Discover more from Jason Aaron's Beard Missives
The Worlds in Our Heads
Thoughts on HEROES REBORN #1 & the first comics I ever read
Sometimes just telling one story isn’t enough.
Sometimes you need to build an entire world.
This is the first comic book I ever read. I read it until the cover came off. And then I read it some more.
WORLD’S FINEST #258, from August 1979. With a Neal Adams cover. And José Luis García-López art on the inside. Around the same time, maybe off the same drug store spinner rack, I also picked up ADVENTURE COMICS #464. Both of them were 68 PAGES! With 5 FULL-LENGTH FEATURES! ALL NEW! NON-STOP COVER-TO-COVER ACTION! Between the two of them, they featured stories with characters I knew from “The Super Friends” cartoons, like Superman, Batman and the Flash, along with characters I’d never heard of, like Deadman, Black Lightning and the Shazam Family. I fell in love with these books, in part because they didn’t just give me one story, but instead gave me a taste of an entire world of characters and adventures and history that was out there waiting for me. The sort of gargantuan super-world that would come to consume a large portion of the rest of my life.
I’ve loved writing stories since I was first old enough to hold a pencil and scribble down some words. The ones that didn’t make it onto paper were acted out with G.I. Joes or tree limb swords or with me running through the woods behind our house yelling like Tarzan. But it wasn’t enough just to do one story and move on to something else. Like WORLD’S FINEST #258, I wanted to build a window into a whole world made of stories.
So those stories I was creating would flow together, build on each other, become these elaborate mythologies and histories that developed over the course of years, existing only inside my young head. When a friend and I decided to start writing and drawing our own comics, on typing paper stapled together, I created the first issues of an entire interlocking line of books (Unfortunately I don’t have them anymore as a few years later I became embarrassed by my crude drawings and threw them all away. Really wish I hadn’t. As I once heard the great Ray Bradbury say, never throw away anything that was important to you at the time, because it likely will be again.)
In other words, I think I’ve been primed from the beginning to want to build my own world of superheroes. And HEROES REBORN is maybe as close as I’ll ever come to doing exactly that.
It’s not a completely new world. It’s the Marvel Universe you know but remixed in a wild new way I feel pretty confident in saying we’ve never really seen before. And to understand and appreciate what that means, I think you’ll just have to see it for yourself. Issue #1 is in stores today, with art by Ed McGuinness, Mark Morales and Matthew Wilson and a whole host of different covers. And the other issues will be following weekly, featuring a killer line-up of artists, including Dale Keown, Federico Vicentini, James Stokoe, R.M. Guera, Erica D'Urso and Aaron Kuder. Together, we’ll be telling you one big story, while also giving you a wealth of glimpses into the new world we’ve built, one filled with surprises, and fueled by a joyful, all-consuming love of comics, that for me can be traced directly back to those 68 jam-packed pages of WORLD’S FINEST #258.
And actually, this week, while HEROES REBORN #1 is hitting the shelves, I’m busy working away on AVENGERS #50, which just happens to be the biggest single issue of anything I’ve ever written, clocking in at… 69 pages.
Never let go of the important things.
In Other News
I recently wrote the script for a motion comic featuring a couple of my favorite Thor-related characters, Odin and the unstoppable Mangog, which was released in connection with the Contest of Champions mobile game. Grab some mead and enjoy.
Ryan Ottley’s killer cover for the AVENGERS/HULK FREE COMIC BOOK DAY issue was recently revealed. The AVENGERS part of it is written by me and drawn by Iban Coello, who's been tearing it up on VENOM. This one serves as a big set-up for the previously-mentioned AVENGERS #50. Also the HULK part of it is by… (checks notes)… Chip Zdarsky. Never heard of him, but I’m sure it’ll be… fine.
Solicitations for July were just released. At my Work Blog you’ll find the breakdown of everything I’ve got coming out that month. I’ve been posting more news updates there, in between new editions of this newsletter, and you can expect more of that going forward, as my monthly output starts to dramatically increase come the Fall. More on all that when I can talk about it, which I’m anxious to do. Just know my level of busyness is exceeded only by my level of excitement.
Also, THE VIRGIN BRIDES #5 just went to print, wrapping up THE GODDAMNED Volume Two, which I think has been one of the absolute best-looking comics I’ve ever been a part of, thanks to Guera and colorist Giulia Brusco. It’ll be in stores May 19. Check out a preview here.
In some truly heartbreaking news, comics lost one of its most incredibly talented artists this week, as John Paul Leon passed away. A memorial fund was started to raise money for his family, which I encourage you to donate to if you can.
I was lucky enough to get to work with JPL back in 2007, on SCALPED #12. I’ll leave you with one of his powerful images from that.
This has been BEARD MISSIVES.
Hug the people you can. And thanks for reading.
KC, May 5, 2021