With the publication of his original black and white graphic novel "Channel Zero," Brian Wood established himself early on as a talented artist and writer to keep an eye on. Last year his work with artist Brett Weldele on "Couscous Express" further emphasized that point. Now, AiT/Planet Lar prepares to release a book of his art and various promotional items this month as part of their own "Brian Wood Month."
"We have the release of 'Public Domain: A Channel Zero design book,' which is 144 pages of never before seen comics, outtakes, designs, illustrations, commentary, essays, and script excerpts - all work that is directly related to Channel Zero." Also being released this month is a Channel Zero t-shirt, a Couscous Express embroidered scooter patch, a signed Couscous poster, and of course, Wood's Channel Zero is still available.
Wood feels that recent events make his "Channel Zero," a book that sets forth a world in which freedom of speech doesn't exist, even more relevant than when he first sat down to write and illustrate the book. "I thought the world was pretty close to the world I depicted in 'Channel Zero' back when I wrote the book in 1998. Today it seems closer. The only thing that can be done, in my opinion, is for people to listen more, read more, and start to think for themselves. Too many problems in this world are caused by people being herded about like sheep and told how to think.
"If someone somewhere chooses to 'voluntarily suspend' his or her right to speak freely, that's their business," Wood continued. "If it's someone or something else making that decision for you, and enforcing it against your will, then we have a problem. I know there are laws on the books that restrict certain specific kinds of self expression, inciting to riot and the like, although personally I like to believe that we all are accountable for our own actions and can make our own decisions whether we are 'incited' or not. I think any sort of imposed restriction on speech, especially for vague reasons like 'our nation's protection and future' is troubling and unconstitutional and pretty fucked up."
For the most part, Wood has steered clear of the Superhero genre, opting instead to explore more real-world characters and situations.
"I would like to say 'by design', but that's not really accurate," explained Wood. "It sounds as if I am TRYING to not write spandex, when in reality I have no interest in writing spandex books. I had fun on 'Generation X' but at the same time it was very limiting, creatively. Why bother with it then when I could do it somewhere else and not have editors rewriting my scripts behind my back?"
So, all that being said, are there any spandex comics in Wood's future?
"Not really. I did that already and pretty much had my fill," he said. "The only exception would be something in the Batman universe, and would probably not even be spandex. Like an Officer Gordon thing, or Oracle. I have lots of ideas I could apply to spandex properties, but why not just do them at a company like Planet Lar and keep it creator-owned? Work for hire is for the birds anyway."
Following AiT/Planet Lar's "Brian Wood Month" fans of Wood's work can check out "Pounded" with Steven Rolston coming from Oni Press in April.