Origins: Jason Aaron

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In “Origins,” comics creators talk about their formative experiences with comics. Our first interviewee is writer Jason Aaron of Wolverine: Weapon X, Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine, Scalped and Punishermax. (And scroll down for a special Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine bonus!)

What was the first comic book you ever read?

I think the oldest comic I got when I was a kid was an issue of World’s Finest–it had a Neal Adams cover with Batman where he had turned into a bat and he was attacking Superman. There was a period of DC when they were doing these big comics for a dollar, “Dollar Comics.” World’s Finest at the time had stories with Hawkman, Shazam–when you’re getting into comics as a kid, it’s good to have something that shows you the huge breadth of characters in that universe. I have a five-year-old son, and he’s getting into Marvel through the “Super Hero Squad” cartoon. Now he knows who the Falcon is, the Silver Surfer, MODOK, all these characters. For me, it was kind of the same thing with World’s Finest.

What comics made the deepest impression on you early on?

As a reader, the series that turned me into a definite fan was the Marv Wolfman/George Pérez New Teen Titans. I was the perfect age for that–that book became hugely popular just around the time I was getting into comics, and I still put it towards the top in terms of definitive superhero runs. I love that stuff. That was my gateway to comics. After that I discovered Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol–those were big books for me. Garth Ennis’s Preacher! But if it wasn’t for New Teen Titans, I’d never have stuck around to find all that other stuff.

How did you start making your own comics?

I wrote and drew my own books on notebook paper, and I’d staple ’em together. I had my own fictional company, and we had our own thinly veiled offshoots of whatever was popular at Marvel and DC at the time. Our flagship character was Trashguy–he was sort of like Superman, but he lived in a junkyard and had a costume made out of various pieces of garbage. His sidekick was Kid Garbage. I’m usually really good about keeping stuff–I don’t throw things away–but I either threw those away or lost them. I had a friend who was also into it; he had his own line of books within our company, whatever it was called. I would not dare let anyone else document the exploits of Trashguy or Kid Garbage, though. Those were mine.

What was your first published comic book?

It was a Wolverine story back in 2002 that I got to do after winning the Marvel talent search competition. I submitted a little one-page synopsis for a Wolverine story at a comic book convention in Chicago–just dropped it in a big box with a pile of other papers–and I ended up getting to write it as an eight-page story in an issue of Wolverine. That didn’t lead to anything else directly, but that’s when it occurred to me to start pitching things. At the time, they told me I won because I was actually attempting to do some kind of character work; it wasn’t just a fight scene, or set in a bar. It was kind of riffing on a Flannery O’Connor short story–it was Wolverine encountering this woman whose car had broken down on a dirt road in the middle of the woods in the deep South.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m writing five or six books a month. Scalped, the creator-owned book I do, is still going strong for Vertigo; for Marvel, there’s Wolverine and Punishermax and Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine, and a couple of other things that haven’t been announced yet.

As a bonus, here’s some of Adam Kubert’s pencil art for the forthcoming Jason Aaron-written Astonishing Spider-Man/Wolverine #2, along with a preview of the cover of #3. Click on the photo to enlarge.