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Who Knew the End of the World Could Be This Fucking Beautiful?
Notes on Golgonooza, Punisher No More & the comfort that comes from being uncomfortable
Hi. This is Jason. Coming to you from the home office here in the wind-blown wilds of Kansas, where many exciting new comic books are in various forms of being written and labored to life.
Unfortunately most of those comics are of the “Too Soon to Talk About Beyond the Occasional Vague Tease” variety. But there are a couple we can discuss, one of which actually hits shelves today.
The second arc of ONCE UPON A TIME AT THE END OF THE WORLD kicks off this week.
That’s my post-apocalyptic love story for BOOM! Studios, where the first arc (brought to life by the amazing team of artist Alexandre Tefenkgi and colorist Lee Loughridge) introduced us to wasteland waifs Maceo and Mezzy, who met and fell for each other while struggling to survive the end times. They were just a couple of kids in that first arc. With this second arc, they’re all grown up, and we follow them as they love their way across the ruins of the old world, in search of a place where they can be free, free to love unfettered, and just maybe in the process save the fucking world.
This new arc features the wondrous artistic talents of artist Leila del Duca and colorist Tamra Bonvillain. And I do mean wondrous. Here’s a peak at the sort of gorgeously surreal imagery that awaits you on the love-swept plains of the wasteland.
As I’ve said before, this series is a profoundly personal and important project for me. With this new arc, we dive deep into exploring Maceo and Mezzy’s relationship as adventurous young adults. I’d rather wait and talk more about that as we go, instead of spoiling things for you here. I’ll just say that I’ve never written anything even remotely like this before, never dealt with some of these subjects before. And really I don’t think anyone has portrayed a story like this in quite the way we’re looking to do it. I’m very excited to hear what y’all think.
And hey, if you haven’t yet checked out ONCE UPON A TIME AT THE END OF THE WORLD, because, I don’t know, you’re afraid of having too many good things in your life at one time, well today is the day you can remedy that.
Today also sees the release of the trade paperback collection of our first arc, “Love in the Wasteland.”
In addition to the first five sold-out issues of this new series, the trade paperback collection features some exclusive back matter, in the form of behind-the-scenes, script-to-art process pages. So come on in, the wasteland is waiting to welcome you. And here’s the soundtrack for that first arc, as well as the beginning of the soundtrack for the second, so you can read along in style. More will be added to that Book Two playlist as we go.
I don’t think it’s ever a good thing to feel too terribly comfortable, creatively. As far as I can tell, the number one job of any entertainer is first and foremost to entertain themselves. And I don’t think I can do that again and again unless I’m trying to go somewhere I haven’t been before. Somewhere that challenges me. That pushes me to share something of myself I’ve never shared before. That makes me a bit uncomfortable.
I’m happy to say that I feel very uncomfortable right now.
But, you know, in a good way. I feel really challenged and invigorated by everything I’m working on at the moment. And whatever new phase of my career I’m currently embarking upon, I think for me it really started with ONCE UPON A TIME AT THE END OF THE WORLD, which makes sense, as it’s very much a story about beginnings and endings.
It’s a book that makes me uncomfortable in the same way my writing did when I was a painfully shy grade school kid, struggling to find a way to share anything of myself with the outside world. Writing this series feels scary and exciting in all the best ways. In other words, there’s a comfort that comes from feeling creatively uncomfortable, and that’s the feeling I’m enjoying living in at the moment.
Speaking of feeling uncomfortable…
My latest PUNISHER series wrapped up last week.
For my money, you cannot truly explore the history and the character of Frank Castle without going to some very dark and uncomfortable places. And that's exactly what these twelve issues were about. An exploration of a man who wages war in the name of his dead family. While finally giving someone from that family a voice and a say in the matter. And having Frank’s soul laid bare in all its most complicated and tragic glory. All while still having a bit of wicked fun, with ninjas and the God of War and guns that shoot cars.
I am thoroughly pleased with the finished product. I’d say it’s one of the most fully-realized and satisfying projects I’ve been a part of at Marvel. Massive gratitude goes to the amazing creative team of artists Jesús Saiz and Paul Azaceta, and colorists Dave Stewart and Matt Hollingsworth.
Also thank you so much to everyone who joined us on our grim little journey. If you liked what you read, well then I think I have another upcoming project you might enjoy. No, it’s not another Punisher book. But it’s something that will have a similar make-up and tone.
God, I love writing 30 page issues. It’s fucking luxurious. I feel as happy as Frank Castle the first time he traded his pistol for an M-60.
This November I’ll be returning to one of my favorite comic cons on this planet or any other, Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival in North Yorkshire, England.
That’s all I’ve currently got scheduled in terms of cons or appearances for the rest of 2023, but a few other things may pop up along the way, I’m not sure. Some of it will depend on the timing of all those New Projects I Can’t Talk About Yet But Keep Bringing Up Anyway Because I’m Such a Dirty Tease.
Also I’ve been really enjoying getting back to traveling to cool places. So if you live in a cool place, maybe I’ll see you there.
But if you can’t make it to the UK to see me and you’d like to get yourself some signed comics, look for a big update that’ll be coming soon to my online store. More on that in a bit. There I go with the teasing again.
This has been Beard Missives, direct from the insufferably teasing face of Jason Aaron.
This week’s newsletter has been brought to you by Berry Pebbles cereal, Raspberry Rocket Pop Quirk hard seltzers and Sol Tarasco Charanda mushroom rum.
Cheers. Love y’all.
Happy Golgonooza Day.
KC, June 7, 2023
“Oh oh come take my hand.
We’re riding out tonight to case the promised land.”
—Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road”
Things To Come
STAR WARS: DARTH VADER - BLACK, WHITE & RED #3 — June 28, 2023
ONCE UPON A TIME AT THE END OF THE WORLD #7 — July 5, 2023
AVENGERS ASSEMBLE Trade Paperback — July 18, 2023
STAR WARS: DARTH VADER - BLACK, WHITE & RED #4 — July 26, 2023
AVENGERS BY JASON AARON Hardcover Vol. 4 — July 25, 2023
ONCE UPON A TIME AT THE END OF THE WORLD #8 — August 2, 2023
PUNISHER: KING OF KILLERS Book Two Trade Paperback — August 22, 2023
MARVEL AGE #1000 — August 30, 2023
THOR BY JASON AARON Omnibus Vol. 2 — October 24, 2023