that defines the qualities of the series and allows the curious to jump into its unique brand of excitement .

"This story is an overview of as many aspects of Viking warfare as I could fit into a 22 page sword fight...I wanted to slow the pace of the battle...to give a kinetic Manga style...that's when i could fold in all the technical information, and there's also the story of these two champions in battle...this is where I love working in this format of comics, because you can't really do it anywhere else. If anyone is curious to see what this book is about, this a good sample issue.

“It's no secret that I do a lot of research, but it's with this issue where I have reached the glorious tipping point... where I stopped having to find things in books...but knew the details about weapons I'd need for this story."

Wood also discusses the challenge of crafting personal stories of the real people of the age, combing the research of epic Norse mythology with his own dramatic suppositions of character motives and plot conclusions.

"I've kind of figured that formula out.....the poems aren't always very easy to read. It's like reading Beowulf...reading about them is always more interesting...The next few issues of Northlanders are more stand alone...different voices and radically different context...the next issue, #18 focuses on the wives of slain Vikings, from their point of view...Who really knows what Viking wives were thinking about? They weren't considered in the sagas... the histories are epic poems written centuries later...so I really had to tell their story about not being free to be anything, without being chauvinistic ...and I walked a careful line so I don't offend anybody... that's why this book is so fun for me ...cause in every new arc, I can start over again."

We also discuss his other Vertigo series, DMZ, and many of his past and future works.

Some other quotes from the conversation....

On DMZ...

"DMZ was always meant to run a ‘Vertigo length’ of 70 issues... once I reached that halfway point of 35 to create an end point...what I'd like to do is a few spin-offs on the side to

get to what I want to do that are non-Matty stories...to keep going back to that issue #12 that was written like magazine and pulling characters out of that.

“It took me forever for my subconscious to let me know that Matty is like a blogger, with all their flaws...Not to diss on them, but they're like independent guys like Matty who messes up, and still has to battle the media giants...Ryan Kelly is doing three issues of DMZ starting with #42...issue #49 is the crazy cliffhanger of the series, which I've been calling ‘The Rise and Fall of Matty Roth’ ...from #51 to the end it's like the fallout of the events that happen there."

Wood is writing stories for the second volume of Demo with artist Becky Cloonan…

"We're on issue #3, but the schedule hasn't been announced yet, so it won't start till at least January 2010. "

Are there any future ideas for The Couriers?

“Rob G and I have an agreement that should The Couriers film ever go into production, we'd be fools not to do a sequel. We've read the film script and it's good, but still no director has been attached, so I think it's a ways off."

What's planned for more Local?

"Local is a favorite of mine... I do have an idea in my head...we're doing Demo now which is scratching that sort of itch...I feel like I have to something more with Oni again, because they did such a great job with Local.”

Are there any mainstream/superhero projects in the future?

“There is something in the works for DC that I'm halfway done writing...I'm actually worried because people are already talking about it online, and I think that some people are gonna be bummed (laughs)...it's an old book that I love...and have been chasing it for the entire 14 years that I've been in the comics business....I'm also the millionth person to pitch an Inferior Five idea that was rejected. "

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