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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 08/19/2008

Interview With the Creator: Writer Brian K. Vaughan

By Michael Cavna

"Y: The Last Man." (Courtesy of Brian K. Vaughan)

He writes for DC. He writes for Marvel. He bags his second Eisner Award this year for his own creation, the apocalyptic comic-book series "Y: The Last Man" (for which he's also written the screenplay). And when not up to his dome in comics work, he also writes for TV's "Lost."

At times, BRIAN K. VAUGHAN (also much-lauded for his series "Ex Machina") seems like the sci-fi world's version of Michael Phelps: Nearly everything he touches turns to gold.

We caught up with the Cleveland-born Vaughan to discuss his projects past and present:

David Betancourt: Do you think anything you do from here on out will be compared with "Y: The Last Man"? And if so, are you comfortable with that?

Brian K. Vaughan: Funny. Garth Ennis -- who co-created the [DC/Vertigo series] "Preacher" -- when "Y" ended he wrote me and said, "Congratulations -- prepare for the rest of your life for people to tell you that they don't like your new stuff as much as they like your old stuff." And you know what? I'm perfectly all right with that.

Considering the circumstances of the plot, "Y: The Last Man" is a story full of strong women: Agent 355, Dr. Mann, Alter. Are there women in your life who have influenced the creation of these characters?

Sure, definitely. I'm obviously not dating a secret agent or a member of the Culper Ring. I know very few brilliant scientists like Dr. Mann. But yeah, I grew up with a sister I was very close with and a mom who was a powerful influence on my life. I was always close with women. So I think that, sure, they rubbed off on the book a little bit.

What did you read when you first got into comics, and when did you know that you wanted to write comics?

I guess my journey with comics began with stuff like Spider-Man and Batman. I started off with mainstream superhero stuff, which I've never abandoned. It's something that I've always loved and continue to love. I think from there, I branched out to sort of more sophisticated superhero stuff. Things like "Watchmen," which I remember reading in one sitting on a family car trip....And I think it was reading "Watchmen," that I first decided that this is a medium that I really wanted to work in.

With the "Y: The Last Man" movie in development, do you have in your head an ideal cast for all your characters?

I don't at all. And I know it always sounds like a tremendous cop-out. But for me, those characters will always be [artist] Pia Guerra's interpretations of them. I think when I first wrote the original outline and I just got Pia's first sketches over my crappy old-school fax machine, the second I saw each of them, she nailed them on the first at-bat, every single character. Any adaptation will hopefully be cool, but for me the book will always be the real thing.

How was the screenwriting experience?

It was nice. I'm very flattered they let me take a stab at the screenplay. A lot of people seemed to like it, and it's gotten more work based off of it. There's no guarantee that they'll end up using my draft or anything from my draft, but it's good.

What's the future hold for you?

I just sold my first original screenplay to DreamWorks. It's a script called "Roundtable" -- a supernatural comedy. So that's really exciting. I'm working on a "Runaways" adaptation for Marvel. And I'm back to "Lost" next season. But my biggest concern is really just continuing to do more comics. Behind the scenes, I'm working on some new, original creator-owned comics, and I think at least initially they'll probably be graphic novels, more like "Pride of Baghdad" -- self-contained stories. As much as I'm enjoying stuff out here in Hollywood, I will always think of myself as a comic-book writer who does film and television, not a film and TV writer who occasionally does comics. That'll be next year. Hopefully it'll be a comic-book year.

By Michael Cavna  | August 19, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Interviews With Cartoonists  
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I recently read Y:The Last Man this summer, and I was so impressed with the complexities of the story.I read through the entire series in 2 days!!As a woman reading this, I felt like Brian K. Vaughn really touched on all aspects of womanhood; the raw, emotional, and physical demands of being a female in a male dominated society. I really liked his spin on how women can hold their own. I'm impressed by how detailed the traits of women were depicted.This is a great graphic novel and I intend to reread it and see if I enjoy it as much the second time around, which I'm sure I will!

Posted by: Amaria | August 19, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

If this interview has piqued your curiosity about this comic book, you may want to download Issue #1 (don't worry, it's free) from the publisher's Web site at

Posted by: Seismic-2 | August 21, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

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