PAINT WITH YOUR GUTS

Thoughts on HEROES REBORN #2 & a return to joy

Hi, it’s me again. I know we were here last week, talking about HEROES REBORN #1 (and thank you so much for the response to that, which has been really incredible), but I just wanted to pop in with a reminder that HEROES REBORN will be coming out weekly these next couple months, so issue #2 is already waiting for you at your local comic shop, with this cover by Leinil Yu and interiors by Dale Keown and Carlos Magno.

I appreciated this bit about issue #1 from SyFy Wire:

In a Marvel career that's seen him invent, reinvent, and remix just about every corner of the universe at this point, it feels natural to me that Jason Aaron's next big swing at an event is something a bit experimental even by his standards. Sure, alternate universe stories are nothing new, especially in the Marvel Multiverse, but as Heroes Reborn's first issue unfolds, it's clear that Aaron is less interested in holding our hand as we walk into this new world and more interested in playing with an entirely new set of toys, and the result is one of the most fun issues of superhero comics so far this year.

“Fun” was definitely what I was going for. Something that still too often becomes a naughty word in our business. Like we’re too afraid or ashamed to embrace the ridiculously fun part of comics, for fear we won’t be seen as bleak and mature enough. And I say that as a writer who’s gone as bleak as anyone over the years and who certainly has more bleak-as-fuck bleakness yet to come, sooner rather than later. But with HEROES REBORN, I wanted to build something fun, something for the kid inside me with his spinner racks of wildly-imaginative treasures, relics from other worlds that would fill his head and his heart with amazing wonders for a lifetime to come. Something joyful.

Because there wasn’t a lot of joy to go around when I sat down to write this. Not in the real world. Not for most anyone, including me.

I started writing HEROES REBORN more than a year ago, just at the start of the pandemic. I think I had the first issue mostly done when the shutdown came. When the comic industry ground to a stop. When companies had to give “pencils down” orders to most of their creators. We all know how surreal and unprecedentedly difficult the next months would be. And I’m sure we all had our own unique personal challenges to deal with in the midst of that. I sure did.

Things were able to move forward again on HEROES REBORN by the end of the summer. I wrote HEROES REBORN #2, the Hyperion issue, in July. And most of the rest of the series in August. Life was difficult. The world was a terrifying wreck. People were dying. We were all lonely and isolated and frightened.

So I did the opposite of writing the world outside my window. There wasn’t a lot of joy to be found in that world. Instead I went back to that kid at the spinner rack, and I wrote with the joy and wonder I’d been stockpiling inside myself for all my decades of reading and loving comics. I painted a world with what was in my guts. A world that could make me smile. And it damn sure did.

That said, there’s definitely a darkness that runs through HEROES REBORN. I think it’s still very much a story born of its age. But I hope you can feel that joy and wonder. And more than anything, as life is still a challenge and we’re all just starting to poke our heads out of hibernation in some way or another to survey the reborn landscape of the world, I hope this books make you smile. We all deserve a lot more of those this year.

This has been BEARD MISSIVES, direct from the stupidly grinning face of Jason Aaron.

This week’s newsletter has been brought to you by the two spinner racks in my house, the few hundred long boxes in my basement and the old glow-in-the-dark, mail-order Kryptonite rock on my bookshelf (“It’s terrific! It’s fantastic! It’s Krptonastic!”).

Keep smiling. Keep safe. Thanks for reading.

Jason Aaron

May 12, 2021


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