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War of the Woods: A Fictional Tale of Animals and Aliens

In the world of comic books there are two types of audiences: those who love stories with cute cuddly animals and those who love stories with aliens from other worlds. But what if those two audiences were to meet and enjoy a comic that combined both of their loves? If those two audiences had a baby they would produce the comic War of the Woods, an alien invasion story through the eyes of the animal kingdom. I recently picked the brain of WOW creator Matthew Petz and got to know his process behind this one of a kind series.

Steve Urena: Tell us about your upcoming project and the process behind it?

Matthew Petz: Well, I write and draw a comic called War of the Woods. It’s the classic alien invasion story, but from the perspective of the animal kingdom. The main character is a young otter named Phin. Originally it was just your standard alien invasion story, and as excited as I was about it I realized it was pretty typical. So I thought “how can I get other non comic fans to read this?” I knew my girlfriend loved otters, and at that moment everything changed. I realized shifting focus from humans to animal would dramatically reset things. As soon as I had that hook I was off to the races. 

The first season came out last year and it’s available on ComiXology. The second season is starting to come out now. It’s a continuation right where S1 left off.

SU: How have you been able to fund your project/s?

MP: I’ve self funded everything so far. I’m always close to going with a Kickstarter campaign, but it’s always off in the distance due to other work or commitments. Soon though! Right now it’s easy to self fund because I’m writing and drawing, myself and then there’s no upfront cost in digital distribution.  




SU: What have been your influences in creating comics and what made you want to do so in the first place?

MP: I think growing up in the 80s had a HUGE effect on me. It was filled with really creative cartoons and toys, and video games. Comics were a huge thing for me. I had superhero toys before I even knew there were comics. So when I eventually found a shop, it was all over. For me comics are the fastest way of telling a story. You just sit down and draw. As soon as you have an idea you can get it out to people. That was, and still is pretty powerful. 

SU: What would you like people to take in when reading your comics?

MP: I just hope they love the story and the characters. War of the Woods is a real all ages comic. Something kids and adults can enjoy. 



SU: How did you first break into comics?

MP: My first big break was with DC Comics Zuda imprint. It was a digital web comics portal, and that’s where War of the Woods started. It was HUGE to get a DC contract to do a creator owned comic. Thinking back it’s kind of insane it actually happened. The imprint was cancelled, but I’m glad to have had that first big break.

SU: What other projects have you been working on and what kind of stuff would you like to do in comics?

MP: Aside from more War of the Woods, I have a few other projects I’m working on. One is a supernatural project with my brother and the other is crazy fantasy type thing. Both are really weird and exciting in their own right. 

SU: What are you reading right now, any comics right now you are really into?

MP: I love Hawkeye from Marvel. It’s about as laid back and fun a comic as you can read. Really love Scott Snyder’s run on Batman. I’m a huge Batman fan and when that book is out it’s at the top of my pile. I’ve also been reading old Kirby monster books. That stuff is really nuts!

SU: What are your plans for the future?

MP: Well, I’m writing War of the Woods season three, and thinking up that Kickstarter. I’m finishing up the fantasy thing, and then I want to tweak two more projects before I send them out into the world. For news and updates on my stuff you can visit me at matthewpetz.com

SU: What is your method of writing/creating how do you come up with your content?



MP: I like to keep a few note notes around for scribbles and concepts, but usually something just strikes me. It tends to be something really big, and then I have to shape it into something more digestible. I guess I start with the high concept and then fight the story to tell within it. Also I try to write the ending first so I know where things should end up. Even if it changes from point A to point B, having a path is crucial for me. 

SU: What are the most rewarding part of working in comics and the toughest part?

MP: The most rewarding is twofold. Aside from seeing you ideas come to like, I have to say the friendships you make. I’ve gotten to know some of the most amazingly creative people on Earth. That’s really the best part. Comics are a really small but amazingly cool community. 

SU: Anything else you would like to add?

MP: Just a thank you for taking the time to talk with me! Don’t forget to visit  warofthewoodscomic.com for seasons 1 and 2, and matthewpetz.com for my blog. It has updates on projects and tons of artwork. 

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