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FCBD22 Interview: It's Just Barbaric!

Free Comic Book Day, FCBD, Vault Comics, Barbaric

Owen the Barbarian has been cursed to do good with what remains of his life. His bloodthirsty weapon, Axe, has become his moral compass with a drinking problem. Together they wander the realm, foredoomed to help any who seek assistance. But there is one thing Owen hates more than a life with rules: Witches.

We caught up with series creators Michael Moreci and Nathan Gooden to learn more about what inspired their extraordinary characters, what to expect next in the series, AND to rifle through some really fun rapid fire questions! 

Check out the full interview below and be sure to head to your local comic shop on Saturday, May 7 to celebrate FCBD in all it’s glory! To find a participating comic shop near you, use our FCBD Store Locator. 


Free Comic Book Day (FCBD): Set up your title for those that might be new to your comic book: What will new readers need to know before diving into your Free Comic Book Day issue? 

Michael Moreci:We designed the first issue, which is the FCBD offering, to tell you everything you need to know in like the first 8 pages. I think that’s the beauty of it: Owen is a barbarian cursed to do the one thing he’d rather die to avoid: He has to be good. A trio of witches hexed him, for reasons yet unknown, and now he roams the land, helping anyone who asks for it. He’s like Hulk in the 1970s TV show, except he absolutely hates it. Oh, and accompanying on his journeys is Axe, literally a talking axe who acts as Owen’s moral compass. He also gets drunk on blood, and the more tastes he gets of it, the more he wants it. He’s like a bloodthirsty Jiminy Cricket. Welcome to the world of Barbaric.

FCBD: What are some of the core themes present in your book? What do you hope readers take away from your title? Free Comic Book Day, FCBD, Vault Comics, Barbaric

MM: You know, we live in a world where everyone is under a microscope and, because of social media, forced to be our best, most moral selves 24/7. But being good all the time sucks, as Owen would agree. Which is what makes Barbaric so much fun–we get to grumble alongside Owen while also having the catharsis of his bloody rampages

Nathan Gooden: 2020 and 2021 were very tough years for everyone, Mike and I included. For me, the take away, is no matter how absurd or dark things look, there's always fun to be had and good deeds to be done.

FCBD: What part of the book was most fun to write/draw?

MM: The easy answer is Axe, but Soren–Owen’s witch companion–has become my favorite to write. She’s so much fun, and she also has awesome powers. I mean, she can pull knives out of the tattoos all over her body. It’s kinda the best.

NG: Axe is just the best, but I really enjoy designing the creatures. At this point in my career, I’ve had to play in other creators' worlds or play by reality's rules when doing a book. This was my first time truly designing a world from the ground up.

FCBD: Can you share some of the inspiration behind certain characters, settings, etc.?

MM: Really, I was kinda bored–that’s how Barbaric started. I sometimes feel that comics have gotten so story driven, like their TV shows, and so tame. I wanted to create something that’s reliant on character, voice,  and concept, which to me is the heart of the comics medium. And something that’s big and bold and in your face; something that felt classic yet also wildly unique. Barbaric is that series. It’s a story turned up to 11 and unapologetic about everything it offers.

NG: In a word, Fun. I wanted to have fun with everything I was drawing. It was that simple for me. If I didn’t smile or feel some emotion when drawing a character, I trashed it and tried again. I wanted the reader to have as much as I did , designing this craziness.  Owen’s design was always an idea I had  growing up. A giant hulking version of Wolverine, from X-men. A man so wild, it’s hard to tell where human begins and animals ends.

FCBD: If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them?

MM: Wanna drink this bottle of bourbon with me?

NG: I'm your biggest fan!

FCBD: Looking to the future, is there anything you can tease about what’s coming up for the title and its characters?

MM: We’ve got big plans for this series. Really big plans. We’re going to extend this story out in myriad ways, and in surprising ways. I’ve always said Barbaric is my Hellboy, and I particularly mean that in how Hellboy is constructed–it’s narrative isn’t always linear, it’s got spinoffs, side characters, and a huge tapestry that just never quits. That is what I want Barbaric to be. I want to be writing Owen, Axe, Soren, and who know who else ten, twenty years from now.

NG: I agree completely, I want to play in the Barbaric world for 100 issues. Then another 100 after that. The things I look forward to the most, are the gags and easter eggs that Mike and I have put in. Some of them don’t pay off for many issues, but when they do. LOOK OUT!

FCBD: Let’s pivot a little bit here to talk about your personal experience with comics. Many newcomers will pick up comics for the first time on FCBD – what was the first comic you remember reading?

MM: As far as I know, it was a Web of Spider-Man #38, Return of Hobgoblin.

NG: I can’t remember any one in particular. Something Wolverine or Weapon X would be my earliest memory.

FCBD: What is your favorite part about working in the comic book industry?

MM: The community, for sure. We’ve got the most amazing, loyal, and passionate readers. They’re the ones keeping the lights on for our beloved medium.

NG: The easy answer, DRAWING! I love to paint and draw, it's been my dream since day one.

FCBD: Tell us why everyone should read comic books!

MM: Because they’re modern myths! They’re stories with no restraints whatsoever. No budgets, no expectations to be proper or literary. They’re pure and direct and the combination of pictures and symbols weaved together to tell stories is as old as time itself–it’s no accident it’s survived this long. Our human brains get it; we crave it.

NG: Then you're the cool kid at the party. The movies and Tv shows everyone watches and talks about now, most of them started many years ago in the Comic book form.

FCBD: Now, we have a series of rapid-fire questions for you! They’re, ya know, mostly related to comics... Answer as quickly as you can and try not to over think it!


Do you listen to music while you’re creating?

MM: Sometimes, but only movie scores. 
NG: Absolutely!


What’s your favorite comic book genre?

NM Horror 
NG: Crime Noir


Are you more productive in the morning or at night?

MM: I’m productive all day, even when I’m asleep
NG: Late nights, when the world is sleeping


Do you think you could survive in a zombie apocalypse?

MM: I wouldn’t want to survive a zombie apocalypse, no thank you.
NG: Yes


Would you rather be invisible or have the ability to fly?

MM: Fly, for sure
NG: Scared of heights, give me Invisibility


If you were a comic book character, would you rather be the hero or the villain?

MM: Villain, they have more fun
NG: Villian


What’s your favorite comic book or graphic novel?

MM:This always changes, but it’s probably Preacher from Ennis/Dillon.
NG: Black Science, at the moment.


FCBD 2022 BARBARIC #1 (Net) (MR)
Owen the Barbarian has been cursed to do good with what remains of his life. His bloodthirsty weapon, Axe, has become his moral compass with a drinking problem. Together they wander the realm, foredoomed to help any who seek assistance. But there is one thing Owen hates more than a life with rules: Witches. Welcome to the skull-cracking, blood-splattering, mayhem-loving comic brave enough to ask: How can a man sworn to do good do so much violence? Hah! Messing with you. It's just... Barbaric.
Reprint Material
Rating: Teen
In Shops: Apr 06, 2022


Find a participating comic shop near you to celebrate Free Comic Book Day 2022!



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