Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bookslut: Interview with Brian K. Vaughan

Interview with Brian K. Vaughan

Totally off-topic but Bookslut has got to be my favorite name for a website, EVAH! Reminds me of the cute pierced, tattooed, gothy librarian who turned me on (er, ahem, pun FULLY intended) to The Master and Margarita.

Anywho... This is a fun little interview, with a lot of discussion of Brian's new graphic novel, Pride of Baghdad, which I haven't gotten my hot little talons on yet. But if you've read any of Mr. Vaughan's other work, you know he is a sharp cookie, who is cranking out some of the best and most accessible to a wide audience graphic narratives today.

At the time of this interview, we're two days away from the fifth anniversary of 9/11, which has clearly been a huge influence, especially on Ex Machina. What inspired you to create a series explicitly inspired by those events?
I was living in Brooklyn at the time with my then-girlfriend/now-wife, and we watched the towers fall from the rooftop of our building. You feel particularly impotent as a writer at that time, especially as a comic book writer, and you want to respond in some way, but feel like the medium maybe isn't the most relevant. Over time I realized that wasn't the case, and that I wanted to write about way in which we changed -- and didn't change -- after 9/11.
Especially the way we are looking for our leaders to be "heroes." George W. Bush on the flight deck, Governor Schwarzenegger, John Kerry campaigning on his war record. Is there really such a thing as a hero, or is that just a fiction we create and impose on the people we chose to lead us? Comics ask that question, all the time, and I found a way to specifically answer that question with not just comics, but superhero comics.

Is Ex Machina a superhero comic?
Yes. I'm not afraid to call it that, I'm not snobbish. After all, Watchmen doesn't transcend genre -- it is the genre. And Spider-man isn't about a kid bitten by a radioactive spider; it's about great power meaning great responsibility. Superheroes work best as timeless metaphors, and I'm able to have both. There's a guy with a jet-pack having adventures, but he also deal with potholes and real world issues. Ex Machina was born out of my reverence for that genre, not out of my disdain for it.

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