Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: This June will see the release of your new series, Sword Daughter, from Dark Horse Comics. What inspired this creator-owned series, and how do you feel that your previous collaboration on Briggs Land prepared you for this new undertaking?
Brian Wood: Well, a dozen Briggs Land issues later, I know Mack much better - as a person, as an artist, as a collaborator - and he knows me. So, things are a little faster, smoother, and the results are better. We've become a team, and comics is all about teamwork.
Mack Chater: We had been talking for a while about working on a creator-owned, and we knocked a few ideas around. This one was the one that we both agreed was THE ONE. Our collaboration on Briggs was great. I love reading Brian’s scripts - I can "see" them almost immediately, and working together on Sword Daughter has only cemented that partnership.
BW: Moving from the real-world novelistic politics of Briggs Land to what Sword Daughter is - historical, cinematic, art-driven - allows us to flex different muscles and try new things. So far, it’s been fantastic.
BD: Sword Daughter juxtaposes the struggle of a Viking revenge story with the structure of Samurai cinema. What was your experience in combining these two distinct storytelling and artistic styles?
MC: What I love about a lot of Samurai cinema is the pacing: the room to breathe in the unfolding narrative. It was something we both loved and wanted to inject into the pacing of Sword Daughter. As they struggle on their quest for revenge, we see their relationship develop.
And Viking movies, although there isn’t always a lot of talking, there is lot of fighting. So, being able to combine the quiet moments with the explosive, brutal fighting seemed like the perfect combination of both.
BW: Speaking for myself, it was a gut thing. I've written Vikings before and was looking for new angles, a fresh approach. The idea of Lone Wolf and Cub being a conceptual starting point gave way to all sorts of comparisons - the swords, the revenge quest narrative, the band of villains, all reminded me of old samurai movies. So, I ran with it and handed the visual side of it over to Mack to flesh it out.
BD: Throughout the series, readers will follow father-and-daughter Dag and Elsbeth after the decimation of their village, as they seek to repair their damaged relationship. As parents yourselves, what encouraged you to focus on the parent/child relationship of these characters, and why do you feel that readers are often engaged by tales of these family dynamics?
BW: I'm one of those worried dads - I worry constantly about my kids crossing the street, about bullies at school, about them falling ill, or just having the inherent tragedy of the world come down on them. And that's the point - you can only protect, and prepare, your kids so much. Bad things will always happen, and there's a degree of guilt that comes with that. Did I do enough? I think that's a relatable feeling for any parent, and I think its something anyone else can instinctively understand.
Dag was absent for the first decade of Elsbeth's life. She managed without him. Now that they've been reunited, there's a dramatically interesting push-pull: Dag feels that guilt, he wants to make up for it; she doesn't trust him or need him, but there's a missing piece in her life that she is looking to fill.
MC: I think everyone likes a good family story - as there are ALWAYS elements you yourself can relate to. As a father of two girls, I am hopeful that I can prepare them for the world outside, and growing up, and it’s a constant struggle to both accept that they ARE growing up (fast) and that I cant teach them or prepare them for every eventuality. I just try to make sure they are the best they can be.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from the story?
MC: I hope that readers will enjoy and get immersed in the revenge tale that is the basis of the story. Can’t beat a good revenge story! But also that underneath, it’s a tale of redemption, and accepting your flaws, and shortcomings. But it’s also a tale of hope.
BD: Are there any additional projects on which you are working that you are able to share with readers?
MC: Unfortunately, nothing I can really talk about at the moment, sorry!
BW: Briggs Land is on hiatus - I fully intend to get back to that. Mack and I have a couple other things we'd love to get to at some point. I've been writing a TV pilot this last year and doing a run of licensed projects: RoboCop, Terminator, and Robotech. All the robos.