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Interview: Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang Talk WONDER WOMAN

WONDER WOMAN creative team talks about First Born, Wonder Woman, and adapting Greek myths to comics.

WONDER WOMAN is a book unlike any other at DC Comics. Writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang have truly formed something imaginative and intriguing with this title. More recently, there's been some big things happening in this book and Azzarello and Chiang answered some of our questions over the phone about the book and its characters.

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COMIC VINE: One of the most interesting characters to come out of this book is the son of Zeus, First Born. What was the inspiration for this character and how did the design come together?

BRIAN AZZARELLO: Man, that character. He developed pretty slowly, didn't he, Cliff?

CLIFF CHIANG: Yeah, he did. We needed somebody, but the actual details of him kinda accumulated over the issues, in a way.

BA: There was going to be a big reveal in issue #12, when he first shows up, but he always wasn't what he is now. By that point, I think we just sort of said that we just need a foil for her that's related to her and we can create this god that nobody knows about.

CC: Yeah and we knew that we needed him to be her opposite number. He's a guy. He's fuel, not by compassion, but really just by hate. You know? And unlike Wonder Woman no family bringing him up? So he's the worst case scenario.

CV: In the last issue (WONDER WOMAN #28), it ends with a very intense moment between First Born and Apollo. What does this ultimately mean for the First Born and the future of Wonder Woman?

BA: Buy the next issue and find out. What does it mean for him? It means a lot. The whole next story arc is based around what just happened.

CC: First Born is now... It's hard to get into his head sometimes and was this part of his plan, being on Olympus, being close to the throne? It's Apollo's arrogance that brought him there and made it possible for him to take over.

CV: This title has been pretty separate from the rest of the DC Universe, for the most part and it give it more of a mythical, fantasy tone. Superman has become a closer part of Wonder Woman's life. Will we see that or anything else from the DCU start to bleed into this book?

BA: Not while we're doing it. I'm sure once we're finished, the floodgates are going to open wide, but when we were contracted to do this, we had a story in mind and a specific link and we had the ending and they agreed to it. So far, we're both in dead agreement.

CV: As someone reads the book, thank you for that.

BA: ::laughs::

CC: Hey! Thank YOU for that.

CV: Since you guys have started on this book, you've both really redefined Wonder Woman in these huge ways like making her the god of war. What led both of to major decisions like this with the character?

BA: They were obvious. They were obvious things to do. It made sense.

CC: They were part of our original idea when we started talking about the book. This is the big story of the reboot. This is how Wonder Woman slowly being redefined in this run. This is the main thing we hung everything on. We talked that first night for a few hours about what happens if she's the god of war.

BA: We were formulating this and approaching it. They talk about the DC Trinity and she was that defined within the Trinity. Looking at these things, there's one word answers. You got a human, an alien, and now there's a god in the Trinity. It fits together. It's a puzzle. It's not that difficult.

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CV: Cassandra's minotaur is a big leap from its mythological Greek roots that it came from. Cliff, can you talk about how that character's design came together?

CC: He looks different from the last time we saw him. Part of that might be because he's actually changed, part of it could be because of the zero issue, where he was introduced, was a little more silver age-y and stylistically he gonna be a bit more different. Brian and I talked a little bit about it, and we wanted him to be scary and we wanted him to have a bit of fetish edge to him as well. ::laughs:: Because what's scarier?

BA: Let's give him a bit of a bondage feel and that was a shout out to some of the earlier Wonder Woman books too.

CC: We wanted to incorporate that into the original bondage them and not.... well, I guess it's pretty overt. ::laughs::

BA: Well, it's overt when you say it but I'm sure there's some people that would see it and never make that connection because they're not familiar with some of the earlier Wonder Woman stories, but it's a tip of the hat to some of the earlier stuff. Plus big, hairy dudes in leather and chains are scary.

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CV: What do you both enjoy about taking these well known mythological characters and creatures and translating them into the DC universe?

BA: I enjoy everything about doing that. That's really fun. It's one of the really gratifying parts of this book that we're doing. Just being able to take those characters down to their essence.

CC: Yeah, at the time, when we introduce a new character, it is this great exploration of what we need the character to do and what do they need to look like. Sometimes, it's really easy and other times, we have to go a few rounds on it. But, trying to do things that aren't as expected and not go with some of the more obvious choices with it.

BA: Dionysus is a great example of that.

CC: Sometimes, they really come out of left field, Hermes as well. They don't look the way you expected them too, but I think with the way they're written, with the way they play on the page, they feel like they've always been this way. If people are responding to that, we've done our job.

CV: Do you have any more plans for Orion or anything from 4th World jumping over?

BA: We can't just leave Orion where we left him. We've gotta see him again, right? He'll be back. As far as other 4th World stuff goes, maybe a little.

Thanks a lot to both Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang for answering our questions and make sure to check out their amazing work on WONDER WOMAN. Volume 4, collecting issues #19-23, will be available in trade on March 18th or you can pick up the single issues on Comixology or at your LCS.