DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint has been the subject of a lot of speculation over the past year or so, due to a variety of portents: the departure of founder and longtime executive editor Karen Berger; the end of the imprint’s longest-running title Hellblazer, with the character reclaimed by the DC Universe in Justice League Dark and Constantine; the debut at Image Comics of several comics that, not long ago, likely would’ve been pitched to Vertigo; and the launch of the offbeat Dial H, by none other than acclaimed author China Mieville, in the New 52.
There was the perception that the imprint’s branding had become confused, with books that used to fall under to the dissolved WildStorm imprint (and seem like better fits for the DC brand) appearing under the Vertigo banner (superhero comics Astro City and Tom Strong, movie adaptation Django Unchained). And then there were the low sales and cancellations.
Well, Vertigo’s still around. It launched The Wake, a limited series by American Vampire and Batman writer Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy, and the imprint has plans for a new Sandman miniseries and a Sandman spinoff. And in the last few months, it has launched enough new series to be considered a wave.
So what does that mean for the future of the imprint? I’ll be damned if I know. However, I do know it’s not the most important question in my mind. Of greatest import to me, as always, is whether the comics are any good. So let’s take a look at the the beginnings of Vertigo’s latest crop, excluding The Wake, which I think it’s safe to assume will find an audience.
In a lengthy interview with Comic Book Resources’ Timothy Callahan, Winter Soldier writer Jason Latour revealed the fourth and final issue of his “ambitiously layered” crime series (or, rather, “Southern crime romance”) will eventually be released. All that’s standing in the way is the schedule of artist Chris Brunner.
“I promise you, the title isn’t our private little Andy Kaufman bit,” he told Callahan. “We haven’t seen Issue 4 yet because it’s an attempt to do something that’s, as you said, ‘ambitiously layered.’ The final chapter maybe more so than the rest of the book combined. Couple that with some extenuating circumstances that have arisen on Brunner’s end, and that’s why we are where we are. It would be a much different circumstance if either of us had the resources of Marvel or DC. But as it is, Chris is working hard on the last issue at the pace he can afford. The hope is when it’s all said and done it’ll be a story that stands nicely, free of the monthly market.”
Debuting in July 2011 from 12 Gauge Comics, Loose Ends is an engaging and gorgeous (Rico Renzi’s colors are stellar) miniseries that operates squarely within the conventions of the genre — it starts with a war vet turning to drug running only to be sidetracked by a face from his past, a situation that can’t end happily — but it does so incredibly well. (Don’t just believe me: Callahan wrote a terrific review of the first issue.) The third issue arrived in November 2011, and then … well, things happened.
So, clearly, the promise of a resolution to Loose Ends is cause for celebration. In the meantime, I recommend tracking down those first three issues.
Conventions | Creative director Rico Renzi discusses HeroesCon, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend with a three-day event that’s experienced a spike in advance ticket sales: “Stan Lee’s attendance to this year’s show has definitely caused a spike in advance ticket sales from what I can tell. I honestly like the show at just the size it is; it’s just right. I used to hop on a bus from Baltimore to go the NYCC and I loved it for the first couple years. It just got too big for me too enjoy it, you couldn’t walk around without rubbing up against strangers. It’s a great alternative to San Diego now I guess. If you’re looking for a pure comic book show though, HeroesCon is where it’s at.” In addition to Lee, this year’s guests include Neal Adams, Mark Bagley, Cliff Chiang, Frank Cho, Becky Cloonan, Geof Darrow, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Evan Dorkin, Tommy Lee Edwards, Matt Fraction, Francesco Francavilla, Jaime Hernandez, Dave Johnson, Jeff Lemire, Paul Levitz, Mike Mignola, George Perez, Louise Simonson, Walt Simonson, Scott Snyder and Bernie Wrightson. [The Comics Reporter]
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.
Not to mince words, HeroesCon is my San Diego. Scheduled for June 3-5 at the Charlotte Convention Center this year, I recently caught up with Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find Creative Director Rico Renzi, to discuss what to look forward to at HeroesCon 2011. Anyone that has read my past con reports knows how much I always enjoy this family friendly/comics focused con, and will not be surprised to learn I will be in attendance again this year. Thanks to Renzi for the interview and for giving us the scoop that Farel Dalrymple is returning to the con this year. I was also enthused to learn the con is trying a Friday night event this year, as well as introducing a new section of the convention floor devoted to comic strip creators.
Tim O’Shea: How are things shaping up with less than a month to go before the con, starting to panic? Planning-wise, how do you and Shelton Drum (con founder/organizer and owner of Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find) divvy up the heavy lifting of making this con happen?
Rico Renzi: HeroesCon is like breathing to Shelton so I’m pretty sure he’s not panicking. This is my first time doing anything like this so, yeah I think there’s some pressure on me. Maybe I get a pass since this is my first year though? Dustin Harbin has been a great help showing me the ropes on a few things, especially the floor plan. Deciding where everyone is going to sit seems like the hardest job to me right now. Aside from that we get great help from our warehouse manager, Seth Peagler. Whether I need someone to brainstorm with or edit my blog posts, Seth is my guy. Also, Andy Mansell has been instrumental in planning and coordinating our programming. These guys keep me sane!
Icarus is a comic by Ryan Cody and is serialized here on Robot 6, with new pages every Monday, Wednesday & Friday. Comments welcome. Icarus #1 wrapped up on Wednesday and we’re going to start issue #2 on Monday, with new, never before seen pages posted thrice weekly. The book is just ramping up and was left with a twist at the end of issue #1 that will continue to be explored in the future. For today’s post, I thought I would post some character sheets and behind the scenes images, as we get ready for the next chapter to begin on Monday.
This week was marked by the debut of a new Wolverine series — it’s at least the seventh, by Douglas Wolk’s reckoning — in which the hirsute mutant goes, quite literally, to hell. Or at least his soul does. His body, meanwhile, is on Earth, possessed by demons who have nefarious plans for the fleshy vessel.
The premise undoubtedly leads more than a few readers to cringe, at least until they consider the creators behind the storyline: writer Jason Aaron (Scalped, Wolverine: Weapon X) — it’s based in part on an idea he pitched for Hellblazer — and artist Renato Guedes (Superman, Supergirl).
“It’s my ‘Heroic Age’ story of sending Wolverine to hell and watching him grapple with this sense of hope and faith and what’s really more scary to him: more of the same old dark, pessimistic Logan he’s always been, or him actually thinking that there is a chance things can get better and wonder where he fits into that,” Aaron tells USA Today.
Here’s just a sampling of what people are saying about Wolverine #1: