To kick-off our coverage for this year’s New York Comic Con, we sought out Brooklyn-based writer/artist Brian Wood. Wood’s edgy re-interpretation of the five boroughs in his DMZ series put him on the map as one of the stars of creator-owned comics – and proved once and for all that graphic novels can go where superheroes fear to tread.
In anticipation of the convention, Wood (who is rumored to be announcing big news about a team up with Marvel this weekend) was kind enough to discuss the end of DMZ, and his gig writing the Supernatural books for DC Comics.
Was there a specific comic book you read when you were growing up that made you think, “that’s what I wanna do”? Also what, if anything, was missing from comics at that time?
The thing that makes me most different from my peers is that I didn’t read comics as a child, or even as a teenager. So I never bonded with any of the characters or their universes, and I lack that sort of intimate knowledge of the history. I started reading comics as an adult in art school, so my perspective on them was more technical… I started reading them not necessarily for fun or pleasure, but as an exercise. Something to learn from… and that’s where the desire to create them came from. I was much more interested in creating new books with new ideas, a product of my art school, and that explains my career a bit.
Everything, I think? I’ve lived in the city for a long time, nearly 20 years, and its frequently used in my writing. In the case of DMZ specifically, I came up with the idea for the book while I was spending a year living in San Francisco, and honestly I think I missed it so much I needed to create a new project about it.
You’ve been writing DMZ for six years. How does it feel to see your relationship with Matty Roth and all these characters coming to an end?
Equal parts relief and sadness. I’m ready to end the book, to move on to new and different things, but at the same time DMZ has been a daily part of my life for six years, closer to seven or eight counting the time I spent pitching and outlining and writing story bibles. It’ll be odd to just let it go.
You’ve recently started writing Supernatural, which is based on the CW show. How do you approach this material differently than you would an original concept?
Doing these types of projects, work-for-hire or licensed work, its important to remember that its all about the material and not about me. I’m not writing it for me, I’m fulfilling a requirement. It’s not a bad thing, it just means that going in I have to adopt a different sort of mindset. It can be a lot of fun, and exercises very different creative muscles.
Comic book creators, in general, spend a lot of our time alone in rooms working. The conventions are a chance to see our peers and our collaborators in person, which is pretty great. That’s what conventions are for me, more than anything else.