James Tynion IV is a busy guy. Besides carving out his corner of the Bat-Universe at DC, he is also busy working on his new creator-owned series, THE WOODS over at Boom! Studios, with art by Michael Dialynas. If you read James' other series, THE EIGHT SEAL, over at Thrillbent, you have an idea just how spooky and creepy his stories can get.
What is THE WOODS about? We asked James some questions so we can all get an idea. After you check it out, be sure to let your local comic shop know, TODAY, to order copies of this book and make sure it's on your pull list.
COMIC VINE: Where did the inspiration come for this series?
JAMES TYNION IV: I wanted to write a series about how freaking scary it is to transition from a teenager in high school to an adult in the real world, and I wanted to do that in the most crazy heightened way I could possibly think of! This story ties together so much of what I love in comics and storytelling in general.
We’ve got teenagers in impossible situations, trying to cope with huge unknowns that they’ve never faced before. We’ve got strange horror and science fiction in the setting of this magnificent and terrifying forest that will slowly reveal even more horrifying secrets as the series moves on. It really ties together a lot of things I’ve always been incredible interested in story-wise, and that’s by design. This is the first ongoing creator owned project I’ve ever done in print, and I wanted it to be thoroughly me, cover to cover. This is the crazy world I came up with.
Also: There is a space monkey in this comic book. Who on earth doesn’t want to read or write a comic book with a space monkey in it!
CV: Have you spent time in Wisconsin?
JT: I grew up in Milwaukee, WI, and my whole teenage experience is directly tied to living in that city. I never really considered another location to transport the kids out of. Bay Point Preparatory High School might not be a real place, but it’s based in part on the schools my friends and I grew up attending. I know what malls these kids hang out at, what their favorite parts of the Milwaukee lakefront are, what neighborhoods they like to drive through after they drop their friends off before they go home. A lot of these characters have so much of me in them, that I wanted to construct their world out of my own. Hence Wisconsin.
CV: What is it about the horror and sci-fi genres that appeals to you?
JT: Pretty much everything! But in terms of this story in particular, I love the way that you can draw out very basic human drama in fantastic trappings that draw out all of the core emotions in huge ways. Being a teenager is so strange because EVERYTHING feels like a life or death scenario. Multiply those feelings by throwing teens into actual life or death scenarios, and it just makes it all that much better.
This is a story about how frightening the future is for the young, how unexpected it can be, and how no matter how prepared you feel for it, there’s no way to get ready for what’s going to happen next. But for these kids, it matters more than just figuring out their lives, it’s about surviving the next five minutes. It’s about fighting horrifying monsters, and unexpected villains, and ultimately each other. The Sci-Fi/Horror trappings of the forest here draw out everything at the core, and lay the groundwork for an incredible mystery and mythology that we’ll be exploring for years in the series.
CV: The series starts out with eight main characters. How deeply have you fleshed out their backstories and personalities?
JT: Like I mentioned earlier, there’s a bit of me in all of the characters, so I know them all very very well. Our two leading characters are basically my two opposing viewpoints when I was 18 years old… Adrian Roth represents the part of me that felt he knew everything, and that nothing could stop him when he threw off the restrictions of high school life. Karen Jacobs represents the other part of me, that kind of knew I was a screw-up and that no matter what I did, none of it could matter in the end. Those two parts of my brain spent years arguing with each other, and now they get to argue with each other on the page as two separate entities. Which is pretty fun. Through Isaac, I’m getting to explore some of my issues as a teen with dependency and depression. Through Benjamin, I get to explore my body-image issues. Sanami is my tendency to try and take control of situations that don’t need to be controlled. Calder is my most manic self. Their backstories are incredibly important, and they’ll become part of the narrative as the story moves forward, but in my head it’s all laid out pretty intricately. Because they’re all me.
CV: I’m sure we shouldn’t assume they’re all safe, right?
JT: Oh, nobody is even remotely safe.
CV: If you were in high school and the school was transported away, would you stay inside or try to investigate outside?
JT: I think I would have gathered all my friends and gotten the hell out of there to figure out what the hell the place was. I’m not saying I would have coped with it very well, but my curiosity about exploring the outside world, and my complete lack of a desire to stay locked up with all of the people I hated in high school would have sent me out into the great unknown for sure.
CV: What if you were at a comic convention and the convention center was transported away? What would you do then?
JT: Well, that would actually be way better than a High School, because of all of the booths that sell weapons and armor. We could stock up, and set up a whole geeky new civilization in the heart of the unknown!!
CV: Do you have a rough estimate how long this series is? Have you thought how the story might end?
JT: I know exactly how the story ends. It’s always been a finite story, with three major parts, the first of which will take us through the first year. There’s a lot of ground to cover in this world, and a lot that needs to be explored, and I sincerely hope that everyone that comes in for issue one, sticks around to see how everything plays out over all the months and years. This is a series I want to be writing for a good long time, and one with huge mysteries that you’ll only see the vaguest hints of in the first issue. So yeah. Come along for the ride. It’s going to be really fun. For us anyways… The kids… Maybe not so much.
THE WOODS #1 is on sale May 7, 2014. Check it out because it is really cool. Let your comic shop know TODAY then need to order this. The main cover is by Ramón Pérez. The second cover is by Matthew Woodson with a 1 in 10 mix. The third is by Paul Duffield with a 1 in 25 retailer incentive mix. There is also a retailer incentive by Joe Eisma available if retailers increase initial orders by 20% by FOC deadline.
Check out our exclusive preview below: