Jason Aaron: Stepping into X-Mas With the Punisher

December is the month where giving is more important than receiving, right? Well, Marvel plans to give Punisher MAX fans a little something to stuff their stockings with this holiday season in the form of the Punisher MAX X-Mas Special; featuring a story written by Jason Aaron with interior artwork by Roland Boschi and a cover by Chris Bachalo. The release of the X-Mas Special is today, just one day before the theatrical release of the new Punisher film, Punisher: War Zone.

Newsarama contacted Jason Aaron to talk about the Punisher MAX X-Mas Special and to see what he wanted for Christmas himself.

Newsarama: Jason, what's the set-up for the Punisher MAX X-Mas Special?

Jason Aaron: The wife of a big time mob boss is having a baby, and a rival mob boss decides that'll be a good time to send some thugs down to the hospital and wipe out the entire family. Lucky for the unborn baby, the Punisher happens to be in the neighborhood. So now Frank Castle is trying to keep this woman alive and deliver her baby, while being pursued by hitmen. Three hitmen, in fact. From back East. Who come bearing gifts. But instead of gold, frankincense and myrrh, they're bringing lead, lead and more lead.

NRAMA: How does the holiday of Christmas come into play in this one-shot? Is it just a date that the story takes on which the story takes place or does Frank start feeling a little bit of the Christmas spirit?

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JA: It's not just a tangential connection to Christmas, no. I think the significance will be pretty obvious to anybody who reads it. Don't look for Frank to be acting as anybody's Secret Santa though.

NRAMA: Pimps, gangsters, and even vigilantes need Christmas, right?

JA: Most indeed. Everybody except for Frank Castle, that is. It's just another day at the office for Frank.

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NRAMA: Roland Boschi is handling the art chores on the project--do the two of you have a pretty good rapport from working on Ghost Rider together?

JA: Yeah, and Roland's work is just getting better and better. His stuff on Ghost Rider was very fresh and exciting, and these Punisher pages really take it up a notch. He's got a bright future in this biz.

NRAMA: How closely do you work with artists on projects in terms of composition and layout? Do you prefer to give them a ton of space or do you like having a hands involvement that's specific to the stories you're telling?

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JA: I like to give artists as much freedom as possible, as much as they're comfortable with. I figure it's always best to keep the artist happy.

NRAMA: What do you think Frank wants for Christmas? Do you think Christmas is an especially difficult time for a man who has lost his family? Or do you think Frank is numb to all of that now?

JA: I think Frank is numb for the most part, but every now and then, some sort of real human emotion manages to creep in, especially during a time like Christmas. That's only going to make him throw himself harder into his work though. Woe be unto any criminals.

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NRAMA: Would you like to do more work with the Punisher in the future?

JA: Yes, I most certainly would.

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NRAMA: What do you want for Christmas? Is it a big day for you and your family?

JA: The success I've had in comics this year is really everything I could've asked for, so I feel really fortunate this holiday season. That said, I always have lots of items on my wish list, so hopefully Santa will have room for a few Criterion DVDs and Marvel Omnibus hardcovers in his sack.

NRAMA: To close, if there was one title in the Marvel line that you could put at the top of your Christmas list as the one you really want to work on next--what would it be? Who would the artist be?

JA: I'm afraid I can't say yet, because I'm actually already working on two of them for next year. Stay tuned.

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