Brian K. Vaughn interview

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(NOV 06 WoW)

Brian K. Vaughn has written such books as Y: The Last Man for DC/Vertigo, Ex Machina for DC/WildStorm, and Runaways and Ultimate X-Men for Marvel. This month, he takes on a classic Marvel character in Dr. Strange: The Oath. Westfield's Roger Ash contacted Vaughn to learn more about this book.

Westfield: What is the appeal of doing a Dr. Strange story?

Brian K. Vaughn: I love Ditko's design and the trippy visuals that go with it, but over the years, I think we've focused too much on the "Strange," and not enough on the "Doctor." It's such a classic Stan Lee touch to make the Sorcerer Supreme a man with a background in science and logic. My favorite panel from Doc's origin involves the arrogant Stephen looking down at his trembling hands right after he crashes his sports car, knowing that he'll never again be able to perform surgery. How brilliantly tragic that this guy can cast any spell imaginable, but he's reminded of his own flaws every time he picks up a drink, and hears the ice cubes rattling inside the glass.

Westfield: Is this based on the J. Michael Straczynski reimagining of the character or the classic Marvel version?

Vaughn: It's based on my version of the character, I suppose. I really enjoyed the JMS mini, but the Strange I'm working on with artist/co-creator Marcos Martin probably has more in common with the "classic" version.

Westfield: What can you tell us about the story and the characters involved?

Vaughn: Strange can call upon Hoggoth and Watoom all he wants, but his first allegiance is still to Hippocrates, and an oath he first swore as a young med student: "Do no harm." In our upcoming mini-series, Marcos and I are going to be introducing a new threat to Stephen's life that will really challenge that belief.

Some of the best Strange stories have been his solo investigations into his own weird corner of the Marvel Universe, while some of his worst have involved him showing up like a mystical deus ex machina to save the Fantastic Four or whatever. That said, we are going to be giving Strange a new partner from elsewhere in the Marvel Universe, an existing character who no one will expect, but who compliments the good doctor perfectly.

Plus, Wong!

Westfield: Are you enjoying working with artist Marcos Martin?

Vaughn: I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying it. Marcos and I have known each other for years, and along with being a good friend, I've watched him blossom into one of the top artists working today with projects like Batgirl: Year One and his recent Captain America special with Ed Brubaker. In my mind, he's the only real mainstream successor to the elegant linework and dynamic storytelling of David Mazzucchelli.

You can see links to some of Marcos' amazing work on Strange here.

Westfield: Is there anything you'd like to say about the other projects you're working on?

Vaughn: I have a new original graphic novel coming out in September from Vertigo called Pride Of Baghdad, a kind of Animal Farm for the current Iraq War, inspired by a true story of four lions who escaped the Baghdad Zoo during the American bombings in 2003. I think it's the best project I've ever been a part of, and you can read more about it at my official site, www.bkv.tv, and over at my hipster MySpace page.