Our Interview with Brian K. Vaughan

Shortboxed was lucky enough to catch Brian K. Vaughan during a lull as he was doing a signing at Isotope Comics in San Francisco. We didn’t get him to ourselves for long, but we made sure to ask him a few questions. Check out our (brief) interview with one of the nicest dudes we’ve met, and writer of some of our favorite comic series of all time.

As mentioned, we managed to catch Brian at an Isotope Comics signing.

In case you aren’t familiar with Brian’s work, he has written some of the most critically acclaimed comic series in the past decade including, but not limited to: Saga, Y: The Last Man and the Runaways.

I managed to get to the signing fairly early (the signing was from 3-6 on a Friday) thanks to my flexible schedule at work. Brian was kind enough to not only shoot the bumper for us, but to let me ask him a few questions while we waited for diligent, working San Franciscans to arrive. I gave Brian the elevator pitch. “Shortboxed is a blog about beginnings, about people getting started.”

Shortboxed: What is something that you think every beginning writer should know about writing comics?

Brian K Vaughan: Every time I’m asked this, I tell them: [writing’s] hard. It’s a struggle. But you just gotta finish things. Sometimes you think you want to stop. But no. Don’t ever stop halfway through, don’t start another script. You gotta finish what you’re working on. You gotta see it through.

Brian K Vaughan interview at shortboxed
Brian K. Vaughan’s “The Runaways”

SB: Do you have a writing regimen? A daily schedule? Do you think “Maybe I’m going to get up and run, and then sit down and write?”

BKV: No, no, no – look at me. Do I look like I get up and run? (Editor’s note: BKV does indeed look like he might get up and go for a run every morning) And I’ve got kids now, so it’s a little bit harder [to maintain a regular exercise schedule]. I’ve always been a write at the end of the day. If I wake up – I think about what it is I have to write. Then I just sit there. Sometimes, it’s like I’m hiding from work, then I panic the last three hours of the day. You know? I’m just sitting there. But every day you have to be in front of the computer, writing, for three hours. And it’s not just those three hours, you have to think about WHAT you’re going to be doing there for five hours. You know?

Yorick from Y: The Last Man
Yorick from Y: The Last Man

SB: Where do you go for inspiration? Do you have a muse?

BKV: I focus on family and friends, rather than trying to read books and then trying to respond to what I’ve read. I’d say you have to write about your world and what makes you crazy or happy, right? There’s not much more than that. I wish I had better input for you!

Brian K Vaughan interview at Shortboxed - Saga author
Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga

SB: Would you have a top 5 favorite comics, graphic novels, writers?

BKV: I mean, that’s tough. Watchmen. That’s not even the best Alan Moore book, but that’s what I read when I was 12, and Watchmen made me want to be a writer. So that’s up there. And any Chris Ware, he’s number 2… Daniel Clowes is somewhere up there. Those are the big ones. Oh, Jeph Loeb’s Spider-man. Charles Burns.

And there it was! By this time, the line had started to form and I had to make haste. Brian signed a copy of the Saga Vol 1 Hardback and a copy of Doctor Strange: The Oath, a landmark story arc for Doctor Strange. Later that night there was a Saga-themed cocktail party. Attendees received a high ball glass with exclusive b/w Saga art printed on them and the cocktails were BKV-themed.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 12.03.21 AM

Again, just have to say, Brian is one of the nicest dudes. Heard him fielding all kinds of questions, from the mundane (such as ours, we definitely learned to plan for this sort of opportunity in the future) to the unique: “Do you remember 10 years ago signing our book…?”

My favorite part of the whole scenario was when I told Brian what comic book blog I write for and he totally played it off like he was familiar with us — which he might’ve been, I guess — but whatever the case may be, it made me feel important. And Brian is one of the biggest names in the business right now. Was glad to be able to meet one of my comic idols. Can’t wait to interview him again. Keep your eyes peeled for the next big interview, Shortboxers.

If this is your first time visiting Shortboxed, thanks for stopping by! We want to provide a place online where people new to comics can come and learn about the culture and be introduced to some amazing stories without feeling overwhelmed or intimidated. We’re always adding new content, so please come back soon! You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr at @shortboxed.

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