Publishing | Dave Itzkoff profiles Karen Berger, who stepped down in March after 20 years as executive editor of DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint (she still consults on a few projects). The story has a wistful tone, with Berger suggesting that DC is more interested in its company-owned characters and Co-Publisher Dan DiDio basically agreeing, but noting it’s an industry-wide trend. He said it would be “myopic” to believe “that servicing a very small slice of our audience is the way to go ahead,” adding, “That’s not what we’re in the business for. We have to shoot for the stars with whatever we’re doing. Because what we’re trying to do is reach the biggest audience and be as successful as possible.” [The New York Times]
For the Brandon Graham completists, the King City creator and Prophet writer has posted the pages from the Madame Xanadu short story he drew for the 2010 House of Mystery Halloween Annual, preceded by his recollection of the Vertigo experience (aka “before I came up with my ‘never ever work at DC ever’ plan”). While the artwork is lovely, the process was a bit of a mixed bag.
“It was fun enough to draw and paid well but I don’t actually recommend anyone track it down. (I really didn’t like the story),” he wrote. “After this I wanted to make sure I only put out books I would want to buy myself. Live and learn and all that.”
Vertigo has unveiled a preview of American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell #1, a one-shot co-written by Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, with art (naturally) by Albuquerque. It sports a variant cover by Tony Moore.
Arriving June 12, the special features the return of fan-favorite vampire hunter Travis Kidd (introduced in the series’ “Death Race” arc) as he tracks a pair of newly turned young lovers — the “Heartbreak Killers” — across the American heartland.
“This is my first time writing for Vertigo and it’s a big honor,” Albuquerque said in March. “Once it was decided we would go on hiatus, I approached Mark (our editor) with the idea of doing this special, so the fans could have a ‘taste of blood’ while waiting for the book’s return. He liked the idea and we (Scott Snyder, Mark and I) began talking about it.”
“Yes he [Aquaman] talks to fish, but it’s more interesting to find out what drives him and motivates him. How are those powers a metaphor that we can relate to? [...] The best characters are relatable. They don’t have to be relatable in a literal sense where they have a problem with a job. The things that they experience and the things that they go up against have to reflect upon us emotionally. It doesn’t have to be timely. It’s nice when it’s timely, but it has to be emotional.”
– Geoff Johns, addressing his penchant for injecting new life into neglected characters, in an article that includes a rundown of DC and Vertigo titles that influenced him as a young fan
What’s that, you say? You find it hard to believe there’s a comic book series by Gilbert Hernandez that’s not only out of print but has never been collected in trade paperback?
Oh, but it’s all too true. Read on to learn more …
“We haven’t signed contracts yet but I have every reason to believe we will be starting season two in comic form next year,” Cornell tells Alex Dueben at Suicide Girls. “In February, even. We’ve been talking to some lovely people about this and I think Saucer Country readers have a huge reason to be hopeful. I’m very much thankful to them for that.”
Axed in January in a round of DC Comics cancellations that included DC Universe Presents, I, Vampire and Superman Family Adventures, the creator-owned series follows New Mexico Gov. Arcadia Alvarado who, on the eve of announcing her candidacy for president, is abducted by aliens. It debuted in March 2012 to nearly 16,000 copies, but by November’s issue that number had been more than cut in half. Saucer Country was nominated in March for a Hugo Award.
Less than a month after DC Comics announced that Astro City will return in June as part of “DC proper,” the company has revealed the acclaimed superhero series by Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson and Alex Ross will actually be released under the Vertigo banner.
While that will make little difference to fans of the long-running comic, the move helps to bolster the mature-readers imprint, which only recently lost the Hugo Award-nominated Saucer Country and its longtime flagship Hellblazer (relaunched as Constantine in the DC Universe). Astro City will certainly stand out as a rare example of a superhero title on the Vertigo stable.
Debuting in 1995 at Image Comics before ultimately moving to Wildstorm, Astro City centers on the denizens of a mecca for super-powered beings. The title has been on hiatus since DC shuttered the Wildstorm imprint in 2010. The new series continues from the previous arc, a Silver Agent two-parter that served as an epilogue to Astro City: The Dark Age.
Chris Bachalo is one of the preeminent superhero artists working in comics today, but that’s not what he originally wanted to do. Despite quietly becoming the most prolific X-Men artist of all time, Bachalo got his start in a far different place: Vertigo. As a child and teenager, he actively avoided X-Men comics, and his passions lay instead with more experimental artists like Bill Sienkiewicz and Dave McKean. But now as a 23-year veteran of comics he’s one of Marvel’s top artists.
But that doesn’t mean he isn’t prone to experiment.
Hard at work on the eighth issue of Uncanny X-Men, is redefining the franchise’s flagship title with writer Brian Michael Bendis while also planning a themed art book called Giant Robot Destroyer that collects drawings he’s over the years. And yes, he’s also thinking about Steampunk.
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.
Hero Complex has unveiled Lee Bermejo’s cover for The Girl Who Played With Fire: Book One, the third installment in Vertigo’s adaptation of Stieg Larrson’s bestselling Millenium trilogy.
Written by Denise Mina and illustrated by Leonardo Manco and Andrea Mutti, the graphic novel features many of the character who appeared in Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragoon Tattoo, including Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. Vertigo’s planned six-volume adaptation devotes two books to each of the novels in the trilogy.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Book One, which was released in November, will be followed in May by Book Two. The Girl Who Played With Fire: Book One arrives Oct. 30.
Vertigo will expand upon Mike Carey and Peter Gross‘ acclaimed fantasy series The Unwritten in September with an original graphic novel called The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor & the Ship That Sank Twice. According to MTV Geek, the two collaborators will be joined on the project by illustrators Kurt Huggins and Zelda Devon, and series cover artist Yuko Shimizu.
Debuting in October 2009, The Unwritten follows Tom Taylor, the model for his father’s insanely popular Tommy Taylor fantasy novels who, as a troubled adult, discovers he’s actually the boy-wizard made flesh, and sets off on an exploration of fame and the lines between reality and fiction. The Unwritten #47 goes on sale Feb. 27.
If it’s Saturday, it must be Shelf Porn, and today’s collection comes from Troy Potter. Troy shows us his nicely displayed shelves of statues, trade paperbacks, toys and more.
If you’d like to submit your collection to Shelf Porn, scroll down to the end of the post to find out how. Now let’s hear from Troy …
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d start with Black Beetle #1 (Dark Horse, $3.99), Francesco Francavilla’s pulp action hero who jumps into his own miniseries after a run in Dark Horse Presents. I’d also grab Threshold #1 (DC Comics, $2.99), which continues the story from last week’s New Guardians annual, featuring a new Green Lantern and a whole bunch of cosmic DC characters. I’d also grab Comeback #3 (Image, $3.50), as I just got around to reading the first issue and really enjoyed it. They’re doing some fun stuff with time travel that should make for a cool series. That leaves room for one more, which is a hard choice … but let’s go with Indestructible Hulk #3 (Marvel, $3.99), because I love the new direction and take on the character and his status quo.
If I had $30, I’d also pick up Saga #9 (Image, $2.99) and Daredevil #22 ($2.99), because, well, Saga and Daredevil. I’m also really digging what Kelly Sue Deconnick is doing with the Avengers, so next I’d get Avengers Assemble #11 (Marvel, $3.99). Lastly, I’d grab Captain America #3 (Marvel, $3.99), as I’m really worried about Cap and the kid, and hope they come out of Zola’s world OK.
Finally, for my spulrge, I’d go with the big Paul Pope book from Image, One Trick Rip-Off ($29.99).
As DC Comics parcels out its April solicitations ahead of their full release at 2 p.m., we learn that I, Vampire and DC Universe Presents will be canceled with Issue 19, and Saucer Country with Issue 14. Update: The all-ages Superman Family Adventures also will end with Issue 12.
Launched in September 2011 as part of the New 52′s “Dark Group,” I, Vampire teamed writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Andrea Sorrentino for a revival of the horror-romance serial that appeared from 1980 to 1983 in the House of Mystery anthology. Although the new series was a solid performer out of the gate, with the debut issue selling nearly 36,000, by the 14th issue that figure had slid below the 14,000 mark.
“Yep. I, Vampire is done as of 19. It’s been an amazing ride,” Fialkov wrote this afternoon on Twitter. “Thanks to all of my collaborators and stay tuned for the kickass conclusion. I’ve known For almost four months and got to write the ending I wanted. No complaints.”
Another of the New 52 launch titles, DC Universe Presents debuted with a Deadman storyline before embracing such diverse characters as the Challengers of the Unknown, Vandal Savage, Kid Flash, Blue Devil and Blue Beetle. Like I, Vampire, the anthology started solidly enough, with more than 41,000 copies but — again, like I, Vampire — it had plummeted below 14,000 by Issue 14.