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Interview: Brian Wood Visits the America Revolution in the Upcoming REBELS Series

This will be your chance to get an education and entertainment at the same time.

Often when people think of comic books, they immediately picture spandex-wearing superheroes. Obviously that is not what they are all about. We've seen many different genres taken on with glorious results. One writer that loves to delve into the different genres is Brian Wood.

With Wood's latest upcoming venture, REBELS at Dark Horse comics, he'll be giving us his take on the America Revolution with Andrea Mutti handling the art and Jordie Bellaire doing the colors. We got the chance to ask Brian a few questions to find out more about the series.

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COMIC VINE: How would you describe this series?

BRIAN WOOD: Its a historical fiction series centered around the time of America's push for independence. The first story is about the Green Mountain Boys, also known as America's first militia group, and the role they played in the war. Subsequent stories explore other aspects, from frontier tales, women's stories, political thrillers, and even a look at things from the British's soldier's perspective.

CV: What is it about the time period that appeals to you?

BW: I can answer this on two levels. The first is the specific, in that I was raised with this history as something that happened, almost literally, in my backyard. I think its cool. I like the uniforms and the weapons of the era. I like the fighting frigates. Its mythology, the story of the founding fathers. On that level, it appeals to me as a local boy, as someone who enjoys history, and as someone who's proud to be an American.

In a much broader way, this time period appeals to me in the same way that the viking age appealed to me when I created NORTHLANDERS: its a pivotal point in time when history could have gone one way or the other with global consequences. Its a time of man vs nature, of the individual against authority, and brave men and women starting something new. That both stirs my soul as a person, and makes for great material as a writer.

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CV: Did you have to do more in depth research in preparation for the series?

BW: I read books. All I ever do is read books, and I've gotten pretty good at that sort of research. I check out lots of books from the library, speed read them, try to cram as much information in my head as possible to internalize as much as possible.

CV: The projects you take on (DMZ, CONAN THE BARBARIAN, THE MASSIVE, MOON KNIGHT, STAR WARS) have a wide variety in themes in different genres. Do you approach each project in the same way when you immerse yourself in each world of characters?

BW: In most cases the world comes first - I have a topic and a place and perhaps a main driving concept, and then I start to populate that world with the characters I thing will help me turn that concept into an actual story. When it comes to other things like Conan... that was an adaptation so I had to approach that in a very limited, literal way. MOON KNIGHT was also limited in the sense that I was following another writer and not deviating too much from what came before. But when it comes to creator-owned, original stuff, I follow that world-first approach.

This is really true in books like NORTHLANDERS and REBELS, where so much of the concept IS the point in time and the events of that time. The world is really a character in and of itself.

CV: What can you tell us about the main character, Seth Abbott?

BW: We first meet Seth as a young boy, 10 years old, and he is meant to be a very typical type of person at that time and in that place. That place being the complete and total wilds of what is now Vermont. He and his family in a house in the middle of the woods. But as he gets older, the woods become filled with British soldiers sent to enforce an illegal land grab on behalf of the Crown. So this typical sort of backwoods man - boy - is thrust into a sort of insurgency at a young age. As events develop and he comes of age, he joins the local militia, and in time the main Continental Army.

He is the reader's eyes and ears, and together with his young wife Mercy they bear witness to and participate in this revolution.

CV: Did you spend any time in the Vermont area before starting the project?

BW: I grew up in Vermont! Honestly, its the biggest reason I'm doing this book.

CV: Andrea Mutti early art for this looks amazing. Did you give detailed descriptions of how you wanted the characters to look or include reference material on the time period?

BW: Despite the fact Andrea lives in Italy, he came to this project with a knowledge and a love for this time period, which is a real stroke of luck for me and everyone else involved. I usually have to prepare reference libraries and write briefs for the artists I work with, but Andrea was basically ready to go. I still share the relevant research and am on hand to answer questions, but its been amazingly smooth so far.

CV: It’s set as a ten-issue series. Is this the complete story you want to tell for this time period or might there be more to come?

BW: Ten issues so far... sales willing, we'll keep going. But in that first ten we have the main story, which is 6 issues, and then 4 one-shots that help round out the bigger picture as I discussed above. So even if we catch some bad luck and this ten are the only issues of the series, the concept of Rebels will be realized in that one volume.

CV: What’s your favorite thing about working on this series?

BW: My favorite thing about any series is working with and being inspired by the rest of the team. That's a given. Beyond that, specific to this book? Honestly, I was a little surprised to see how many people out there are really excited that this book exists, that any book exists that deals with this subject matter. Its great, I get into all these conversations with people over email and in person about it. Its pretty exciting!

You can check out a trailer for the series here:

The Final Order Cut off is Monday, March 16. That means you need to let your local comic shop know to order you a copy. You can give them the Diamond Order Code: FEB150008.

Check out this extensive 10-page preview.

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