Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Chuck Dixon and the new Ongoing series WinterWorld from IDW

WINTERWORLD is about to hit us with an all new ongoing comic from IDW.

Readers can read my previous interview with author Chuck Dixon about the Winterworld collected edition here.

Chuck, how did you decide the concept of the original story because at the moment we are all being torrentially flooded by Global WARMING fears?

Is this simply a story, or is it a metaphor?

This story is escapist fare and nothing else. Though I certainly have a bit of fun with 'climate change' as we are told to call it now. At the time Winterworld was conceived, the consensus among professional alarmist was that we were looking forward to a new ice age.

All other considerations aside, when I saw Jorge Zaffino's work I knew I wanted to write for him. A post-apocalyptic thing was the first idea that leapt to mind. Some kind of desperate characters struggling in a hostile world. Jorge's art determined that in my mind. A world of violent weather and bitter cold intrigued me and so...

Returning to the sequel in WW the collection, and now this, how do you view the world you are developing, does it have endless story lines to develop, or, with it being a frozen world with limited human life, do you risk retelling the same story, over and over?

There's always that risk. But this is really Scully and Wynn's story. I think their relationship is unusual enough that readers want to see what happens to them next, to see if they make it. And it's not really about the brutal environment they live in as much as the other survivors they meet. The freezing temperatures and scant resources provide a background tension to cast the drama against.

The artist on this new story/series is Butch Guice.  Yet, he manages to brilliantly capture the best of Jorge Zaffino.  Was that a requirement going forward, or was that simply an artistic decision he made?

Butch isn't aping Jorge (aside from some clever homages). The two guys are in the same wheelhouse. They even have similar personalities. Butch shares Jorge's ability to draw believable natural environments as well as REALLY nasty people. He throws in the background details that make it seem real and isn't afraid to pull the "camera" way back to show us the awesome scale of this world. As Butch said to me when I invited to join us for this first arc, "You had me at 'lots of negative space.'"

Is the book a limited series?  How far out have you written the stories for it?

It's an ongoing monthly and I've already scripted the entire first year.

Why IDW?  Do they have an inheritance of style or interest that is similar to Eclipse the original publisher?

On the nose. IDW is like the child of Eclipse Comics in a lot of ways. Ted Adams was an intern at Eclipse when I met him years ago. I see IDW applying Dean Mullaney's marketing ideas all the time. Their approach to creators is the same; hands off and encouraging and always a fair deal. We're also partners in this venture as we move along with the arrangement we've made with X-Box to make Winterworld a live-action television event.

A television event?  Tell us more about that?

At this point I don't have much I can or am allowed to say. It will be an eight episode live action event with a high per-episode budget. IDW will be acting as creative partner.

Were there books that stimulated your interest in telling a winter tale?  Maybe HP Lovecraft's Mountains of Madness or John Christopher's The Long Winter... or any number of military stories set on the Eastern Front WWII or The Winter War between Soviets and Finland?

All great things to reference. But I think a few endless Pennsylvania winters were enough. I lived very remote for a few years in PA. Did my share of chopping and hauling firewood in knee-deep snow.

Who would you choose to play Scully, who would you choose to play Wynn in an unlimited budget film, and you can raise any actor or actress from the dead if you need to...?

I hate the casting game. But...a younger Nick Nolte for Scully. I put his age around forty. And there's rafts of young actresses who could play Wynn.

What is the coldest you've ever been?  How can you express that kind of pain, discomfort, in sequential form?

I was camping on a mountainside in Pennsylvania. Most mountains in PA are sheltered, covered with forest. This one was totally denuded by a forest fire a few years before. It was July and I'd only brought a blanket to sleep under. That night the temperature dropped dramatically and the cold thermals whipped up the mountain from the river valley below. What I found out then was it's not so much HOW cold you get it's for how LONG you stay that way. I thought I'd never get warm again. I stress in Winterworld that the cold is ALWAYS there.

I've been known to bitch about Minnesota's weather, a lot even. But then I was thinking about moving even further N to avoid, well, people. That cold and isolation wears upon a soul, and expeditions to the poles dealt with mental as well as physical harm.  How do the survivors of the Ice age keep hope being so isolated and having so little to give them warmth, food, or anything comforting.  Would your Winterworld be comprised entirely of victims, or as in many cases during social chaos, are there some who thrive upon the suffering?

You? Bitch about the cold? Scully and Wynn stay on the move. They are, ostensibly, looking for Wynn's parents. Scully is trying to take her home. The suspense comes from the hostile environment where everything can kill you and the deadliest aspect is want. And there are certainly those who prey, some literally, on the helpless.

Have you plotted the story out in general to have an idea where you want to end? Or do you let the stories tell you when they are done?

I have an end in mind but I'm hoping it's a long way off.

As well as the main story, do you have any short stories and different or new characters to build the layers of the world.  Do you perhaps even show glimpses of the world prior to the freeze, and who did what to whom?

We will NEVER show the world before the event that froze it over. In fact, no one in these stories was alive when this happened. And HOW it happened is all supposition though we will be exploring some possible explanations. After all, man is always driven to try and explain his world.

I have to think the Russians have a buttload of winter weather prepared warriors, Finns and Norwegians, Swedes and Canucks too. Did some small remnants of order in those countries survive, are they the promised land?  Or does order in such a world automatically mean a bunch of instant Hitlers?

Toward the end of the year's continuity we will glimpse evidence of a more ordered effort to maintain a civilization. It doesn't take the form you suggest. It's far more insidious.

Damn.  I can't wait til then to learn the answer.

How much of this is fantasy/sci fi, and how much is based upon the reality that when humans outgrow outstretch their resources, they become far closer to bestial?

There's no fantasy elements whatsoever. There are touches of SF as it's set somewhat in the future. For the most part it's a survival tale where the odds are always life and death.

And taking a turn from Lord of the Flies, given human nature, why is Scully good? Why does he keep trying in a world where might makes things right?

Scully is an interesting character. He's always done what he had to do to make it to the next day no matter what the cost. When he runs into Wynn that all changes. Now he has someone besides himself to worry about. She's given him a purpose in life beyond the grind of existence.

Entropy will be the end of us, eventually, but who would survive, the scientists? The warriors?  People with true faith in some movement or belief?

Well, my stories might lead you believe that mankind will take a giant leap backwards in order to make it through.

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