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.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our guest is Mark Sable, the writer and co-creator of Image’s Graveyard of Empires with Paul Azaceta and the upcoming Duplicate from Kickstart Comics with Andy MacDonald. You can find his work and thoughts at marksable.com and contact him @marksable on the Twitter.
To see what Mark and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
“I’m imagining a hypercritical audience of roughly 50 million people going, ‘That’s not Sandman!’ But then I think, the great thing about Sandman was that from the moment I discovered the internet, and that people were talking about Sandman on the internet — which would have been, like, rec.art.comics.dc circa 1989, end of ’89 — what people were saying then never changed for the next seven years of comics. All they ever said was, ‘It’s not as good as it used to be.’ And the earlier stuff was always whatever somebody had picked up first and loved. And it carried on, with people talking about when Sandman was good, all the way up through 75.”
– Neil Gaiman, discussing his expectations for the release of the newly announced prequel
to his celebrated Vertigo series The Sandman
Despite the considerable critical backlash, DC Comics’ Before Watchmen line of titles has become one of this summer’s top sellers, and the publisher announced at Comic-Con International that it’s revisiting the classic Sandman in a prequel written by Neil Gaiman. With that in mind, I’ve come up with six other wells the company could return to for new projects. I’m not saying they should or shouldn’t, but given recent events this might be where fans, and DC, could look next.
Thursday may have started a bit slow in the news department, but it sure ended with a huge bang. Here’s a roundup of announcements that hit today from Comic-Con International in San Diego:
• Neil Gaiman announced via video that he will write a new Sandman miniseries that will detail what happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman #1. J.H. Williams III will provide the art. “It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman‘s 20th anniversary,” Gaiman said, “but the time got away from us. And now, with Sandman‘s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told.” The series will be published by Vertigo sometime next year.
• Legendary will also publish the Majestic Files by J. Michael Straczynski, which will feature art by Geoff Shaw and Matt Banning.
• Terry Moore will write a Strangers in Paradise prose novel to coincide with the comic’s 20th anniversary next year. He also plans to do an all-ages comic after Rachel Rising finishes in 30-40 issues.
Following the temporary retreat from Facebook by the anti-gay One Million Moms, a pro-gay group has sprung up on the social-media site hoping to capitalize on its absence.
Called, yes, One Million Moms, the group describes itself as “One Million Moms and friends of moms who support LGBT rights. Let’s put a positive spin to the group name One Million Moms by supporting equal rights to people of all orientations, creeds, genders and colors.” To further tweak the other One Million Moms, the new Facebook page flies the banner of the Human Rights Campaign and uses an image from the current JC Penney Father’s Day ad that has so enraged the other organization.
The new OMM explains that, “Using a ‘Risk’ metric, any time a territory like this is contested, it weakens the prior occupier’s footing and destabilizes their hold on that particular region of Cyberspace. Fundamentalist mothers looking for the original page will be confused, join the wrong thing, or not join at all; it muddies the message and strengthens the position of the new occupiers. This new page might not garner all that many followers initially, but its presence WILL deny the previous owners their beachhead and create a blockade to one of their most persuasive channels.”
Fox has released images and an official synopsis for this week’s episode of The Simpsons, which features a guest appearance by Neil Gaiman. In addition, Gaiman posted a clip from the show which, as you can see from the above screenshot, includes a glimpse of a bookstore display showcasing the author’s work, including The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1, and The Absolute Death. Clearly they’re not in the Springfield Barnes & Noble.
Here’s how Fox describes the episode, called “The Book Job”: “Lisa becomes disheartened when she learns the shocking truth behind the ‘tween lit’ industry and her beloved fantasy novel characters. But Homer decides to cash in on the craze and forms a team to group-write the next ‘tween lit’ hit, with the king of fantasy, Neil Gaiman (guest-voicing as himself), lending his expertise to the effort. After catching the eye of a slick industry publisher (guest-voice Andy Garcia) at the Springfield Book Fair, the team gets an advanced copy of their work and discovers that the corporate lit business is a bigger operation than they imagined.”
Gaiman previously appeared in animated for in a 2010 episode of Arthur. Check out the clip and images from “The Book Job” below. The Simpsons airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes, and first issues so that I don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Jeff Lemire’s Frankenstein is still awesome!” every month. And I’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
Also, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell me what I missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
The Grave Doug Freshley – A lot of publishers are doing Weird Western comics lately and that’s just fine with me.
Spera, Volume 1 – I like the sound of this fairy tale in which a couple of princesses combine efforts to save their kingdoms. It’s not that I’m anti-prince, but that’s a cool, new way to do that story.
Captain Swing and the Electrical Pirates of Cindery Island – Warren Ellis doing Steampunk sounds thrilling, but really all they had to say was “pirates.” I bet this is still really good though, even if you’re pickier than I am.
Roger Langridge’s Snarked #1 – After a well-loved zero-issue, Langridge’s version of Wonderland gets its real, official start.
In recent years, we’ve seen a boatload of comic books and graphic novels make their way to the silver screen, from Big Two stalwarts like Spider-Man and Batman to independent titles like Scott Pilgrim and 30 Days Of Night. Among the various adaptations, some creators have emerged as magnets for Hollywood types — although in this case not specifically for his comic work: Neil Gaiman.
We know Gaiman best for his comics work, but it’s arguably his prose work that made his name for the mainstream public-at-large and the Hollywood types that have hired him for jobs. While none of his comics work has been adapted to the screen, his prose and prose/art hybrids have come to life in the movies for Stardust and Coraline, and the BBC series Neverwhere. He’s been brought in to write episodes of Doctor Who and Babylon 5, and has written original screenplays for movies like Beowulf, Mirrormask and several unreleased projects. Be that as it may, people have attempted film adaptations of his comics work in the past, including an adaptation of Death: The High Cost of Living several years back.
But with Gaiman’s stock in people’s minds continuing to ride high, I’d bet money on more of Gaiman’s comic work making it to the screen. Here’s a crib sheet for the Hollywood-types on what they should do and how they should do it. Take note, I chose to leave out the variety of prose work that would be natural fits for adaptation, even the prose work that’s later been adapted to comics.
Just in time for next month’s San Diego Comic Con, IDW will release Hero Comics 2011, an anthology that benefits the Hero Initiative. The book will feature a new Chew short story by John Layman and Rob Guillory, an Elephantman story by Richard Starkings and Dougie Braithwaite, and a new story called “My Last Landlady” by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg — the creative team on the first five issues of the landmark 1980s/90s DC series The Sandman. The anthology is edited by IDW’s Scott Dunbier.
“When it comes to doing the impossible, there’s a dude who doesn’t really recognize that ‘impossible’ exists. Ladies and gentlemen, there is only one Scott Dunbier. Accept no substitutes,” the Hero Initiative’s Jim McLauchlin said on the HI’s blog. Head over there to check out the first two pages of the story.
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly round-up of the comics and other stuff that have escaped the unread stacks of books next to our beds. Our special guest this week is Nathan Edmondson, writer of the Image comics Who is Jake Ellis?, The Light and Olympus. To see what Nathan and the Robot 6 crew have bene reading, click below.
Delirium’s Party: A Little Endless Storybook, reunites all the Endless siblings “in an effort to break Despair of her unhappiness.”
“I’m so pleased to be able to play in the Sandman playground again,” Thompson told Graphic Content’s Pamela Mullin. “I love the Endless and I really enjoy being able to tell quirky and cute stories with them in their ‘Little Endless’ form! They are such a fan favorite that I always want to create something that lives up to everyone’s expectations, mine included-because first and foremost, I am a fan of these characters! I think Delirium’s Party will be a nice follow up to the first Little Endless storybook! Despair is the best ’straight man’ for comedy ever! Well, after Neil and Sandman, of course…!”
The original book was published back in 2001 as a prestige-sized one-shot, and was later repackaged as a hardcover. The plot involved Barnabas, Destruction’s dog, trying to find a lost Delirium.
The sequel is due out next year.
This afternoon on Twitter, the multi-talented Jill Thompson posted these gorgeous watercolor commissions of The Sandman‘s Delirium and Desire, as well as the X-Men‘s Kitty Pryde. Thompson, whose Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites hardcover collection will be released in June, is a featured guest this weekend at the inaugural C2E2.