Like all people, we here at Therefore I Geek have heroes, but because we’re geeks many of those heroes are also geeks. With this in mind, we’re kicking off a new, reoccurring series featuring people in geek culture that we think you should know about, or at least know better and we’ve decided to start with Brian K. Vaughan.
Brian K. Vaughan got involved in comics as student at NYU in the late 90’s through a program at Marvel called the Stan-hattan Project, which gave students in NYU’s Dramatic Writing department a chance for practical experience. Vaughan started off with a few fill issues for several series, which included Cable and Wolverine, before moving over to DC where he helped re-launch Swamp Thing. Swamp Thing of course is known as a legacy title through which many of comic’s biggest names—such as Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, and Mark Millar—have come. When this particular Swamp Thing series didn’t last very long, Vaughan made his way back to Marvel for a Cyclops mini-series.
When Marvel decided to launch a new imprint, Vaughan wrote two series, one featuring Mystique and a second called Runaways which starred a new team of heroes who were the children of Marvel’s supervillains. Following a successful run, Vaughan left Runaways and was succeeded by none other than Joss Whedon.
Prior to the release of Runaways, Vaughan started a creator-owned series at Vertigo called Y: The Last Man. This is hailed as Vaughan’s best work and with good reason. It is the story of Yorick Brown and his monkey trying to survive in a world in which a mysterious event has left them the only two living males on the planet. It is a masterpiece of comics, lasting sixty issues before coming to a wonderful conclusion. Frequently Y: The Last Man is recommended to new comic readers as it exemplifies the art form.
In 2004, around the middle of Y: The Last Man, Vaughan started a second major, creator-owned series: Ex Machina. Where Y focused on a near future sci-fi story, Ex Machina mixed superheroes and politics, with the main character being a former superhero who has been elected mayor of New York City. If there was any doubt that Vaughan was a master of comics, Ex Machina removed it by the end of issue one. Only three years after Sept. 11, Vaughan left us breathless (with what?) and set the tone for the Ex Machina in one page.
Writing as good as Vaughan’s doesn’t go unnoticed outside comics for long. Toward the end of Ex Machina, Vaughan began to write for the TV show Lost. Many comic fans sadly believed he would never return once he’d seen the bright lights of Hollywood. Thankfully those doubters were wrong, and in 2012 Vaughan made a triumphant return to comics with Saga. The best thing I can say about Saga is that if you aren’t reading it, you should be and if you are, read it again. It’s that good. While Vaughan has made his comeback to comics, he hasn’t left Hollywood completely as he is also performing writing and executive producer duties for Under the Dome, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name.
Vaughan is a masterful storyteller in both comics and television and has worked on some of the most defining series of the last decade in both mediums. It’s this kind of contribution that makes Brian K. Vaughan a Geek to Know. Stay tuned to see who our next Geek to Know will be.