Interview: Brian Wood

Brian Wood is an amazing graphic novelist, known for his ability to tap into the psyche of his often youthful and rebellious characters. Some of his best known work is “Local,” “Demo,” “DMZ” and “Northlanders.”

After learning that Brian Wood gained inspiration for his current run of “DV8” from the great John Huston film, starring Micheal Caine and Sean Connery, I had to go check it out for myself. If you’re like me, you enjoy those added layers of understanding, so go enjoy the movie and check out this brief interview:

Henry Chamberlain: Throughout history, all the great powers have tried and failed to conquer Afghanistan. Whatever one’s politics, that is a pretty amazing fact, isn’t it? I ask this considering your inspiration for your DV8 run comes from “The Man Who Would Be King,” about two guys who try to “take over” Afghanistan. Is the war embedded in the background of DV8?
Brian Wood: Not so much war in the shooting-bombing sense, and I don’t think the word “Afghanistan” entered my mind once while writing DV8, but what always struck me about that film… and this goes back to when I was rather young, since I first saw it when I was twelve, was the disparity in cultural development and sophistication, and how ruthlessly Daniel exploits that.  And how carelessly they both enter into the whole enterprise.  

I think the twelve year-old me was pretty impressed by it, I must admit.

Anyway, that film’s stuck in the background of my mind ever since.  I’d probably put it on my Top 10 list, if I had one.  I think DV8 was born from that, with equal parts  Demo and Northlanders, two of my other books.
HC: You’ve really created quite a mashup of the original DV8 and the John Huston film. It’s like you’ve taken some deep issues and brought them down to an accessible level among youth. Is that what you had in mind?
BW: Maybe.  Maybe subconsciously.  I think I’m being a little ruthless and careless myself with the natives in that story, and I have to watch myself since I don’t want to spoil anything.  My main goal with this book is to reintroduce and further develop bits of the DV8 characters, and do a little bit of Demo, provide a little bit of superhero social commentary that I could never get away with in that other book.  The setting of DV8, and the natives relationship to them is utterly crucial to that.  But in all honestly I am not really making it my mission to tell their story in the same way or with the same complexity as I am the DV8 kids.
HC: Can you give us your own review of “The Man Who Would Be King”? Or any suggestions on other great films that you’ve found inspiring?
Anything else in film that might make its way into your comics?
BW: There is another film, one that is certainly in my Top Five, that could be interesting to people who know my work… and that’s “Local Hero”, an eighties film set in Scotland.  I’ve used that for inspiration in so many ways and at some many different times (and will again in the near future) that I’ve taken to re-purchasing new copies each time.  Seems like the least I could do.  It’s a terrific film and hugely overlooked.

As far as “The Man Who Would Be King”, it’s hard to review that properly, to do it justice.  I can say that its a must-see if anyone is even halfway interested in current events i.e. the war, or the politics of war in general.

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