Ashley Wood spoke to CBR News Monday about his upcoming work on the new X-Men Annual, and also revealed some very interesting news regarding his plans for life after Todd McFarlane Productions and what he calls the most important work of his career.
“After I complete my X-Men soiree I’m going to be jumping into what I believe is going to be the most important comic of my entire career,” said Wood. “The comic is called `Automatic Kafka’. The book is a collaboration with Joe Casey for the Wildstorm mature readers line, cause I’m not allowed to work with anyone else anymore,” joked Wood.
Working with Joe Casey on this new book for Wildstorm is something that Wood feels will greatly expand the depth and range of his art. “The range of stories and genres Kafka can span makes this the most fun comic I’ve ever undertaken. There’ll be drug addled robots, insane patriotic superheroes, cheerleaders, exploding babies, a cool car and just about every cool plot thread from every 80’s comic you’ve ever read, except Airboy,” said Wood.
Even more exciting was the news that Wood would be teaming up with David Mack in the future on a book called “Popbot,” a book which Wood describes as one “which has more drug addled robots and an insane sex crazed cat and robotic girlies. I believe this is also the most important comic I’ve ever undertaken.”
Fans of Ashley Woods dark paintings will be thrilled to learn that a follow-up to this year’s “Uno Fanta,” a collection of his art is already in the works. “Just because I can,” said Wood. “There is going to be another art book called `P26.’ The book is basically a visual dossier of my ideas and characters, again, like `Uno Fanta.’ And did I mention that I believe that P26 is the most important work I’ve ever undertaken in my career?”
If this isn’t enough to satiate the Ashley Wood fanatic, more collections of Wood’s art are coming soon. “Uno Fanta part 2? Of course,” said Wood. “In retrospect there weren’t enough naked chicks and this is something I must rectify in my next book. For fans of my McFarlane work there are plans afoot to release a book of all of my covers and published and unpublished illustrations,” he said.
Wood’s darkly atmospheric artwork has inspired more than a few new artists to follow in his footsteps, but the imitation doesn’t bother him. “If it’s true that I have influenced anyone to go and do something a bit different and not follow the norms of comic art, then fantastic, more power to them.”
Wood also took time to debunk a few rumors floating around the Net. Namely regarding his work on Miracleman. “(I’m) not drawing the Miracle Man issues of Hellspawn,” said Wood. “I was (also) not kicked out or fired from Todd McFarlane’s. My leaving was an amicable split.”
To stay busy, Wood is also devoting some of his time to a few other big name publishers. “I’ll be doing some work for 2000AD,” said Wood. “Also work for Wizards of the Coast and Random House. I’m working on Star Wars stuff, but I can’t really say what, and regarding Batman and Superman, Joey “the Cannolli” Cavelieri (DC’s Editor In Chief) knows what I want to do, and has promised me that I can do something, so maybe I will one day get my wish. Right Joey?”
Finally, Wood spoke about his work on Marvel’s Merry Mutants coming up in November. Ashley’s X-Men Annual is something of an experiment. His artwork will be rendered in the new “Marvelscope” format. But, does it give him any more freedom? “Not really,” said Wood. “The format is not more freeing it’s just different. I would like to go crazy with full page spreads but I have been told that putting lots of panels on each page will make me look more intelligent,” he said, adding, “I’m sure I’ll slip a couple of spreads in though when no one’s looking. Cause let’s face it, a double page spread in a Marvelscope format is a mighty spread indeed.”
Wood said that working on the X-Men book was a very exciting experience for him. “The annual is cool because we bring back one of the oldest X-Men villains,” said Wood. “We will make him one of the most ruthless and vicious villains in the Marvel Universe. He would give Modok a run for his money. And we all know how tough Modok is right kids?” Wood went on to mention that he’s had many a sleepless night because of Modok. “That big creepy head sitting in a chair with a thruster on it has given me untold nights of fever induced nightmares,” said Wood. “Have you ever wondered with that real big mouth of his whether he has ever bitten anyone’s head off? Or at least bitten anyone’s finger off if someone pointed at him rudely?”