Exclusive Interview: Brian Wood Discusses His Corner of the Star Wars World, The Massive and more!
Wood, also known for the new female-centric X-Men book for Marvel and a slew of other titles, sat down exclusively with Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer to discuss Star Wars, his creator-owned The Massive and much more.
Cosmic Book News: In your Star Wars comic for Dark Horse, Leia is presented as a strong leader, the true leader of the Rebellion. How did you decide on this role for the character vs. the damsel in distress many may expect?
Brian Wood: I always like to say that people who view Leia as a damsel in distress or even anything less than an action heroine are people who must have slept through the movies. One of the first things we ever see Leia do is take out a stormtrooper. From there, she resists torture, takes over her own rescue, shoots loads more troopers, and flies the Falcon. That's just the first film. So while she is a princess and a senator and a political figure, that is clearly only a small part of what she's capable of. That's the Leia I see, and the way I write her I feel is consistent with continuity.
Brian Wood: I like writing women. The first book I ever wrote, Channel Zero, has a strong female lead and at the time I had no idea how revolutionary that, apparently, was for comics. I think it’s important to define what a "strong" women means. What it doesn't mean is simply a woman who kicks ass/kills people, or one that does stereotypical "male" things. A strong character is one that is physically strong, but doesn't have to be. It’s one that's complex, multi-faceted, and makes their own decisions. It can be one that's vulnerable and emotional at times. Strong means strength of character, quality of character. There is so very little of that in comics that I constantly feel compelled to be the guy to do it. I've always been that guy.
Brian Wood: I don't know how to define that. I'm hired to write this book and there's expectations there to deliver a Star Wars story. So I pitch ideas, the people in charge give notes and approve it, and then I just go. I let the editors tell me if I'm straying outside the lines, but other than that I just try to be creative and hit expectations.
Brian Wood: The first two films (the real first two films) for sure, since I am of the age where they were brand new and completely informative to my youth. I don't consider Star Wars to be sci-fi, though. I think that's a label that tells you where to find it in a store, but it’s not particularly descriptive of its content.
Brian Wood: Awesome art is what he brings. And I learned how to deal with the artist thing about 12 years ago, honestly. I've been writing for other artists almost daily for that long.
Brian Wood: Well, in each case the first thing is to fully commit. It's career suicide to half-ass the work for hire since it’s not something you own. I think it’s important to always do your best. That aside, when you work on a creator-owned book it’s a lot like running your own business. The bottom line is ultimately under your control, and you make decisions about the team, about marketing, and other creative decisions. You retain final veto power. On company books, typically you deliver a script and that's that. So in those details, the differences are total.
Brian Wood: Not one thing. This is an impossible question to answer, at least for me, because I can never detail how I got an idea. It all comes from the vague swamp of the back-brain where ideas cook until they find their way into the consciousness.
Brian Wood: Do you expect me to answer that and give story details away? Ha ha!
Brian Wood: This is a series of one-shots, very much like I've done on past books like DMZ and Northlanders. We have three guest artists: Gary Erskine, Declan Shalvey and Danijel Zezelj, and while each issue is a one-shot, they are linked and advance a very critical plot point introduced in the previous arc. This is a pivotal set of three issues and sets the stage for the second year of the series.
Cosmic Book News is grateful to Brian Wood for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Thanks also to Jeremy S. Atkins at Dark Horse who helped make this interview possible.
'Star Wars" #5 from Dark Horse hits shelves May 8th!