Every day in April we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!
Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).
Today’s list is the Greatest Brian Wood Stories Ever Told!
10. DV8: Gods and Monsters #1-8
Wood and artist Rebekah Isaacs give their take on the mid-90s nihilist superheroes, DV8, by having the group transported to a pre-historic world. The superpowered youths are, in effect, gods on this world, and Wood and Isaacs show how these gods quickly turn into, well, you’ve seen the title of the series, right?
9. “Girl You Want” Demo #5
Wood and Becky Cloonan introduce us to Kate, in this tale of a young woman who shapeshifts based on how people perceive her. If someone thinks of her as a sexy librarian, she becomes a sexy librarian. When a barista sees Kate as herself, then, Kate becomes obsessed with her, although along the way she ends up creating an identity for the barista just as much as other people have created for Kate. It’s a fascinating exploration of how we tend to reduce people, even ourselves, into cliches.
8. Reservation X Ultimate Comics: X-Men #19-22
In the regular Marvel Universe a few years back, the mutant population was reduced to a few hundred. In his powerful Ultimate X-Men arc, Brian Wood did them one better and through the introduction of a “cure,” the mutant population is reduced to a couple of dozen mutants. The United States government has given them a terrible spot of land and given it to them. However, when Kitty Pryde and her misfit bands of mutants find a way to make the best out of what they were given, how quickly do you think the United States government decided to reverse their non-intervention policy? All of this outer pressure is countered by the inner pressure Kitty has from her fellow mutants, those who feel that she essentially sold them out after they won their freedom in the previous storyline. Artists Paco Medina, Carlo Barberi and Juan Vlasco did the art (and Nathan Edmonson co-wrote the last issue).
7. “Body of a Journalist” DMZ #6-10
After the opening arc established the main concept of the DMZ (Manhattan has become the demilitarized zone between two warring factions of the United States – The “main” Union and the “Free States”), we left off with Matty Roth being the survivor of a journalistic expedition into the area by a famous journalist (who Matty was working with as an assistant). In this story, though, Matty finds himself working at the mercies of both sides before he uses the only thing he has – the truth – to bargain his way into a unique position in the DMZ, someone who is free to report on what he wants. Riccardo Burchielli did the artwork for this story.
6. “Sven the Returned” Northlanders #1-8
This story, drawn by Davide Gianfelice, introduces us to the world of vikings as Wood explores how a young man returns how to reclaim what he feels is rightfully his. As you might imagine, it does not go smoothly.
The top five is on the next page!
5. “Queen of the Black Coast” Conan #1-3
Wood and Becky Cloonan adapt the classic Robert E. Howard pirate tale in their opening arc of the new Dark Horse Conan series. Bêlit has never looked quite like this!
4. “Mix Tape” Demo #8
In this tale, Wood and Cloonan have a young man discover that his girlfriend has killed herself. Before she died, she made him a very special mix tape. He listens to the tape throughout the day and discovers that he never really knew his girlfriend, he only knew the ideal that he had created for her that he THINKS he loved. By the end of the issue, he has a choice, does he throw the mix tape out and move on with his life, or does he hold on to that ideal? It’s a powerfully charged issue with excellent art from Cloonan (that’s a given, though, right?).
3. Channel Zero #1-6
Wood’s debut work, Channel Zero is set in an alternate version of New York City where laws have been established that essentially ban dissent. Imagine the policies of the Giuliani administration in New York taken to absurd degrees (graffiti artists are shot, for instance) and that is the world that Wood presents in Channel Zero. One woman, Jenny 2.5, though, won’t stand for the status quo and begins to fight back. Wood drew the book as well as wrote it and his sense of design is powerful.
2. “Plague Widow” Northlanders #21-28
In what is likely the highlight of Wood’s Northlanders series, which explores different facets of the lives of vikings, we see the tale of a woman whose husband has died in a plague. It is winter time now. Can the woman, Hilda, protect herself and her daughter when things get rough and the patriarchal society takes issue with the fact that she appears to be living relatively well without a man in her life? Hilda does whatever she can to survive in this gripping tale illustrated by Leandro Fernandez.
1. Local #1-12
At once both expansive and deeply personal, the journey of Megan McKeenan is at the heart of Wood and Ryan Kelly’s brilliant series, Local. The series follows McKeenan on a 12-year journey from Portland, Oregon to all over the United States, stopping for a time to glimpse at how things are in a different city every year. Kelly really lavished each issue with deep, personal depictions of each city and Wood, as we all know by now, is a master of developing characters intimately in a single issue, which serves him well in this endeavor. Blog co-founder Alex Cox has a pin-up in one of the issues, which earned major bonus points for Local!*
That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let us know!
*Local did not actually get bonus points.