If the recent New York Times profile of former Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger — to say nothing of industry sentiment — made it appear as if the position and prestige of the 20-year-old imprint have been greatly diminished under the restructured DC Entertainment, the company would like to assure you otherwise.
A new Associated Press article, which seems tailored in response to that May 29 piece, turns the spotlight away from Berger and on to her successor Shelly Bond, who has worked at the imprint since its launch in 1993.
The Times contends that Berger’s departure in March “raises questions about the future of Vertigo and where its renegade spirit fits into an industry and a company that seem increasingly focused on superhero characters who can be spun off into movies and TV shows.” However, Bond speaks in rosier terms about the direction of the imprint, which lost its last founding title — and longtime flagship — in February with the end of Hellblazer (which was resurrected in the DC Universe as Constantine).
“I am so ready to bring in some new blood and new bravado and just continue to show the masses that comics are the most essential part of pop culture,” she tells The AP.
There’s a list of creators that in my estimation are not interviewed nearly enough, one such example is colorist Laura Allred. You can find several interviews with both Mike and Laura Allred together, but few rarely focus on Laura solely. So I recently crossed my fingers and shot off an email to Laura seeking to do an email interview. Much to my sheer delight, she was game for a discussion of her career as a colorist. Jamie S. Rich, long-time Allred associate and friend of Robot 6, was kind enough to share his perspective on Laura’s body of work, which helped me shape some of the topics covered in this exchange. Obviously, a huge thank you to Laura for giving so selflessly of her time. As someone who enjoyed Art Adams’ Monkeyman and O’Brien years ago, I plan to dig up my box with those issues, just to appreciate Laura’s work on it, given how highly she speaks of it in this interview.
Tim O’Shea: The life of a freelancer is never easy–and in your house, it’s extra challenging as both of you make a living either through one of the independent publishers or work through DC or Marvel. Granted at this point in your career, there is a certain brand and reputation that your work carries, still freelancing is a challenge even for successful folks as yourself. If you don’t mind me asking, how much has your faith served to buoy your spirits when the hardships of freelancing blindside you?
Laura Allred: It seems when we simply try to do our best in all our efforts, everything always seems to work out. We work hard, though Michael refuses to call it working, but we also try to make time for family and friends. So, I’ve found that my secret weapon for hardships is to just crack the whip and we get back on track. I’m only half kidding.
This Wednesday, February 3, will see the release of the fourth installment in the six-issue Vertigo miniseries, Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love by (writer) Chris Roberson and (artist) Shawn McManus. Recently, I was fortunate enough to email interview Roberson about Cinderella, as well as his upcoming ongoing Vertigo series with artist Mike Allred–I, Zombie.
Tim O’Shea: Looking at the historical flashbacks that open issues 2 and 3 of Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love, I’m curious are you a fan of history? Which of the historical flashbacks you have built into the story reflects your favorite historical era?
Chris Roberson: History is one of my passions (alongside cartoons, puppets, superheroes, quantum physics, etc). I minored in history in college, and taught middle school history for a couple of years before I’d paid off the karmic debt left over from being a smartass when I was in school. In the eighteen years or so it took me to break into comics, I built a career as a writer of science fiction and fantasy prose, and a good percentage of my short stories and novels have played around with history in one way or another—alternate histories, period pieces, you name it.
As for which of the flashbacks in Cinderella reflects my personal favorite era, I’d probably have to punk out and say “All of them.” I’m a fan of stories set in each of those time periods, and getting to work all of them into Cindy’s backstory was like being a kid in a candy store.