SOULE Plays With Dirty Magic In CURSE WORDS With BROWNE

Image Comics July 2017 cover
Credit: Image Comics
Credit: Ryan Browne (Image Comics)

Being a wizard for hire was working so well for Wizord in Charles Soule and Ryan Browne’s creator-owned Curse Words, but things went to hell really quickly when his ex-flame Ruby Stitch showed up. Now, with only a limited amount of magic available in the world and demon lord Sizzajee on their trail, it’s up to Wizord and Ruby to find these magical reservoirs to fight back.

With the first collection due out July 19 and the second arc, "Explosiontown," beginning two days later with Curse Words #6, Soule and Browne are doing a cross-country book tour in their very own wizard van.

Before they hit the road, Soule spoke with Newsarama about the first arc's dramatic end, what fans can expect from the second arc, and what he thinks it’ll be like traveling for three weeks with his collaborator.

Newsarama: Charles, there's a lot going on with this finale, but it's more of a world-builder than a lot of the previous issues with how magic actually works and history between Wizord and Ruby goes deeper than we thought. Where do they go from here? Where can they go? 

Charles Soule: Well, fortunately this series is what’s called in the business an “ongoing” – that means that there are more issues to come after this one! In fact, Curse Words #6 will be out in early July, right alongside the collection for Volume 1. (We moved the release date back a touch so that it’s just a six-week gap between #5 and #6, as opposed to a full two-month break. We wanted to help our production schedule a little without driving the fans too crazy with the wait.) As far as the relationship between Wizord and Ruby… wait and see. Those two were always a big part of the series, its core, really. Their poisoned relationship is the axis around which many of the book’s central events revolve – but it won’t play out like you expect.

Credit: Image Comics

Nrama: With magic sort of being limited and stored away in places, the one thing that kept popping in my mind is Disneyland. Could we see a not-so-nice family vacation to somewhere like that? 

Soule: You mean the “Magic Kingdom"? Oh, believe me, it was one of the first places that occurred to us when we were making our list of magical reservoirs where Wizord could potentially recharge his powers. The problem, of course, is that if we depict Disneyland, or Disney World, then we could be sued and end up in a situation where we have to give Curse Words to Disney as part of a settlement. That actually might be all right, though – they’ve done pretty well with Star Wars.

Nrama: With the first arc wrapped, looking back what were some highlights of the collaboration process with Ryan?

Soule: I’ve said this before, but working with Ryan is just fun. Our respective senses of humor are similar enough to each other that we laugh at the same stuff, but different enough that we bring different things to the table joke-wise. So, I guess what I’m getting at is “all the laughter along the way.” That’s been the best part of the collaboration – and lifting each other’s game, too. Maybe Ryan wouldn’t say that – but I know that my end of things has been improved from having Ryan to bounce off.

Nrama: Did you guys always see eye-to-eye on things? 

Soule: Yes and no - mostly yes, occasionally no. But then we work it out, and the best idea usually wins. Sometimes we pick the crappiest idea, just to mix it up… but usually it’s the best one.

Nrama: Margaret was trying to plead with Ruby to say how Wizord really has changed since he left the Hole World. Are his actions genuine? 

Credit: Image Comics

Soule: Another question worth asking is “Are Margaret’s actions genuine?” She may have had her own reasons for wanting to keep him alive. I think Wizord is a work in progress, and like any person, sometimes he does good things, sometimes he does bad things. When his back’s against the wall, he’s probably still going to be that selfish jerk we know and love – but when he can do something heroic that doesn’t cost him too much, and that earns him something, he’s all over it.

Nrama: You guys have some pretty big revelations in Curse Words #5. Will they be addressed immediately in the next arc or something for later down the line? 

Soule: Some we get to quickly, others we let lie for a while. The biggest one is that Margaret is actually Wizord and Ruby Stitch’s daughter. The whys and wherefores of that (I mean, she’s an animal… started as a rat, then a koala, and most recently an eagle) will definitely be explored in detail in the book, but it’s sort of a central mystery to the story – so it’ll be a little while before we pull away the entire curtain. The idea with Curse Words is to keep making things more and more interesting for readers – we’re in the early phase of the book yet, where we add new mysteries rather than answer burning questions – but we’ll get there.

Nrama: Can you talk about any new characters we'll meet in the next arc? 

Credit: Charles Soule

Soule: Yes! We’ve hinted repeatedly that Wizord and Ruby Stitch are just a few of the evil wizards our big bad, the demon Sizzajee, has at his command. In fact, Sizzajee has nine. We’ve met four so far: Wizord, Ruby Stitch, Cornwall (R.I.P.) and the mighty hogtaur, Botchko. There are five more, and we’ll meet all of them in Curse Words #6. We have some other cool characters to introduce, too…making up interesting new people is one of the best parts of the Curse Words creative process.

Nrama: How would you best describe Wizord and Ruby's relationship by the end of the issue? 

Soule: Wizord is happy he survived Sizzajee’s most recent assault, and sees great potential in the fact that his ex Ruby Stitch is now trapped on our world with him. Ruby sees it…differently.

Nrama: So going forward, will we see Wizord playing more of the hero or will old habits strike up again? 

Soule: A little of this, a little of that. I think a lot of the fun of this book is that you really don’t know when Wizord’s going to do something heroic, or if he’s just going to collapse back into completely self-interested evil. Anything can happen at any time – that’s the Curse Words motto.

Credit: Artist's Rendering (Not Final)
Credit: Image Comics

Nrama: I remember you tweeting out wanting information about van paintings and how to go about that. Who helped you guys score this awesome imagery for your wizard van?

Soule: As the van tour came together, we investigated a ton of different approaches for making an awesome Curse Words vehicle in which to cruise around the country. We actually settled on having Ryan do a full design for it, which should be amazing. The final version of the van isn't done yet - the image that's been going around is just a rough mockup, like a concept image. The final version will look a hundred times cooler.

Nrama: Getting the word out there for indie comics is always hard work, but you're literally going on tour, what brought this idea together?

Soule: It was one of the first ideas I had, early on, when I was thinking about a way to help the book stand out in a very crowded marketplace. You go on tour, people will talk about the tour, and by extension they'll talk about the book. Plus, it's just fun (or I think it will be fun), and if nothing else, comics should be that. The world is a bit doomy and gloomy right now, and two guys driving around the country to support their comic about wizard battles and small, fuzzy creatures seems like it could lighten a few moods. It should certainly do that for us. It'll be a crazy three weeks, I'm sure...but we really can't wait.

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