Interview with Barb Wire Creator & Writer Chris Warner


After quite a lengthy absence from the comic rack, Dark Horse Comics own Steel Harbor heroine, Barb Wire is back.  Here at Comic Crusaders, we caught up with Barb Wire creator and writer Chris Warner for some insight into her return:


CC: What do you think makes Barb Wire so popular?

CW: I’d like to believe Barb’s popularity is due to the creative visionary who imbues Barb’s every word and action with deep meaning and a noble humanity. I dunno, really. I hope whatever good feeling readers have toward Barb is because she’s a lot of fun. She’s chasing a dream, running into obstacles, falling down, swearing a blue streak, getting up, swearing some more, knocking back a Scotch, chasing the dream again. Hopefully, that’s what readers relate to. At least the drinking and falling down

CC: What makes her stand out against other female heroines?

CW: Probably awesomeness, but why limit the comparison to females? I have a creative philosophy to stay away from reading even remotely similar stuff that might either subconsciously influence me or get me to second-guess my instincts. What might make Barb different is that she’s a product of my imagination, and my imagination is different from somebody else’s, for what that’s worth. So if you like Barb, you’d probably get along with me okay; and if you don’t like her, you can go straight to hell!

CC: How does the current introspection of women’s roles in comic books help or hinder the creation of the book?

CW: In a similar vein to avoiding like material, I don’t want to spend time litmus testing every action and word in the book. That makes for crappy, soulless writing. I like Barb, and I respect her, and I hope that shows. I can’t control what people think—I’ve tried!—or what they bring to the table or how much time they choose to spend arguing online. Like the book or don’t like it, free country, whatever happens happens. Those who are about to die salute you.

barb1CC: Would you want to try and cross over to other media again? If so, how do you think things could be improved since the Barb Wire movie?

CW: I’d go another round, but I’ve learned the hard way to try not to think too much about that stuff. My ego tells me that things could always be improved by hewing to my wise counsel, but realistically the best way to make good stuff is to hire talented people who respect the source material and give them the resources they need. And don’t forget to give me the resources I need!

CC: Pat Olliffe’s art looks great in the book. How does the collaboration process work for you both?

CW: I love Pat’s work, and he’s great to work with. Basically, I write the script, Pat draws it, and then I’ll make a comment here and there suggesting a revision–mostly when I’ve failed to adequately explain something in the script—but I try to stay out of the artist’s way. Might be easier if I lost a few pounds. I also want to tip the hat to inker Tom Nguyen, colorist Gabe Altaeb, and letterer Michael Heisler. And editor Randy Stradley for his merciful decision to employ us all. And to cover artist Adam Hughes for making me wish I could draw like Adam Hughes. If I could, I would!

CC: As someone who has been an artist previously how hard is it to sit back and let someone else draw the book? How do you overcome any difficulties / challenges?

CW: First off, I don’t want to draw the book—writing it is hard enough! And while I “see” the panels I’m writing, someone else’s execution of the script will be different, and I accept that. As I mentioned, I’ll ask for a revision now and again, but it’s always story related, not a perceived divergence from my master mental blueprint. If I think, for instance, that a character’s emotions in a key moment are overplayed or underplayed or suggest a different feeling than intended, I’ll squawk. I don’t want an artist to play clubhouse lawyer over what I’m writing, so I try not to nickel nurse what the artist draws.

barb 2CC: What’s next for Barb Wire?

CW: Guesting on Downton Abbey, joining NASCAR, and an eventual run for Congress. She’ll probably keep bounty hunting on the side, keep her options open.

CC: What’s next for you?

CW: Barb Wire, as long as they’ll keep giving me the keys to the car. As for farther into the future, who knows? Assisted living at some point, then dying alone.

CC: If you had any choice of characters, for whom would you like to write / draw a story for?

CW: Anything with chimps and skeletons.

CC: Thanks for taking the timeout from your busy schedule.

CW: I’m here to love, not judge.
Barb Wire is back in your Local Comic Book Shop on 1st June and don’t forget to check out of Advance Review in the reviews section, found in the reviews link.

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