|Cover art for the fifth issue of the hit series, "North Wind"|
Defying the conventional wisdom about the damaging effects of offering online for free what you intend to sell in print, BOOM! Studios' earlier this year began offering every issue of its miniseries "North Wind" on MySpace Comic Books simultaneously with the traditional in-store release. The result? A sold-out first issue, increased attention for the series, and a film option. With "North Wind" wrapping up this month with issue #5, CBR News spoke with writer Dave DiGilio about the series and its unusual promotion.
"North Wind" takes place in a new ice age, where fuel and heat are the most valued commodities. Los Angeles is frozen solid, and any hopes the city's citizens have is crushed by Slaughterhouse Joe, a vicious gangster who hordes resources and keeps the populace subject to his will. In the midst of all this, a young boy named Pak comes of age, vowing revenge for the injustices committed upon his family.
Asked about how he went about developing the setting for "North Wind," DiGilio answered that there's a lot of storytelling potential in the end of the world. "I'm a big fan of the post-Apocalyptic genre," DiGilio told CBR News. "From the 'Mad Max' trilogy to Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road,' post-Apocalyptic settings reduce modern man to his most primitive. We all wonder, how would I survive? But in many of these stories, the focus is primarily on man versus man. How we destroyed ourselves. But 'North Wind' comes out of conversations about man vs. the world itself. And when you trade the desert wasteland for a brutally harsh and barren frozen environment, you in effect add a new enemy to your story. Just sitting outside can kill you. And the classic post-Apocalyptic conundrum 'adapt or perish' takes on even more meaning."
|"North Wind" #4|
In terms of format, "North Wind" was of course unusual in that it was released simultaneously as a print comic and free on the Web through MySpace Comic Books. "The dual launch was a big success. The first printing of issue 1 sold out very quickly. I think the online exposure helped develop a following for the book."
|"North Wind" #3|
The attention around "North Wind's" promotion and the positive response to the story itself has also led the series to be optioned for film. "We've just started developing the feature version of 'North Wind' with producer John Davis ('I, Robot')," DiGilio confirmed. "John is a big time talent and will be a great shepherd as we bring 'North Wind' from page to screen. But the feature development timeline is a long one, so don't expect to see us in theaters next year. Give us two. Three tops. Okay, even that might be optimistic, but the point is, we're going to take the time to do this right."
With "North Wind" completed, DiGilio is now keeping busy with other comics-to-film projects. "Aside from adapting 'North Wind,' I'm adapting another graphic novel, 'The Damned,' from Oni Press, for DreamWorks. People should check out the book. It's horror-noir. Lots of fun. And the movie will be a dark-as-hell thriller. I'm knee deep in the undead. Not the best guy to be around at the moment."
Now discuss this story in CBR's Indie Comics forum.