HELLO? CAN ANYONE HEAR ME?

God, it's been so long, I forgot how to work this thing.

Hi. It’s been awhile.

At least I think it has. Don’t know about you, but I’ve been finding it rather hard to always remember what day it is or how long it’s been since we entered the Twilight Zone or what it’s like to wear pants. I have vague memories of life in the Before Time, the Long Long Ago. A time when you could hug people. When it was generally frowned upon to wear a mask into a liquor store. When people would gather in mysterious and magical places called bars.

And when comic book shops had new comics on their racks.

Well in at least one of those ways, we’re now officially going back to the Old World.

As of today, there are new Marvel comic books out in the world again. And one of them is mine.

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AVENGERS #33 is the beginning of our big “Age of Khonshu” arc, featuring a gorgeous cover by Matteo Scalera and the debut of our mighty new series artist Javier Garrón, who’s really killing it on this arc. As I’ve said before, if you've ever wanted to see Moon Knight at his most badass, taking on the most powerful, primordial forces of the Marvel Universe, with all his moon-powered fury, then this is the world-shaking, face-breaking arc for you.

Mummies are rising from their graves. Secret armies march by moonlight, from K’un-Lun to Wakanda to Greenwich Village. A dark god invades Asgard. And the Moon Knight has been unleashed as never before. So begins the Age of Khonshu. So fall the Avengers.

"I'm a ghost now. A spectre of the moon... the moon's knight of vengeance. And I've got work to do."

I’ve been really excited about this one for a long while. A long long while. In my mind, this arc is very much about setting the tone for not just the rest of my AVENGERS run but for everything I want to do in the Marvel Universe going forward. Here now are some preview pages with punching.

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Look, I know it’s still an incredibly weird and potentially deadly time out there. And I’m certainly not here to blindly encourage everyone to rush outside and haul ass to the nearest comic book store, touching everyone you meet along the way. But if your local shop is open and selling books, maybe with curbside pickup or even delivery, and you’ve got a mask and feel you can safely support your retailer, then cool, AVENGERS #33 will be there waiting for you. I hope you dig it.

And going forward, you can also look for the return of two of my creator-owned projects later this year, with the next volume of THE GODDAMNED coming in July and the second arc of SEA OF STARS kicking off in August. More on that soon.

It’ll be nice to have new stories coming out again. Like seeing some old friends. I miss all my friends. I’ve missed you too. I’ve been trying to use this time to work as much as I can. Trying but not always succeeding. It’s been hard to focus. Like the gears are gunked up. I hear the same thing from a lot of the other writers I know. What a strange time. And this coming from a guy who’s written some awfully strange shit over the years. I hope we can all get back to that someday soon. To our own usual sort of strangeness. And to the bars and the hugging. Here’s wishing you all a future filled with safe hugs. Until then…

This has been Beard Missives, direct from the masked face of Jason Aaron.

This week’s newsletter has been brought to you by long walks in the park, the Last Dance on ESPN, Swearing Patterns, homemade cocktails, a warm corn bag and wine, lots of wine.

Stay safe out there.

Jason Aaron

KC, May 2020

Newsletter #5: THOR WOULD TOTALLY BE DOWN WITH TIKI BARS

Notes on VALKYRIE: JANE FOSTER #8

I met Torunn Grønbekk in a tiki bar.

Since she’d journeyed there all the way from Norway, I expect the spirit of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl and his 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition was somehow swirling in the air that day, mystically leading Torunn into the Polyneisan Bar in Midtown Manhattan during the week of New York Comic Con.

Either that, or it was her friend, the artist John McCrea. Who I’d first met years before at the Avilés Comic Book Festival in Northern Spain. Where I’d won the coveted Brian Azzarello award for… best bald head, maybe? Never sleeping? I forget.

But anyway, I was at the tiki bar that night because over the years of traveling from one comic con to another all over the country, I’ve become quite the connoisseur of tiki bars (thanks to my friend Jame Sime of the Isotope comic book shop in San Fransciso, who was my tiki Jedi-master). And that particular evening in 2018 turned out to be an epically fun night of tiki festivities, featuring guest appearances from some of my favorite people in comics.

Including Torunn. Who would rather quickly become one of those favorite people. And that was before I’d ever read her work. Once I did, she also became something else: one of my favorite comic book writers.

And now I’m incredibly happy to be a part of Torunn’s Marvel Comics debut, in the pages of VALKYRIE: JANE FOSTER #8.

Jane Foster holds a very special place in my heart. And I imagine she always will. I think you can tell from the way her image decorates the walls and shelves of my office. Jane’s time as Thor remains one of the stories I’m proudest of from throughout my career, and it continues to elicit the most heartwarming and moving responses from fans of anything I’ve ever been a part of in my creative life. And eventhough her time as Thor is done (until we see her on the big screen, that is) I’m glad to still be a part of guiding Jane’s story and sending her off on all sorts of all-new adventures.

The idea for Jane to take over the role of the last of the Valkyries spun out of my WAR OF THE REALMS event, and then writer Al Ewing took those threads and did wild and amazing work on the first seven issues of the new VALKYRIE series. Once Al needed to step aside, well who better to bring into the world of Marvel’s Asgard than a writer whose name literally means “To love Thor.”

Torunn brings a deeply original voice to this series and to Jane herself, as a well as an innate knowledge of Norse mythology (from what I can tell, she basically grew up as a Viking, with the photos to prove it). And you can see all that at play in the arc that begins in VALKYRIE #8, the story of Øde, a fallen king of old, and the ancient, mysterious power that corrupted him, the dark, unstoppable might of the Rokkva. It’s a story that brings Valkyrie and Thor together for the first time since Jane took her new identity, and also features some surprising guest stars, along with the usual amazing art of Cafu and colorist Jesus Aburtov. And don’t forget Mr. Horse. Everybody loves Mr. Horse.

Beyond that, Jane’s story will continue, with more surprises and thrills to come.

I’m really glad Jane Foster didn’t die. I’m glad I didn’t let that dude who was writing Thor for years kill her off.

The Marvel Universe is better with Jane in it.

And same goes for Torunn Grønbekk.

New Projects

If you’ve been keeping up with these newsletters, you know I’ve talked about most everything I’m already working on for 2020, including the big, upcoming Moon Knight arc in AVENGERS and the new volume of THE GODDAMNED. But if you picked up CONAN THE BARBARIAN #12 recently, then you saw a little surprise tease of something else.

As a I wrote about last time, the year-long “Life and Death of Conan” arc that helped welcome the Cimmerian back to Marvel was a tremendous amount of fun and the fulfillment of a dream I’ve had since I was a kid. But if you thought twelve issues was gonna be enough to sate my lifelong Conan hunger, well, think again.

So look for KING CONAN coming later in 2020, by the same art team of Mahmud Asrar and Matt Wilson.

I do like writing Kings, it seems.

Upcoming Appearances

I just added a new con to my appearance slate for the year. Come see me at Niagara Falls Comic Con, this June 6-7. As always, I’ll be signing free of charge for all fans. Doesn’t matter how big of a stack you wanna bring. All I’ll see is a big stack of support you’ve given me over the years, and I’ll very much want to thank you for it.

New Stuff in the Store

Copies of the SEA OF STARS trade are now available in my online store. Signed by me. Probably in ink. Maybe in blood if the day hasn’t gone well. Or rum if the day has gone particularly tiki.

This has been Beard Missives, direct from the rum-smelling face of Jason Aaron.

This week’s newsletter has been brought to you by Valentine’s Day jellybeans, freshly-released Easter jellybeans, picante flavor chicharrones, Lego Masters on FOX, Kansas City’s TikiCat (love the new menu) and the distant, snowy wilds of Norway.

Be seeing you.

Jason Aaron

KC, February 2020

Newsletter #4: A BIG WEEK OF ME

A Special Beard Missives Birthday Edition

My beard and I celebrated a birthday this week.

Which makes this a great time to talk about CONAN THE BARBARIAN #12, the issue you’ll find in comic book stores today. The final chapter of the big, year-long “Life and Death of Conan” arc that heralded the character’s return to Marvel Comics.

I’ve got a shelf packed with dog-eared Conan paperbacks that sits a few feet from the desk where I’m writing this. The desk where I make my living. I bought those paperbacks many years ago, searching madly for them in every dusty old bookstore and ramshackle flea market in my little corner of Alabama. I took them home like the precious, unearthed treasures they were and devoured the stories inside one after the other. The original Robert E. Howard stories were by far my favorites (though I quite liked the Robert Jordan novels as well), but no matter the author, I ravenously quested for and procured any sort of book I could find with Conan’s name on the blood-drenched cover. Or in truth, my mom bought them for me. Because I was just a kid.

A quiet kid who liked to read and make up stories and explore the woods behind his house, dreaming they were the hills of Cimmeria or the jeweled castles of Aquilonia.

Here’s that Conan shelf. And also something else that sits on my desk as we speak.

I found that lunchbox last year at a local antique mall, while shopping with my family. I hadn’t thought of it in years, but this was exactly how I carried my lunch to school as a kid. My mom remembered how mine had gotten lost in a move. So this one is mine now, to watch over me while I work.

In some ways, the older I get, the further I keep moving away from that kid in the piney southern woods. Which is okay, because there are some parts of that kid I’m still working to shed. But there are other parts I want to cling to forever.

I’d like to think if that kid could go to the comic shop today, Marvel lunchbox in hand, barbarian daydreams exploding through his brain, he’d picked up the latest issue of CONAN and smile.

I wrote this arc of CONAN for that kid. And in tribute to all the Robert E. Howard stories that so deeply mesmerized and inspired the kid way back when. I’m incredibly proud of how it all turned out. Thanks in large part to the staggering artistic talents of main series artist Mahmud Asrar and colorist Matthew Wilson, along with sometime guest artist Gerardo Zaffino and cover artist Esad Ribic, who together had to bring to life all different corners of the Hyborian world and different eras of Conan’s epic life.

With today’s CONAN #12, that story ends. But that kid isn’t letting me be done with his favorite character just yet. So go pick up a copy of today’s issue for the grand, bloody finale of “The Life and Death of Conan,” along with a little tease of what comes next. And thanks as always for reading.

Did somebody say something about reading? Because holy damn, it’s not just the latest issue of CONAN I’ve got on the shelves today. In celebration of my birthday, there seems to have been an explosion of all things me at your local comic book establishment.

Also out today is AVENGERS #30, the conclusion of the “Starbrand Reborn” arc, featuring the War Widow, Brood Thor, Blade wearing a mini swamp creature as space armor and the full story of the all-new wielder of the cosmic super-weapon that is the Starbrand, all courtesy of the cosmically-powered art team of Ed McGuinness, Francesco Manna, Mark Morales and colorist Jason Keith.

There’s also this second printing of AVENGERS #26 in stores today, which was the origin issue for the prehistoric Starbrand that was drawn by the legendary Dale Keown. If you missed this one the first time around, holy flaming hell, do yourself a really big favor and go see how awesome Dale is at drawing super-powered dinosaurs and super-jacked, super-in-love cavemen. This one was a right proper blast.

I also have multiple new trades in stores today, including the first volume of SEA OF STARS, the wild new space-adventure series I’ve been doing with co-writer Dennis Hallum, artist Stephen Green, colorist Rico Renzi and designer/letterer Jared Fletcher. This one is a fun ride through the imaginative wilds of deep space, that’s ultimately the story of an estranged father and son and the two very different journeys they find themselves pulled into, involving talking space animals, murderous space plants and the mysterious power to swim through outer space like it’s an ocean. This series probably warrants some more in-depth discussion, in particular in terms of how the writing duties are divided up between Dennis and I, which I think is one of the more unusual and interesting aspects of the project. I think that’s something for us to dive into in an upcoming edition of your favorite beard-related newsletter.

You can also pick up the newest AVENGERS trade today, collecting the “Challenge of the Ghost Riders” arc, which was a chance for me to bring back some of the different Spirits of Vengeance I introduced during my run on GHOST RIDER several years ago. That was my first ongoing gig at Marvel. Knuckles O'Shaugnessy, you will always be close to my heart.

And then there’s the second volume of Marvel’s new trade paperback collection of my entire seven-year THOR run. This one features the end of the GOD OF THUNDER series and the debut of the mysterious new version of Thor that’s still making headlines, along with the SECRET WARS tie-in mini, THORS, which was like me doing “Homicide: Life on the Street” but with Beta Ray Bill and Frog Thor.

Wow, that’s a lot of new releases for one week, right? Look, I’m not saying you need to rush out and buy them all, but I mean, I did just have a birthday this week. So, you know, you should probably celebrate that however you’d like. In addition to comics, I’d also recommend a tiki drink and a Godzilla movie or two.

Since we last talked, the Marvel solicitations for April were released, including the first info on the upcoming “Age of Khonshu” arc of AVENGERS, where I get to write Moon Knight in a very big way for the first time. I wrote a bit more about that over at my blog. And I’ll be sharing more info here as I can, as I’m really super-excited about this one.

In addition to the work blog, I’ve added some more features to my website, including an FAQ, for all your frequently-asked needs.

And in just in case I don’t say this frequently enough myself, thank you for reading. The birthday boy thanks you. And so does his beard. And so does that quiet kid over there holding the lunchbox. You can see him too, right?

This has been Beard Missives, direct from the freshly-birthdayed face of Jason Aaron.

This week’s newsletter has been brought to you by Dragon Fruit Hi-Chews, birthday burnt ends, McLain’s bakery, chicken paprikash and the unending cinematic marvel that is Godzilla, King of the Monsters.

Cheers.

Jason Aaron

KC, January 2020


UPCOMING APPEARANCES

March 20-22 — Planet Comicon Kansas City

April 10-12 — WonderCon Anaheim

Newsletter #3: WHAT NOW?

Notes on the New Year.

2019 was a busy one for me. Launching CONAN THE BARBARIAN. Bringing seven-years’ worth of Thor stories to a head with the WAR OF THE REALMS event. Helping launch a new VALKYRIE series out of that event. Then following that up with what was for me, as I wrote last newsletter, a rather emotional farewell in KING THOR. All the while putting out a bunch of AVENGERS issues. And also starting my first new creator-owned series in a while, SEA OF STARS.

But now it’s 2020, and I’m done with THOR, and the last issue of “The Life and Death of Conan” ships next week. So what now? What’s going to take their place in the new year?

For now, the answer is two-fold.

The first big part of that is “more AVENGERS.”

It wasn’t just 2019 that was busy. The last few years have felt like they’ve gotten progressively busier for me. Which of course is a rather good problem to have, and I sure ain’t complaining. But it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to sit down and focus on writing multiple issues of one project all in a row. Thankfully, that’s exactly what I’m able to do right now with AVENGERS.

Ending my run on THOR felt like a major moment in my career, an important milestone in my time at Marvel. I want AVENGERS to be the next one. It will carry on some of the threads from my THOR run, in addition to weaving in ideas and characters that go back to even before that, as well as being the main source and breeding ground for everything new I want to do in the Marvel Universe.

You’re seeing that unfold right now in the wild, space-adventuring, Silver-Surfer-stabbing, Brood-Thor-roaring “Starbrand Reborn” arc of AVENGERS, the most recent issue of which, #29 (featuring the star-spanning artistic talents of Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales and Paco Medina), came out last week. You’ll see it even more in the next big arc I’ve been writing, which features a character I’ve voiced an interest in online a few times lately, one I’ve never really sunk my teeth into before but will be bringing to the book in what I hope will be a profoundly ass-kicking way. You’ll see it in all the crazy plans to come, which I’ve already been seeding (look to KING THOR #4 for a bit of that), featuring the main, iconic Avengers you know and love and a few other folks you probably wouldn’t expect to see assembling alongside them. Plus a lot more of Blade stabbing things.

In other words, I’m incredibly excited about all things AVENGERS in 2020.

I’ll also continue to be involved with co-writing VALKYRIE: JANE FOSTER alongside new writer Torunn Grønbekk (more on her in a bit). And speaking of Jane, be sure to pick up the first trade of VALKYRIE, out this week, and then go tell writer Al Ewing how much you liked it, because it was mostly all him.

Are there other major projects I want to tackle at Marvel? Yes. Lots. And you’ll probably see the genesis of those as the year goes on. But for now, I’m all in on AVENGERS.

But I said my answer to “What now?” was two-fold, didn’t I? So what’s the other part of what I’ll be working on in 2020?

In short, MORE GODDAMNED CREATOR-OWNED.

I meant the “goddamned” part both figuratively and literally.

That’s right, the long-awaited return of your favorite Biblically-gruesome crime series, THE GODDAMNED, is officially imminent. Look for the beginning of our second volume, “The Virgin Brides,” in May. Thanks to the usual crew of artist r.m.Guéra, colorist Giulia Brusco and letterer/designer Jared Fletcher, it’s fucking stunning, and will punch your soul right in the balls. Or your balls in their soul. Or maybe all of the above.

I know it’s been a wait since the previous volume, but I think this incredible art speaks for itself. And as it stands right now, the entire volume will be done before the first issue ships, so there should be no delays. Below you’ll see pages from each of the first four issues.

But it’s not just THE GODDAMNED we’ll be seeing more of in 2020. I’m committed to having a much bigger presence with creator-owned work this year than last. So once THE GODDAMNED returns, the second arc of SEA OF STARS won’t be far behind. And then look for more SOUTHERN BASTARDS, along with word of another brand-new creator owned project. In addition to the previously-announced Sturgill Simpson inspired SOUND AND FURY graphic novel, it should make for an exciting year of original work.

Thanks as always for the support. Thank you for reading. I love this fucking job. I love what I’m getting to work on, the stories I’m getting to tell. I love it every single fucking day I get to climb the stairs to my office and stare at a blank page on the screen. The day that love goes away, I promise you, I will fuck right off to a job digging ditches or mixing tiki drinks or planning your family’s trip to Disney World. But I’m pretty damn sure that day will never come. I plan on loving this job until my head and heart both plum give out.

Here you see that love in action. My aforementioned Valkyrie co-writer Torunn Grønbekk came to Kansas City for a visit this past weekend and snapped some pics of me in my natural habitat, in between our trips to TikiCat, Joe’s BBQ and the house where Jesse James died. Torunn is Norwegian and was hungry for some genuine American experiences, so upcoming Valkyrie storylines may or may not have been planned inside an Arby’s somewhere in Missouri. Never let it be said I’m not a gifted tour guide of the true American experience.

Is it too late to toot my own horn about the best of the year and best of the decade lists that mentioned my books? Fuck it, I’m gonna toot a little anyway.

Best Writer in AiPT's Favorite Comics of 2019.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN in The Beat’s Best Comics of 2019.

THOR in IGN'S Best Comic Book Series of 2019.

THE WAR OF THE REALMS in Comic Book Revolution's Top 10 Comic Books of 2019.

KING THOR as an “Honorable Mention” in SyFy Wire's 10 Best New Comic Books of 2019.

SEA OF STARS #1 in WhatCulture's 25 Best Comic Book Covers of 2019.

THE MIGHTY THOR at #3 in WhatCulture’s 10 Best Comic Books of the Decade.

THOR in Polygon’s Best Comics of the Decade.

THOR in The Oklahoman’s Best Comic Book Series of the Decade.

SCALPED at #24 and THOR: GOD OF THUNDER at #10 on Den of Geek’s 100 Best Comics of the Decade.

SOUTHERN BASTARDS and THOR in The Beat’s 100 Best Comics of the Decade.

SOUTHERN BASTARDS and THOR in IGN’S Best Comics of the Decade.

WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN, SOUTHERN BASTARDS, SCALPED and THOR in CBR’S Top 100 Comics of the 2010s.

THOR: GOD OF THUNDER on Previews World’s Memorable Comics of the Decade.

And holy shit, I also had the top-selling comic book of the decade, in the million-selling STAR WARS #1.

But for highlights of the year, for me, it’s hard to beat this one:

This variant cover for KING THOR #4 by the amazing Mike Del Mundo made me just a wee bit weepy. And now you can purchase your own signed copy, which may or may not include my actual tears, over at my online store.

This has been Beard Missives, direct from the weepy face of Jason Aaron.  

This week’s newsletter has been brought to you by holiday-themed pop-up bars, the music of Cord Lund, Tyler Childers and John Moreland, Sartori Reserve Merlot Bellavitano cheese, Elephant Sloe Gin, candles that smell like Disney World and a big sack of Norwegian candy.

Happy New(ish) Year.

Jason Aaron

KC, January 2020


UPCOMING APPEARANCES

March 20-22 — Planet Comicon Kansas City

April 10-12 — WonderCon Anaheim

Share Beard Missives

Newsletter #2: ADIEU, ASGARD, ADIEU

Notes on the end of a seven year THOR run

My last issue of THOR went to print this week.

KING THOR #4. By my count, the 101st issue of a run that started in 2012.

I wrote a farewell letter that’ll be published at the end of that final story, a story I’ve had in my head for years now, waiting to be written. I won’t rehash that letter here. I’ll just say that writing it made me rather emotional. Looking back over those last seven years made me realize just how much Thor had come to mean to me, how the character had shaped my life and how much I’d enjoyed getting to shape theirs. I was a bit surprised by how hard I found it to let go. After all, before Thor, I’d written Wolverine in various series for about six years. And while it was definitely strange to wake up one day and realize you were no longer involved in that character’s story, I didn’t feel nearly as deeply affected by moving on from the Canucklehead as I have the last couple weeks.

I think because Thor was different. The moment in time was different. What it meant to my career was different. To my life. Because I was different.

Growing up, I never had much in the way of confidence. It just wasn’t a part of my DNA. When it came to talking to people. Especially girls. When it came to being myself. To figuring out who I even wanted that to be. I always felt far more comfortable and confident when it came to writing.

I struggled to put my feelings into the sort of words that could come out of my mouth. To make real connections. To be vulnerable. But I could say any-fucking-thing when I was putting it on paper. There was an ease there on the page that I didn’t feel in my flesh and blood. There was a power I could find in writing that felt utterly unreachable for me in the real world.

When I was 15 or 16, my girlfriend, the love of my young life, broke up with me. I channeled my angstiest of teenage angst and floweriest of imaginings and wrote a poem about her. What I felt at the time was my creative masterpiece. She read it, and we got back together. That was the first time writing changed my life in a tangible way. Sure, we still broke up again a couple years later, for good this time, but I would never stop chasing that feeling of life-changing power.

It took almost another 15 years before writing changed my life again. This time in a far more profound and long-lasting way.

In 2001, I won a Marvel Comics talent search contest. That was the beginning of my life as a professional writer. The only life I’d ever really wanted to lead.   

And right alongside that newfound career, I found love and a wife. I found fatherhood. I began to find myself. To find my own voice. In places other than on the page.

I was six years into my comics career when I got the chance to take over THOR. I’d been exclusive to Marvel for a few years. I’d written other ongoings. I’d been to the retreats. Looking back, I think it was the first time I was taking over a series with a feeling of true confidence. That I was just going to lay down whatever story tracks I wanted to and not worry about how it long it would take to see them through. That the book wouldn’t be canceled out from under me. That I’d just stay on it until someone pried it away from me or until I felt that I was done.

And that’s what I did. Thanks to Marvel and all the amazing artists I got to collaborate with, I was able to tell exactly the story I wanted to. And I think I’ll always be proud of how it all turned out.

Unfortunately, I think it’s gotten harder in comics to always write with that kind of confidence. Even though I look at my THOR run as one long story, it was told across four different ongoing series, four different minis and a few one shots. These days, series get rebooted on a regular basis, so it’s hard to justify the same writer sticking around and putting down roots on a character. Which means it’s hard to ever make your mark, to feel the sort of ownership and investment I think is necessary to tell a story that feels truly new and exciting, like something that people can’t help but notice. That confidence is so important. Even if you fail. To fail with fucking vigor.

I’ve felt that confidence more in my own life too, though it’s sometimes still a struggle. I remain a work in progress. Don’t we all? If you’re still looking for that confidence in your writing or in your daily life, I say the only way to find and refine your true voice is to put it the fuck out there. Believe you’ve got something to say. Believe that someone somewhere wants to hear it. Because if you can put your true feelings into words, feelings that genuinely resonate through every inch of your fucking being, then someone else out there will hear it and feel it too. I believe that with profound fucking certainty. My whole fucking life is proof of that power, that connection.

And that’s what it’s all the fuck about. That connection from across the page. That’s the goddamn thunder. And while I may be done with Thor, I’m definitely not done chasing that connection, that confidence. If the gods of Asgard are truly on my side, I’ll never be done.

So thank you, Thor. Here’s to seven fun years we spent together. And even though we’re both moving on now (Donny Cates will treat you right, I know he will), something tells me you’ll still be getting a mention in my obituary someday, many years from now. “Jason Aaron, former writer of THOR, died today, while eating a Dole Whip, moments after riding Splash Mountain. His beard looked amazing. His ashes will be spread across Bryant-Denny-Saban stadium this weekend before the latest installment of the Iron Bowl, which Alabama is expected to win by 35 points.”

So what now? What new Marvel book will I be taking on now that I’m done with THOR? Maybe I’ll talk more about that next time. For now, I’m gonna keep feeling the feelings of saying goodbye a little bit longer.

But we can talk about the books I already had come out this past week.

AVENGERS #26 is your typical gay caveman cosmic love story, drawn by the legendary Dale Keown. I’ve loved doing all the different Prehistoric Avengers spotlight issues, but this one was probably the most fun I’ve had so far. It’s the origin of the Prehistoric Starbrand. There’s also a badass dinosaur. And I mentioned Dale fucking Keown, right?

CONAN #11 is the penultimate chapter of my “Life and Death of Conan” story. Is penultimate too pretentious a word? Should I just say next to last? Would that sound better? It’s the next to fucking last part of my big Conan story. And it’s completely different from any of the other previous chapters. It’s about the whole “death” part of the “Life and Death of Conan.” Particularly, it’s about what happens when Conan comes face to face with his god, Crom. Suffice to say, they won’t be holding hands and singing “Kumbaya.” Or maybe they will. Maybe that’s the swerve you never saw coming. Guess you’ll have to buy it to find out.

Hey, another penultimate issue! It’s a a month of penultimates for me. I’ve already droned on a lot about THOR, but I’ll just say that this issue of KING THOR fulfills a story promise I made all the way back during my first arc of THOR GOD OF THUNDER. At the end of that original “Godbomb” story, Thor returns to an alien world that had lost its gods and brings them some new ones. We only see those gods in silhouette. But I had always intended to go back and fully introduce them. And have Esad Ribic design them. And then we’d have some gods to play with. But I never got to it. The story moved on to other things, and then Esad moved on too, and those new gods stayed as just some scratched out ideas and a bunch of names in my notebook for seven long years. Until now. So pick up KING THOR #3 if you wanna meet the long-awaited gods of Indigarr. Like the God of Thorns and the Goddess of Gristle and the Prince of Soot. Oh and there’s Gorr the God Butcher too.

The other Marvel book I’m currently working on didn’t come out this past week, but there was an announcement about its future. Torunn Grønbekk is joining me as co-writer on VALKYRIE: JANE FOSTER starting with issue #8 in February. Al Ewing has been doing the vast majority of the work and making the book a blast every issue, so if you’ve been enjoying it so far, please thank Al. But now Torunn and I have come up with a big weird Asgardian story together that I think people will really dig. If you don’t know Torunn’s work, you’re in for a wicked treat. It feels like no exageration to say that she was born for this, as she’s Norwegian and her name literally means “to love Thor.” So guess who happens to show up in issue #8? Yeah, it’s the first official team-up between Thor and Jane since she became Valkyrie. See, I told you I struggled to let go. There’s more info here, including some quotes from Torunn.

As always, hit up the online store over at my website to pick up signed copies of any of my creator-owned works and lots of my Marvel stuff too. I also recently unearthed an old box of Boss BBQ shirts in the basement, so get those while they last.

And since you’ve been so good by reading all the way to the end this week, I’ll reward you with a recent pic of my beard, as taken by the amazing photographer and one of my favorite people, Casey McCauley.

This has been Beard Missives, direct from the face of Jason Aaron.

This week’s newsletter has been brought to you by Twizzlers bites, Airheads stripes, Five Farms Irish Cream Liqueur, margaritas with tajin on the rim and “The Imagineering Story” on Disney +.

Cheers.

Jason Aaron

KC, November 2019

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