Dear Brian Wood, I’m sorry. ‘DMZ’ is Terrific.

I’ve said on the podcast and on the site that I’m not the biggest fan of Brian Wood. I don’t think he’s bad, but for some reason, most of his work doesn’t resonate with me. I’ve read Channel Zero, Pounded, Supermarket, Demo, and a bunch of other stuff, and for the most part, it’s just not my bag. I’m not sure why. A lot of times, I think he’s very good at having a tone, and a design and a style, but at the end of the day, the stories don’t grab me.

Long story short, I just read DMZ, Vol. 1: On the Ground, and it was great. I highly recommend it.

Wood has created a big world in this that is both harsh and extreme, but at the same time, I can utterly see this happening in the real world. The basic idea is that parts of the US rebelled against the government, and started a second civil war. The fight made its way across the country to Manhattan, which became a demilitarized zone, straddled between the rebels in New Jersey and the US government all around them. The story itself is that of a photographer’s intern who gets dropped into Manhattan, and ends up all alone, trying to understand the strange world that has grown in the city since the war started several years back. It’s very realistically done, and it sadly imagines how people would behave in the face of such odd circumstances.

I was instantly sucked in and want to read more. So there, Brian Wood. I liked this and I want more people to buy and read it. Are you happy now?

I guess I should try Local


  1. If you weren’t a fan of Channel Zero, Pounded, Supermarket and Demo I doubt you’ll like Local, but I’m glad to hear you like DMZ, I think it’s the best thing Vertigo are putting out at the moment excluding Y, and the next trade should be out any week now. Woo!

  2. Damn you for telling me to buy something else, Josh. I can’t afford all these books. I like Local (not love it, but like it), but anything else I’ve tried didn’t work for me. I actually prefer the art.

  3. I’ve been enjoying dmz monthly since the beginning and I’m sure it probably reads better still in trade format(especially the body of a journalist arc).
    They have done 2 one shots in a row, which would normally annoy me because they would seem to be fill-ins but they were both excellent and important to the story as well. Also, issue 12(?), the last one, was so chocked full of information about the city in Wood’s world that you can’t possibly believe it was a fill in. It had to take way longer to write than anything else they’ve done in the series so far. Issue 11(? I believe) focused on Zee and it was amazing. Finally got to know her a bit better. It didn’t feel odd either like that one shot about Alter in Y(? i think 49). That was kind of like, yeah ok but still she’s in like what 3 pages ever other issue. Why do I care? It doesn’t really matter who she is even if she is a large part of the end game.
    I have my own experiences with, and perceptions of the city, living 2 hours away and having been there a bunch of times. However, dmz is so well written that I have distinct images and perceptions of Wood’s Manhattan. To illustrate this better, when I think of, or see illustrated, Spider-Man fighting a villian in Manhattan I actually see it in the Manhattan I know. When I read DMZ, I think of it taking place in Wood’s fractured Manhattan.
    Vertigo is doing some interesting things right now. DMZ is good, Y is good, as well as a few others. Everyone should also check out their book American Virgin. It’s also very very good. The characters in it aren’t even people that I’d normally care about but the writer, whose name I can’t think of, makes them quite interesting. The journey of the story and the direction you can tell its going in are very intriguing to me as well.
    I never intended this post to run so long.

  4. I never intended this post to run so long.

    We love long, smart posts. The longer, the smarter the better.

  5. Be careful what you wish for.

    This may be difficult to articulate, but if you can: how (in terms of tone, in terms of story, whatever) does DMZ differ from Demo? Everyone seems to love DMZ, but man alive did I dislike Demo. I don’t just want to write the guy off, though.

  6. I’ll be back on to talking about being a Martian tomorrow

  7. I think what I didn’t like so much about his previous work is that it was mostly about the attitude of the characters. It was rarely about the story. To me, the story is the most important. Demo was about an attitude and a mood. There is a story in DMZ. I want to know what happens next, and why things are like they are. Demo didn’t have that aspect. It wasn’t so much about the story. There was no, “And what happens next?” to that reading. DMZ has some of that attitude that Woods’ earlier work has, but there’s a strong story behind it. It feels like it exists in a world I could exist in, and is interesting enough to make me want to know more, and to make me wonder what I would do in that situation. Basically, it feels very much like a Vertigo book, rather than a more formless indie book.

    Does that make sense?

  8. you can download issue #1 of dmz as a pdf here:
    you can get issue #1 of American Virgin at:
    there are a few more, from Testament to Transmet etc at:

  9. i can’t seem to post it but there are downloadable pdf versions of american virgin and dmz at dc’s website. been trying to post the links and I keep getting post held for approval

  10. you can download issue #1 of dmz as a pdf here:

  11. and here I thought I’d break it up and beat the system

  12. Our spam blocker doesn’t like multiple links in a post. It’s annoying sometimes, but not as annoying as hundreds of fake posts from people who want us to check out their “blog”.

    It was a pain in the ass deleting all that stuff.

  13. could exist in, and is interesting enough to make me want to know more, and to make me wonder what I would do in that situation. Basically, it feels very much like a Vertigo book, rather than a more formless indie book.

    Does that make sense?

    Very much so. It has a direction and you want to see what happens to the characters. It’s like Preacher or Transmet in that way. American Virgin is the same way whereas Loveless, for me, is not.

    I get the formless indie thing. If you look at a book like The Boys, which isn’t technically an indie but nothing on wildstorm or vertigo really is anyway, you see how their method inspires more people to talk about and have an opinion on the book than normally would have. It’s hooked into this “indie” formula, show butt fucking and gratuitous obscenity and people will talk. They don’t even have to really promote it. I for the record like The Boys, but I still feel the way I just described because as an example, look at how much the book is discussed here and talked about on your podcast, it doesn’t deserve that much attention. It’s OK and I enjoy it but then again when have I ever voted against sodomy?

  14. i figured as much. That’s why I started posting it in pieces. Thanks for saving me the trouble. I would have split it in 3. I love these books and I want people to give them a try.

  15. It’s OK and I enjoy it but then again when have I ever voted against sodomy?
    I’d like to restate that:
    It’s OK and I enjoy it but then again with the exception of my time as an altar boy and then a congressional page when have I ever voted against sodomy?

  16. While we’re on the subject of books that don’t get enough attention: Strange Girl, Strange Girl, Strange Girl. Please buy this book. They’ve had 11 or 12 issues so far. There are 2 trades and 2 issues after the second trade. The knock on it initially was that the artist was slow and it didn’t come out regularly. The artist has been replaced and it is now monthly. It is an Image book. It may be hard to get if you don’t subscribe and you go to a smaller comic shop but ORDER IT. It’s awesome.
    It takes place 10 years after the Rapture. The Rapture, for those of you who don’t know, is this thing from the Bible where at the end of days or whatever God takes all the good people into heaven and leaves the bad or less good people on Earth to be ruled by demons. Sounds strange I know. The book follows the story of a girl named Bethany who is trying to essentially escape to heaven or whatever safety she can find. It is amazing. Please buy this book. It will be a devastating loss to comics if this were cancelled and I never hear anyone else mention it. It wasn’t even in the top 100 for september and people should be reading it. How the hell is Origins number 12?

  17. As GOB said, I think I’ve made a huge mistake.

    I was able to buy a ton of collected editions today. Here’s what I got with a $50 GC at the LCS and $60 from Barnes and Noble:

    Alias Omnibus
    Preacher Volume 1
    Cerebus Vol 2 (skipped Vol 1 on the advice of others), and, of course
    DMZ Vol 1

    My error, I think, was in buying the first edition of too many highly regarded series. Now I’ll just by them all. Oh boy. At least the Alias Omnibus is everything.

  18. bringing it back
    dmz vol 2 tpb release date February 7, 2007