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DF Interview: Brian Wood discusses his work on The Massive
By Byron Brewer
In a post-war, post-crash, post-disaster, post-everything world, the environmental-action trawler Kapital has scoured the Earth’s oceans for its mysteriously missing sister ship, The Massive. Captain Callum Israel, a man who has dedicated his life to the ocean, constantly asks himself—as our planet dies—what it means to be an environmentalist after the world has ended.
Against this background, writer Brian Wood has presented his apocalyptic (a term he dislikes, sorry) saga. As that literary sojourn approaches its completion, Dynamic Forces sat down with the scribe to discuss The Massive past, present and, of course, future.
Dynamic Forces: Brian, tell us how this unique saga, The Massive, began. If memory serves, it was originally a part of the Dark Horse Presents anthology?
Brian Wood: Yes and no ... it appeared in that anthology, but it was already accepted as a monthly series at Dark Horse. Before THAT, it was meant to be a Vertigo series, but when the regime changed over there a few years back, the Vertigo deal changed and it wasn’t something I felt like I could take. So by the time it appeared in Dark Horse Presents, it was already something that was a couple years old.
DF: Was there any particular works of literature or film that gave rise to the creation of The Massive?
Brian Wood: No ... it’s never so clean like that, I can never trace a project’s origin back to any one thing. It’s more like fifty things that rattle around in the back of the brain until one day, like magic, it falls a certain way and assembles an idea. The Massive was like that. I couldn’t tell you where it came from, exactly.
DF: I read once that this book would go on for about 30 issues. Issue #25 is almost here and #26 is coming out in August. Are we coming to a closing point for this great SF comic?
Brian Wood: I’ve been pretty upfront and strict in that this is a 30-issue series. The instinct is always to keep the party going, but in this case the ending really IS the story, so I’m keen to get to it, and also of course to start on something new. The downside to these multi-year projects is the backlog of projects waiting in the wings, waiting for time in the schedule.
DF: Did you ever think of doing the art for this book yourself?
Brian Wood: I gave up the idea of drawing my own comics back in 2004 or so. I’m just not fast enough, and editors don’t like my art.
DF: How did it feel to have Dark Horse honor The Massive and its environmental theme on Earth Day this year by allowing fans to either catch up on then-all 22 issues for only $10, or get a taste with the first four issues absolutely free?
Brian Wood: Dark Horse is great in always coming up with interesting ways to promote series, and the fact they have their own digital distribution helps. This was actually the second (or third?) Earth Day promotion we’ve done.
DF: For your characters, in your mind, what does it mean to be an environmentalist after the world’s already ended?
Brian Wood: One of the central themes, perhaps THE central theme, is the idea that you can never escape your past and the sins that come with that. All the characters in the book have past lives, ones that predate their environmentalism that the Crash keeps bringing to the surface. They have to grapple with that, they have to reconcile the past with the present, the people they want to be versus the people they actually are.
DF: What does Mary’s return to Ninth Wave in #26 portend?
Brian Wood: Oh man, that’s the mystery of the whole series.
DF: Brian, what has been the most enjoyable part of doing a post-apocalyptic (I know you do not like that term) book like The Massive?
Brian Wood: I dislike that term only because it makes it easy for people to pre-judge something, or perhaps write something off, thinking it’s like one of the fifty million other post-apoc stories out there. But it does technically fit, so I roll with it anyway. The most enjoyable thing is to find ways to be unique in that genre, to avoid the obvious things like zombies and nuclear winter and so on. The Massive is, for better or for worse, an information-dense future story that deals an awful lot with the past.
DF: In other Wood projects, you are leaving Marvel’s X-Men and taking up writing chores for Moon Knight. Challenges for this dark night hero ahead?
Brian Wood: The challenge is for me following a writer like Warren Ellis, believe me.
DF: Finally, your thoughts on Dark Horse’s – and presumably Brian Wood’s – coming “end of an era” in August regarding Star Wars?
Brian Wood: Yeah, that’s when the final issue of my Star Wars series ships. It’s funny, it’s been five months since I finished writing it, so I’ve had my getting-over-it period of time. Mostly I just feel grateful and lucky to have had a shot to write that book, since who knows what’s going to happen next with the license, and how Disney and Marvel are going to handle it. I hope for the best, but like I said, I’m glad I had my shot when I did.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Brian Wood for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. The Massive #25 comes out July 30th!
Don't forget to get your copy of X-Men #1 DF Exclusive Cover written by Brian Wood!
Or a signed copy!
Perhaps in silver!
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