by Chris Arrant
Continuing with our conversation from yesterday
, Brian Wood has been discussing the evolution of his Vertigo series DMZ
. Illustrated by Riccardo Burchielli and the occasional guest artist, the series has risen to become one of the key titles in the modern Vertigo line-up.
This week marks the release of #29, starting a new storyarc about elections in the DMZ entitled “Blood In the Game”.
After six issues of individual stories and Matty out of the spotlight comes this new story-arc entitled "Blood in the Game". What is it about?
It's an election story for this election year in our world. It's not quite the same sort of thing, as I'm keeping the focus narrowed down on Manhattan, detailing the process of the two warring sides trying to heal the rift and create some sort of provisional government in the city. There are three major players in the DMZ: The United States, the Free States, and Trustwell Corp. Each of them has a stake in things, each of them represent powerful interests, but none of them represent the people of the city, which is the problem here.
Part of the reason this war started, why the Free States were able to do what they did, was because the U.S. was spending too much time, money, and manpower overseas "spreading democracy". So what, we can't get that at home? Iraqis get to vote and have the purple fingertips to prove it, but residents of Manhattan are cut completely out of the process? This is how a lot of people are thinking, in “Blood In the Game”.
The motivations of the Free States government in rebelling against the U.S. government was touched upon in the second trade, but I know some of us are hoping for some more intense scenes of things that might have sparked it off. Are there any plans to reach out to tell more about what led up to DMZ, or what's going on outside New York City?
Yeah, without a doubt. The Free States have been in the background for the last little while, but I'll bring 'em back front and center and take care of some (I stress 'some') of the questions readers always ask me about the history of this war. The history really was never the point of this book, and I fear spending too much time looking back. The premise of the book was about a war that's been running a really long time, has been in stalemate for years, and where do you go from there?
The backstory is important, don't get me wrong, and it does help tell the story of the present by referring to the past at times. But a full, exhaustive history of it all? Nah. I honestly think that would take away some of what makes the book work in the first place. The little bits of it I put into the "Friendly Fire" story arc work really well. What else is there to know?
That said, I do have some ideas for a more conflict-centric story, a companion miniseries about the war before Matty ever showed up. I hope I get to do that.
The solicitations for #29 hint at a new player named Delgado coming onto the field with skills in the political and military arena, even going so far as to infer he might be a modern-day Che Guevara. Can you tell us what Delgado is about?
A little bit more Chavez than Che, with a bit of Sharpton thrown in the mix. In typical fashion, the powers that be are trying to build this new government based on their needs and desires, and not really thinking about the locals. We've seen this a few times in history, where inappropriate rulers are imposed on a population in times of conflict (hello, Paul Bremer) and here in the DMZ it's no different. Parco Delgado is a local who enjoys massive popular support because he is standing up to the powers that be, and has a ton of charisma to go along with it. He thinks everyone in the city, not just the hipster types downtown with the rooftop gardens but the people who live mostly uptown, the people with darker skin tones who make up the majority now, deserve a say in things. But they remain largely ignored.
April will be two and a half years of DMZ going strong. Other Vertigo series such as 100 Bullets or Transmetropolitan had definite ends in mind from their beginnings, so how far do you see DMZ going?
I haven't locked it in 100%, but I'd be happy to see DMZ run 60 issues.
Way back in issue #12 you did a standalone issue called "New York Times" that approached the NYC of DMZ from a tour guide point of view, with you writing and illustrating the whole thing. It was an amazing issue that really made DMZ all the more real. Do you see yourself doing another issue like that in the future?
That was always the plan, to do one of those every year or so, but finding the time for that is proving impossible. The writing jobs just keep on coming, and I'm already working every night and every weekend as it is. Something's gotta give, and it looks like its me as
an artist on DMZ
At least we have you for covers. Thanks for talking to us, Brian.
DMZ #29 was released this Wednesday.