Interview with Brian K. Vaughan

 
 

AE:
I’m a big fan of Pia Guerra, your co-creator on Y the
Last Man
, but women working in comics seem to be few
and far between. Is that the case or is the genre finally
opening it’s doors to more women in the field?
BV:
I like to think that the doors have been opened,
but sadly, I have a penis, so I’m not terribly qualified
to make a realistic assessment. You should check out some
of the essays over at
sequentialtart.com
(a fan site for female comic book
fans and creators) for more thoughts on this important issue.

AE:
In your experience is it more difficult for the more ‘mature’
titles to gain a following?
BV:
Sure, it’s like movies. Once you have an "R"
rating, you immediately shrink the size of your potential
audience. Still, my "mature" titles (Y
and Ex Machina) have gotten much more exposure
in the mainstream press than my all-ages titles (Runaways
and Ultimate X-Men), so maybe there’s a tradeoff.

AE:
Considering the political climate in our country, I find
it impressive that comics seem to be the only mass media
not bowing to pressure when it comes to gay representation
or concerns about content. Certainly the scandal of Janet
Jackson’s breast and the crackdown that followed it
did nothing to change a certain S/M theme in Y: the
Last Man
recently. How does the overall climate in
this country effect how you work?
BV:
Thankfully, not very much at all. Because we
work with relatively small budgets and most of our work
reaches a relatively small audience, we can afford to be
much more daring than movies and television. There’s more
reckless experimentation and bold exploration of theme going
on in comics right now than in any other medium

AE: It’s probably like choosing a favorite child but what, if any,
arc or book are you most proud of and why?
BV:
It is like choosing a favorite child, but I hate most of my dumb
kids, so I can confidently say that the "Safeword" arc of Y
is one of my favorites. Pia and I collaborated particularly well on that arc,
and I think we showed our male protagonist in a totally new light.

AE:
Spinning off new characters within the established Marvel
universe with Runaways couldn’t have been easy.
Because it is within that universe how do you manage to
keep up on the goings on so that the book ‘fits’ in the
family?

BV: Well, the Runaways live in the Los Angeles
of the Marvel Universe, so while they’re aware of superheroes,
guys like Captain America do feel far away and a little
make-believe, the way Hollywood celebrities feel to most
New Yorkers. Still, this book is grounded in the Marvel
Universe, and appearances by existing heroes and villains
are never out of the question.

AE:
For a while Runaways was a finished title only
to be brought back — what was that phone call like?
BV:
It was like a stay of execution from the governor!
I love that book, so it was a thrill to learn that our collected
editions had been selling so phenomenally with kids and
new readers who discovered the digest in book stores. They
kept our little book alive.

AE:
Are the general archetypes for your characters established
when you create them or do certain elements evolve as you
find yourself writing them?
BV:
Oh, they always evolve as I write them.

AE:
What is it like to work with the different artists who you
collaborate with?
BV:
It’s great. Tony, Pia, Adrian, and Stuart couldn’t
be more different artists, but it’s a blast to try to play
to their strengths, and they always make me look good.

AE:
What was it like the first time you saw a character of yours
fully realized on the page?

BV: I guess that would have been Pia’s first sketch
of Y‘s protagonist, Yorick Brown, and it was literally
one of the happiest days of my life. She nailed him in one
drawing.

AE:
How do you manage to get so many books written every month?
BV:
I live in boring-ass San Diego, having followed
my wife out here for her grad school program. Trust me,
there’s nothing to do but write all day…

AE:
How far are the arcs laid out and does the publisher have
a ton of say in your process?

BV: It depends on the book, but I usually have
stories plotted out years in advance. Thankfully, all of
my publishers are very trusting of me.

AE:
Who do you admire in the genre?
BV:
Alan Moore is my favorite writer and biggest
influence. Incidentally, if you’ve never read his groundbreaking
Mirror
of Love
, it’s a must-read for anyone, especially
those in the GBLT community.

AE:
What would you say, if anything, to a member of the GBLT
community who is considering becoming a comic book reader?

BV:
"Welcome! What kinds of books/movies do you dig? Obviously,
no two GBLT readers are the same, but thankfully, comics
are a medium, not a genre, so there are millions of different
kinds of comics for me to recommend, whether you like action,
autobiography, horror, slice-of-life drama, whatever."

"Oh,
but if you’re a gay dude, I guarantee that you’ll love Wonder
Woman
."

(Kidding.)

(Mostly.)

Find
out more about Brian and his comics at his official
website

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