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The New York Five, a four-issue mini-series from Vertigo that picks up where Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly’s The New York Four from DC’s Minx volume left off nearly two and half years ago finally releases this Wednesday, January 26th. As someone that was a big fan of the digest-sized original, and someone that searches high and low for quality comics that are also female friendly, I was excited to get a sneak peek of The New York Five #1 (check for that advance review in a special second installment of She Has No Head! tomorrow). Even better though, was getting a chance to talk with Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly about their return to these great characters.
Kelly: So as I understand it, the original plan was to do four books – each one featuring a different character (Riley, Merissa, Lona, and Ren) – I think the most obvious question is can we actually expect to get more of this mini-series, or should I just count myself lucky that I got this one?
Brian: Well, I think Ryan and I feel like the lucky ones! Seriously, a book like this coming from a place like Vertigo is not going to be a chart-topper, but Ryan and I do know how to make pretty good comics together, and I feel this is a pretty positive show of support on DC’s part to let this happen. When Minx ended, we already had contracts signed to do a sequel book, and over these last couple years everyone involved has helped figure out what to do about that – in terms of length, format, imprint, etc. What THE NEW YORK FIVE is, is something kind of unique for DC: a creator-owned, black and white, no ads, 32-pages of story comic for $2.99.
I honestly can’t say if we’ll get the chance to do more after this. I approached this new FIVE series with the assumption that we won’t, so we don’t run the risk of leaving readers hanging like we did at the end of THE NEW YORK FOUR.
Ryan: Yes, lucky is the right word. The New York Five is a unique and strange object–A 32-page, black and white, serial drama about living in New York, published by DC Comics for $2.99. I’m honored to have the opportunity to do this book, and I’ve tried to repay the favor by making the best art I can.
I’ve talked pretty openly about my love for Brian Wood’s new DV8 mini-series Gods & Monsters, from the fact that I think it feels both modern and also somehow like a throwback to really good superhero character pieces, but it’s also been one of the inspirations for why I’ve been talking so frequently about how much I’d like to see more independent creators given a chance to show what they can do on more mainstream characters. Not that DV8 was ever totally mainstream, but there’s no reason why DV8 can’t emerge as a powerhouse of a title from Wildstorm, if done right. And with able assists from Fiona Staples on covers and Carrie Strachan delivering beautiful colors, Brian Wood and Rebekah Isaacs are doing it SO right. The way I feel a lot more indie creators could if given the chance to run wild on a title the way Wood and Isaacs have cut loose on Gods & Monsters.
Brian Wood is a goliath in this industry so it feels strange to call him independent, but if you look at his body of work, that’s exactly what it is. Wildly independent. It’s honed to his own vision and his own personal standards, which as far as I’m concerned, are well above that of most comics out there. Brian Wood puts out awesome book after awesome book ranging from ongoings like the epic Northlanders and DMZ to totally alternative superhero-ish tales in the excellent Demo; to literary short fiction made into comics in the form of Local; to now breathing new life into some 1990’s anti-heroes almost forgotten in DV8’s Gods & Monsters mini-series.
It’s all exceptional stuff. Brian Wood, for my money, is one of the great comic creators and writers of our time, so I was pretty excited when he agreed to talk to me about DV8, a comic that I really hope will pave the way (eventually) for a new direction for superheroes.
Actually, his statement in its entirety was, “The rich are the most discriminated-against minority in the world. Openly or covertly, everybody hates the rich because, openly or covertly, everybody envies the rich. Me, I love the rich. Somebody has to love them. Sure, a lot o’ rich people are assholes, but believe me, a lot o’ poor people are assholes, too, and an asshole with money can at least pay for his own drinks.” (Tom Robbins, from Jitterbug Perfume)
“To break up the superstition and worship of legality should be our aim. Nothing would please me more than to see Inspector Heat and his likes take to shooting us down in broad daylight with the approval of the public. Half our battle would be won then; the disintegration of the old morality would have set in in its very temple.” (Joseph Conrad, from The Secret Agent)
For it is a general rule of human nature that people despise those who treat them well and look up to those who make no concessions. (Thucydides, from History of the Peloponnesian War)
“It is something so monstrous it is past sin and becomes necessity,” he said. (Greg Bear, from “Petra”)
I looked through the Gideon Bible in my motel room for tales of great destruction. ‘The sun was risen upon the Earth when Lot entered into Zo-ar,’ I read. ‘Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of Heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.’
So it goes.
Those were vile people in both those cities, as is well known. The world was better off without them.
And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. (Kurt Vonnegut, from Slaughterhouse-5)
Turkish influence would have been better for Georgia than Russian influence, because Atatürk took a backward Turkey and made it modern, while Lenin and Stalin took a directionless Russia and made it backward. (Robert Kaplan, from Eastward to Tartary)
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