Memorial Day review of THE OTHER SIDE

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From Best Shots at Newsarama, review by Sarah Jaffe:

THE OTHER SIDE is not fun to read. It isn’t high-gloss fantasy or allegory or anything less than full-on brutal reality. But the work of Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart has created a larger-than-life entrée into the horrors of war, and into the psyche of soldiers from both sides of the Vietnam conflict...

“War is hell,” we hear it said over and over again, often with a knowing shake of the head that says, “You’ll never know, you weren’t there.” We weren’t, that’s true. Neither were the creators of this comic. But it feels real, visceral, gut-wrenching, and every other cliché that of course will never do the reality justice. The ghosts that haunt Private Everette do not speak, perhaps because there is nothing more to say, perhaps because to begin with, they had nothing to say about the war. Dai is different, committed, a volunteer, determined to reach the battle and glory through all obstacles. The narration from his side is beautiful, poetic, speaking of the beauty of war at the same time as its horrors envelope him. The horrors are dictated simply, as if Dai simply accepts them as necessary, while Everette cannot accept even his own rifle, which talks to him in riddles, taunts, and Sex Pistols quotes. Death surrounds these two young men, and there is no pretty life-affirming moral here.

Click here for the full review

And Semper Gus.

August is a big month for me

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From the solicitations for August:


SCALPED #8

Written by Jason Aaron; Art by R.M. Guera; Cover by Jock

"Casino Boogie" part 3 of 6. The man known only as Diesel may be a force to be reckoned with – which Dash Bad Horse finds out firsthand in this issue – but things weren't always easy for this wannabe Indian brave.

Vertigo 32pg. Color $2.99 US Mature Readers On Sale August 1, 2007


WOLVERINE #56
Written by JASON AARON
Pencils and Cover by HOWARD CHAYKIN
Special double-sized issue! "The Man in the Pit"

Wendell Rayfield is a recently divorced, down on his luck ex-cop who's looking down the business end of 40 with no hope for the future and with demons from his past still haunting him at every turn. All he has going for him is his new job. A job that involves a very large machine gun, a hole in the ground, a certain hirsute mutant and several thousand bullets. We all know what damage Wolverine can do with his claws, but how dangerous can he really be when all he's able to do is talk? Wendell Rayfield is about to find out. Written by up-and-comer Jason Aaron (The Other Side, Scalped), with art by comic book legend Howard Chaykin (Blade, American Flagg!).
48 PGS./Parental Advisory …$3.99


RIPCLAW PILOT SEASON #1

What is Pilot Season 2007?
Pilot (noun): television show produced and filmed or taped as a sample of a proposed series. This Fall, Top Cow is launching 7 Pilot Issues starring fan favorite characters currently without a series. After all 7 issues have been released, fans will be able to VOTE online and pick 2 characters to get greenlit for their own all-new series in 2008. It’s up to you!

RIPCLAW PILOT SEASON #1
(W) Jason Aaron, (A) Jorge Lucas, (Cov) Tony Moore
Eisner nominated writer Jason Aaron (SCALPED, THE OTHER SIDE) joins up with artist Jorge Lucas (INCREDIBLE HULK, ANNIHILATION: RONAN) to unleash Top Cow’s resident badass in the first of eight special one-shots published under the Pilot Season 2007 initiative. The killer team is joined by intense cover artist Tony Moore (THE WALKING DEAD, EXTERMINATORS).
To kill the Yakuza kingpin called Boss Yamamoto, you’d have to fight your way through level after deadly level of his secret fortress, past an army of gun-toting thugs and sword-wielding assassins. No one has ever been foolish enough to try. Enter Ripclaw. The fan-favorite character returns to the spotlight as dangerous as ever and now fighting as if all hell is at his back.
Full Color 32 pages $2.99 pilot issue

Plus, August also brings the second volume of 24/seven, to which I contributed a story, and the first trade paperback of SCALPED, priced at only $9.99.

THE OTHER SIDE trade paperback now available

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I got my very first trade paperback this week, and I'm a proud papa.

THE OTHER TRADE trade handsomely collects all five issues of the Eisner-nominated mini-series, plus an introduction by Capt. Dale Dye (technical adviser on PLATOON and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN), a short piece I wrote about my cousin, the Vietnam War author Gustav Hasford, Cameron Stewart's photos and dispatches from his trip to Vietnam, sketches, layouts and more.

All that for only $12.99.

24seven v2 cover

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24seven v2 cover
Originally uploaded by Ivan Brandon.

Look for this new volume of robot stories sometime this summer, featuring a story called "This Mortal Coil" by me, plus work by my friends Seth Peck, Phil Hester, Andy Kuhn, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Jason Latour.

Giulia Brusco on coloring SCALPED

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From Giulia's blog on MySpace:

I buy some comics because I love the art in them, and don't bother reading them too carefully, others I buy because the story is so amazing that I don't care about which dog has illustrated them. Some I buy for refs for my work.

So as it happens I started buying The Other Side because I am a Cameron Stewart's fan, and little i knew, I got hooked to the story too.

Naturally I started spreading the word about this book and decided to check out the other book Jason Aaron is writing, Scalped. I pre ordered it at Gosh, my favourite comic book shop in London, but never got there to pick it up.

One fine day, as I was looking for more work, I wrote Will Dennis amongst other editors I respect and would love to work with, as well as artists and... I got to color SCALPED! I simply couldn't believe it.

No, it wasn't that straight forward, I had to do samples and prove RM Guera that I could really do a good job, and I was very happy that he believed I could. He is a great artist and he's really making me feel like part of a team, as well as teaching me a few tricks.

Sometimes good things happen.

The truth? I am happy to be on this gig, but also terrified. The first arc has been colored by Lee Loughridge, a very well known and loved colorist. I expect his fans and critic friends to slay me off and ...scalpe me.

I will survive, I guess. But meanwhile, please read this book. It is really the hell of a good story, told with brilliant art, and if the colors suck, it's still worth buying, and you can keeel me at a later stage...

Planet Comicon this weekend in Kansas City

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I'll be there Saturday and Sunday, along with Jim Lee, Howard Chaykin, Tony Moore, Matt Fraction, B. Clay Moore, Jeremy Haun and tons of other guests. On Saturday at 11:00 am, Matt, Tony, Clay, Jeremy and I will be doing a panel on "Breaking Into Comics," which I'm sure will be most informative and enlightening.

After the convention, most of us will be heading over to Elite Comics in Overland Park for an evening edition of Free Comic Book Day. As I understand it, if you spend at least $20 in Elite between 5-8 pm, you'll get a free ticket to a screening of SPIDER-MAN 3 for later that night. All together, I think they'll be about 150 comic nerds all packed together in the same theater. Should be interesting.

Elite Comics
11842 Quivira Rd
Overland Park, KS
(913) 345-9910

SCALPED Director's Commentary: Part One

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With the fifth issue of SCALPED out this week, completing what will be the first trade paperback collection, I thought it was a good time for Guéra and I to do something like a "Director's Commentary" and talk about some of the movies, books and songs that have influenced our work on the series. First up, here's Guéra talking about a couple of films that have had a profound influence on his style.


Hello.

Looking at SCALPED as a reader, Jason & me are trying our hardest to make our statement of it. But as Scalped artist, I say that possibly the best thing about that is that we maybe don't know it. It must be consequence & not the objective.

Because it is only then it does happen.

Who has time for statements anyway, we worry about this word inside that dialogue, about that boot, shirt, violence level, hairstyle. Life itself gives material impossible to spend (not in one lifetime, anyway). In creating something, honesty is the best.

Second best is (all) the rest - and most of it are other artists work: music, books, lyrics, movies, etc. Admiring them & wanting to be like them is how we all started. I also think that there's honesty in letting those influences flow through our work.

Here, I'll say one about movies. Regarding SCALPED, mine are westerns.

There are (too) many of them that could represent at least some part (each) of my drawing aims in SCALPED. WILD BUNCH, THE BALLAD OF CABLE HOGUE, HUD, MCCABE & MRS. MILLER, but also SEVEN SAMURAI and THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (as maybe the strongest black/white statements I ever saw), or relatively recent THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, UNFORGIVEN... God, the list could be endless. Their feel (whatever this could mean - it's definitely existent in me) is deep inside & I love them all, but are there ones that could represent me? Myself.

I mean is that possible, knowing I'm not the one who made them?

Yes it is. Two.

First is made on Elmore Leonard's book, scripted by Irving Ravetch & directed by Martin Ritt.

HOMBRE is the movie that changed me. It's where I understood how to "be what I am", at the same time respecting what others are. Things come and go, but the ones that change you, they stay. With years I'm more & more positive about it.



It's a movie from '67., tho I first saw it pretty late (I simply dunno how did I miss watching it before, but of course it's NEVER too late for things like these): at New Years Eve party of old '84. to new '85. People all around, loud music, I still don't know how did it hit me that hard in that ambient, but it did.

I hated the party, I suppose.

Besides one of the purest storytelling sense I ever saw (unstoppable simplicity), - Martin Ritt has no "big" visual style, and it fits simply perfectly the main character played by Mr. Newman. In other words, this film is as it's hero is, & as a consequence of this fact, it's really close to be called perfect. Calmed, but no nonsense. Strong even when humored. Real life aimed all the time. Direct. Wonderful.

Once really inside of you, there's no cure for it.

Second is made on Alan Sharp's script & directed by Robert Aldrich. Based on true events.

ULZANA'S RAID also made changes in me. Made me forget lots of next New Years' eves in times to come. When you (are ready to) face maturity in art you "consume", lots of things lose their urgency & importance.

And this one hits forehead directly.


Mr. Lancaster never looked as believable as in role of McIntosh (to me, he's like William Holden in "Bunch" - right now Pike Bishop is simply impossible to imagine performed by somebody else. He is Pike.), and Ke-Ni-Tay's face lines (actor Jorge Luke) - if looked closely - echo pretty clearly on Dashiell Bad Horse.

Last 5 minutes of this movie STILL are difficult for me "just to see", better put - NOT to feel. Even today, even after seeing it so many times. And I'd really like to avoid words about it's last 30 seconds & one small peace of paper there.

This film (as a whole) - to me - can be only compared with Kurosawa's heights (or, if you want it more inside the family, with RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, by the master himself). It really unites all elements I ever liked in (all) other westerns. Subject, dialogues, aesthetics, rhythm, sequences as a whole - first time seen it, I had this blush feel that it spoke too much about my own secrets. The ones I considered as mine only, as my invisible strength & if I once let the world see full light & energy of those - it'll be conquered & won.

I really was ready to mature, wasn't I?

OK.

These movies definitely are not the genres-best I've seen, or the most this, or the magnificent that. No. What makes them closest to me - is intimate thought they're above categorizations. If you really understand them, you don't care one bit about categories. You have the feel they're for you - whoever you may be - and THAT is what they're helping you understand.

So, if (my) SCALPED visuals succeed in showing richness out of average, or in avoiding spectacular about real, or if they simply show it as it is - it'll help me achieve two things. One is returning some from what I got from those two above, & second, the beginning of this all: honesty in work.

This is the aim alright & if I ever succeed, one of you please tell me.

Thanks. (especially to you Jason my bud, for generously inviting me
here)


R.M. Guéra
April 2007
Barcelona, Spain

SCALPED #5 out today

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SCALPED #5 -- Final Version, originally uploaded by Jason Aaron.

This issue is the second and final part of "Hoka Hey," an arc that helps to flesh out some of the relationships on the Rez and wrap up what will be the book's first trade paperback collection. We get a little more insight into Catcher, the mysterious rider, a flashback to Dash's past, a heaping helping of nudity, a cameo appearance by a character from my other Vertigo series and a surprise ending that'll have major repercussions for the rest of the series.

Karen Berger interview

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From Karen Berger's interview at The ComicBloc:

Question: You mentioned that you are constantly looking for new talent and new projects. One name that jumped out from nowhere this year is writer Jason Aaron who broke onto the scene with the critically-acclaimed THE OTHER SIDE, with art by Cameron Stewart. Now, I had never read anything by Jason until THE OTHER SIDE. So where did you find this guy?

Karen: Wow. Yeah, Jason is a rare, rare find. He had never written anything in comics until THE OTHER SIDE. He sent the script over to us through a couple editors and we loved it. I can’t tell you how rare that is. I think I’ve hired a writer like that only once before in all my years of comics. Jason is a very talented guy, and I’m glad we have him.

In the interview, Karen also talks about some of the upcoming Vertigo projects I'm really looking forward to, like UN-MEN, Brian Wood's NORTHLANDERS and SENTENCES: THE LIFE OF MF GRIMM.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Thanks, Karen.

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