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Interview: Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang Talk WONDER WOMAN

WONDER WOMAN creative team talks about First Born, Wonder Woman, and adapting Greek myths to comics.

WONDER WOMAN is a book unlike any other at DC Comics. Writer Brian Azzarello and artist Cliff Chiang have truly formed something imaginative and intriguing with this title. More recently, there's been some big things happening in this book and Azzarello and Chiang answered some of our questions over the phone about the book and its characters.

COMIC VINE: One of the most interesting characters to come out of this book is the son of Zeus, First Born. What was the inspiration for this character and how did the design come together?

BRIAN AZZARELLO: Man, that character. He developed pretty slowly, didn't he, Cliff?

CLIFF CHIANG: Yeah, he did. We needed somebody, but the actual details of him kinda accumulated over the issues, in a way.

BA: There was going to be a big reveal in issue #12, when he first shows up, but he always wasn't what he is now. By that point, I think we just sort of said that we just need a foil for her that's related to her and we can create this god that nobody knows about.

CC: Yeah and we knew that we needed him to be her opposite number. He's a guy. He's fuel, not by compassion, but really just by hate. You know? And unlike Wonder Woman no family bringing him up? So he's the worst case scenario.

CV: In the last issue (WONDER WOMAN #28), it ends with a very intense moment between First Born and Apollo. What does this ultimately mean for the First Born and the future of Wonder Woman?

BA: Buy the next issue and find out. What does it mean for him? It means a lot. The whole next story arc is based around what just happened.

CC: First Born is now... It's hard to get into his head sometimes and was this part of his plan, being on Olympus, being close to the throne? It's Apollo's arrogance that brought him there and made it possible for him to take over.

CV: This title has been pretty separate from the rest of the DC Universe, for the most part and it give it more of a mythical, fantasy tone. Superman has become a closer part of Wonder Woman's life. Will we see that or anything else from the DCU start to bleed into this book?

BA: Not while we're doing it. I'm sure once we're finished, the floodgates are going to open wide, but when we were contracted to do this, we had a story in mind and a specific link and we had the ending and they agreed to it. So far, we're both in dead agreement.

CV: As someone reads the book, thank you for that.

BA: ::laughs::

CC: Hey! Thank YOU for that.

CV: Since you guys have started on this book, you've both really redefined Wonder Woman in these huge ways like making her the god of war. What led both of to major decisions like this with the character?

BA: They were obvious. They were obvious things to do. It made sense.

CC: They were part of our original idea when we started talking about the book. This is the big story of the reboot. This is how Wonder Woman slowly being redefined in this run. This is the main thing we hung everything on. We talked that first night for a few hours about what happens if she's the god of war.

BA: We were formulating this and approaching it. They talk about the DC Trinity and she was that defined within the Trinity. Looking at these things, there's one word answers. You got a human, an alien, and now there's a god in the Trinity. It fits together. It's a puzzle. It's not that difficult.

CV: Cassandra's minotaur is a big leap from its mythological Greek roots that it came from. Cliff, can you talk about how that character's design came together?

CC: He looks different from the last time we saw him. Part of that might be because he's actually changed, part of it could be because of the zero issue, where he was introduced, was a little more silver age-y and stylistically he gonna be a bit more different. Brian and I talked a little bit about it, and we wanted him to be scary and we wanted him to have a bit of fetish edge to him as well. ::laughs:: Because what's scarier?

BA: Let's give him a bit of a bondage feel and that was a shout out to some of the earlier Wonder Woman books too.

CC: We wanted to incorporate that into the original bondage them and not.... well, I guess it's pretty overt. ::laughs::

BA: Well, it's overt when you say it but I'm sure there's some people that would see it and never make that connection because they're not familiar with some of the earlier Wonder Woman stories, but it's a tip of the hat to some of the earlier stuff. Plus big, hairy dudes in leather and chains are scary.

CV: What do you both enjoy about taking these well known mythological characters and creatures and translating them into the DC universe?

BA: I enjoy everything about doing that. That's really fun. It's one of the really gratifying parts of this book that we're doing. Just being able to take those characters down to their essence.

CC: Yeah, at the time, when we introduce a new character, it is this great exploration of what we need the character to do and what do they need to look like. Sometimes, it's really easy and other times, we have to go a few rounds on it. But, trying to do things that aren't as expected and not go with some of the more obvious choices with it.

BA: Dionysus is a great example of that.

CC: Sometimes, they really come out of left field, Hermes as well. They don't look the way you expected them too, but I think with the way they're written, with the way they play on the page, they feel like they've always been this way. If people are responding to that, we've done our job.

CV: Do you have any more plans for Orion or anything from 4th World jumping over?

BA: We can't just leave Orion where we left him. We've gotta see him again, right? He'll be back. As far as other 4th World stuff goes, maybe a little.

Thanks a lot to both Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang for answering our questions and make sure to check out their amazing work on WONDER WOMAN. Volume 4, collecting issues #19-23, will be available in trade on March 18th or you can pick up the single issues on Comixology or at your LCS.

83 Comments
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Posted by scouts1998

Great Interview. This book is in my top 3 from DC

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

CV: As someone reads the book, thank you for that.

BA: ::laughs::

CC: Hey! Thank YOU for that.

All The Win!

Posted by eldestrisk

Here`s to a really long run!

Edited by inferiorego

CV: As someone reads the book, thank you for that.

BA: ::laughs::

CC: Hey! Thank YOU for that.

All The Win!

I'm sassy and classy.

Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

@jonny_anonymous said:

CV: As someone reads the book, thank you for that.

BA: ::laughs::

CC: Hey! Thank YOU for that.

All The Win!

I'm sassy and classy.

Ya gota sass it.

Posted by TheMantisShrimp

Brian Azzarello is awesome, I originally planned on trade waiting this one and never picked up the second paperback. Once the third paperback comes out I'm gonna get em both at once, stoked!

Edited by longbowhunter

I just jumped back on Wonder Woman after being absent for over a year. Picked up #27 and 28 this week. Have no idea what's going on but I love both issues. Gonna go back and pick up everything I'm missing this weekend.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@evpraksiya: I love it, it's reminiscent of classical greek art

Posted by LyraFay

I should get down to read this Wonder Woman because I love Greek Mythology.

Posted by Doctor_Zero

BA: We were formulating this and approaching it. They talk about the DC Trinity and she was that defined within the Trinity. Looking at these things, there's one word answers. You got a human, an alien, and now there's a god in the Trinity. It fits together. It's a puzzle. It's not that difficult.

Hmm, you know, I can't help but think that Azz is just shoehorning Diana into Athena's role, who we incidentally have seen very little of if at all. Not saying it's necessarily bad, but I hardly consider this run to really be redefining Wonder Woman, when this is a story where she could easily be interchanged with any other female lead if, say Azz was ever to write this story as a creator owned Greek mythology story as opposed to a Wonder Woman run. Wonder Woman has been a very ill-defined character for a long time, and IMO this doesn't really change that fact.

Posted by inferiorego

@dondave said:

Nice interview.

You spelt Zeus incorrectly by the way.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

In my rush to get this out, I have failed the Greek gods.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

@dondave said:

Nice interview.

You spelt Zeus incorrectly by the way.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

In my rush to get this out, I have failed the Greek gods.

Damocles is coming for you!

Posted by inferiorego

@inferiorego said:

@dondave said:

Nice interview.

You spelt Zeus incorrectly by the way.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

In my rush to get this out, I have failed the Greek gods.

Damocles is coming for you!

... now I want to watch Trading Places

Posted by Doctor_Malekith

I think I'll start following this monthly now (so far I've been trade-waiting).

Posted by Lvenger

This series has been my favourite New 52 DC, if not comic book series on my pull list since I jumped on with issue 13. I've loved the horror of the original Greek mythology mixed with the fantasy of Wonder Woman's world all brought together with marvelous plot threads and great use of a diverse cast of characters. Azzarello's interview here shows what kind of vision he has in mind for his run and I cannot wait to see what direction he takes the series in. I fear the next story arc may be the last but hopefully that won't be the case as Wonder Woman is just killing it in comic book quality right now.

Posted by inferiorego

@lvenger said:

This series has been my favourite New 52 DC, if not comic book series on my pull list since I jumped on with issue 13. I've loved the horror of the original Greek mythology mixed with the fantasy of Wonder Woman's world all brought together with marvelous plot threads and great use of a diverse cast of characters. Azzarello's interview here shows what kind of vision he has in mind for his run and I cannot wait to see what direction he takes the series in. I fear the next story arc may be the last but hopefully that won't be the case as Wonder Woman is just killing it in comic book quality right now.

I jumped on when Orion started appearing, so I'm still a bit new to the series, but thus far, it has become one of my favorite titles at DC.

Posted by micah

Is Orion still in this?

Posted by Power_Guy

When is Azzarello's run over?

Posted by Saren

@comicgod: Please do not advertise on topics that have nothing to do with what you're talking about. There's the Off-Topic forum for that.

Moderator Online
Posted by MartianManhunterIsBetterThanCyborg

Great interview!

Posted by Anthonior

When is Azzarello's run over?

I was gonna ask the same thing.

Posted by SNascimento

Talking about Wonder Woman, why you guys stop reviewing it?

Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee

Love this series. I admit that sometimes I think to myself "crap, I wish this story would just be over with" but then I read the next issue and I think "crap, I wish this story keeps going for another 25+ issues!"

Edited by ips

Reading this makes me weep for the future of the book. Fetishizing a Minotaur design? And that's some sort of low level shout-out to [Golden Age] back issues? This just convinced me that we've got a guy writing the book that really doesn't get the character at all and it's reflected in the choice of changes he's made. Changes for the sake of change just aren't ever a good thing, and especially in situations like this.

Diana didn't need to have her origin re-worked and turned into a daughter of Zues. She didn't need to become the god of war either. This is such a bs cop-out. All they basically did by doing this is say "readers don't take her seriously enough" or she's not strong enough as it is to stand on her own; so let's power her up more by making her a god. That's a cheap way out.

Here's a thought, how about doing real good writing; respect the original origin and make her compelling and interesting without changing an awesome creative and original origin, killing off an important part of her supporting cast (Amazons) and without ruining 1000s of years of Greek Mythology either. What a facepalm.

I can't wait until DC reboots the 52 stuff and reverts all this horrible crap. The only good thing about the 52 WW book and stories is the re-imagined God designs. Very creative. Writing just doesn't get the character at all and it's sad.

Posted by Wilbertus

I am loving this series. It has been consistently good and enjoyable and I look forward to it every single month. The art even gives it that real Greek mythology-feel and I love how they blend today's world with ancient Greek myths.

Great interview!

Posted by Ostyo

Really trully hate the art style, but I'm gonna give it a shot because I love Wondy too much to pass on it.

Edited by Superguy1591

@ips: Wonder Woman was created as an S&M character, I think he gets tge character well enough.

Posted by Superguy1591

Azz and Pak are my favorite writers on DC with Johns a close third. Can't believe the three are on my favorite characters!

Edited by SCORPIO_CASSADINE

@doctor_malekith said:

I think I'll start following this monthly now (so far I've been trade-waiting).

Nah dude, wait for the trade. Monthly the story moves at a glacially slow pace, even though every issue can be read in five minutes.

@doctor_zero said:

BA: We were formulating this and approaching it. They talk about the DC Trinity and she was that defined within the Trinity. Looking at these things, there's one word answers. You got a human, an alien, and now there's a god in the Trinity. It fits together. It's a puzzle. It's not that difficult.

Hmm, you know, I can't help but think that Azz is just shoehorning Diana into Athena's role, who we incidentally have seen very little of if at all. Not saying it's necessarily bad, but I hardly consider this run to really be redefining Wonder Woman, when this is a story where she could easily be interchanged with any other female lead if, say Azz was ever to write this story as a creator owned Greek mythology story as opposed to a Wonder Woman run. Wonder Woman has been a very ill-defined character for a long time, and IMO this doesn't really change that fact.

^This. It's an okay story if you like a long-winded yarn with a lot of bad puns and inconsistent art, but it's not really Wonder Woman. It's a team book about mythology, that she's been forced into as a supporting character. After twenty-eight issues, there are still a lot more questions than answers and that's not at all satisfying for me. I'm glad it's almost over and I hope the next creative team focuses on Wonder Woman. She's had more action, feats and characterization in five issues of Superman/Wonder Woman than there's been in all of Azzarello's run.

Posted by feedonatreefrog

"Plus big, hairy dudes in leather and chains are scary."

haha, yes.

Posted by Johnni_Kun

Brian Azzarello: Not while we're doing it. I'm sure once we're finished, the floodgates are going to open wide, but when we were contracted to do this, we had a story in mind and a specific link and we had the ending and they agreed to it. So far, we're both in dead agreement.

Brian understands. But, DC does gives a crap about Wonder Woman. God, I can see so many people dropping her Book after he leaves and they bring superman into it.

Edited by SCORPIO_CASSADINE

Brian Azzarello: Not while we're doing it. I'm sure once we're finished, the floodgates are going to open wide, but when we were contracted to do this, we had a story in mind and a specific link and we had the ending and they agreed to it. So far, we're both in dead agreement.

Brian understands. But, DC does gives a crap about Wonder Woman. God, I can see so many people dropping her Book after he leaves and they bring superman into it.

Good riddance, they weren't Wonder Woman fans anyway. I'd rather the book sell 27, 000 copies a month to real fans of Wonder Woman, than the 30 grand or so it sells to Azz fanboys.

Edited by ectoborge

"CC: Sometimes, they really come out of left field, Hermes as well. They don't look the way you expected them too, but I think with the way they're written, with the way they play on the page, they feel like they've always been this way. If people are responding to that, we've done our job."

That is exactle why Wonder Woman is a must read for me. Thank you for revitalizing what has become one of my favorite characters.

Edited by Farkam

@scorpio_cassadine said:

@johnni_kun said:

Brian Azzarello: Not while we're doing it. I'm sure once we're finished, the floodgates are going to open wide, but when we were contracted to do this, we had a story in mind and a specific link and we had the ending and they agreed to it. So far, we're both in dead agreement.

Brian understands. But, DC does gives a crap about Wonder Woman. God, I can see so many people dropping her Book after he leaves and they bring superman into it.

Good riddance, they weren't Wonder Woman fans anyway. I'd rather the book sell 27, 000 copies a month to real fans of Wonder Woman, than the 30 grand or so it sells to Azz fanboys.

You are seriously one of the most butthurt jellymad users I've ever seen in the WW forums. Keep it up, it entertains greatly.

Posted by bladewolf

Been loving the trades! Pre-ordered Vol 4 already :)

Edited by SCORPIO_CASSADINE

@farkam said:

@scorpio_cassadine said:

@johnni_kun said:

Brian Azzarello: Not while we're doing it. I'm sure once we're finished, the floodgates are going to open wide, but when we were contracted to do this, we had a story in mind and a specific link and we had the ending and they agreed to it. So far, we're both in dead agreement.

Brian understands. But, DC does gives a crap about Wonder Woman. God, I can see so many people dropping her Book after he leaves and they bring superman into it.

Good riddance, they weren't Wonder Woman fans anyway. I'd rather the book sell 27, 000 copies a month to real fans of Wonder Woman, than the 30 grand or so it sells to Azz fanboys.

You are seriously one of the most butthurt jellymad users I've ever seen in the WW forums. Keep it up, it entertains greatly.

Don't blame me, blame Azz. He was the one that set up the enmity between two factions: longtime WW fans and people that are fans of his flavor of the month, that lost it's flavor a year ago. Glad you're entertained though. :)

Posted by PapiNacho

Man I love this series, but i will admit that I was worried that he didn't have an endgame in mind. Since this book is such a singular a vision it really needs an appropriate ending. Really loving this.

Posted by Saren

A few people didn't like Morrison's Batman, or Johns' Flash, but I don't think any other character has had supposed longtime WW fans aching to have the book return to the mediocre crap it's been for decades.

Moderator Online
Posted by j4zzm4n88

Azzarello has made Wonder Woman relevant again by writing arguably DC's best monthly at the moment. If you don't like it stop buying it and shut up. Before this run, Wonder Woman was only decent in the Justice League, this run has helped to garner a whole lot of new Wonder Woman fans. I agree with Saren, I can't understand people that want this series to return to being mediocre. This book is unique and I love the whole indie vibe it is giving off. The new Gods' designs are great plus Wonder Woman as the God of War is a unique twist as she is a compassionate character who is honour bound to her duties. I like the fact that this book is set in its own bubble and is not impacted by constant crossovers. Long may Azzarello's run continue.

Posted by Outside_85

Don't blame me, blame Azz. He was the one that set up the enmity between two factions: longtime WW fans and people that are fans of his flavor of the month, that lost it's flavor a year ago. Glad you're entertained though. :)

Think you mistake longtime for puritans.

Edited by Jonny_Anonymous

@lvenger: since Azz is ending his run after his next arc I'm going to drop the book, I just know DC are going ignore everything he's done on the book and they will fill it with Mrs Superman

Posted by Outside_85

@lvenger: since Azz is ending his run after his next arc I'm going to drop the book, I just know DC are going ignore everything he's done on the book and they will fill it with Mrs Superman

One thing is for certain, the next writer is going to have some really big boots to fill.

Edited by Wardishy

I understand this book isn't for everyone, but I've been enjoying it since the start. I've personally found previous Wonder Woman stories dull or mediocre (no offense to fans of previous work).

Thanks to Brian and Cliff for making a Wonder Woman book that I enjoy.

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