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Conversing on Comics with David Aja

Rough around the edges but as precise as a Swiss clock. It’s an apt description for the Marvel character Hawkeye, and also the work of series artist David Aja.

Born and raised in Valladolid, Spain, the same town Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes called home, Aja earned a college degree in illustration as was on his way to a career in magazine illustration before he followed his childhood ambition: comics. After a prosaic debut in the Marvel anthology X-Men Unlimited, Aja grew by leaps and bounds before becoming the signature artist of the cult-hit series The Immortal Iron Fist with writers Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction. After the conclusion of his run, Aja did a series of one-off stories for titles like Secret Avengers, Daredevil and Wolverine: Debt of Death while he and his wife added two children to their home already filled with animals. This year, Aja and Fraction reunited for another series, this time taking on classic Avenger (and newly minted movie star) Hawkeye in a self-titled series that focuses on the archer’s life when he’s not working as one of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

After last week’s stupendous one-off story in Hawkeye #6, Aja seems on top of his game. And what better time to get inside his head and find out what he thinks about comics and his place in it. In our conversation, we go over his time on The Immortal Iron Fist and Hawkeye, his views on original art, and also his idea of creative teams and what his formula is for making a great comic.

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Dialing in to David Aja

I have something to admit.

Marvel’s The Immortal Iron Fist series was one of my favorite books in recent memory. Although the title has long since fallen by the wayside, those original issues — especially the first twelve — show an amazing dynamic. From seeing the first major Marvel work for Matt Fraction (co-writing with Ed Brubaker), it also hoisted the work of artist David Aja to the mainstream. But after his run ended with the series’ 16th issue in August 2008, we’ve only seen glimpses of Aja’s work across the Marvel line — most notably the recent tour de force in Secret Avengers #5.

But with the release of this month’s solicits, a single image hints to more from the artist — and it’s not a Marvel book. Buried in DC’s May solicits is a cover Aja has done as a variant for Green Arrow #12. This could be important because for the last six years Aja’s only done work for Marvel, and this stray arrow could be a sign that Aja is branching out. In the comments to a post on his blog asking if the artist was working for DC, Aja replied back saying “Well, at least for that cover I did.”

Over on Marvel Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort’s Formspring, Brevoort stated that Aja is working on “a Wolverine one-shot he’s been working on for some time” and just finished the covers for 5 Ronin.

Whether he’s DC-bound, staying at Marvel or, who knows, signing an exclusive with Archie, the only thing I’m hoping for is more work by this dynamic storyteller.

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