In depth coverage of the Panel from this year's New York Comic Con.
It is no surprise that the evolution of DC Comics to DC Entertainment, has ended up becoming 2010's biggest story in this Industry. From it's wake, we have not only seen the company shape its focus for the decade to come, but we have seen that decade does not involve 3 of DC's former Imprints (with Wildstorm being the biggest shock), as they have been cut out of the equation. As this is all happening, fans have been voicing their opinions and concerns for what the future holds for some of their favorite comics. However, it seems that the biggest concerns come from fans of DC Entertainment's most successful alternate imprint in Vertigo.
From most viewpoints, 2010 has not been a kind year for Vertigo Comics, as it seems like the company has suffered from a string of bad news ranging from Original Series being canceled (Unknown Soldier, Air, Greek Street) or shelved before they ever got off the ground (China Mieville's Swamp Thing), to the end of their access to DC Characters (causing Madame Xanadu to also be canceled), to taking the most visible hit from the 80 layoffs (Pornstache was a big recruiter of Vertigo's current talent). Depending on who you were, you probably feared the worst for Vertigo. As for myself, I saw NYCC's 2010 Vertigo Panel as an important piece of the puzzle. What would be announced at this event? What would the mood of the staff be like? What would the mood of the crowd be like? Beyond anything else, the overall mood would be extremely important for this panel.
The first thing that I noticed when I arrived at this panel (on time, mind you) was that not only was the room 2/3rds full, but the stage was standing room only. Not only was Karen Berger present, but upwards to 20 creators were there as well, along with some of her Editorial Staff (Shelly Bond in particular). If Solidarity was a hidden theme of this panel, then they pulled it off in a spectacular fashion.
The Panel itself began with technical difficulties, as there were problems with the Projector in the original configuration. It took a few minutes to get things in working order, and that time was used to introduce everyone on stage, along with announcing the first project that was showcased in this panel in ["The Green Woman" Graphic Novel by Peter Straub. From the Author's own words, it's going to be a very dark story starring a recurring character that happens to be a Serial Killer. He also made comments about the challenges the book faced due to the artist (John Bolton) dealing with health issues. Something that him and Berger has total empathy for.
Somewhere during the 2nd and 3rd creator being featured, the projector finally worked, and the panel was in full swing, as we were bombarded with announcements and summaries of new and recently released projects. These included...
-" The New York Five" (Sequel to "The New York Four") which will be a Four Issue Miniseries with Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly serving as the creative team and will begin in January 2011
- "Cuba: My Revolution", which is a newly released Graphic Autobiography written by Inverna Lockpez and drawn by Dean Haspiel. It's a look into the writer's story during the Revolution, and what happens afterward
-"Aaron and Ahmed" will begin in Guantanamo Bay, and will end up spanning the world. The Jay Cantor's Written and James Romsberger's Drawn latest work will be released Early 2011, and promises to explore the roots of Terrorism
- Vertigo Crime's next 3 projects will be "Noche Roja," "Darkness in the Family" and "Ratcatcher." Andy Diggle also gave us some insight on the format, and promised everyone that he'll be back at Vertigo.
- "How to Understand Israel in 60 days or less", which will serve as the chronic of Sarah Gidden's trip to Israel, as she attempts to understand what is going on that country. It'll be available in November
- Vertigo: Resurrected will be 100 Page Prestige Editions of stories that are near impossible to find, or never got released, period. Among one of the centerpieces of this format will be the "Hellblazer" story known as Shoot by Warren Ellis and Phil Jimenez banned due to closeness of the Columbine shootings.
- Karen Berger would also give us a further glimpse into the future, as she briefly talked about "Delirium's Party: A Little Endless Storybook" by Jill Thompson, and "Get Jiro!" by writer Anthony Bourdain and artist Joel Rose were also announced. The Former will serve as sequel, and the latter will feature Los Angles run by Chef Gang Bosses. The Former will be released sometime next year, and the latter will see print in 2012.
The current ongoings also got quite a bit of the spotlight during this hour, as many of the creators were present to give us some insight into them. The ones spotlighted included
-"American Vampire's" writer Scott Snyder told us that Issues 10 and 11 would have a replacement artist to give the regular artist some much needed rest. From there the next big Arc would take place during World War II. Karen Berger would also give artist Robert Albuquerque props for his ability to adapt to multiple styles.
- Mike Cary discussed what went into Issue 17 of "The Unwritten" (the soon be legendary "Pick a Story" Issue), giving us insight into the techniques used to make it come to life. Karen Berger would also comment that she realized that Mike was just as crazy as everyone else on her staff. The crowd also got to see the Cover to Issue 18, as well.
- Brian Wood also announced that DMZ would be ending with Issue 72, which would give it 6 years worth of stories and 7 years worth of work. No spoilers were given out of respect to the audience and the readers, period. We also got to see the first cover to a future Northlanders Arc.
- "HellBlazer" also played a Huge Part in the panel, as the 25th Anniversary for John Constantine will be celebrated in 2011. The two big projects that were displayed were HellBlazer Issue 275 (Peter Milligan and Giuseppe Camuncoli) where John Constantine MAY get married, and "HellBlazer: City of Demons" (Sy Spurrier and Sean Murphy, which will be an Elseworlds look into the Hellblazer Universe. The former will be released in January 2011 (48 Pages/$3.99) and the latter starts this month, and will be released Bi-Monthly
- Sweet Tooth wouldn't be led out of the action, as Jeff Lemuire promised that the followers of the story will be well rewarded, as the landscape of that world is going to change right in front of their eyes.
- Fables would also get its share of the spotlight, as Shelly Bond (Editor) offically announced the Sequel to "Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love", which would be "Fables are Forever." Also in attendance would be Chrissie Zullo (Cover Artist for both Cinderella Mini-Series), and she would discuss how she got discovered at a Convention Talent Search. "Fables are Forever" will be a 6 Issue Mini-Series, and will begin February 2011.
- Also in the spotlight for Fables would be the landmark 100th Issue, as the details to this book were reiterated for all in attendance. There would be a main story clocking in at 60 pages done by the usual team (Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham), with 40 Pages worth of Special Features, including a Game board, Cut Out Dolls, and whatever else Shelly Bond can stuff in there.
- One of the two final announcements of the would simply be highlight by merely flashing the names of AZZARELLO / RISSO. Which was the only thing available due to the fact that Berger wouldn't have any idea whether they would be represented until 15 minutes before the show. Azarello would only comment on the fact that "The band is getting back together."
- From there, we learned that "Sandman" would get the distinct honor of an Annotated Edition release. The Four Volume collection will have the commentary of Leslie Klinger (The Annotated Sherlock Holmes and The Annotated Dracula), and we learned that she has worked closely with Neil Gaiman to fill those pages with new information.
With so many announcements, there audience only had time for a few questions, from which we found out that we haven't heard the last of "The Unknown Soldier" Team, ALL books will be going down to 20 pages starting in January ("Your Dollar goes Further" is how Ms. Berger summed it up, during the panel), and that Vertigo's final evolution to a creator-owned imprint has finally taken place.
To say that there was a lot of information shared at this panel was an understatement. Between everyone that spoke, 20 different titles were highlighted during the hour, with 15 to-be-released/recently being spotlighted, which will almost make Vertigo tops in that category for NYCC. This is something that shouldn't be lost on anyone, as it is now impossible to say that there is nothing new coming down the line from the Imprint. The vast majority of those new titles announced were Graphic Novels, with a couple of limited series in-between. It seems like Vertigo's focus for new imprint for the immediate future will be in the Graphic Novel format, which is change for the relative explosion of on-goings that were released in the recent past. While there will be some concern over the lack of new ongoings, this doesn't mean that one should ignore the Graphic Novels, as there is an extremely-healthy variety to these stories, something that is always good news.
For the on-goings, it's going to be very interesting to see how the loss of 2 pages of story material will affect how these stories are told, and while the reasons for this new policy are understandable, it is very easy to see how Vertigo fans could feel punished by this move, especially if most of your pull list was by the imprint. If any of DC's companies are going to be prepared to tell thrilling stories with less room it's going to Vertigo.
Beyond everything else, the one thing that did stand out was the Enthusiasm of the crowd. Despite not being the biggest room, you can feel the excitement of most of the people in attendance. You could also feel the passion of the speakers as well, as you can tell they take their work really seriously, and strive to make it best it can possibly be. If Vertigo can continue to be a destination place for creators who push the envelope, and love every single minute of it, then Vertigo will continue to not just survive, but thrive.
Source: Comic Book Resources, DC Collector, DC Comics, Fearnet, Wired
Written or Contributed by: SilverPhoenixhttp://184.108.40.206/index.php/news/convention-news/10877-nycc-vertigo-on-the-edge.html/