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MICHAEL MORECI & NATHAN GOODEN
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DF Interview: Michael Moreci & Nathan Gooden take a deep dive into Owen’s earliest days in ‘Barbaric: Born in Blood’

 

By Byron Brewer

 

Meet Orrick, the tortured barbarian now turned master torturer, who will take us deep into Owen's past, revealing secrets that should have stayed buried...like Axe in a chest cavity slurping up that sweet, delicious blood. Will the cursed-to-do-good barbarian finally do some actual good? Probably not! But some much worse guys will almost certainly lose their heads. Yummy!

 

I caught up with Michael Moreci and Nathan Gooden, co-creators of this fabulous franchise, and discussed with them this new era for Barbaric with Born in Blood.

 

Byron Brewer: Michael and Nathan, you are the co-creators of the popular property Barbaric. Before we dive into this new era for the book, recall for readers – those who have been under a rock, and you know who you are – the inspiration for this comic and these characters, how you came to create it and are now teaming together, etc. please.

 

Michael Moreci: I always say Barbaric was born out of equal parts boredom and ambition. Boredom because I’d hit a creative low, in some ways; I wasn’t excited about my work, and I wasn’t excited about the comics being made. Everything felt stale and obvious. Comics needs more excitement, and I needed more excitement. So, I decided to make the book I wanted to read, and Barbaric was born – a bloody, humorous, kick in the ass of a book that, if nothing else, will always be a damn good time.

 

Nathan Gooden: We were actually working on another project together, and then the pandemic happened. It was a tough time for me, much like everyone else in the world. I turned to Mike and said, “I need something fun right now.” Barbaric was born from there: A gentle poking fun at the sword and sorcery / fantasy genres. A fantasy story that keeps the jokes flying just as often as epic fights.

 

Byron: What can you tell us about your main protagonists, Owen, Axe and Soren? Can you spotlight each here?

 

Michael: It’s a simple thing: Owen is a barbarian cursed to always have to do the right thing, and he hates it. For him, virtue sucks. He hates witches – except Soren, his friend and a very powerful witch who has blade tattoos all over her body, and those blades can spring to life and be used as weapons. Axe is Owen’s moral compass, except he’s a bloodthirsty weapon who gets drunk on violence and only ends up craving more. He’s like Jiminy Cricket with a drinking problem.

 

Nathan: I can speak on the designs. Owen was based on the Barbarian I was playing at the time in a D and D campaign. A Barbarian version of Weapon X if he were 8 feet tall.  Axe was designed thinking, ‘what would make a badass metal tattoo I would get?’ Soren, I wanted to keep the metal theme and make her a witch like no one has ever seen before. Covered head to toe in tattoos and the attitude to match it.

 

Byron: What will be the main focus in this latest chapter of Barbaric? Are there any threads from past stories readers should be aware of before diving into this Vault Comics title when it hits stores March 27?

 

Michael: Born in Blood is taking us back to Owen’s and Steel’s barbarian roots, and it’s our darkest volume yet. The fun is still there, but it’s definitely tinged with sharper edges – there’s some grisly stuff in these issues, but all for good reason. It’s a pretty clean slate of a story; I don’t want to say it’s a good jumping-on point (I hate that phrase), but it’s as close to a place where a reader can jump in, get the gist of what’s going on, and enjoy the ride.

 

Nathan: Well, Mike can expand on things to expect, but I will say this is the perfect jump-on point for new readers. Not only is this a completely “new adventure” but we also included a story recap up to this point, through the eyes of Axe. So you know it’ll be hilarious to see what  Axe thinks of their adventures up to this point.

 

Byron: Describe the creation of your new big-bad, Orrick – his character and his visual appearance. What goes into a “good” villainous character?

 

Michael: Some villains are physically threatening, some, like Orrick, are mentally threatening. They know how to break a person through guile and ruthlessness, rather than just brawn. These tend to be my favorite villains; I love bad guys who have deeper levels of menace, yet their menace makes sense and might even be relatable, forcing us to question our own selves. Those are the kinds of villains I love, the ones who get under the hero’s, and our, skin.

 

Nathan: I am so excited for fans to meet Orrick, he is the most sympathetic villain. With his story and design, I really wanted to create a villain for fans to root for. To this point, I have always wanted Owen to kick the villain’s butts and mop the floor with  them.  For me, Orrick is the opposite, I really want him to win and destroy Owen and company.

 

Byron: Aside from Orrick, what other new characters might we be encountering in Born in Blood?

 

Michael: Yes, what Nate said! And there’s a pretty big new character who’ll be introduced along the way….

 

Nathan: We get to meet the first person that Owen is actually afraid of. No spoiler, but it is not Orrick.

 

Byron: Readers will be doing a deep dive into the histories of the Barbarian clans. Can you whet our appetites with just a few details that may not yet be known about the clans?

 

Michael: We’re getting close to spoiler territory here! But these barbarians, I can say this, are not what you expect. Not at all.

 

Byron: Nathan and Michael, what other projects do you each have on the horizon you can discuss?

 

Michael: My other big comic for the late winter/early spring is Dick Tracy, my reboot with Alex Segura and Geraldo Borges at Mad Cave. It’s a crime-noir take, giving the detective in yellow the new life he’s been in need of for years. I’m very excited about the work we’re doing, and the care we’re putting into this series.

 

And the movie I co-directed/wrote, Holiday Hold-Up, is out later this year!

 

Nathan: I’m going back to the horror genre! This fall will be a horror series from Vault Comics. More exciting than diving back into horror is working with my co-creator, Jon Jennings! Keep your “eye” out for the new horror series! Going to continue much more Barbaric adventures and some exciting Barbaric crossovers with other indie characters.

 

Dynamic Forces would like to thank Michael Moreci & Nathan Gooden for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer our questions. Barbaric: Born in Blood #1 from Vault Comics is slated to be on sale March 27!

 




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