Ghost Rider #33Writer Jason Aaron has been one of comics hottest rising stars. He first appeared in comics having won a Wolverine contest, but his full career began with the publication of The Other Side with artist Cameron Stewart with DC/Vertigo. Since then he's helmed his own popular series Scalped with artist R.M. Guerra, as well as stints on several marvel titles including Wolverine and Ghost Rider.
Currently he's writing two ongoing series (Scalped and Ghost Rider) with a third, Wolverine: Weapon X on its way – and that work is the reason we recently named him one of our 9 Creators To Watch in '09, and we caught up with Aaron to talk about that.
Newsarama: Let's start out easy, Jason. What are you working on today?
Jason Aaron: Today I'm trying to finish up a Ghost Rider script. Once that's done, I move on to the first issue of my As Yet Unannounced New Marvel Project.
NRAMA: New project? On your blog you mentioned this. Details are spare to non-existent, but it sounds like currently running series you describe as "a dream project". I know Marvel wouldn't want it announced just yet - but can you give us a hint?
JA: If I did say something, Marvel would probably punish me.
NRAMA: Is that a clue? Hmmm…..
Moving on, one of the biggest announcement recently has been your return to the character of Wolverine in an all-new series called Wolverine: Weapon X with artist Ron Garney. You've said it yourself - it's your biggest project to date - what's it like to be launching a Wolverine book with the movie coming soon?
Wolverine: Weapon X #2JA: It's a hell of a lot of fun. I've tried not to think too much about whatever pressure comes with shouldering a big new launch. I've just been trying to make this a kick-ass debut arc, and so far I'm pretty confident in saying this is the best superhero story I've written to date.
NRAMA: Wolverine: Weapon X makes your third ongoing series you're doing, including Ghost Rider and Scalped. Let's talk Ghost Rider first. Do you remember what led you to work on the series?
JA: It was the first ongoing series that Marvel offered me, and I jumped at the chance. I really liked where Daniel Way was leaving things at the end of his run. I felt like it put me in a great position to bring a bit of a different tone to the series. To crazy things up a bit. And I feel like I've done that. I've thrown a lot of different things at the wall so far in my Ghost Rider run, from machine gun nurses and nunchuck nuns to an all-new slant on Danny Ketch and some of his old enemies. Hopefully some of that will stick, and I'll have done my part to enliven the Ghost Rider mythos a bit and leave things ready for the next writer to come along and stir everything up again.
NRAMA: Speaking of other writers, each writer sees a character a little different. Tell us who you picture Ghost Rider as?
JA: Part Evel Knievel, part Hank Williams III.
Scalped #26NRAMA: Ghost Rider is a bit of an anomaly in the wider Marvel Universe - and doesn't really fit in with the others so much. Why do you think that is?
JA: Because he's a Satanic biker with a flaming skull for a head. He's not a superhero. As far as I'm concerned, he's never been at his best in the midst of a superhero story. He belongs in horror-tinged action stories.
NRAMA: Next up - is your own creator-owned series, Scalped. It just hit the 25th issue mark. What's it like launching this and see it succeed so well?
JA: It's been amazing. Everything I've been able to do so far in comics I owe to Scalped. It's the best thing I've ever written, and working on it for the past few years has helped make me a better writer. Just working with Guera has helped make me better. His passion and ability to lay bare every bit of needed emotion is just amazing to behold. He's a genius, and we're very lucky to have him on Scalped. Scalped is like my baby, and whenever I hear from fans out there who say it's one of their favorite books, it's like someone telling you your son is a joy to have around. It makes me a very proud papa.
NRAMA: For those that haven't read the recently released Scalped #25 but are thinking about jumping on, can you tell us about it?
JA: Issue #25 kicked off an all-new arc called "High Lonesome." Like our previous "Casino Boogie" arc, each issue of "High Lonesome" is told from the perspective of a different character. We focus on some character we haven't previously focused on, like FBI agent Nitz and jailed Native rights activist Lawrence Belcourt, and we also catch up with our main character Dash Bad Horse, who's been out of the spotlight for a while recently. After the "High Lonesome" arc comes "The Gnawing," which'll be the biggest arc yet for the series. It's really what everything has been building toward these first couple years, and it'll set the stage for everything to follow. Not all of our cast will survive the experience though, and even some that do will never be the same again. Overall it should be a big year for Scalped.
Ghost Rider #34NRAMA: I've always wondered about the response from the community this focuses on. Have you had any interactions with American Indians who've read the book?
JA: Yeah, I've heard from lots of Natives from all over the country who are fans of the series, which is of course very gratifying. Scalped is not without its detractors and its share of controversy, which is to be expected since it's a very intense and brutal series. But personally I'm very proud of everything I've done on the series and feel I've accomplished my goal of crafting an emotionally-vibrant and fully fleshed-out cast of characters.
NRAMA: People who read Scalped are aching to see more of you doing creator-owned, and there's talk of you doing something with Oni. What can you tell us on that front?
JA: As long as I'm in comics, I'll always be working on creator-owned projects. That's my goal. For now, I have as much on my plate as I can handle, but I am slowly working on a graphic novel for Oni and already have a few other ideas just itching to get out. If only there were more hours in the day...
Both Ghost Rider #33 and Scalped #26 are due in stores this week.