|Wood & Cloonan at WonderCon, 2008|
Brian Wood has had a very good year in comics. His past series have helped shape his signature Indy punk rock style and now he is working on more diverse projects such as the hit Vertigo Viking book “Northlanders.” One of those past projects that presented Wood as a unique storyteller was the Becky Cloonan drawn series “Demo.” Saturday at WonderCon, Wood announced in addition to the previously announced “Demo” trade to come from Vertigo, a new six-issue arc would also be coming from the publisher. Wood told the crowd the new “Demo” series would be printed at regular comic book size, is still being written, and should be out this fall.
Wood then showed slides of covers from the first three issues of the new “Demo,” all drawn by Becky Cloonan. The first slide was that of a woman with strings and post-it notes attached to her hands. Wood explained it was about a person with OCD or superpowers. Another slide was shown with a man rising out of white liquid. “This ones about a water breather,” said Wood. Finally we see an image of a person eating food off a fork. That obviously is about eating, Wood added. More slides were shown, such as one of the next long “DMZ” story arc about an election and the cover of “New York 4,” which comes out in June. For Cloonan, “American Virgin” fans were shown one special slide of the last page of the series, which we’ll not divulge here.
The floor was opened up for question and one fan asked if “Demo” what the future would hold for the series following it’s first six-issue arc. Wood told the reader he had many good unused story ideas, which spurned the need to revisit “Demo.” “The series can start and stop in 6 issue arcs,” Wood said.
Another fan asked what Cloonan used to color her covers. The artist answered that she used to use water colors, but they never scanned well so she uses Photoshop with a tablet.
A fan asked if the format of the original “Demo” series — published by AiT/Planet Lar — will remain now that the book is at Vertigo. Wood said that he wanted to keep the same format with song lists and extras in the back and if there were ads they will be house ads in the back.
One fan asked what are some of the new themes not covered in the original book. Wood explained how the choices people make is at the core of what “Demo” is and that he wants to explore mental illness and superpowers and how they are alike.
A fan asked about the status of the “Demo” TV show and if it was ever written. Wood said a show was written and pitched around the time “Heroes” was taking off. A show bible was written and a pilot was pitched. It was just never picked up because it was too similar to “Heroes.”
Brian was asked what it took to bring “Demo” to Vertigo. Wood knew the rights were reverting back to Cloonan and himself, so he asked simply to have “Demo” published by Vertigo. “I’d written 1400 pages of comic stories and now I just want to write ‘Demo’ stories,” said Wood.
When asked about what style Cloonan would be using for “Demo,” she told the crowd she would be changing up her drawing styles to meet the story.
Wood then spoke about how he has always been attracted to mutants and how messed up people’s brains are. Like the one girl in earlier “Demo” stories whose head was so powerful she needed to take meds to keep it in check. Now that Wood is a father, he says he watches his kid to see if it exemplifies any bizarre traits.
Cloonan spoke about how she wants to bring solid story telling to her drawings for “Demo.” She used to draw issues fast because she had no work and was so excited to draw. Now she is taking her time.
Wood mentioned he loves writing a tight, single contained story and feels he’s mastered the single issue. He even has a secret notebook he keeps with his one issues method.
A fan asked about how Wood overcomes writers block. Wood told the fan to put himself in a place were he wont pay rent or eat and see how writers block will be overcome.
“Channel Zero,” one of Wood’s early and highly acclaimed works, was brought up by one fan who wanted to know if Wood would revisit that book. The author said the book was done at a time in his life that is over and he doesn’t see anything happening with that project any time soon.
A fan asked for updates on the “Couriers” film. Wood said the film was stalled by the recent writers strike and now has a director and a casting company to get the film started and it should be out Fall 2009. Wood envisioned actor Kal Penn from the “Harold and Kumar” movies as Mustafa, but the studio thought he was too old. “Couriers'” illustrator Rob G has a list of Hollywood actresses he would like to play Special and Wood thinks Olivia Wilde from the Fox show “The OC” would be great in that role.
A fan asked what Cloonan and Wood wanted to convey in their work. Cloonan said she wanted to draw awesome things and Wood said he wanted a body of work he could be proud of on his deathbed. He added “DMZ” was about the war and “Demo” was about the choices people make and how they fuck up. He wants books that will stand the test of time and he would have no shame about. Cloonan also mentioned how she wanted to draw a book about the Black Plague.
Finally one fan asked what was the transition like going to a big publisher. Wood said the transition was easy and Vertigo is not tainted by DC corporate, it’s separate. He has so far never had to compromise or change anything due to company pressure. He was just happy to be able to tell his stories his way.
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