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Who is Brian K. Vaughn? Conquering Comics & TV
Have you been reading quite possibly the best, most outrageous, and definitely sexiest comic on the market right now, Saga?
I hope so because it is written by the amazing Brian K. Vaughn. You probably are asking yourself where you have heard his name before. Right now he is an Executive Producer on Stephen King’s Under The Dome on ABC and wrote 7 of the best episodes of Lost from seasons 3, 4, and 5. Oh THAT Brian K. Vaughn. So where did he get his start? Where else but comic books, amazing well written comic books.
Brian’s first really big break came from both DC’s Vertigo line and Marvel’s new at the time, Tsunami line. The Tsunami line was a short lived group of books that were supposed to target younger audiences and Runaways was his contribution to the line. It was also the only book to survive past a few issues, because it was awesome.
Runaways was a book about teenagers who have a common bond, their parents are super-villains and belong to a group called “The Pride”. The parents consist of a criminal group of mob-bosses, time-travelers, wizards, mad scientists, aliens invading earth, and of course telepathic mutants. If you have not heard of this book I bet you are kicking yourself because it was pretty fun to read. You can find these old issues that started in 2003 in various graphic novels at your local comic store. The book was cancelled at issue 18 because of slumping sales but when fans found the book in collected form sales surged and Marvel relaunched the book with Vaughn once again at the helm. Brian stayed on the 2nd volume for 24 issues before leaving Marvel and comics for Television. One more reason to pick up volume 2 is for a little known writer by the name of Joss Whedon who took over for Vaughn for the next few issues. Vaughn had the rare success of actually creating the first new characters in years that sold, were popular, and were not Wolverine, Deadpool, or Venom. During his stint at Marvel, Vaughn also gave us the new super villain The Hood.
The Hood started off under the MAX line, which is rated adults only. Also under that line was a very brutal Punisher series by Garth Ennis and the amazing and highly recommended detective book Alias (no relation to the tv show) by Brian Bendis. The Hood was a 6 issue mini series that introduced us to a common thief who stumbled upon a cloak and boots which gave him invisibility powers and the ability to levitate. This cloak, of course, was stolen from a demon, which explains the powers he now has. The Hood eventually became a major villain in the Marvel Universe during and after Secret Invasion.
Back to Brian K. Vaughn’s DC Vertigo work. At the same time he was working on Runaways he created a book called Y the Last Man. Y for the past few years is in development to become a movie. If you already read this 60 issue epic, then you know why it is must be a major motion picture. It has everything you want in a movie, a dashing leading man who is in fact the last man alive due to a deadly plague that killed everyone and everything with a Y Chromosome. With all the men dead, that leaves a planet full of women to pick up the pieces.
The main protagonist, Yorick along with his faithful and also male sidekick Ampersand, a capuchin monkey, go on a 60 issue quest to find his mother and to discover Y he is the last man. See what I did there? This is one of my all time favorite books and I recommend this book to anyone who loves a great read that never gets old or boring. Let me reiterate, Deadly plague, one man alive, a world full of women, and a monkey! What more do you need go buy all 5 deluxe hardcovers now or shell out a ton for all 60 issues.
Also from Vertigo, Brian Vaughn gave us the 2006 award winning original graphic novel Pride of Baghdad. In Pride of Baghdad we are thrown into the American Invasion of Iraq in 2003 and we meet 4 lions who are freed from the zoo. We get to see the invasion of Baghdad from the eyes of each of the lions each from a different viewpoint. This is an instant classic that will definitely tear at your heartstrings as we see what happens when their lives are thrown into chaos when the shock and awe bombing destroys their city around them. This was only available in graphic novel form and is a must read for any reader who wants something different.
Finally we come back to Image Comics’ Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples. This book marks his much awaited return to comics after a 4 year hiatus, and what a return it is. Saga is an epic sci-fi space opera that is obviously influenced by Star Wars, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and Romeo and Juliet. What more could you want? A lot of adult situations that are not suitable for kids? Let’s just say one issue was banned from being sold digitally on itunes due to some extremely adult situations. This book is NOT for kids on any level but is excellent on every level. Vaughn cooked up this world in his youth when he was bored in math class. Saga recently won the three top awards at the Eisner Awards at San Diego Comic Con, best ongoing series, best new series, and best writer. The first issue is completely sold out and is actually on its 5th print right now. Fear not, the first six issues are collected in the first graphic novel on sale now, which has already sold 120,000 copies.
Saga is my first read each month and as you have read in my previous pieces about Jonathan Hickman and Jeff Lemire, Brian K. Vaughn is a must read every month. His works are the easiest to collect on a monthly basis because he has only Saga and its $3! This is the best $3 you can spend every month, hands down. Issue 14 just hit the stands this week. Considering issue 13 sold out in 2 days, I am pretty sure you have very limited time to go get #14 of this amazing series. You MUST go buy Saga and pick up the collected editions of Y The Last Man. Now you know who Brian K. Vaughn is and you are better off for it.