Even before Vertigo was Vertigo, it had a distinct policy of signing great cover artists for the long haul for ongoing titles. I fondly remember Dave McKean on The Sandman and Hellblazer, Simon Bisley on Doom Patrol, Brian Bolland on Animal Man and Brendan McCarthy on Shade, the Changing Man. This is a policy that has continued on to the present day: Yuko Shimizu has produced amazing covers for The Unwritten since its debut; king of the good girl artists Adam Hughes has been providing Fairest with the best work of his career so far; and Fables had a long outstanding run by James Jean, before he ceded the job to Joao Ruas. As much as I love the work of J.H. Williams III, it was seeing McKean’s cover for The Sandman: Overture #1 that made the project feel real.
In terms of total commitment to a book, however, no one can match Dave Johnson on 100 Bullets. He drew covers to all 100 issues, shifting styles for each story arc. He drew the covers to all 13 trade paperbacks, and now he’s providing the ones for the eight-issue sequel-of-sorts Brother Lono. On Tuesday he posted this image to his assorted social media feeds: the covers to the five omnibus editions, which together create an extended frieze.
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the big announcements that came out of this weekend’s Emerald City Comicon, our contributors’ picks for the comics of the week — from Age of Ultron to Al Capp — and the top events to look for in the next seven days (hint: convention season is fully under way).
If you thought the 100 Bullets saga was over, think again. The creative team behind the 100-issue series are bringing back one of the book’s most popular characters, Lono, for a new miniseries in June.
Announced by Vertigo Editor Mark Doyle at the DC All Access panel at the Emerald City ComiCon, the comic reunites the entire creative team — writer Brian Azzarello, artist Eduardo Risso, colorist Trish Mulvihill, letterer Clem Robbins and cover artist Dave Johnson. “All I can tell you is that the guy you love to hate is back,” Doyle said.
Described as a “sort of sequel,” Doyle said the book takes place after the events of 100 Bullets #100. Readers of that series will remember that the last time we saw Lono, he fell through a window after being shot. The body, however, disappeared, leaving behind a trail of blood and the question of what happened to him. I guess we’ll find out in June.
The news of Karen Berger leaving Vertigo spread quickly. It wasn’t so much that it was a surprise, but that it finally happened. DC
Comics Entertainment has been going through significant changes over the past couple of years, including grabbing characters long associated with Vertigo and returning them to the DC Universe, and rumored changes to creator contracts. Despite the unfortunate end, Berger leaves behind an amazing legacy no matter what becomes of the nearly 20-year-old imprint.
I have a very clear memory of high school in the 1990s where kids much cooler than me were reading The Sandman. These were kids who otherwise didn’t read comics, and certainly not the superhero stuff from Marvel and DC. This was not an isolated incident. Vertigo in the ’90s brought a new audience to comics, a maturing audience with interests in horror, fantasy, suspense and mythology. These readers didn’t have access to, and probably weren’t ready for, the underground or alternative comix scene. As superhero comics turned into garish collector items, Vertigo provided the alternative: stories.
One of the perks of working with Robot 6 is often getting to see a glimpse at a new project before it is available for purchase. This past week (thanks to the project’s colorist, Rico Renzi) I was able to read the first issue of Loose Ends, a four-issue southern crime romance miniseries by writer Jason Latour and artist Chris Brunner, which goes on sale this Wednesday, July 13. As a native of the South, it is not often I get to read comics set there–so the comics caught my attention purely on that level at first. But then, when I started reading the issue, I realized it reminded me on some level of Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Criminal. That’s not to say Latour and company have done a wannabe story, far from it, as the creators have their own distinctive voices/styles, that mesh quite well. If the remaining three issues are as strong as this first one, I expect it will land on a few best of 2011 lists (at least mine, for sure). Latour and I discuss the first issue and other aspects of the series in this email interview. If you want a preview of the miniseries, be sure to enjoy the one CBR posted a couple of months back.
Tim O’Shea: The opening page of the first issue is all art, no narrative boxes or dialogue. Was the script always that way, or was that a creative choice you made after seeing Chris Brunner’s art for that page?
Jason Latour: Well as an artist myself I’ve worked on a few stories where I was dying to stretch a moment or let something play out visually and it just wasn’t possible. So from the start there was always an allowance for some organic growth in this script. The simplest reason for that is because I trust Chris. We’re collaborating. His point of view is equally important as mine is. If I’m doing my job then I’m inspiring him, not fencing him in. The medium itself, the page limit already does that. I tried to give him a script that communicated the tone, the pace and specific details needed to tell the story within that space. From there it’s on us as a team to communicate. If he has an idea, I listen. If he nails a scene and I’m in the way… I try to move. If he needs me to pick him up, hopefully I’m ready and able.
On Vertigo’s Graphic Content blog, the publisher revealed a pseudo-conversation between editor Will Dennis and writer Brian Azzarello concerning a new series. Done in a sort of Laurel & Hardy-style, it’s a non-plussed official introduction to the new miniseries from Azzarello and 100 Bullets collaborator Eduardo Risso.
AZZ: I got an idea for a new series.
ME: What’s it called?
ME: SPACEMAN? Is that one word or two?
AZZ: It’s one. Like SUPERMAN.
ME: It’s like SUPERMAN?
AZZ: No! It’s like SUPERMAN but not like SUPERMAN.
ME: So what’s it about.
AZZ: A spaceman. What the hell else would it be about?
ME: Right. And it’s with the entire 100 BULLETS team?
Azz: That’s the plan.
ME: Cool. Can we get it out in 2011?
AZZ: Why the hell not?
ME: Book it.
Azzarello revealed in October at Argentina’s Crack Bang Boom Con that Spaceman will be a nine-issue miniseries that fits into the speculative fiction category. In addition to Azzarello and Risso, the comic will include their other 100 Bullets collaborators, cover artist Dave Johnson and colorist Trish Mulvihill.
Happy day-after-Free Comic Book Day to everyone, and welcome to another edition of What are you reading? Our guest this week is Rick Marshall, editor of MTV’s Splash Page blog. To see what Rick and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading this week, read on …