Sunday, September 27, 2009

Baltimore Comic-Con Creator Profiles Round 2

JASON AARON - Jason Aaron is the anti-hero hero. A man that certainly looks the part he plays, Aaron is a staunch defender of real country music (Johnny Cash, the various Hanks), a fan of hard knock football team the Pittsburgh Steelers and the writer of such badasses as Wolverine, Ghost Rider and his own creation, Dashell Bad Horse. Aaron has made a reputation for himself as the go-to guy for insuring that Marvel's anti-hero icons remain as bad as possible. He's turned Wolverine into the bloodthirsty, vengeful Rambo we always knew he could be, made Ghost Rider into one of the most interesting characters on the Marvel roster and now he's taking over Punisher MAX (ya know, the one where he kills about a hundred people an issue) for his idol Garth Ennis. But what makes Aaron truly great is his creator-owned series Scalped, which DC/Vertigo recently contracted for twelve more issues, bringing the seris count up to forty-eight. It seems like, despite the high volume of titles released by Vertigo each month, there has always been a book that you could describe as the company's flagship. Sandman was that book, Preacher, Hellblazer perhaps, 100 Bullets, Y: The Last Man, Fables. Lost in the hoopla surrounding Y's last issue, 100 Bullets' last issue and the continuation of the Fables epic is the quality of Scalped. Aaron's crime epic, set on and around an Indian reservation, is, in my opinion, the best book Vertigo has published since Preacher. It's one of the few comics I've ever read that literally gets better with every single issue. Equal parts Raymond Chandler and Robert Rodriguez, Scalped is a book that deserves to continue for a long, long time.

PETER TOMASI - Leave it to a guy with fourteen years of editing experience to know how to tell a good story. Tomasi began his career with DC in the early 90s and over the years lent his editing skill to titles such as Green Lantern and JSA, eventually working his way up to the position of senior editor. In 2007 he decided to see how the other half lived though, becoming a regular writer for the company he'd spent the last fourteen years editing. Over the last year, Tomasi has made a name for himself as the storyteller in charge of Nightwing and Green Lantern Corps. He's currently aiding Geoff Johns and a number of other DC writers in raising the dead each month in the Blackest Night mega-event. Not a name you hear bandied about very often, Tomasi is one of the most consistent writers working for DC these days. If you haven't been reading his stuff then I highly suggest you start.

JOSE VILLARUBIA - If not for Dave Stewart, Jose Villarubia would likely be the consensus choice for best colorist in comics. His contributions to the industry as a colorist are prolific. Over the years, he's brought to life the artwork of extremely talented artists such as JH Williams, III, Jae Lee, Ryan Sook and frequent collaborator, Paul Pope. He also teamed with comics juggernaut Alan Moore for two separate graphic novels, including Mirror of Love, a sort of illustrated history of prominent homosexual artists and writers. This was no doubt a project of great personal importance to Villarubia as he is himself openly gay and has been very outspoken for the rights of homosexuals. Most recently, Villarubia lent his talent to Paul Pope, coloring the striking Strange Adventures strip for DC's Wednesday Comics.

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