Monday, November 21, 2011

NYCC '11: Brian Wood & Becky Cloonan talk about Conan

With all the awesome contained at NYCC, this one was at the top. I got to speak with the brand new Conan team mere hours after they were announced. That's right, I got to chat with Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan. Thanks again to the team at Dark Horse for giving me this chance!

With such a great team taking over this classic book, how did they both get involved in this project? Dark Horse approached Wood first, because they were looking to change up the series' feeling. He actually thought that Cloonan wouldn't be available to join the book, but her name kept coming up as the perfect fit. Eventually, she came on board.

These two have been working together for a long time. Wood and Cloonan clicked right away, from their very first project in 2001. Since then, their relationship hasn't changed one bit. As Wood put it, they have a lot of trust with each other.  Side note: They actually finished each others sentence at one point during this answer. Definitely a top-notch team.

Conan #1 Variant by Becky Cloonan
The Conan story has been around for a very long time, which is a challenge for any writer and artist. Wood had felt like this challenge was a bit worrisome at first. He knew that the character had been around for so long and didn't want to disappoint. But when he went to pitch his story ideas, he said he "is not try to meet some expectation in my mind and just honestly pitch it as the way I would do it if it were only up to me." This is exactly what Dark Horse wanted for this series, which Wood says takes a lot of the pressure off.

Neither one of them had read much Conan before this opportunity came along.  Cloonan has done a lot of research of different places to incorporate real world places into the Conan universe. Both Wood and Cloonan were asked to make the places not generic but vibrant and unique.

I asked about their feelings about Conan and his perfect hero status. They both echoed the same feelings on this one. Conan is not a perfect guy. He does make mistakes, which makes him a very human hero. That is what really makes him such great character.

I also wondered if they felt any pressure knowing that President Obama is a huge Conan fan. Well, Wood forgot about this and Cloonan didn't even know about this (Love it when I have a surprising question!), but they both seemed pretty relaxed about this. They would love a presidential endorsement though.

In other awesome news, they both have some great projects on the way. Cloonan is working on The Guild Zaboo issue and the (since cancelled) Victor Von Doom mini at Marvel. Wood is working on a Wolverine mini series and a creator-owned DH book called The Massive, which should be out around January. He is also finishing up his amazing series, Northlanders.

They were a fun twosome to talk with and it seems like they have a lot planned for Conan.  While I didn't manage to get any spoilers, since this interview it has been announced that their first issue will be out Feb. 8th. 

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