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BRIAN WOOD, ALEX COX talk JOHN CARTER: THE END #1, on sale in February

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  • BRIAN WOOD, ALEX COX talk JOHN CARTER: THE END #1, on sale in February

    BRIAN WOOD, ALEX COX talk JOHN CARTER: THE END #1, on sale in February from Dynamite!

    BYRON BREWER: Brian and Alex, how does it feel to be writing in tandem a classic literary icon like John Carter for Dynamite?

    ALEX COX: It is absolutely intoxicating. Iíve been an evangelical fan of the Barsoom tales since I was a kid, recommending them to everyone I know. (I suspect I suggested for Brian to read them at some point over the years, as we are both voracious readers, and have recommended many books back and forth.) Itís a sandbox with so many fun toys, itís impossible not to feel like a little kid as you bat around ideas.

    Working with Brian just adds to the fun. He is the Real Deal, and watching him craft a new emotional resonance out of these characters is like being on
    the sidelines at a pro ballgame. Iím just a guy with a sketchbook full of goofy concepts, but he really finds what makes the story compelling, and even if itís a 100 year old icon, he can make it his own.

    BRIAN WOOD: Itís always humbling to be offered jobs on things like this, either bonafide literary icons like John Carter (and Conan The Barbarian), and modern pop culture franchises like Star Wars and Aliens. Which is a big part of the reason why Iím happy and grateful to be doing this with Alex - his depth of knowledge of this world dwarfs mine, and it expands what weíre capable of pulling off.

    BB: You are certainly giving readers a very different take on John Carter. What can you tell us about existing circumstances to prepare readers for your storyline?

    ALEX: Barsoom, and many of the creatures that exist on it, has been ravaged, and has evolved into something very different and very new. Beyond that, we get into SPOILERS!

    BRIAN: This is an older John Carter, and Dejah Thoris. Much older, with centuries having passed and with all the emotional history, baggage, and scars that come with it. Our two characters are still a couple, but their relationship is stitched together by shared pain and adversity, not necessarily love. At the same time, Barsoom is suffering as well, heading towards a possible extinction. Itís certainly not a spoiler to say that John and Dejah will return to Mars, but I think once they get there readers will be presented with a John Carter story no oneís seen before.

    BB: One of the departures you take from the norm is evidence of a very deep schism between John and Dejah Thoris. Their passionate love has always been central to their story. How has this emotional break made them different as characters?

    BRIAN: Each of our main characters has a personal narrative to go through in this series. They wonít always be going through it together. One hopes, of course, that by the end of it theyíve found their way back to each other, and hopefully healed.

    ALEX: John Carter is in many ways a creature of pure id; he is fueled by passion and violence. He is entirely motivated by the urges to fight, and be with Dejah. Removing her from his life strips him down to the core in many ways. We see what else motivates a man who is otherwise consumed by the woman he loves.

    BRIAN: Thereís two battles to be fought - the external and the internal.

    BB: Although science fiction, many Carter tales in the comics have appeared more akin to sword & sorcery sagas. Is there a concerted effort here to give this story a big, sci-fi/Kirby comics feel?

    ALEX: Yes to all of that. Sword and Sorcery, Sci-Fi, Kirby, METAL HURLING, axes, mushroom clouds, space travel, gladiator sandalsÖ If it is outsized and hyper-real, it will probably show up.

    BRIAN: This is another reason why having Alex along will help. Those references he just gave are ones we kicked back and forth the first time we spoke about writing this together. I already had it in my mind that I wanted this to look and feel like a 1970ís Heavy Metal comic, but after twenty years of writing my comics the way I write comics, Iím happy to have someone else along to help me hit those notes just right.

    The series starts off small - we have John and Dejah on a deserted moon, living very quiet, solitary lives. By the end of that first issue, weíve ramped up considerably, and by the time we reach the midway point of the arc, its just this massive, global experience. Itís a blast to unfold and expand that.

    BB: Mars itself is certainly different when first seen in this story. Tell us about what has happened to the environment of Barsoom.

    ALEX: Thousands of years and neglect and abuse. Part of the story will be unfolding how the New Barsoom came to be.

    BRIAN: Yeah, itís a little spoiler-y to say much more than that. But early on we have someone say: ďBarsoom is dying!Ē and that person is right.

    BB: The Red Martians seem to have become nihilistic to the extreme. Was there some Earth counterpart you are using as inspiration for this regime?

    BRIAN: Thereís no specific Earth counterpart, but itís something that Earth history has seen for thousands of years.

    ALEX: This is a whole culture that has been under the sway of a charismatic despot for centuries, utterly enthralled and obsessed with their God Emperor. I would say (and hope) it is distinctly alien - although like Brian says, sharp-eyed readers will be able to draw parallels.

    BB: Will we be seeing Tars Tarkas or any of the other familiar characters in your saga? If so, what roles might they play?

    ALEX: Yes! All of Carterís previous compatriots will be involved although they may not be what you remember Ö

    BB: What are the challenges for you in doing something unique in the way of a John Carter tale and yet paying homage to and showing respect for the world that Edgar Rice Burroughs built?

    ALEX: Itís not a challenge as much as an opportunity to say ďthank youĒ to a literary hero, and hopefully create something that ERB might have enjoyed reading. Taking his concepts, and handing back a speculative fiction adventure that would surprise and thrill him. Like I said, itís absolutely intoxicating!

    BRIAN: Iíve written a half dozen licensed books in my career, and no editor or estate holder has ever asked for a slavish recreation of existing material. Even when itís a specific adaptation, the mandate is to bring something new to the table, to interpret and breathe some new life into it. So thatís the goal here - stay true to the spirit and show respect, but do something new, add to the overall body of work, and above all make it good.
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