Vaughan was a writer, story editor and producer of the television series Lost during seasons three through five. He was nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Dramatic Series at the February 2009 ceremony for his work on the fourth season. The writing staff was nominated for the award again at the February 2010 ceremony for their work on the fifth season. He is currently the showrunner and executive producer of the TV series Under the Dome.
Wired describes Vaughan's comics work as "quirky, acclaimed stories that don't pander and still pound pulses". His creator-owned comics work is also characterized by "finite, meticulous, years-long story arcs", on which Vaughan comments, "That's storytelling, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Something like Spider-Man, a book that never has a third act, that seems crazy." Erik Malinowski, also of Wired, has called Vaughan "the greatest comic book visionary of the last five years", comparing him to Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Paul Pope, and Steve Niles, and praised his addition to the TV series Lost as redeeming that series' third season.
Brian K. Vaughan was born in 1976 in Cleveland, Ohio, to Geoffrey and Catherine Vaughan. He grew up in Rocky River and Westlake. Vaughan and his older brother are both fans of writer Peter David, and according to Vaughan, their adolescent comics reading was largely defined by a shared love of David's 12-year run on The Incredible Hulk. Vaughn also cites Joss Whedon as the reason he wanted to become a writer, a decision he made while attending St. Ignatius High School, from which he graduated 1994. He then attended New York University to study film. While a student there, Vaughan took part in Marvel Comics's Stan-hattan Project, a class for fledgling comic book writers.
Vaughan's first credit was for Marvel Comics' Tales From the Age of Apocalypse #2 (December 1996). He would eventually write for some of the highest-profile characters at Marvel, including X-Men, Spider-Man, and Captain America. He would also write Batman and Green Lantern for DC Comics, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight for Dark Horse Comics.
From 2002 to 2008, Vaughan, who came to prefer writing his own characters, wrote the creator-owned monthly series Y: The Last Man, a post-apocalyptic science fiction series about the only man to survive the apparent simultaneous death of every male mammal on Earth. The series was published in sixty issues by Vertigo and collected in a series of ten paperback volumes (and later a series of five hardcover "Deluxe" volumes). The series received Eisner Awards in 2005 and 2008, and numerous other nominations. The film rights to the series were acquired by New Line Cinema. Vaughan wrote his own screenplay for the project, though it was reported in March 2012 that Matthew Federman and Stephen Scaia were in final negotiations to write their own version.
In 2006, Vaughan published the graphic novel Pride of Baghdad, which centers on a group of lions who escape from an Iraqi zoo after the start of the Iraq War. IGN named it the Best Original Graphic Novel of 2006, calling it a "modern classic", and lauding it for combining a tale of survival and family with a powerful analogy of war, and praising Vaughan for representing various viewpoints through the different lion characters.
From 2004 to 2010 Vaughan wrote another creator-owned series, Ex Machina, a political thriller that depicts the life of Mitchell Hundred, a former superhero known as the Great Machine who, in the wake of his heroism during the September 11, 2001 attacks, is elected Mayor of New York City. The story is set during Hundred's term in office, and interwoven with flashbacks to his past as the Great Machine. Through this, the series explores both the political situations Hundred finds himself in, and the mysteries surrounding his superpowers. New Line Cinema purchased the film rights to the series in July 2005, and commissioned Vaughan to write one of the two commissioned scripts, which he was reported to be working on in 2007. Following the conclusion of Ex Machina in 2010, Vaughan reiterated his previous statement that he would concentrate on creator-owned work, saying, "I realized when I turned in this final Ex Machina script that it would be the first time I wasn't under some kind of deadline at Marvel or DC since 1996. That's a huge chunk of my life to spend with those characters. I love them, and I still read Marvel and DC's superhero books. I just think I'm better when I'm working on my own creations. When there are so many talented creators out there who are better at that stuff than me, I should leave those characters to them. I should do what I'm fortunate enough to be in the position to do, which is to create more new stuff."
Vaughan was a writer, executive story editor and producer for seasons 3 to 5 on the ABC TV series Lost, a job he earned on the basis of his work on Y: The Last Man, of which Lost co-creator and executive producer Damon Lindelof was an ardent fan. Lindelof showed that book to series showrunner and executive producer Carlton Cuse. Lindelof relates, "And I told him, 'We need a guy like this on the show, but I don't think he'd ever do it. I don't think he even works in L.A.' And the next thing we knew, he was on the show." He began his stint on the series as executive story editor with the episode "The Man from Tallahassee", which premiered in March 2007. Vaughan continued as story editor on several episodes until he began writing episodes, beginning with the episode "Catch-22", which Vaughan co-wrote with Jeff Pinker, and premiered in April that year. That episode was praised by Wired writer Erik Malinowski, who stated that the themes that Vaughan's carried over to Lost from his comics work, including intricately weaved storylines typified by pathos and hope, as well as pop culture references, redeemed that series' third season.
Vaughan would write a total of 12 episodes, the last of which was the April 2009 episode "Dead Is Dead". He was first credited as a producer with the fourth season premiere "The Beginning of the End", eventually acting as producer on a total of 29 episodes. He was also a co-producer on Lost: Missing Pieces, a spinoff Internet short film series produced during the hiatus between the show's third and fourth seasons.
In November 2011 Steven Spielberg selected Vaughan to adapt the Stephen King novel Under the Dome into a television series for Showtime, which is Vaughan's first television work since Lost. Vaughan is the showrunner and executive producer of the series.
On March 14, 2012, Image Comics published the first issue of Vaughan and Fiona Staples' epic space opera/fantasy series, Saga, which he conceived to be a concept strictly relegated to comics, and not adapted to other media. Although Vaughan was a child when he first conceived of the ideas for the book—which owes its inspiration to Star Wars—it was not until his wife became pregnant with his second child that he began to write the series, which harbors parenthood as an underlying theme. The series depicts two aliens from warring races trying to survive with their newborn daughter. The book is Vaughan's first publication for Image Comics, and represents the first time he has employed first-person narration in his comics writing. The first issue sold out of its first printing ahead of its March 14 release date, with a second printing ordered for April 11, the same release date for issue #2. The series has received positive reviews from MTV, Ain't it Cool News, Comic Book Resources, IGN, Publishers Weekly and Time magazine. It has also appeared on the New York Times Graphic Books Best Seller List, won three 2013 Eisner Awards, and was nominated for a Hugo Award and seven Harvey Awards.
Vaughan and his wife, a playwright, live in Los Angeles and have two children.
Ex Machina, Vol. 2: Tag by Brian K. Vaughan
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: WildStorm (October 1, 2005)
Amazon: Ex Machina, Vol. 2: Tag
What would you do if a mysterious explosion left you with the ability to control machines? Become mayor of New York, of course. Mitchell Hundred gave up crimefighting years ago, and now fights evil with a pen and a mayoral seal. His mysterious power still comes in handy, though, especially when he can make the paparazzis' cameras jam or the neighbor's air conditioner stop rattling. But ever since his attempt to help fend off the September 11th attacks forced him to reveal his secret identity, things have gotten terribly complicated for Hundred. In this second volume we see him struggling with a political firestorm ignited by his open support of gay marriage at the same time that a mysterious presence is terrorizing New York's subways, leaving behind the horribly mutilated bodies of dogs and humans. Beside each gruesome discovery is a glyph linked to the explosion that gave Hundred his power. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man) and Harris (Starman series) have a created a compelling and completely original hero in Mitch Hundred. Ex Machina is half X-Files, half West Wing and 100% genius. The dialogue sparkles, the art beautifully conveys both Vaughan's horror and his humor, and the plot twists will have readers on the edge of their seats. For any fan of contemporary comics, Ex Machina is the series to read. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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