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Trailblazing Alumni CAS News July 15, 2015

Jason Aaron illustrationLike Luke Skywalker, Jason Aaron grew up in a small town, far from the action. In the Jedi’s case, it was a lonely outpost on Tatooine; for Aaron, it was Jasper, Alabama. And while Skywalker grew up to fight for galactic freedom, Aaron now stands as one of the leading lights of the Marvel Universe—a comics writer whose storylines for heroes such as the X-Men and Thor have generated critical acclaim and unusual amounts of buzz.

Last year, Marvel’s editor in chief called with the ultimate gig. Disney, Marvel’s parent, had secured the rights to Star Wars, and was eager to start telling stories. Aaron was tapped to write one of three books that Marvel would launch, picking up the stories of Luke, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and other main characters between the initial film and The Empire Strikes Back. For someone of Aaron’s generation, who grew up with the original movie trilogy, it was “a huge thrill.”

It was also the latest achievement in a storybook career. Aaron’s ride to the comics stratosphere began in 2001, the year after he graduated from UAB with a bachelor's degree in English. He entered, and won, a Marvel talent contest—“something they had never done before and haven’t done since,” he says. His prize: “I got to write a Wolverine story that was published in 2002.” For Aaron, who had wanted to be a comics writer since he was a kid, it seemed that everything had fallen into place. And then—nothing. It would be nearly five years before his next comic book was published, a Vietnam War story called The Other Side.

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