"brian wood" dmz

DMZ 5: The Hidden War, a war comic about non-combatants

The fifth collected volume of Brian Wood's comic DMZ, "The Hidden War," does the least to advance the story of any of the collections to date -- but does more to advance its theme than any book so far. And that makes it the best book in the series, if you ask me.

DMZ, for those of you who've missed it, is Brian Wood's brilliant (anti-)war comic, telling the story of Matty Roth, a news-rookie who ends up being the only trusted reporter on the besieged island of Manhattan, the DMZ in an American civil war that has torn the city to shreds.

The thing that sets DMZ apart, more than anything else, is its glorification of non-combatants as the true heroes of war. The people who don't want to shoot a gun at anyone, who want to live and love and eat and take care of their children and make art and do their jobs. The true sides to any war are the warriors (of both sides) and the people in their way. The ideological differences between combatants and non-combatants are much deeper than those between the combatants themselves. People who think jihad and the war on terror are both ridiculous have less in common with jihadis and terror-warriors than those parties have with each other.

Book five, "The Hidden War," tells the tales of those non-combatants more vividly than any of the other books to date. Skipping between a graffiti artist, a DJ, a reporter, a mob boss, and an eco-warrior, The Hidden War threads these loosely connected stories together into a unitary whole whose message is, "Fight your war somewhere else." It's a powerful message, and one exceedingly well conveyed through the tense plotting and sharp dialog that have established Wood as one of the great comic-writers of the decade. Read the rest

Little Brother in the New York Times

Austin "Soon I Will Be Invincible" Grossman's written a fantastic review of my young adult novel Little Brother for this weekend's New York Times book review section. Incidentally, the book went into a fifth hardcover printing last week, and is going back for a sixth printing next week because so many orders came in between the fifth printing being set up and it being delivered!
“Little Brother” is a terrific read, but it also claims a place in the tradition of polemical science-fiction novels like “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and “Fahrenheit 451” (with a dash of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”). It owes a more immediate debt to Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s comic book series “DMZ,” about the adventures of a photojournalist in the midst of a new American civil war. ...

MY favorite thing about “Little Brother” is that every page is charged with an authentic sense of the personal and ethical need for a better relationship to information technology, a visceral sense that one’s continued dignity and independence depend on it: “My technology was working for me, serving me, protecting me. It wasn’t spying on me. This is why I loved technology: if you used it right, it could give you power and privacy.”

BTW, if I'm not mistaken, there are still some signed first-edition hardcovers in stock at Bakka Books in Toronto and Borderlands in San Francisco, and both stores ship.

Nerd Activists Read the rest

DMZ Friendly Fire: reinventing war comics, making them better and more important

I've just finished DMZ: Friendly Fire, the fourth collection for Brian Wood's incredible, next-gen war comic that is busily redefining the genre as something more relevant and important than it ever was before. In the DMZ storyline, America is plunged into civil war, a war between the redneck Free States movement and the authoritarian, Iraq-shocked US military. The two armies meet in New York, turning Manhattan into a giant, rent-asunder demilitarized zone, where only one reporter, the unlikely young Matty Roth, tells the real story of what goes on in the latest, endless war.

The DMZ stories manage to combine the tough, thrilling character of golden age war comics with sharp and complex analysis of the big questions underpinning the modern age of politicized, commercialized warfare.

In Friendly Fire, Matty is charged with covering the military tribunal for the squad who conducted the Day 204 Massacre in which nearly 200 peaceful protesters were gunned down by a hair-trigger force who thought they saw a gun (or did see a gun, or planted a gun). Wood's tight, super-focused storytelling never tells us what exactly happened on Day 204, and manages to make heroes out of the worst villains and villains out of the biggest heroes.

DMZ keeps getting better and better. Between this and books like The Walking Dead, Fables and Y: The Last Man, it feels like we're living in a renaissance of amazing comic book storytelling. Link

See also: DMZ: graphic novel, a worthy successor to Transmetropolitan DMZ Public Works: New collection of moving, thrilling graphic novel Cory and DMZ's Brian Wood interviewed on iFanBoy DMZ comic t-shirt Read the rest

DMZ Public Works: New collection of moving, thrilling graphic novel

Public Works is the third collection of DMZ comics, and it's stupendous. DMZ is Brian Wood's remarkable war comics about a civil war in America in which both sides have turned New York into a heavily shelled no-man's-land where the fighting never stops, and the story is told from the point of view of Matty Roth, an intern journalist who is stranded in Manhattan and becomes the world's most celebrated reporter of the war.

In Public Works, Matty -- fast becoming one of the best characters in comics -- goes undercover on a work-crew operated by a thinly veiled version of Halliburton, a profiteering, ruthless government contractor whose savage mercenaries fight with the UN for jurisdiction over New York.

Wood is a tremendous writer, with a great sense of plot and a soft, smart touch at portraying the two sides that are most opposed in any war: the combatants versus the noncombatants.

DMZ is unrelentingly angry and mean, smart and shocking. Riccardo Burchielli's artwork is the perfect complement, using simple layouts and a great eye for facial expressions as well as backgrounds to keep the pace up. This is one hell of a collection.

I was privileged to write the introduction for this one, and I'm still glowing at the honor. This is special stuff, like Watchmen or Transmetropolitan, comics that have changed the way I look at the genre. Here's an excerpt from the intro:

DMZ is a special kind of angry comic, the kind of angry war comic that tells the story of the other side in the war.
Read the rest

Cory and DMZ's Brian Wood interviewed on iFanBoy

At this year's Comic-Con, I sat down for a joint iFanBoy interview with Brian Wood, creator of DMZ, one of the best new comics of the decade. Brian and I talked about creators' rights, copyright, my forthcoming comics, the next volume of DMZ (which I wrote the intro for) and other assorted bits. Link (Thanks, Ron!)

See also: DMZ: graphic novel, a worthy successor to Transmetropolitan Demo: Brian Woods's comic about teens with "powers" Read the rest

Demo: Brian Woods's comic about teens with "powers"

After being totally blown away by Brian Wood's comic DMZ, I decided to seek out some of his earlier works, starting with 2005's DEMO, a collection of 12 short stories about "teens with power." Wood's introduction says he came up with the idea after working on franchise comics about teen underwear perverts, and he wanted to revisit the subject from a grittier, more inventive place.

He succeeded. The stories in DEMO are incredibly diverse in their interpretation of what it means to have "power," from telekinesis to lying convincingly. In each case, the power forms the center of a hard-edged little story about the rottenness and the wonder of being young, the endless redemption available and the endless difficulty of achieving it.

It only took me about five pages to get hooked on this thing. A lot of that is due to Becky Cloonan's wildly versatile illustration style which fearlessly changes from story to story, to suit each piece best.

There isn't a single story here that I didn't love, that didn't make me think, that didn't thud home in my heart, though they hardly take more than five minutes apiece to get through.


See also: DMZ: graphic novel, a worthy successor to Transmetropolitan DMZ comic t-shirt Read the rest

DMZ comic t-shirt

LA's Secret Headquarters (best comic shop in town!) has a limited supply of t-shirts based on Brian Wood's wonderful DMZ comics. They bear a sterling Wood illustration on the outside, but can be reversed to reveal the word "PRESS" screened in white on the inside, for those moments when you want to be identified as a non-combatant. Link

(Photo of me modelling tee by Greg Ehler)

Update: Corey sends in this Barkeater Lake comic he drew as a Brian Wood tribute. Read the rest

DMZ: graphic novel, a worthy successor to Transmetropolitan

Once in a long while, a new comic book series comes along that just kicks the hell out of you, melding words and pictures in a way that is impossible in any other medium, telling a story that you can't put down, one that changes the way you see the world.

I've just finished the first two collections from Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli's DMZ, and its really, really goddamned great.

DMZ is set in a near-future America torn apart by a new civil war. The "Free State" army is a band of redneck insurgents, sick of an America in decline, who've brought Iraq-style asymmetric warfare to the streets of America. Starting in small towns and sweeping across the country, they are fought to a standstill in Manhattan, the DMZ, where they face off against the US military.

Matty Roth is a kid journalist in Manhattan, the sole survivor of an abortive attempt to drop a Geraldo-like journalist into the DMZ to get the "real story" for Liberty, a politicized TV network with the ethics of Rupert Murdoch's FOX. Matty is the intern, but he's got the gear, and the guts, and he sets about telling the stories of a Manhattan under siege, where all the rich people have gotten out, leaving the poor behind for target practice by both armies.

DMZ has the guts and verve of Transmetropolitan, and a similar structure, too -- episodic slice-of-life views into a city in glorious, self-devouring ruin, shot through with an overarching plot about the fight of average people and brave journalists to expose official corruption. Read the rest

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