Writer Brian Wood follows Warren Ellis starting with this week’s issue. Not an enviable task, so I asked him about it.
If you haven’t picked up the new Moon Knight from Marvel, I urge you to do so. (Here’s a preview, by the by.) Wood, artist Greg Smallwood (more on him here) and colorist Jordie Bellaire just might be starting a memorable run. Call it a hunch.
Still, I was talking with a couple of writers recently about how foolhardy it can be to follow a big-time writer on a book. It’s like being a comedian having to follow Louis C.K. That’s not a knock on Wood (no pun intended), it’s just that Warren Ellis just happens to be one of the biggest names in the game.
But Wood seems ready to go in this MIGHTY Q&A about Moon Knight, accompanied by some pages from the new Issue #7:
Dan Greenfield: You’re following Warren Ellis. A lot of creators shy away from gigs after someone so well known handles a character. What made you say yes?
Brian Wood: Well, first and foremost I’m a fan of the book and I wanted to be a part of it. Honest, this is probably the reason why creators take on a book 99 percent of the time. Add to that, I’m friends with everyone involved — Warren was actually my first friend in the business, way back when I started making comics, and we’ve done bits of work together here and there, so I felt right to follow him, it made a certain sort of sense. So I was immediately on board, and once the news broke I realized, hey, wait, I have to follow a creative team that is basically perfection. Moon Knight is a perfect book and it’s Warren Ellis! Who follows Warren and lives to tell the tale? Hopefully me. I’m just trying to respect the previous team and do right by the book.
On that point, writers and artists like to make their own marks. What will you be doing differently with the character that will make it distinctly your voice?
Well, while I’m trying to keep the premise of the book intact, I’m not trying to attempt to write like Warren. So that ‘weirdness’ he writes so well, I’m not making an attempt at that, at least not exactly. My stories are more grounded, with social and political elements. I’m developing the Doctor character a little bit. And New York City — here is something I have a tremendous amount of experience writing and if you’ve read my DMZ, you’ll get that level of detail here as well.
Describe your collaboration with Greg Smallwood and Jordie Bellaire. Do you simply hand over the script or seek their counsel as you go?
Well, yeah, pretty much. First, Jordie’s been coloring the book since Issue #1, and she needs no help from me. She’s fantastic. Greg is not someone I’ve worked with before, and typically there is a learning curve there while the writer and artist have to find their groove together. It can take a few issues, sometimes. But once I saw the first couple pages from #7, it was clear that everything was clicking into place and the last thing I needed to do was worry about directing him or otherwise getting in the way. His pages are amazing, and what he’s done with the next issue, #8, is innovative and benchmark-setting. (NOTE from Dan: You’ll be getting an exclusive look at that tomorrow!) So yeah, I write the scripts, try to give them all the information they need, and get out of the way.
How far back do you go with Moon Knight?
Not really very far. It’s safe to say that this newest series is the “version” of MK that I know best, which for this job is fine. This isn’t a book that requires going back through the decades and mining continuity for story ideas. What I’m writing is the same sort of done-in-one stories that Warren started, and keeping in that same spirit as the previous team (including artist Declan Shalvey) established. Like I said before, it’s basically a perfect book. I’m honored to be a part of it.
PLUS! Check out our talk with artist Greg Smallwood, a rising star you’re going to be hearing a lot more of.