Sunday, March 24, 2013

NB of the Week

Yeah it's late but I have a real good excuse that I'm not tellin' ya.

Saga #11
Written by Brian K Vaughan
Drawn by Fiona Staples

Ya know, instead of nailing at ya how amazing this book is, I'm gonna showcase the work of it's brilliant writer instead.
I first noticed Vaughan's name when he was writing some issues of Batman and doing the Cyclops and Chamber minis for Marvel in 2001 but it was a year later that he really stole my heart. He had the awesome Marvel MAX mini The Hood and then the amazing Vertigo book Y: the Last Man, which really got me.
Y tells the story of Yorick Brown and his monkey as they find themselves the last two males on Earth. Slowly but surely, he gets a rag-tag group of ladies that help him on his journey as he tries to help the world while trying to find his girlfriend (more the latter than the former though). It went for six years and 60 issues and remains one of my all time favorite Vertigo titles to this date (among such greats as Sandman, 100 Bullets and Preacher).

2003 brought his next great book in the form of Runaways at Marvel Comics. Six young kids get together whenever their parents force them to tag along to their stupid meetings but things aren't what they seem as the kids finally find that their parents are actually evil powered villains bent on taking over the world and they may be the only ones who can stop them. Vaughan's run went for 42 issues (18 in v1 and the first 24 in v2) before Joss Whedon took over for a six issue story. Vaughan was able to tap into teenage angst like very few comics have been able to do, which is one of the original concepts that made characters like Spider-Man so relatable. This is a book that felt like it went under the radar for a very long time and it's definitely worth trying out.

2004 gave us the political hero book Ex Machina, which is a title that I probably never would have tried if not for Vaughan's name attached (for I hate politics). Ex is the story about Mayor Mitchell Hundred, who became the world's first super-hero only to give it up and join politics, where he felt the harder battle was fought. Right from the start, you find this is not an "easy" book at times. Issue one shows us that as the Great Machine (his hero mantle), he was unable to stop both planes on September 11th. From there he tackles racism, corruption, gay-rights and everything in between. This was a very strong book and proved that Vaughan can write just able any subject and make you love every word. It went for 50 issues plus four specials.

In 2006, we were given the amazing graphic novel Pride of Baghdad, which I believe I spoke about at one point or another. After an American bombing, a pride of lions were freed from the zoo and roamed the streets of Baghdad. Told from their point of view, we follow their journey as they try to find their freedom again while dealing with the ramifications of our war. This is another political based story but it's an amazing one with beautiful art and is brilliantly strong. It may not be the best story for everybody but it's been read plenty of times by me.

Between all these, Vaughan did stints on Ultimate X-Men and Swamp Things as well as minis and issues in every direction. After Ex ended in 2010, he left for a while to work in TV (including LOST and the upcoming Under the Dome) but has now come back in the form of Saga. If you have any interest in the writings of Vaughan, these are the first books I would recommend, depending on your tastes but if you're as lucky as I have been, you'll fall in love with anything and all that he does.

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