Vaughan Talks to Aaron About the End of SCALPED

Listen, we’re not usually ones for pointing you over to the stuff another website did, because we’d rather write it ourselves, however, this is just too cool, and you must give credit where due. Over at Comic Book Resources, they got Brian K. Vaughan (Saga, Y: The Last Man) to interview Jason Aaron about the end of Scalped. Cool, right?

You want to go read the whole thing? Go for it. You want to read the Pick of the Week review of Scalped #60? We got that. You want to complain about that Blackest Night #1 pick from years ago? Go screw.

Anyway, here are some choice bits. Vaughan is asking the questions, and Aaron is answering.

Right after I finished the last issue, I went right back to reread the first issue to see how much you had grown as a writer over the years. I was annoyed to find out that you were pretty fucking great back then, too. And “Scalped” #1 was like the third or fourth comic book you had ever written. Is that right?

It is. I appreciate you saying that. I haven’t read that issue in a long time. I’ve been kind of afraid to go back and read those first couple of issues.

Don’t be afraid — the first issue is terrific. I think it holds up really well. And you had only written a couple of issues of comics before writing that?

I had written two issues of “The Other Side,” which was the first Vertigo book I had done. The first comic thing I ever did was the Marvel talent search contest. It was like an eight- or ten-page story.

“Scalped” #1 was the third full comic script I had ever written, and I was writing it at the same time my wife was pregnant. So it was a crazy time in my life. I wasn’t getting a lot of sleep. I was diving into an ongoing series for the first time and I wasn’t really sure I was prepared for that. I had also just quit my day job.

I’ve always been afraid to go back and read those early issues. I didn’t really feel like I knew what the hell I was doing until maybe issue #5.

It doesn’t read like that at all. The first issue is really confident and well executed. It makes me hate your guts. [Laughs]

I think it’s fascinating that you didn’t have kids when you first conceived “Scalped,” especially because the book has such really well-observed moments between parents and their children. Not to pry into your personal life, but when you became a father early in the book’s run, did it change how you thought about the story? Did it change the direction at all?

I’m sure it did. I don’t remember the exact moment or consciously being aware of that, but I think it changed everything I do as a writer. “Scalped” was always about family in some sense. Even before I was a dad, it was still a book with a strong sense of family, which I think is in a lot of stuff I do. Whether it’s superhero stuff of crime stuff, at the end of the day it’s all somehow about family and the mark our families leave on us, for good or for bad.

That was always part of it, and the other weird way that me being a dad ties in with “Scalped” is that my son’s name is Dash. He and the book were both coming along at around the same time, so somehow my son and my main character both got the same name.

So he was good from the get go, and his kid’s name is Dash. Points awarded.

Then they turn things around a little bit. Just two writers talking. No big.

As a comic book writer, you have to say goodbye a few times when you’re ending a long-running series. There’s the day you finish the script. Then there’s the day you see the final page of art. Then there’s the day the book is finally released. Have you said all of your goodbyes already? Has it sunk in yet that it’s really over?

Yeah, I’ve said all of my goodbyes. It’s kind of like wrapping a movie; I’d make note of the different goodbyes as they came along. It’s like when they’re shooting a movie and they’ll say something. “Bob has just shot his last scene. Let’s all say goodbye to Bob.” So when Jock turned in his last cover that was a big deal. Then, of course, there was the moment when I turned in the last script. Then Guera turned in the last page and Giulia did the last colors. And then I did lettering corrections on the last issue, and that was really the last time I ever wrote anything for “Scalped.” Then, of course, this week the issue came out.

I never really felt sad about any of that, though. The sad part is that I don’t get to work with Jock, Guera, Will Dennis, Mark Doyle and all those same people again. We might decide to do something again someday, but who knows? We might never be able to get that exact same team together again. And even if we did, it probably wouldn’t be quite the same.

So there were a lot of goodbyes, but I think we were all excited to finally wrap things up after six years and move on to other stuff.

What was it like for you? You’ve done a couple of long projects like that.

It is a long goodbye. I remember doing the final lettering corrections and balloon placements with “Y:The Last Man.” Then there was the corrects for when the final collected edition came out. I wanted to make sure that looked nice. So even after I thought I had said all of my goodbyes, the book was still a part of my life. I guess, in a way, I still haven’t said goodbye to that series.

The whole thing is worth your time, as is the work of both writers.



  1. Awesome! Thanks for the heads up.
    Even though I’ve only bought the first trade of Scalped I’ve been “following it” through your podcasts, I want to wait until I have the whole run in trade format for me to start reading, it might take a while but I’m sure it will be totally worth it.

  2. I wrote a draft where I complained that no one commented on this post. Thanks CarlosFF (and F5)..

    This is poetry in print. Two titans of their craft, sitting down for a casual, honest chat and being as nice as we have known their personas to be. It is like a print WTF for comics…

    Sliced bread just moved to Number 2

    • Aaron hasn’t reached titan status yet. If he announces a new ongoing series in San Diego, it will not have the same impact as an announcement from Vaughan. Don’t get me wrong. I love Aaron. I’m just saying he hasn’t reached that level yet.

    • fair enough. I was liberal in my use of Titan, as I was coming from the craftsmanship standpoint. And honestly, I do not think Vaughan is truly a Titan. Like say Jim Lee or Grant Morrison. But to my eye, my appreciation for them is on that level. The scope, majesty, imagination, characters and beautiful humanity to their different voices, all had me at hello.

      and as BKV said, in Scalped, it was there from the beginning.and that 50th issue of Scalped? Pure gold. Wolverine and the X-Men? A must read.I am not an Xbook fan, but Remender and Mr Peter David are two others I would throw Titan status towards. And in Mr David’s case, I would not even caveat it.

  3. Truly an amazing interview, thanks for the heads up, wish i was one of those who were on it from the beginning but sadly picked it up in trade and never switched, can’t wait for the final volume

  4. I can’t believe Scalped #1 was only the third full comic book he’d ever written. Goddamn prodigy.