My Comic-Con Recap

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HIGHLIGHTS:
Running into Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick at the airport and having someone to chat with on the plane.
Meeting Warren Ellis (eventhough he had no idea who the hell I was).
Meeting comedian Brian Posehn and finding out he’s a big fan of THE OTHER SIDE.
Making out with Rick Remender (he wishes).
The Lobster Sliders at Chive.
Meeting Ivan Brandon and getting a copy of 24seven Vol. 2 (which looks terrific).
Getting a custom-made Engine message board ID from Rantz Hoseley.
Getting lots of free shit (apparently when comic creators are alone, they GIVE things to each another).
Getting invited to a convention in Spain.
Getting writing and career advice from the always straight-shooting Brian Azzarello.
Seeing and chatting with almost everyone I wanted to see.
Attending the Eisners and having my nomination read by one of the dudes from “Reno 911.”
Seeing the one-legged lady at the GRINDHOUSE booth.


LOWLIGHTS:
Feeling a little like a creepy perv after taking photos of the one-legged lady at the GRINDHOUSE booth.
Losing at the Eisners (though it was to Paul Pope, who’s a genius and a rock star, so what are you gonna do?).
Failing miserably in my quest to meet Grant Morrison (and even missing all of his panels).
Failing even more miserably in my quest to make out with Rosario Dawson.
Forgetting to steal the SCALPED poster off the wall of DC’s Green Room.
It taking longer to clean up Jim Lee’s suite before a party than it took for the actual party to get shut down by security.


THINGS I HEARD PEOPLE SAY:
"Just write the fuckin’ Wolverine."
"Not bad for a pale face."
"There’s no such thing as a comic book emergency."
"I wanna know who the rat bastard was that called in the complaint."
"That’s gotta be what trench warfare smelled like."
"You know what doesn’t talk? A peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Go make me one."

My SDCC Schedule

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It looks to be a busy week for me at the San Diego Comic-Con. Lots of signings, lots of meetings, lots of beer drinking, and the Eisners too. I'm really looking forward to the trip though, if for no other reason than to get out of this miserable Kansas heat. If you're there, be sure and say hi.


WEDNESDAY
5:30-7pm > Signing at the DC booth/Vertigo table

THURSDAY
1:30-3pm > Signing at the DC booth/Vertigo table
4:30-6pm > Signing at the DC booth/Vertigo table

FRIDAY
3-4:30pm > Signing at the DC booth/Vertigo table
4:30-5:30pm > PANEL – Vertigo Editorial Presentation (Room 5AB)

SATURDAY
11:30am-1pm > Signing at the DC booth/Vertigo table
4-5:30pm > Signing at the DC booth/Vertigo table

SUNDAY
10:30am-12:30pm > Signing at the DC booth/Vertigo table

24Seven vol. 2 hits stores early

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MY BABY, originally uploaded by Ivan Brandon.

From Ivan Brandon:

"that's right, kids - the family at image comics and the 70 creators of 24seven v2 broke their backs to get the book in EARLY to the printer and to diamond... it'll hit stores NEXT WEDNESDAY, july 25th and we'll have copies of it and the 1st volume at the san diego comic-con!"

It's an amazing collection of talent that Ivan has put together for this book. My meager contribution is a somber little tale about a robot in a coma, beautifully illustrated by Miguel Alves.

Decibel Magazine loves SCALPED

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Decibel picks SCALPED as one of the best comics of the last six months:

"SCALPED blends straight-up noir with an epic tale of ’70s Native American radicals-turned-criminals, nasty backstabbing and the lure of casino cash. Killer in every way."

Click here for the full text

SCALPED Director's Commentary: Part Two

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In the first part of our Director’s Commentary, Guéra talked about a couple of the movies that were big influences on his vision for SCALPED, namely the westerns HOMBRE and ULZANA’S RAID. For my part, there were lots of films I watched and re-watched while working on the first volume of SCALPED, including TO LIVE AND DIE IN LA (one of my top five all-time favorite crime films), BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA (Peckinpah’s woefully unrecognized masterpiece), HOMBRE (just like Guéra), VALDEZ IS COMING, RUSH, UNFORGIVEN, COCKFIGHTER (I love me some Warren Oates), TOKYO DRIFTER, POINT BLANK, THUNDERHEART (still not a very good movie), INCIDENT AT OGLALA, SKINS, THE GREAT SILENCE, ROADHOUSE (“Pain don’t hurt”), BILLY JACK (You betcha), DANCES WITH WOLVES (Fuck you, it’s a good movie)… But there’s only one film I’d list as a true influence on the series (meaning there's one I most obviously ripped off), and that’s 1990’s STATE OF GRACE.



If you haven’t seen STATE OF GRACE, then stop reading now and go get it. You can probably find the DVD for about ten bucks at your local Target, so it’s not a big investment, and you’ll be getting one of the finest crime films of the last 20 years.

If you have seen STATE OF GRACE, then the connection to SCALPED should be obvious: guy returns to his old neighborhood and falls in with the local criminal element, but unbeknownst to them he’s really an undercover cop. In STATE OF GRACE, that cop is played by Sean Penn, the criminals by Ed Harris and Gary Oldman, and the setting is the Irish-American neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. Inspired by the real-life escapades of the Westies, who for years were one of New York’s most brutal criminal organizations, STATE OF GRACE is a gritty and explosive little masterpiece directed by Phil Joanou, who’s only other career highlight was directing U2’s concert film, RATTLE AND HUM. Not only does STATE OF GRACE give you Penn, the finest actor of his generation playing an undercover cop in way the fuck over his head, but you also get Harris at his most intense and Oldman at his most fucking manic. The three of them together snarl, curse, howl, fight, drink, fuck and murder their way through 134 minutes, chewing up every bit of scenery in their midst (though you do still get shining moments from Robin Wright Penn and the great John C. Reilly, and even a terrific little scene with Burgess Meredith). Then there’s the haunting score by Ennio Morricone. And the Peckinpah style editing. And the climax. Goddamn, the climax. I just fucking LOVE a scene where you have a group of tough as nails motherfuckers, all getting together to scour the fucking earth for the guy who’s fucked them over, and then lo and behold, that very guy comes strolling in the front door, calm as can be, armed with a gun and balls of fucking steel. UNFORGIVEN played that for all it was worth, of course, but STATE OF GRACE did it first. (I tried to open SCALPED #1 with a similar type of scene, but just didn’t pull it off right. My bad.)


Still, it wasn’t just the storyline from STATE OF GRACE that influenced SCALPED, but also the moral ambiguity of the characters (I just eat that shit up) and the importance of the setting (obviously). Put all that together with the Leonard Peltier story and dashes of James Ellroy, Elmore Leonard, Cormac McCarthy and HBO’s “The Wire,” and you’ve got SCALPED. Or at least, what I’m trying to do with SCALPED.

Thanks to all the people who’ve been picking it up. The best is yet to come.

SCALPED #7 on shelves now

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SCALPED #7, originally uploaded by Jason Aaron.

"Casino Boogie" part two of six focuses on Chief Red Crow, on what should be the happiest night of his life. His dream has been realized. The Crazy Horse Casino is finally open for business. So how come he can't stop thinking about all the horrible shit he had to do along the way to get to where he's at? And what sort of trouble does he see on the horizon, courtesy of a particularly brutal Hmong street gang? Answers to all of those questions, plus fellatio, this week in SCALPED.


The title to this issue's story, "Down on the Killin' Floor," comes from a song by blues legend Howlin' Wolf:


"I should'a quit you, long time ago.
I should'a quit you, baby, long time ago.
I should'a quit you, and went on to Mexico...


Lord knows, I should'a been gone
Lord knows, I should'a been gone
And I wouldn't've been here, down on the killin' floor."


The issue's original title was that of another song, the bluegrass classic, "Muleskinner Blues."

Well I hope Neil Young will remember...

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My great great grandparents, originally uploaded by Jason Aaron.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting my parents in my hometown of Jasper, Alabama, and my dad gave me a little tour of the cemetery at New Hope Primitive Baptist Church where four generations of my ancestors are buried. There's my grandfather, James Everett, who was a Baptist preacher and coal miner, and my grandmother, Ruth "Mama Ruth" Aaron. There's my great grandfather, Sammie Aaron, who died in 1924 from rabies after being bitten by his own dog. There's my great great grandfather, Ira Aaron, who around 1900 served six months in jail for stabbing a man to death over some sheep. Sammie, who was a teenager at the time, was also charged in the crime, since it was his knife that was used, but those charges were later dropped. The oldest Aaron grave at the New Hope cemetery is that of my great great great grandparents, Sam and Jane, who were both born in 1830. Can't help but wonder what these various Aarons, miners and farmers and murderers alike, would've thought of something like SCALPED? Probably not all of them would want to claim me as kin after reading it, but nevertheless, I'm proud of my heritage, and I'm proud of being a Southerner. Eventhough I’ll likely spend the rest of my life in Kansas City, I imagine I’ll always think of myself as a Southerner at heart. And I’m quite certain that my Alabama upbringing will continue to have a profound effect on my writing. I would seriously like nothing better than to someday be remembered as a Southern writer. There’s a pretty good tradition of those, in case you hadn’t noticed.


Happy Fourth of July.

Playboy.com reviews THE OTHER SIDE

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Talk about nailing the zeitgeist: Vertigo Comics brings the horrors of war home to disconnected America with two different works, THE OTHER SIDE and DMZ. While neither one is specifically about Iraq, it's nearly impossible to read them without considering our country's neo-con New World Order...

Peering into another senseless quagmire, the self-contained OTHER SIDE is a stunner of a comic. In fact, few war stories in any medium blend such horror with such a poetic humanization of the enemy. Newcomer Jason Aaron weaves a gripping Vietnam tale with two leads, Billy Everette and Vo Binh Dai, both rural boys swept into an incomprehensible conflict. As their paths inexorably cross in a war-ravaged hell, each experiences his own increasingly bizarre reality: Billy sees ghosts of dead American G.I.s, while his gun goads him toward violence; Vo Dai believes gods and dragons cross his path, spurring him to action.

As grippingly tragic as Aaron's tale is, artist Cameron Stewart elevates it to a higher level. Stewart and colorist Dave McCaig give us a comic both beautiful and dreadful to gaze upon. There's excellent material in the appendices, including photos and diary excerpts from Stewart's research trip to 21st century Vietnam. This book's so good, it deserves a hardcover edition on top-notch paper, but you won't go wrong with this paperback.


Click here for the full text, including a great review of Brian Wood's DMZ. Also, check out Wizard Magazine this month for an interview I did about RIPCLAW and SCALPED.

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