Three Reasons Why He Rocks

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This article is part of a series of spotlight articles on the winners of the  Broken Frontier Awards 2005 .

When six kids find out one momentous night that their parents are ruthless criminal masterminds, they decide to band together and fight against them as the “Runaways”. Mixing a hodge-podge of comic book genres – from mutants and wizards to aliens and time-travelers – Vaughan has created one of the most original and compelling series in years. The plots twist and turn, friends are lost and strangers become teammates, but through it all one truth remains universal: children have absolutely no idea what their parents are really like. And conversely, parents have absolutely no idea what their children are capable of when the need arises.

A man is disfigured in a bizarre mishap, leaving him with the power to communicate with machinery. After using his new-found talent to become the world’s first superhero, he quickly realizes he can accomplish much more as a politician. Tackling controversial issues like racism, shock art, and gay marriage, Vaughan’s “Ex Machina” is an intense and complex tragedy that is hilarious, horrifying and heart-breaking, often at the same time. When Mitchell Hundred was irrevocably changed that day at the bridge, he had no idea he wouldn’t be the only one affected. Nor did he stop to think that the power unleashed at that moment might have been anything but beneficial for the world. Still, it’s pretty obvious that even if he won’t be able to save the world in the end, it’s not going to be for a lack of trying.

The last man on earth.  It’s a familiar phrase that brings to mind Burgess Meredith breaking his glasses in the Twilight Zone and the eighth grade crush who informed you she’s not interested in your undying love. But in Brian K. Vaughan’s hands, the idea becomes an exciting thriller, an engrossing mystery, a political commentary and so very much more. This is the story of Yorick Brown, the only man to survive a mysterious plague, but it is also a funny, compassionate and surprisingly touching dissection of what it means to be human. In a world where half the population has died in a violent explosion of blood, “Y: The Last Man” gives us love in a time of loss and hope in a time of horror.

Most comic book writers are lucky if they can create one definitive series. Vaughan has created three.

In the last few years, Brian K. Vaughan has honed his craft beautifully and has quietly become one of the best writers currently working. His plots are tight yet flow naturally, his dialogue always rings true, and his cliffhanger endings have almost become legendary at this point. He’s not afraid to examine issues from several different sides, yet it’s always his compassionate understanding of human emotions that prevails. His stories are always crisply exciting, a mixture of action and characterization that consistently rewards readers. Simply put, he is a fantastic writer.

It’s not surprising that Broken Frontier has recognized Brian K. Vaughan as the best mainstream writer in the medium for 2005. But what makes it so exciting is the fact that as Vaughan continues to challenge himself and tell ever more complex and rewarding stories, this year offers only a hint of what lies ahead. In many ways, the best is yet to come.

And for that, we can all be grateful.

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