BONUS - Thor: Love and Thunder Mailbag + Thor Comics Writer Jason Aaron | Crooked Media
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July 20, 2022
X-Ray Vision
BONUS - Thor: Love and Thunder Mailbag + Thor Comics Writer Jason Aaron

In This Episode

On this bonus episode of X-Ray Vision, Jason Concepcion and Rosie Knight talk to Jason Aaron! First (1:51), they answer a few listener-submitted questions about Thor: Love and Thunder, including fan-casting a possible future MCU villain. Then, in the Hive Mind (24:28) Thor comics writer Jason Aaron speaks with Jason and Rosie about his career in comics, his iconic run on Thor, and working with Marvel Studios on Thor: Love and Thunder. Note: This interview was recorded before Thor: Love and Thunder was released.


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Jason Concepcion [AD]


Jason Concepcion Warning. This bonus episode of X-ray Vision contains spoilers for Thor, Love and Thunder. Don’t listen to it unless you’ve seen that movie, goodbye. Hello, my name is Jason Concepcion. Welcome to X-Ray Vision, the Crooked podcast where we dive deep into your favorite shows, movies, comics and pop culture. In this bonus episode, we’re going to answer some questions that you sent us about Thor, Love and Thunder, and then we will clear the lane so that comics legend Thor writer, Thor, God of Thunder writer, major influence on Thor Love and Thunder person, Jason Aaron can be interviewed by us and you can hear him talk about just how he created one of the great comic arcs of our time, truly. Next up, questions. First question from Kate What’s Arishem up to? Rosie, what’s Arishem up to, you think?


Rosie Knight Well, this is going back to my favorite topic, of course, The Eternals


Jason Concepcion Arishem, of course, the celestial who was kind of pulling the strings behind the scenes.


Rosie Knight Doing some judgment at the end. He’s like, Come on, I’m just judging you for killing another birthing celestial. You know, I like the casual nature of this question. Like, what’s he up to? What’s that casual god up to? Well, we saw a couple of celestials in Thor, Love and Thunder, which is what I’m sure inspired this question. They were peering through Omnipotence City. We saw a statue of Arishem in the Hall of Eternity which got smashed. I would assume Arishem is somewhere planning on how he’s watching Earth, seeing if Earth is worthy of existing, and planning his judgment, whatever that may be. And I think like you, yeah, you brought up something really good in the in our last episode, Thor Love and Thunder episode about how the Celestials could become part of like Zeus’s God War against the superheroes. So I think there’s many things that he’s cooking up.


Jason Concepcion Well, couple of things I wonder. These are vis a vie, Arishem and the celestials, one, that we were introduced to the concept during the previous phases of the MCU that the Infinity Stones were created basically as a weapon against the celestials. So I wonder how the celestials feel or have they talked about the fact that nothing can hold them in check anymore? Like that massive. I’m sure we’ll come up with something else. But that massive weapon that worked once upon a time is just like off the table for them. And I wonder if they’ve thought about it. And then two, you know, you mentioned your favorite movie, The Eternals. It’s growing on me as well, actually. But the end of that movie we saw that there is there ended up being a huge celestial carcass in the Pacific Ocean. And we expect at some point when they put The Avengers back together that that will be the headquarters of The Avengers. But I wonder, like, is it a tourist attraction? Like, what’s going on with the carcass right now?


Rosie Knight Is anyone has anyone noticed it? Is it something is it being worshiped? Is it being ignored? Has the government tried to move it? I think we would all like to know about the the cool, mobilized, celestial. Also, like something I really want to know is when the Avengers inevitably do move in there, make it their headquarters, how Arishem going to be feeling about that? I feel like it’s going to be mad disrespectful was not only did you kill this celestial, but now you’re just living in its body.


Jason Concepcion I know. Next question, Spidey Floppy asks, Can we expect Thor and Loki to reunite again, considering how different their stories are? Well, in the comics, Loki’s died a lot of deaths.


Rosie Knight So many times.


Jason Concepcion Loki’s been taken off the board many, many times, and replaced with younger versions of himself, or different versions like the versions of himself that seem to suggest and set up the fact that we can get a Loki and and potentially not a Loki played by Tom Hiddleston again in the future. Like it that’s that’s absolutely on the table that we either get a young Loki or or a female Loki. That can happen. I think that that can definitely happen. What do you think?


Rosie Knight Yeah, I think so too. And I think that this is one of the most asked questions because that relationship means so much to people in the MCU and in the comics, but especially in the MCU. So I definitely think I think we’ll get at least one more Hemsworth-Hiddleston reunion, even if it’s just like fleeting, like on the bifrost or something. But I also think you’re right, like kid Loki in the about in Young Avengers, very likely we already met him in the series, spoiler alert. And I definitely think Sofia di Martino’s version of Loki is also probably going to continue in the MCU too. So yeah, at some point, you know, could see Jane Foster, mighty Thor and Sofia DeMartino, Loki. You never know. You know, there’s there’s some there’s some Thor reuniting that could happen in different ways.


Jason Concepcion That would be extremely exciting. KGP asks What happens next with Thor? Gosh, my guess is if they’re going Secret Wars, that it’s going to be some. It’s going to be a big Secret Wars thing


Rosie Knight I think so. Like we’ve been talking about this a lot where basically this phase of the MCU, though, it hasn’t necessarily always been clear directly where it’s going or what connects it. The one thing that it has had is pretty much 90% of the shows have in all movies Shang-Chi introduced to low secret society where they have a special way of fighting that can harness supernatural stuff. Ms.. Marvel introduced the novel and the clandestine secret world that is on off in comics, as me and Jason talk about a lot. Secret Wars includes the thing, Battle Worlds, where all these dimensions come together on one earth. It seems like they’re establishing something like that. And I think Omnipotence City is another example of a secret society like Wakanda, like Kamar-Taj that could become a part of this global battle in Secret Wars. But you also did mention something I think a lot of people are thinking after the stinger in Thor, Love and Thunder, which was War of the Realms as a potential.


Jason Concepcion So in War of the Realms. Well, who would they. Gosh, who would they get to be the bad guy?


Rosie Knight I wonder if they’d just replace Malekith unless they want to bring him back baby, if they do it.


Jason Concepcion So in War of the Realms, in the comics, which is a great, great crossover, super fun crossover, in which Malekith, you know, King of the Dark Elves enters into an alliance with Roxxon.


Rosie Knight Evil.


Jason Concepcion The oil company, the evil oil company, to help conquer some of the other realms in return for access to Roxxon to like unimpeded mining and resource extraction from various groups.


Rosie Knight Absolutely shocking none, it basically destroys every realm. That’s essentially like that’s the kind of and then you end up in a situation where Middard or Earth is the only realm. I think it would actually be very easy. I mean, we did see Roxxon in like a funny Wal-Mart reimagining, like Easter Egg in Loki. But I do think it would be really easy to just have Hercules instead of be instead of Malekith being the puppet master of that way. He just wants to control every realm. He wants people to bow down to him and he will put in an alliance with whomever to do so. And that would also be a reason why Hercules could turn his back on his father and team up with the heroes. As we know he’s more than likely going to do.


Jason Concepcion Here’s my pitch. So, listen


Rosie Knight Kevin Feige, listen, hire Jason.


Jason Concepcion Are you listening? Are you listening? So I love the Hercules angle. I think Hercules, we understand that he’s got to break good at some point. And what we know about Hercules, they may might change it up. But what we know about Hercules from the comics is super, super strong. Really great guy. Not the sharpest.


Rosie Knight No, He’s he’s mobile.


Jason Concepcion He’s a he’s a he’s a he’s a dummy. He loves to get drunk and he does not hold his liquor as well as some of the other heavy, heavy drinkers in the MCU, notably Thor, notably Logan. None of the others. Every Asgardian. I mean, Hercules just gets after it. He gets fucked up. Now, what if it’s this? What if Dario Agger, CEO of Roxxon.


Rosie Knight So we thought would might maybe be a bad guy in Love and Thunder.


Jason Concepcion We did think that who also in the comics sold his soul in order to become the literal, Minotour literal. We have the Greece, now we have the Greece connection.


Rosie Knight Hercules and the Minotour, you’re really getting into some good deep stuff here.


Jason Concepcion So Agger tricks, Hercules. He’s like, Hey, I’ll help you. We’ll get back at Thor. Let’s do this. Let’s invade the realms and we’ll fuck Thor up when really what Agger wants is Hercules to take Thor out so he can and as the head of Roxxon, can just extract all the natural resources from Vanaheim or wherever. What if it’s that?


Rosie Knight Dude, That is like literally a perfect pitch. And I swear to God, I hope Marvel is listening to that is one of the best pitches. Also, let’s put that X-ray Vision oracle tinfoil hat is happening. That could be the thing. I think that’s a great version, especially because the space where Thor is at right now is a space where he has something to live for. He loves his family. He wants to protect the universe. He wants to protect the realms. And so that gives it even more heart to bring this kind of ecological analogous story about this evil corporation. I think that would be so good.


Jason Concepcion I’ll say something else, man. If I am an actor out there, Dario Agger, theoretically is one of the meatiest roles you can get in MCU.


Rosie Knight That’s why people think everyone assumed Christian Bale was going to play because you’re like, if you can get him to come back, what is it for? And obviously it was Gore, but Dario is so meaty. There’s so much there.


Jason Concepcion He’s so meaty. It’s like if it’s like if a character from The Wolf of Wall Street was also a super villain who turned into a huge, like bipedal, super strong bull from this, you know, it’s a it’s like a it would be a really, really great role.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion You know, I could just see whoever this character is, you know, they’re having a meeting of the of the shareholders and they’re laying into Dario Agger. Why are we losing this? Why are we lose? We just had a massive oil spill over in the Gulf and then he just turns into a Minotour and starts throwing people out the window.


Rosie Knight Who would be your dream, Dario Agger casting? If you got your pitch accepted and they were like, Jason, put together the pitch Bible. Who’s the dream?


Jason Concepcion You go first. I need to think about it. I need to think about it first.


Rosie Knight Okay. Okay. You know what? I would go, I’m like, if you’re going, who would I feel like? You know, Miles Teller could do like a very intense.


Jason Concepcion That’s a great one.


Rosie Knight Right?


Jason Concepcion That’s actually really, really good. Good.


Rosie Knight He could bring that that, you know, aggression from the film that made him and then kind of bring that charm from the newer stuff. And and I feel like I could see him becoming the Minotour. I feel like he’s got the the vibes.


Jason Concepcion I think Kieran, Kieran Culkin. Like because there’s a good there’s something really cool like about a kind of slightly dickish but unassuming physically human person who turns into this monstrous Minotour all of a sudden.


Rosie Knight Is incredibly smart and also incredibly likely because it’s one of the things I think Marvel does that is so interesting and that really sets it apart and also makes fan casting very fun for us. They love to cast someone who has already kind of done the thing that they want them to do.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight So they cast Kit Harington, most famous from Game of Thrones, and they cast him as Black Knight. They cast him as a midevil inspired superhero. Cersei, Gemma Chan had been in this really incredible show where she played like a robot who was gaining sentience and freedom from the people who created her. Very similar to the journey in Eternals, they’ve often done that. I mean, Fox, the Marvel side of Fox did it too, with casting, you know, Sansa Stark as Jean Gray like that. I feel like Kieran Culkin, they would if they don’t, if they could do Dario Agger and they don’t cast someone from Succession, that would be a miss like that.


Jason Concepcion Kevin Fiege give a call


Rosie Knight Kevin Fiege give X-Ray Vision a call, we’ll consult for you.


Jason Concepcion War of the Realms call us. It would be great. Kate. Why didn’t Moon Knight show up when gods are hissing? It’s a great question. Well, first of all, he’s merely an avatar of the gods. But the real question is. Why weren’t any of the Egyptian gods? Maybe they were. I haven’t. We need to do a real, like, granular scan of the Omnipotence City hall scene, so we don’t quite know that they weren’t there.


Rosie Knight But it did feel strange that there wasn’t a more prominent. The gods that they credit, they creditted were quite vague. And it will be really fun when it’s on Disney plus to go through and do that granular look. But it did feel as gods are becoming this really important part of the MCU. I was definitely also surprised that there wasn’t necessarily an obvious character from the Iliad that we’d met in Moon Knight.


Jason Concepcion You would have thought we would have seen, Konshu there. Now again, maybe he’s there.


Rosie Knight That would have been so funny, like in this really outrageous, like, orgy having place and you just got cranky, old F. Murray Abraham, Konshu.


Jason Concepcion And then finally Cokey1984. Is it a crime that we didn’t get a separate Valkyrie and Jane Foster buddy movie? There’s still time.


Rosie Knight I know. I’m like.


Jason Concepcion I mean neither of these characters are going away.


Rosie Knight  I want that.


Jason Concepcion But I am absolutely sure that Jane is coming back in some form or fashion.


Rosie Knight War of the Realms would also connect with that because that was had a storyline about her being being in Valhalla and her choosing to come back and then obviously later on becoming a Valkyrie. But I this I agree with 100% because to me those I, I really as you know if you listen to podcast, I love Thor, Love and Thunder. But like the moments that I think really sung to me that I would have loved to see expanded on were those moments with Jane and Val. Like when King Val goes and finds Jane and Jane’s broken the the SinK, Allah Wolverine in their much beloved movie Wolverine origins. You know, that moment between them when they have, you know, a pact and they both have their weapons and they have the little kind of the thing playing Mary J. Blige. And I just think I would love to see a whole movie of that. I think we could still see it. If I was going to pitch it, it would be like a cosmic road trip. I want that cosmic buddy movie. Maybe they’re both Valkyries. Maybe they’re rounding up other Valkyries. Maybe they’re just going on a fun trip. Doesn’t have to be anything to do with trauma or action, and they’re just like going to buy Thor a birthday present, and they want to get him, like, the funniest birthday present in the universe. Like, give me that movie. I, I would say it’s a crime if it doesn’t happen. But as Jason said, still lots of time.


Jason Concepcion I have one more add on for for why do we see next what happens next with Thor and I. But I would extend this to like all Marvel. Now, of course we’re waiting for that kind of like a unifying force to really kick in. And Kevin Feige announced that they had a Creative Council meeting about a month back now, so I’d assume they’re working on that too. But like at some point, you know, as we have just seen Damage Control as a kind of like human reactionary force to the sudden expansion of of the the population of enhanced people in the MCU. Bad guys win. Like at some point.


Rosie Knight Mm Hmm.


Jason Concepcion A dark rain kind of situation where, you know, the governments of the world are like, enough with these superpowered people. Like either Sokovia style, sign the shit or we’re coming after you. And then we get, like, siege.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Whoever or whoever takes control of the military slash government in the U.S. or in the world is like, okay, let’s get Asgard out of Earth. They can go. They have like there’s seven other realms, like they don’t need to be on this one.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And I also think something really smart about that is like, look, I know that the way that they did it and have been the trend.


Jason Concepcion Eight other realms.


Rosie Knight Yeah, the trend of the MCU so far has been this notion of you open a multiverse, you close it, it’s a closed loop, right? But let’s be real. A version of Norman Osborn, the King of Marvel Supervillains, has been to Earth 616, knows that who it’s Spider-Man is, knows the notion of the 616. I just think we shouldn’t count out seeing those kind of things. Siege, dark rain, and maybe even seeing the MCU version of some of those more iconic characters that we’ve already seen in the in the spider-verse, but reimagined in new ways.


Jason Concepcion I completely agree. That would be so awesome. And you know what is awesome? Our interview with Jason Aaron. Now quick note, this was recorded before the release of Thor, Love and Thunder about a week before, so we had no idea what the movie would contain before we talked to him. Please enjoy our interview with great Jason Aaron.


Jason Concepcion [AD]


Jason Concepcion Jason Aaron, thank you so much for joining us. What was your what’s your comics origin story? How did you decide to be a writer? And then how did you how did you start first thinking about becoming a comic book writer?


Jason Aaron Well, I mean, I you know, I think my origin story as a comic book reader involved the spinner rack, you know, spinner rack at the local store and and tagging along with my mom every time she should go, you know, to the grocery store or wherever. And finding New Teen Titans and Military Force and Blue Devil and Long Shot like those are some of the books that I noticed for the first time that sort of pulled me in. And I just I’ve never stopped reading comics, you know? I mean, I was 15 or 16 before I discovered a comic book store because I grew up in a small town. But once I did, I’ve I’ve had to pull this one place or another, you know, every year since then. So I’ve kind of always been reading and knew pretty quick that I, you know, that’s what I wanted to do. I love to write. And I remember telling my parents when I was a kid that, you know, Yeah, I want to write comics someday. I had absolutely no idea how you begin to even attempt to do that, especially for a kid growing up and, you know, a little town and backwoods Alabama. So it took until I was I was almost 30. I was in my late twenties and I won a Marvel Comics talent search contest, which was this weird thing that Marvel had never really done before in that way. And and they haven’t done it since. So it was just kind of strange one time thing I, you know, sort of lucked into I guess I haven’t looked back yet.


Rosie Knight I was going to say it’s actually like really rare to find someone who did any kind of comics talent search and then ended up getting a career kind of consistently writing comics. And that first story that was a Wolverine story, right?


Jason Aaron Yeah. Yeah, it was. Yeah.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And what was that like for you to, you know, grown up on those spinner racks, reading those comics and then kind of just writing this short Wolverine story and it being published in a comic shop that you could get from a comic book store.


Jason Aaron I mean, it was surreal. It was surreal. I think it’s still surreal. I think the weirdness has never worn off, you know? I mean, like I said, I knew pretty much my whole life I wanted to be a writer. I kind of pursued that in different ways, you know, and thought, well, maybe I’ll go into journalism. And I took like two semesters of journalism in college and realized it wasn’t for me. And I was writing a bunch of terrible novels that hopefully no one will ever get to read and go. And, you know, just anything I could do to write, you know, it was just consumed so much of my time, which was really like the most important thing I did, you know, through those, even though I don’t really have anything to show for it in terms of like published work, it was still all that time I spent writing was kind of getting me ready for when the opportunity would arise.


Rosie Knight Mm hmm.


Jason Aaron And getting this, you know, this weird, random talent search popped up. So it’s like I got lucky, but I had kind of made my own luck, and that I felt like I was ready by that point to to do something interesting. And thankfully, you know, caught the attention. It was editor Mike Martz who was the X-Men editor at the time. He I was working like a crappy job at a video rental store back when they still had those, you know, and I had it had a message on my answering machine this or on my cell phone. This was like months after the the contests and several months after I’d, you know, just dropped this piece of paper in a box. And there was a message on my phone just, hey, this is Mike Martz of Marvel. Give me a call back. And literally my first thought was like, man, that’s really cruel of the guy to call me just to tell me I did not win. Like, why would you do this? What a terrible guy. But it turns out I did win, so, you know.


Jason Concepcion How did you? I remember when I first started writing, just the simple things like trying to figure out like what a script format looked like when all the stuff is supposed to look like was. How did you figure all that out at the time?


Jason Aaron Yeah, I didn’t I didn’t really have any idea of that either. And then back in those days, I don’t think you could really find examples.


Jason Concepcion There’s no way to find out. Yeah.


Rosie Knight Yeah, it was just The Watchmen, the back matter Watchmen. Alan Moore’s dead script. Which everyone’s writing one page panel description.


Jason Aaron Which I absolutely did. You’re absolutely right. Because I had that I’ve got that that big hardcover edition, too, that’s got that script in there. And I was like, I had found at some point years ago I found this what was the first comic script I ever wrote back when I was in high school. And it is absolutely me trying to do this incredibly long, incredibly detailed letter to the to the artists, you know, like Alan Moore scripts were. Yeah. Then eventually find out will really. Nobody else writes comics scripts quite like that. But that’s the thing. There’s no kind of standard format. I think if you you know, I like collecting scripts from from other artists who do stuff I like. And there everybody kind of does it differently, you know? I mean, some people use like standard screenwriting format at this point, but I’ve never really done that. So yeah, but back in the day I had no idea. So it was very much, you know, reliant on my editors and Mike Martz for that initial Wolverine story. And then I started doing stuff after that. Vertigo and Will Dennis was a big help and just showing me, you know, here’s here’s how people who are really good at this do it. And being able to to try to copy that, I guess.


Rosie Knight Yeah. What was I mean, like, what were those notes like? Mike Martz obviously saw your storytelling kind of instincts and read them. What was was his notes like the script is a mess or was he like, this is quite good because like you said, I’ve read hundreds of comic book scripts and every single one is different and some make a lot of sense and some make no sense.


Jason Aaron I mean, I think I think he told me I won the contest just because my idea was different and kind of stood out that mine wasn’t in a bar. It didn’t have Wolverine fighting ninjas. I was I was trying to do like a weird take on a Flannery O’Connor story where Wolverine, you know, encounters this, this woman on a dirt road pointed through the woods, and they’d have a conversation about faith, you know, before things take it, take a turn south. But so I think it was just kind of something different. It was mine was a little more character driven in terms of the actual scripting process. I mean, I think it’s all kind of a blur. You know, it was just a thing. It’s ten pages, eight, ten pages, something like that. So we’re talking a pretty short story. But I remember Mike sending me, you know, examples of different scripts to kind of to kind of go off just because I had no clue, really.


Jason Concepcion You mentioned Vertigo. You would go there and release a five issue war comic, The Other Side. What inspired that and what was that process like? Pitching that idea, getting that made?


Jason Aaron Well, the my cousin was Gus Hansford. He was a Vietnam vet and a novelist. And he wrote a book called The Short Timer’s, which is what Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket was largely based on. So Gus was a big influence on me and that he was, you know, my cousin, the he was from the same neck of the woods. He was the first person I ever met who made a living writing. He was very strange, eccentric guy, spent time in jail for stealing hundreds of library books. And then, you know, he died too young. He died like in the nineties and in like a flophouse motel in Greece. So I never really got to talk to him much about, you know, writing, but when I was kind of old enough to to have something to say about it. So I just spent a lot of time researching his life. And through that, a lot of his his fellow Marine combat correspondents from from his era and got to hang out with some of those guys. And so I think all of that led me to want to do a Vietnam War book. And I initially pitched it to Marvel as a relaunch of the Nam, you know, that great eighties series and didn’t get picked up there and just kind of pitched it around to to different people and Will Dennis at Vertigo I focused in on because he edited a lot of the books that I really enjoyed reading. And then he also edited the only war comics really anybody had done in years, which were those Garth Ennis war stories. So yep, I sent it to him and he turned me down like a couple of times. But I was, I was politely persistent, which I think is another important key to break in and not, you know, not like being a bother or a pain in the butt, but like be persistent, just be polite, be respectful of editors’ time So I sent him the script. I had written the first issue script and said, Hey, would you, you know, take a look at it at least and let me know what you think? And he said, Sure, tell me again, you know, I still can’t use it, but I’ll take a look at it. And then he read it and and, you know, liked it and and got greenlit at Vertigo. So I think I’ve never worked harder in my life on a comic script than that one. The first because I was the first for, you know, the then 22 page script I’d ever written. Which I worked on probably for months. So I still play the lowest selling book I’ve ever written. You know, the very first one. But it was the most important one, I think, because, you know, it sort of paved the way for everything I’ve done since then.


Rosie Knight Mm hmm. And what’s it like to go from, like, this kind of personal, heavily researched comic to then, like, returning back to Marvel and going back into that pantheon of kind of these huge, iconic kind of godlike figures?


Jason Aaron I mean, it was great. I mean, in my mind, that’s kind of always what I wanted to do. I mean, I, I love superhero comics. I grew up reading Marvel and DC Superhero Comics. I still read a bunch of them. It’s not like I’m doing that just because, you know, it’s a job or that’s what you need to do. Like, I genuinely enjoy doing that stuff, but at the same time, I would never want to do just work for higher stuff, just superhero stuff. I’m always attracted to other genres, so kind of right from the get go. In terms of my career, I was doing, you know, creator, own stuff, balance and with the Marvel and DC stuff.


Jason Concepcion What at what point so do you win this contest? You’re getting stuff made. At what point were you able to pursue comics writing as your full time job? Quit the job at the video store. Put all that stuff away. Explain to people, I am a comics writer now and then just do that.


Jason Aaron Well, basically, my son just turned 17, like two weeks ago. He’s he’s the same age as my comic career because I quit my job when he was born. And it was right around the time I was working on Scalped number one, the beginning of Scalped, because my son’s name is Dashiell, just like the main character of Scalped. So yeah, it’s about seven, 17 years now, I guess. I’ve been I’ve been full time.


Rosie Knight Wow. And what is that kind of people talk a lot about like do the thing that you love and you will never get tired of it. And then when we do the thing we love, we’re also like, Well, so you will burn out on the thing that you love. What’s what’s that journey been like for you? Because you’ve been a professional comics writer almost as long as you were just a fan. You know, so like what? What has that journey been like for you? Of doing it full time and doing create your own books that people have loved and always coming back to those superheroes too.


Jason Aaron Yeah. I mean, you know, it’s definitely a journey. I think you can look at it in terms of different acts to my career, which some of which may be obvious from people who’ve been reading along the way some of or maybe more personal and not as obvious. So there definitely it’s definitely been, you know, a series of changes, even though for the most part I’ve been at Marvel. You know, I think I’ve been exclusive to Marvel since I want to say 2008 or so. So, you know, even within that, you know, I spent like six years, six or seven years writing Wolverine stories. I spent seven years writing Thor stories. Since then, I’ve been doing Avengers. So it’s still I’ve changed over the course of that. My works changed. The company’s changed a lot. And I and, you know, things are still changing for me as they are for most everybody after the last couple of years. Right. So I think this next year for me will be another one of of even bigger changes. So but I think that’s good. I mean, for granted, not all of those changes have been good. Certainly, the the ones we’ve all been dealing with lately have not been. But I think it’s good and that it just I don’t ever want to get stagnate or bored or just feel like I’m punching a clock and and doing this just to pay my bills. I think as a creator, you always want to feel like you’re challenged in yourself and doing something that’s different than stuff you’ve done before. So I’ve been I’m very happy and fortunate that I feel like I’ve been able to do that. I haven’t spent my time doing jobs that were forced upon me that I did or somebody else’s ideas or things that I didn’t want to do. So it’s been a it’s definitely been a journey, but been a fun one. And I think you do have to be conscious of not getting burned out. So me, the only thing I think is just the grind of doing ongoing books. I think I’m, you know, maybe interested in kind of jumping off that train at some point and doing more stuff, kind of like what I’m doing with Punisher right now where it’s just sort of, you know, set number of issues. Set artist. Mm hmm. Just because I think that can get to be a bit of a grind when you’re having to write for a know many different artists at the same time.


Jason Concepcion Let’s you mentioned Thor and we’d be remiss if we did not talk about your run on Thor, beginning with God of Thunder in 2012. Of course, it’s being adapted for the upcoming Thor Love and Thunder movie. In our opinion, we read a lot of comics, it’s, you know, simply one of the best runs ever.


Rosie Knight Yeah, we talk about it a lot.


Jason Concepcion In comics, like it’s.


Rosie Knight And some of the best. You’ve got to have some of the best artists, too.


Jason Concepcion And some of the greatest, you know, from Esad Rivic to Russ Ottoman and on and on. Did you. At what point in the run? Did you did you ever realize, like, oh, wow, this is this is really good? We’re we’re like really, really doing something cool.


Jason Aaron I mean, I don’t remember thinking, hey, this is going to be really big or out, you know? I mean, I feel like at this point, if I when I die, Thor’s going to be mentioned in, like, the first paragraph of my obituary. Right. Like, I feel like I’m pretty firmly established as Thor writer forever. But, no, I think I never stop and think about that along the way. It’s just sort of the next thing, and it’s the thing I’m excited to do, and it’s a matter of good timing. And that Thor was not really a character I had been long interested in. But that moment in time it struck me to whereas yeah, I think I really want to do Thor and and yeah, I got to work with incredible line up of artists very, very lucky over the series of people I got to work with. And I think for me the biggest thing was I’d been at Marvel long enough at that point, you know, I’d been writing Wolverine next stuff for so long that felt kind of comfortable with my position in the company, with my relationships with everybody, that I kind of had the confidence to sort of say, okay, I’m taking over Thor and I’m going to stay here as long as it takes me to kind of see all this through. Because I knew I was kind of laying tracks that like, this is going to take a while, you know, like this is going to take years for me to pay all this off. And I kind of just said, like, I’m going to stay on here until, you know, you guys fire me or take me off or I’m done one or the other, and kind of felt like it felt comfortable to say, like, I feel like I can just do that. Right.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Aaron And thankfully, you know, I didn’t get fired along the way and I got to finish the story the way I wanted to.


Jason Concepcion You know, one of my favorite things about that run from Florida, Mighty Thorn On, is how, you know, each different arc in the run, elevated it and changed what was happening. Added new emotional layers, added new canonical layers even. Never played it safe, was always fantastically creative. How much of that was? You mentioned the track. How much of that was laid out at the beginning? Obviously, there’s a bunch of different, you know, crossover events that intersected with with these stories and a bunch of different things, you know, different directions that the company was going on editorially over this run. So how much of that were you able to kind of lay out at the beginning?


Jason Aaron I mean, a lot of it, like I had a big plan for sort of a lot of different stories, pretty much all of which I ended up doing as just as the kind of once I got to the the idea of the Jane Foster story, and I very much changed the order of things. So some of the stories that originally were going to be Thor Odisnon stories became Jane Foster stories and things got moved around. So I think the Jane part of it definitely shifted things around, in part because I was so. I enjoyed that story so much. Like, I kind of, you know, I think I did realize you’re talking about in terms of realizing like that what we were doing. I realized in the midst of that Jane Foster story, I’m really, really happy and really, really proud of this. There’s a lot of meat on these bones, you know, just emotionally like I knew this is something, not just it’s fun to watch her go around and punch Odin in the face and do all this big stuff. Like, that’s cool. But I realize this is a very potential if we do it right, to be a very powerful, emotional story. And I feel like we did that. I feel like it was first and foremost because it was for all of us involved in making it, you know? I mean, I cried writing issues and Russell cried drawing them, and our editors cried when the pages came in. Like we’d all cry. And I’ll do still do signings, you know, where people bring up Thor comics and start crying and everybody’s crying. So I’ve never I’ve done stories that have affected people and done other stories I’m really proud of. And then I think all the parts came together in the right way. But that Jane Foster story in particular, I think is a bit of a cut of a cut above, especially the other Marvel stuff I’ve done in terms of the impact it’s had on people.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Not to spoil anything for the listeners who maybe haven’t gotten that far, but the to the exact page where I was like, wow, this is emotionally surprising and hitting me in ways that I was not ready for. Jane is a in and in the hospital. And Volstagg is there, asleep in a chair like in her like a different like a bag of chips on his on his lap. And, you know, it’s a really simple scene, obviously, contrasted with with the kind of more God like adventures that Jane is having. And it’s so grounded and it’s so grounded in the friendship, really surprising friendship between Volkswagen, Jane. And it was it was just amazing. It was just, to me, an amazing scene. I love quiet scenes like that as a longtime comics reader. And it was that was a moment where I was like, wow, this is really good. This is special.


Jason Aaron Thanks.


Rosie Knight Yeah. I worked in a comic shop, actually, in London when that was coming out. And it was it was one of those books where you could just feel it like everyone was so excited when it came in. And, and when that first issue of Mighty Thor with Jane on the cover and everything, it was just like it was the book and and it definitely had that kind of emotional depth that the best stories that make us fall in love with comics do. Like me and Jason talk a lot about the eighties X-Men stuff, like the Claremont stuff. That was a lot of what kind of made us fall in love with comics. And I feel like those quiet moments and that emotion and the kind of impact of that story, which is obviously now still being felt like years later, it really comes through in that way. And so like this is the tough situation in the work for hire business. What was it like for you when you then see Natalie Portman get onstage with Taika Waititi and hold up the Hammer and you know that she’s going to be Jane. And then what does it feel like a year and a half later when you’re seeing her on screen in this story that this film that is obviously so inspired by the story that you guys created?


Jason Aaron Yeah. I mean, I can say my experience has been good and exciting that entire time from like you said, from when I first found out, oh, they’re going to do Jane’s story to, oh, you know, Gorr, the God butcher is going to be in it. And and I got to be, you know, more involved in this project than than kind of anything else before with Marvel Studios. So that was nice to to kind of be in the loop and, and have my opinion sort out. They appreciated that. So yeah, I can say it’s been a it’s been a fun experience the whole way. It still is. You know, I, I’m still going to target and buy and Jane Foster toys as they pop up on their shelves.


Rosie Knight The dream.


Jason Aaron Yes. My guest bedroom is full of of, you know, Jane Foster stuff. So I’m still having fun and I’m, you know, anxious, excited for people to to see the finished product and to see what a what Taika and everybody involved has done with it.


Jason Concepcion How does what’s the workflow like with obviously with change from team to team, artist to artist, but generally speaking, you know, you’re doing a book with with Russell or Esad or whoever. How, how, how do you work out the mix of of script and art?


Jason Aaron I mean, to me, it’s usually the same regardless of who I’m working with. I mean, I remember very early in my career, I think I was doing a Wolverine story with Howard Chaiken. You know, and I’d been reading Howard Chaikin comics since I was a kid, and I was very intimidated at the idea of working with him. So I thought, well, I’m going to pull out all my old American Flag comics and reread them and try to write a script just for Howard Chaikin. And then I realized, I don’t know how to do that. I can’t do that. Like, I can’t I just have to write the script the way I write it, which is generally, you know, I’m not writing those like five page panel descriptions, like up in the Alan Moore Watchmen script. I’m not. And in my mind, my job is just to kind of give the artist enough of a springboard and then get out of the way and let them do what they do. So that’s generally what I do, regardless of who I’m working with. I think the few exceptions are there are times I’ve worked with somebody like Chris Bachalo where it would develop into more like a some version of a Marvel style approach, like which was generally just because I would I wrote a full script for him and he would change it so radically. It didn’t make sense for me to do that.


Rosie Knight So you were like, yeah.


Jason Aaron It’s like, get out of the way. Because, you know, I would never have the guts to write a 16 panel page for anybody, even Chris Bachalo. But he would he would break them down that way himself. So I thought it’s like, well, why don’t we just let him do that? So I would and I think I’ve done that with Adam Kubert, just a couple of guys who want to do that. Not all artists, you know, want that responsibility of sort of breaking everything down themselves, but some do. But beyond that, you know, I just feel like. It’s not my job to tell Russell or Esad or anybody like how to draw it. They know how to do that. I don’t. I just need to give them some some cool ideas, give them the emotion that’s necessary in this in this panel and this beat, and then just get out of the way and let them let them draw beautiful pictures.


Rosie Knight And so you’ve written like so many incredible characters at this point, like you’re a Black Panther and I see The Condor and Die. That’s like one of my favorite comics ever. Yeah, it’s such a rad take on kind of skrulls and the secret invasion stuff. Is there is there any characters that you still just really, really want to write that you have that kind of dream? That’s the pedestal character that you keep in your pocket.


Jason Aaron I mean, you know, I’ve never walked through my career with, like a long list of, you know, I really want to write this guy. I want to write that guy. I realized pretty quickly that the more important part was kind of the real life people involved and my relationships with the editors and who’s going to draw it and really kind of what felt right for me at that moment in time, as opposed to, you know, a character that I grew up reading and loving as a kid. So that’s kind of always the way of of approached it. That said, there are definitely you know, there’s a short list of characters that I am such a huge fan of that I’ve never really gotten to tell a story with in a big way. I mean, you know, CONAN the Barbarian was on that list, and I got to check that one off the last couple of years. So, yeah, there are definitely other characters at Marvel, you know, a few. I mean, I feel like at this point I’ve kind of got to write stories on most everybody and some, but there’s some I have not really written in in a significant way and certainly haven’t outside of Marvel, haven’t really written anybody else. But, you know, I would say an oddball one, which will probably never happen in my life, is I’m a huge Uncle Scrooge fan. I love.


Rosie Knight Oh, yeah, that’s the good stuff.


Jason Aaron I love. Especially the the Don Rosa, Uncle Scrooge stories I think are really incredible. Just great comics. Like regardless of the fact that they’re about talking ducks, like they’re just really, really good. Beautifully drawn.


Rosie Knight Unbelievable cartooning.


Jason Aaron Absolutely. I recommend there’s hardcovers out now of all of them from I think from Fantagraphics really, really well-done books. I recommend them all, but I think I Uncle Scrooge. I would put on the list of probably if I had made a list five years ago have been Conan in number one, Uncle Scrooge, number two. So I’ve marked off one of those. We’ll see if someday I can get the other one.


Rosie Knight I love that. I mean, that’s where the beginning of Indiana Jones comes from.


Jason Aaron Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.


Rosie Knight So, you know, that’s the influential stuff.


Jason Concepcion While you’re in the Thor run, you were releasing creator owned stuff on Image. Southern. Southern Bastards.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Is this wonderful, hardboiled Southern detective action story that mixes like college football and extreme violence. What was it like where that story came from? Because it really feels like. If anybody knows anything about you, you know the kind of spare by biographical details that are out there. This feels like something that you have been ruminating on for a while. It comes from your experience in a ways maybe that some of your Marvel work maybe doesn’t.


Jason Aaron Yeah, like I said, I grew up in a small town in Alabama, so I grew up with with football. I grew up with, you know, with religion and football. And I think you can see the theme of faith and religion spread throughout so much of the stuff I’ve done. Going back to that first ten page Wolverine story through all of the Thor stuff.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Jason Aaron So I’d never written about football in any significant way until I got to Southern Bastards. And it really the first idea was I had and when I was doing Scalpted, I had an idea for a crime boss who was a high school football coach that I winded up never using. And that was kind of a great springboard, I thought, for doing a, you know, a Deep South crime story. So it’s very much about, you know, where I grew up, which is kind of a as I’ve talked about, it’s a love letter slash, you know, letter of of rage and anger at sort of the things you love and that you don’t like so much about about where you’re from. I love being from a small town. I love being from the south. I still I think I will always think of myself as a Southern writer, even though I’ve lived outside the South now for 20 years. 22 years. So yeah, I think it’s very much that. As Southerners, we don’t like it when people from outside the South talk crap about us. We kind of we only take that from fellow Southerners. So it’s me, you know, just trying to pour all that into one comic.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And as like, you know, you’re such a prolific writer and like you said, you’ve been writing ongoings, you’ve been writing creator own, you’ve been writing superheroes. Do you still you said you never stopped reading comics. So what’s like a comic or a story or a piece of art that you kind of always go back to no matter how far into this journey?


Jason Aaron That’s a good question. You know, I think certainly lately, you know, after after I found out George Perez was sick. And then most recently when he passed away, like I pulled out a lot of George Perez comics because they were he talked about he was the first comic artist whose work I could recognize as a kid. Like, Oh, that’s Teen Titans guy. Oh, what’s this new book he is doing, Crisis on Infinite Earths. So so George Perez, to find so much of my initial understanding and love of comics and I think even now and probably until the day I die, if I if if I close my eyes and you say, you know, picture a comic book page, it’s drawn by George Perez always and forever. So I’ve been pulling a lot of that stuff out. You know, I have a lot of comics like my I just moved like a year and a half ago, so I just recently had to move them all. So it made me appreciate even more how many just how many long boxes I have accumulated. So I love digging into, pulling out lots of old books. You know, like I said, there was a lot of stuff from that mid eighties DC period that I loved. Atari Forests is kind of forgotten. Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, sci fi book Blue Devil from that same period by DC was a huge book for me. And I think the I look at Blue Devil and Blue Beetle and Excalibur the original Excalibur.


Rosie Knight Yeah I love that Excalibur.


Jason Aaron The Giffen and DeMatteis Justice League like all those things that were funny and irreverent but also, you know, had real emotion and weight and well-rounded characters to them. I think those books together defined so much of what I love about comics.


Jason Concepcion As a as a fan and a writer. And now, well into your career, you’ve seen the industry change from spinner racks to shops to digital, and then, you know, the resurgence of of the shops. Where do? What’s what’s your take on the way the industry has changed and where do you think it’s going?


Jason Aaron I mean, that’s such a huge question. I don’t know that I’m qualified to even answer that. I mean, it’s I don’t know. You know, I’m still I’m still the same kid who would flick those books off the spinner rack. I still love going to the comic store and buy and books off the shelf.


Jason Concepcion The reason I ask is because, you know, I think there was a lot of anxiety when digital came up. Digital media and and we you understand it. But then it seems like, at least anecdotally to me in the last couple of years. There’s been. Now people have the choice and there’s a lot of people coming to comics now and people are seeking out that community of going into the shop and talking to the person and getting a pull list and saying, Hey, what’s good? What are you liking? What are you reading? And that’s it. That’s something people are willingly doing now. And it’s given me a lot of hope and I feel great about kind of where the community is because of that, which is why I asked.


Jason Aaron Absolutely. I agree. I mean, I think there was that fear of will digital is going to, you know, ruin the brick and mortar stores. And we’ve seen that’s not the case. I mean, I have always felt that whatever stuff, whoever you are, whatever stuff you’re into, whatever you like to read, there’s a comic out there for you somewhere, right? Like you, you just have to be able to find it. You need to walk into a good shop where they can help direct you to it or you find it, you know, digitally, however you find it, however you get access to it, whatever that book is. I think, you know, we just want to welcome people into comics, like, please, please come find that book. And every time I go to one of the great comics stores we have across the country with, you know, Third Eye Comics and Maryland or or the isotope in San Francisco where our heroes are hard to find. And Charlotte comics shop in Orlando like these are the shops they go to that it every time I walk in I see how passionate the people who work there are, how beautiful the shop is, how how easy it is to walk in and out of the blue. Never been in a comic shop before. Don’t know the secret handshake or the lingo. Don’t know anything. Just looking for something. And and it makes me feel good to know those people come in this shop. They’re in good hands, right? They’re going to be directed to find a book they will enjoy and they will hopefully make them a comic book reader, just like, you know, New Teen Titans did for me all those years ago. So I still love that. I love that idea of the good shops. And like I said, every time I go to them, I leave excited to go do new work, you know, excited knowing like those are the people on the front lines. Those are the people putting books in the hands of readers. So it just makes me happy to see people who are loving that and doing such a great job of it.


Jason Concepcion Finally. Jason, how are you feeling about the SEC? I feel that S.E.C. football.


Jason Aaron That’s, we could do a whole separate podcast on that.


Rosie Knight Jason has it and he’ll do it.


Jason Aaron I mean, you know, you got Texas and Oklahoma about to join. You got, you know, my my guy, Nick Saban infuriating Jimbo Fisher to the point this.


Jason Concepcion Year he’s firing big  Fishershots at Jimbo.


Jason Aaron  I would just say, you know the like I get it, I get it. I get why everybody else in the country hates Alabama, despises Nick Saban. I probably would, too, if I wasn’t from Alabama, if I wasn’t a Crimson Tide fan. But he is my guy. And you don’t want that guy pissed off. You don’t want him it. I mean, every time he sort of looks around at the landscape of college football and says, hey, is this how we want it to be? And everybody says, Yes, it is. He says, okay. And then he goes and uses that to win football games. And I feel like this season this team he’s got could be the best team he’s ever had, potential to be the best team he’s ever had, which I think should frighten and terrify the rest of college football. That’s just what that man continues to be capable of.


Jason Concepcion Jason Aaron, thank you so much.


Rosie Knight Yeah. Thank you so much for coming.


Jason Aaron Thank you all. This was fun.


Jason Concepcion Thank you to Jason Aaron for speaking with us. And thank you to all of our listeners for the amazing questions. Keep them coming. We love hearing from you. If you want to hear more bonus content, send us an email or drop a review on Apple Podcasts saying you want more X-Ray Vision. We’ll do our best to oblige. X-ray Vision is a Crooked Media production. The show is produced by Chris Lord and Saul Rubin. The show is executive produced by myself and Sandy Girard. Our editing and sound design is by Vasilis Fotopoulos. Delon Villanueva and Matt DeGroot provide video production support. Alex Reliford handles social media. Thank you Brian Vasquez for our theme music. See you next time.