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DF Interview: Brian Wood returns with new arc, his top chef and themes ripped from today’s headlines in Starve
By Byron Brewer
The critically-acclaimed Image Comics book Starve, by writer Brian Wood and artist Danijel Zezelj, is back for a second season. Chef Gavin Cruikshank shifts his focus from the soundstage to the streets, addressing real world themes of food scarcity and class warfare.
To get the 411, Dynamic Forces sought the ingredients of this particular comic book recipe from the executive chef himself, scribe Brian Wood.
Dynamic Forces: Brian, for the uninitiated, can you explain the premise behind the comic Starve please?
Brian Wood: Starve is a book that has a couple of levels to it. On the surface, it’s this darkly comic send-up of celebrity chef TV shows and foodie culture. Go down a level, and it’s a story about how class warfare and environmental collapse affects the food supply. Another level down is a family drama heavy with themes of fame, personal responsibility and fatherhood. Starve really makes the most of its 22 pages a month, trust me. It’s a dense read that still manages to move along smoothly, and deliver a few laughs along the way.
DF: Starve begins a second “season” with issue #6. Can you bring us up to date on the story thus far?
Brian Wood: So we have Chef Gavin Cruikshank, once the most famous chef in the world, now he's most known for heading off the grid and vanishing for the last several years. In the meantime his TV show Starve has evolved -- or devolved -- into this morally corrupt arena sport where chefs compete for the adoration of a select class of rich people, those who want to pretend the world isn't broken and conspicuous consumerism is all fine and dandy. Gavin, upon returning, is horrified at this and enrolls in Starve as a contestant with the goal of bringing the show down from the inside.
During the course of the first season of the comic, we see Gavin take on challenge after challenge and excel, and despite his attempts to expose and shame his audience, they just love him more and more. On the personal side, he struggles to have a relationship with his adult daughter and patch things up with his estranged wife, both with mixed results. It all comes to a head, and Gavin gets something of a painful wake-up call. That's where we are heading into #6, the start of the next arc.
DF: How is Cruikshank dealing with all of this, as a character?
Brian Wood: Not having had much luck trying to change the minds of this 1 percent clientele, he wonders if maybe the way to force a food revolution is through the 99 percent, uplifting and empowering them. He literally takes his skills from the soundstage to the streets.
DF: Are there any new characters we will be meeting?
Brian Wood: Wait until you meet Tabitha, a line cook in a fast food restaurant in the 'hood. I love writing her.
DF: 'Fess up, Brian: What food shows do you watch these days, if any?
Brian Wood: These days, just Top Chef. Because, honestly, they are top chefs and I really only see the point in watching talented chefs make amazing food. I don't get a lot of pleasure from the other shows where people bumble and fumble around and screw up and get screamed at. I like watching people demonstrate great talent in my reality TV, whether it’s cooking, fishing for crab, driving trucks across the ice, or chopping down trees.
DF: How is it working with artist Danijel Zezelj?
Brian Wood: Both he and colorist Dave Stewart are my art heroes. Pretty much literally. I'm blessed to have them on my side. And both are total professionals. They go off and do the work, and the work is perfect.
[NOTE: Join DF back here in this same spot Monday for Part 2 of our interview with writer Brian Wood as he discusses another of his books, Aliens: Defiance!]
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Brian Wood for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Starve #6 and its brand new arc are in stores now!
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