Building Forts In "The Woods" With Michael Dialynas

You may recall a few weeks ago we had plenty of teasers going up for a new title from Boom Studios. Well that title turned out to be The Woods written by James Tynion IV and artist Michael Dialynas. I had the chance to talk to Michael about his role on the book, the character designs and even some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles talk! Yup, that happens. The book is out on May 7th, from Boom, but in the meantime enjoy the interview-- [Dustin Cabeal] For those of us that know your work on Dark Horse Comics’ Amala’s Blade, how is The Woods going to be different and what are you hoping to do that’s different?

[Michael Dialynas] Well The Woods is VERY different from Amala's Blade and it’s what I like about it. I prefer to try out new things in life and comics. My friends bust my balls because I will always order the weirdest food and drinks. I say, "You never know if you like it unless you try it."

So in that way I like to change it up with my comics. I've done many different kinds of styles from all-ages to Victorian zombies. Amala's Blade was an action/sci-fi/fantasy/adventure with a ghost monkey. The Woods, on the other hand, is a sci-fi/mystery with teenagers so I get to try my hand at some weird creatures and emotional moments between teenagers. The first few issues have been fun but we are just scratching the surface with the adventure. You're gonna love it. I know I do!

[DC] There were several teasers for The Woods that gave me the impression that the story was going to be character driven. Is that accurate and if not how would you describe the series?

[MD] No it actually is really character driven. We discover this alien world through the eyes of our teenage gang. Each kid's ambitions and problems drive the story further into the Woods.

[DC] Going back to the teasers, each of the characters had a stereotype/archetype that they were labelled with. How heavily is that factoring into the story and how will you be bringing out these different aspects in the characters visually? [MD] These labels reflect a lot of each character. When James first sent me the list of characters and who they are, he never really asked for any specific look but gave me a general feeling about each of these characters' upbringing and problems. Armed with these details, James and I talked about the looks and musical tastes of each kid and created their personal looks.

Visually, I've teased some of their character traits in ways. I don't like to over-design things so I kept it simple.  i.e. Issac (The Wimp) has a Stormtrooper tee for two reasons: 1) He's a Star Wars fan and 2) he follows his friend Adrian blindly. I do hope he shows more Boba Fett in the future.

[DC] Did you design all of the characters? Also which one was either your favorite to design or to illustrate?

[MD] Yep, I designed the looks of the kids with some great feedback from my editors and James. We have a good synergy between us.

My favourite characters to draw are Karen and Calder. Karen has a great little outfit cause she's basically running around the alien planet in a field-hockey dress and knee-high socks and Calder has a badass look to him with his skull tee and flannel shirt. His design was heavily inspired by Bender from "The Breakfast Club." He's the crazy/witty guy and you can tell the moment you see him.

But characters aside, my favourite things to illustrate are the ALIENS, you know, 'cause ALIENS!

The lil' space monkey is a treat every time he's on the page and there are a whole load of crazy new ones to design further on.

You should ask me this question again eight issues in so I can talk more openly the things I'll be drawing next month. I've got a lot of research to do for what happens then and it's gonna be awesome!

'Cause ALIENS!

[DC] "Cause Aliens" is the best answer ever, I will have to check in with you after issue eight!

[DC] How did you get hooked up with James Tynion on this project? [MD] My good editors Jasmine and Eric from BOOM! asked me nicely to draw some crazy alien-on-teenager action and they seemed to like it. Then we met in New York and high-fived over burgers and drinks. #BoomBurgers

[DC] What has been your favorite redesign on the new TMNT cartoon and which has been your least favorite? (It’s hard for me to pick right now because most of season 2’s villains have been terrible looking) [MD] Oooh, Turtles! I've had a great time watching the new series. They've really nailed it down and made it their own. Mikey is SO cute and fun! I really liked what they did with Leatherhead and Rahzar. I didn't expect to see a double mutation in this series and thankfully 'cause of that they got rid of that Dogpound guy, I hated him. I get that it's a kid’s series but most of the villains' looks have been a hit and miss personally, especially from the first season.

Snakeweed, Spider bytez, and Spyroach are on the bottom looks!

But the main thing is that the Turtles are top-notch and that’s all that matters to me at the end of the day.


[DC] I'm with you there on the redesigns, they are the worst part of the show for me personally. They nailed the Turtles, but dropped the ball on the rest of the mutants. ---


Well there you have it! We'd like to thank Michael for his time and Boom for helping set this interview up. The Woods will be out on May 7th, from Boom! Studios. If you want to lock in on the first six issues they have a pretty cool subscription bundle to check out. You can also follow Michael on Twitter - @TheWoodenKing