‘Live From the DMZ’ Documents the Life of Brian Wood’s Vertigo Opus
From the day issue #1 went on sale in 2005, it was obvious that DMZ was going to become one of the great long form Vertigo series. Created by Brian Wood and illustrated primarily by Riccardo Burchielli, the story about a hapless news intern who found himself the voice of a modern civil war-ravaged American community and biographer of its infinitely diverse denizens has been compelling reading for fans and critics. It all comes to an end in December this year, when after 72 issues, Brian Wood and his collaborators will walk out of the DMZ, leaving behind 12 volumes worth of memorable political sci-fi and a colorful cast of characters.
In honor of DMZ’s final year, writer Justin Giampaoli has launched Live From the DMZ, a new website documenting all there is to know about the Vertigo title. With the full cooperation of Brian Wood, Live From the DMZ will feature in-depth interviews, analysis and other behind-the-scenes material covering the entire breadth of DMZ and its cultural impact.
Some writers (like me), have characterized DMZ as a culmination of the first major movement of Brian Wood’s comics career; that all his graphic design, photography, writing and illustrating in the political-drama-meets-sidewalk-culture style he’s become known for has been building toward the inevitable opus that is DMZ. Justin Giampaoli is the author of The Brian Wood Project, an exhaustive and annotated retrospective of the comics creator’s career from his earliest work with Channel Zero, and the obvious person to produce a comprehensive website dedicated to exploring DMZ along those lines. And while similar attention could be heaped upon additional creators and their work, Giampoali submits that DMZ is especially deserving of the royal treatment.
DMZ is unlike anything on the market and is a prime example of art imitating life. It’s not difficult to imagine the real world repercussions of what could potentially occur if life started to imitate art in the subversive manner Brian Wood and his artistic collaborators have projected. As the epic tale progresses, DMZ starts to read less like poli-fi (that’s the new term we’re going to coin here together, not poli-sci, not sci-fi, but poli-fi – “political fiction”), and more like an acutely tangible potential reality. Due to the nature of it political allegory, DMZ has functioned as a catalyst for open-ended introspection regarding the events chronicled in our post-9/11 news cycle every day. For that reason, it’s an important entry into the category of Early 21st Century Fiction, which transcends the medium and is deserving of a closer look.
Live From the DMZ provides a valuable resource to longtime readers who wish to know more about the story and its creator(s), but the site also gives those who’ve never tried DMZ a strong motivation to do so. Presently, the site features a bold and comprehensive mission statement by Giampaoli and an introductory interview with Wood, in which the author describes the times and places where he developed the series, the profound influence of the 9/11 tragedy on his life and work, the function of DMZ in his career plan, and much more.