Tag Archives: Vertigo

It’s Wednesday! (July 31, 2013)

vertigo_collider_1_cover

 

COLLIDER #1

Written by: Simon Oliver; Art by: Robbi Rodriguez; Cover by:  Nathan Fox
Published by Vertigo

 
It started small: temporary gravity failures, time reversal loops, entropy reversals. With much fanfare a new government agency was formed with a mandate “to prevent and protect.” Its official title: The Federal Bureau of Physics. Humans, if nothing else, adapt to the changing parameters of their existence. What was extraordinary soon became ordinary, a part of people’s daily lives. They move on and do what people have always done: survive. But even that new status quo is now under threat. Things are getting worse, and it falls to Special Agent Adam Hardy and his FBP team to figure out what’s going on, before it’s too late… 
 
I consider this the first new Vertigo original series under the guidance of new executive editor Shelly Bond. The other titles – The Wake, Astro City, Tom Strong, Brother Lono, and Trillium – are either established franchises/characters or were announced when Karen Berger was still running the imprint.
 
I only know Simon Oliver from The Exterminators, which I’ve only read the first 5 or 6 issues. But it was fresh and the sort of thing I turn to Vertigo for.
 
So for these two reasons I’m giving this one a chance.
  
FIVE GHOSTS HAUNTING OF FABIAN GRAY #5
 image_fiveghosts_issue5Story: Frank J. Barbiere; Art: Chris Mooneyham
Published by Image Comics
 
…THE END?
 
So we already know this isn’t the end because it was announced that Five Ghosts will be returning in October as an ongoing after a two-month break. One the one hand, I’m glad for Barbiere and Mooneyham. This is one of the two pulp genre books out now that is getting it right, with the other being Francesco Francavilla’s excellent The Black Beetle, which is also coming back in October for a second 4-issue mini. On the other hand, I was counting on this mini-series coming to a close so I could try out other books once this one ended its run.
  

ADVENTURE TIME SUMMER SPECIAL 2013
AdventureTimeSummerSpecial_2013Writer(s): Becky Dreistadt, Frank Gibson, Noelle Stevenson, Ryan Pequin

Artist(s): Becky Dreistadt, Noelle Stevenson, Ryan Pequin
Published by Kaboom
 
Put on that sunscreen and grab your beach-towel, because it’s an ADVENTURE TIME summer special! Featuring all-new sun-kissed stories from acclaimed creators, starring Finn, Jake and all of your favorites and showcasing a fully-painted cover by Becky Dreistadt!

It’s the dog days of summer, and kicking back on the front porch with an extra-sized special brings back so many memories. I remember picking up a few Marvel annuals, taking them home and diving into them during the hot summer afternoons.
 
Kaboom certainly is milking the interest in the Adventure Time franchise with lots of extra issues and mini-series to accompany the regular monthly. This isn’t the first Adventure Time annual-size book in 2013. And there is still a graphic novel and an extra-sized Halloween issue to come. That said, the quality of the story and art (not to mention zaniness!) in these books is pretty good compared to what else is on the store shelves these days.
  
CAPTAIN MIDNIGHT #1
darkhorse_captainmidnight_1Writer: Joshua Williamson; Artist: Fernando Dagnino; Colorist: Ego; Cover Artist: Felipe Massafera
Published by Dark Horse Comics
 
On the run from the US government after fleeing custody, Captain Midnight has been labeled a security risk. In the forties, he was an American hero, a daredevil fighter pilot, a technological genius . . . a superhero. But since he rifled out of the Bermuda Triangle into the present day, Captain Midnight doesn’t know what or who to trust!

* Written by Joshua Williamson (Masks and MobstersVoodooUncharted) with art by Fernando Dagnino (Resurrection Man, Suicide Squad)!

 
Part of the relaunch of the Dark Horse superhero line.  This just sounded interesting, so I’m picking it up more out of curiosity than something I’d planned on picking up regularly, but I have this feeling that I’ll be looking for issue #2 in a month’s time.
  

image_sex-5_coverSEX #5
Story:
 Joe Casey; Art: Piotr Kowalski
Published by Image Comics
 
Simon Cooke’s night out has disastrous consequences! And not just socially. But, hey, at least he’s trying! Meanwhile, life in Saturn City’s criminal underworld rolls on… just not as smoothly as expected. Never forget: SEX is real! SEX is now! But, most importantly, SEX has infected your local comic book store!
 
I’m finally starting to warm up to this one.

  

And since I’ve missed a few of these, I’ll drop the occasional notable mentions from recent weeks. This time around, it’s GAMMA

 
darkhorse_gamma_OS-2013Writer: Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas; Artist: Ulises Farinas; Cover Artist: Ulises Farinas
Published by Dark Horse Comics
 

Dusty Keztchemal is a pathetic coward. He failed the entire planet, and now, the only way he can make a living is by getting punched in the face for money. But when a beautiful stranger wanders into his saloon looking for help, Dusty thinks he can conjure up the man he once was—the greatest monster trainer in the world!

* The first original story from Catalyst artist and rising star Ulises Farinas (Transformers: Heart of DarknessGlory)!

“Hilarious, awesome and hilariously awesome.”—ComicsAlliance.com

People are saying some pretty nice things about this book. I believe it reprints the 3-part story that ran in Dark Horse Presents about 6 months ago, in which case you should seek this out. Ulises’ style is great (Comics Beat described it as neo-Moebius) and the story is fun.

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Cover vs Cover: Time Warp #1 (Vertigo)

Vertigo_TimeWarp_1_eduardorisso

Vertigo releases Time Warp #1. It’s the latest instalment in the sci-fi and horror annuals the imprint has been publishing for, what has it been now, 3 years? And I’ve enjoyed almost each one so far.

This issue features two covers, both of them excellent. So I ask you: which is your favourite? Cover A is by Eduardo Risso of 100 Bullets fame. Cover B is the variant by Jae Lee (who I loved on The Sentry and Inhumans, both from Marvel)

Vote now! (Hint: click the image to expand)

I believe this is the last “new” book under Karen Berger’s tenure as queen supreme at Vertigo. This is based solely on my best memory of the solicitations in Previews from a few months ago and the timing of the announcement that Berger was stepping down.

I can totally appreciate that a person is sometimes ready to make a change in their life. But I’d still like to hear more from her on the timing of her decision. I can only assume there was something happening in the editorial halls of DC Comics that pushed her to make this move.

Back to the book. It features an all-star talent lineup:

Writers: Matt Kindt, Damon Lindelof, Peter Milligan, Toby Litt, Ray Fawkes, Simon Spurrier, Tom King, Gail Simone

Artists: Mark Buckingham, Jeff Lemire, MK Perker, Victor Santos Montesinos, Jorge Corona, Rafael Albuquerque, Tom Fowler, I.N.J. Culbard

Wow.

Here are a couple of preview pages drawn by two of my favourite writer/artists – Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt:

Vertigo-LindelofLemire-TimeWarp

Vertigo-TimeWarp-Kindt

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Comic book anthologies make a comeback

It’s great to see so many anthologies on comic store shelves recently.

With this month’s launch of Creator-Owned Heroes (Image), three of the four top-selling comic companies are currently publishing a regular anthology series – only Marvel is the outlier. With so many titles, the range of talent and content is staggering.

I’ll admit, I haven’t always been a fan of anthologies. I can probably trace my interest to 2009 and the release of Marvel’s Strange Tales three-issue miniseries and DC’s 12-issue weekly anthology project Wednesday Comics. I was mostly turned on by the use of established-yet-non-mainstream talent. It was a gateway to the indie scene for me. Since then, I’ve gone out of my way to find anthology series. I’ve even been picking up runs of Marvel’s Epic Illustrated on eBay in the hopes of digging up diamonds.

Back to the here-and-now, here are a few current books I’ve been reading:

Dark Horse Presents

Only one year old for the newly-revived print edition (following 36 digital issues on MySpace), DHP is proving to be a powerhouse for comic talent and new properties. Harlan Ellison, Fiona Staples, Steve Niles, Neal Adams, John Layman, Sam Keith, Francesco Francavilla, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Brian Wood…the list goes on and on and on. This monthly series edited by Dark Horse publisher Mike Richardson is great value for the money at $8 for a minimum of 80 pages. It features a mix of serialized and singles stories, established characters and franchises – such as Concrete, Hellboy, and Criminal Macabre – as well as new stories and characters.

Each issue of this title covers a range of genres. It’s been a great testing ground for new ideas such as Resident Alien and Carla Speed McNeil’s Finder: Third World, as well as serving as the launch pad for new DH series, like Brian Wood’s new eco-thriller, The Massive. You’ll even find the occasional prose story.

While some of the serialized stories are being collected into one-shots worth picking up for those of you who aren’t reading this series regularly (*ahem* Resident Alien and Skeleton Key), much of the material can only be found within these covers. Plus Richardson’s introductions (often insightful, always interesting) are one of the reasons I like picking up this book.

Mystery in Space (Vertigo)

This one-shot anthology is loaded with unsettling short stories that will hijack your imagination and take you to strange, mysterious places. Journey to the edge of the abyss with Michael Allred! Plus: Broken hearts will be cryogenically frozen, a zero-gravity menage á trois will be compromised by aliens, and solar systems will spiral out of control when top comics talents and exciting newcomers collide!

Eighty pages of solid sci-fi, this is Vertigo’s latest instalment to their recently launched bi-annual anthology series. Last year, they published one sci-fi and one horror book – Strange Adventures and The Unexpected respectively – both excellent. When Strange Adventures was released, there were many reviews comparing it to Dark Horse Presents, but they are two entirely different beasts in my opinion. Vertigo’s are one-shot issues packed with standalone stories that play within one of the two genres. Each entry so far has proven its worth both in content and talent. Mike Allred, Kyle Baker, Andy Diggle, Ann Nocenti, Robert Rodi, Ming Doyle, Duane Swierczynski, Davide Gianfelice, Michael Wm. Kaluta are just a few of the top caliber names you’ll find in this issue of Mystery in Space.

Creator-Owned Heroes (Image)

“AMERICAN MUSCLE, Part One by STEVE NILES & KEVIN MELLON

The world ended a long time ago. How it happened exactly and what exists in the wasteland have always been a mystery. Now Chloe, Gil and a gang of rebels have escaped the last human stronghold and are blazing across Post-Apocalypse America in search of paradise.

TRIGGERGIRL 6, Part One, by JIMMY PALMIOTTI, JUSTIN GRAY & PHIL NOTO
In this sci-fi thriller, the sixth in a series of genetically modified assassins born in a secret laboratory sets her sights on the ultimate target. But what happens when the perfect killing machine takes a personal interest in her target only to uncover a conspiracy that may change the fate of the entire human race?

PLUS! An interview with NEIL GAIMAN! Triggergirl cosplay! Con photos! And original articles all celebrating the creator-owned spirit of independence!

So that’s the promo blurb.

One part comic, book one part magazine. Jimmy Palmiotti’s editorial pretty much nails part of the problem with comics today: “These days, some comics can be read in a few minutes and without letters page, they’re a quick read for your money.”

Tell me about it. Nothing frustrates me more than putting down $4 for 5 minutes of entertainment. I might as well pay for a lap dance if that’s going to be the case. So Jimmy, Justin and Steve have embarked on a mission to provide readers with a more value-for-your-money comic experience.

This is not something new. In addition to Marvel reintroducing letters pages to some books, the Ed Brubaker/Steve Phillips Criminal and Incognito series have included essays and long editorials that provided many additional minutes of reading pleasure.

It’s too early for me to have an opinion on the two strips. But after taking in most of the first issue, including the non-strip material in the back half of the book, I must say it’s a fascinating read. I’ll be curious to see how long Jimmy and Justin can keep it up.

The first issue also includes interviews with Neil Gaiman, rambling columns by Palmiotti, Gray and Niles, backstage information on the cover design, and even some convention and cosplay photos. Everything a comic geek could ask for.

Cover to cover fun.

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Dear Lina, Have You Read Jeff Lemire’s Essex County Trilogy?

Hello and Happy Easter, Passover, etc!

It’s been too long since we’ve seen one another.

I’ve been meaning to send along some information about, Essex Country Trilogy, the comic book I chose for you at Christmas! I hope you’ve been able to spend some time with the book. It’s definitely worth reading over a few times and really soaking in the pages. If I’ve learned anything about Lemire’s work is that it’s deceptively simple. There is a quiet deliberateness to each panel – try to absorb each line on the page for the full effect.

So who is Jeff Lemire? Well you probably know by now that he is a Toronto-based comic artist. He lives in my neighbourhood, actually. He shops at the comic book store where I pick up my books, in fact.  You can read a short bio from him on Wikipedia.

He published a few independent books – one of which won the now-defunct Xeric prize, which used to award self-publishing grants to comic book creators – before he scored a graphic novel deal with Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics (Superman, Batman) who publish comics geared at adult readers. The book, The Nobody (Vertigo), is a unique take on the Invisible Man character and was met with praise from both readers and critics alike. He followed that up with a popular ongoing monthly series, the post-apocalyptic tale Sweet Tooth (Vertigo), which is only a few months away from celebrating its third anniversary in publication. It boasts fairly impressive monthly and graphic novel sales for a creator-owned series. In addition to Sweet Tooth, he currently writes two mainstream titles for DC Comics, one of which, Animal Man, turned out to be a surprise hit series with everyone, including Lemire.

Why Essex County? In that collection, Lemire brings us heartbreaking stories of contemporary rural Ontario in a style reminiscent of Alice Munro. I was deeply moved by the tales of each of the narrators who share their story with the reader. We are voyeurs into dark family secrets, unfulfilled dreams, the difficult birth of new relationships. Onto those, Lemire layers Canadian cultural touch points like hockey, lumberjacks and Catholic orphanages. These are themes and iconic images that create powerful stories, a feat rarely achieved in comics.

Later this year, Lemire will release a follow-up with the same publisher, Top Shelf Productions. Underwater Welder is due out in August 2012. Lemire says it’s the closest piece of work he’s created to date exploring similar themes and styles as Essex County. I expect it will be a very strong piece of work considering how much his craft has sharpened between Top Shelf books based on the schedule he’s been keeping with DC/Vertigo the past few years.

He’s definitely one to watch over the next few years.

Some links I hope you enjoy

* A review of Essex Country from Geist literary magazine:  Jeff Lemire: The Essential Canadian Comic Book Creator

* Essex Country was included in CBC’s Canada Reads 10th anniversary edition, the first and only graphic novel to enter the competition

* Not surprisingly, it was unceremoniously dumped by panellist in the first round. When you read the following critique of the Canada Reads panellists’ decision, take special note of Darwyn Cooke’s word. He’s a prominent, popular and well-respected artist.

* I also follow Jeff’s blog.

We’re nearly finished watching Battlestar Galactica. Hope to see you soon so we can dissect the series.

Cheers,
Derek

Read also: Lina Responds

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How to sell a comic book on television

Only the hottest heroines get the DC seal of approval. “These ain’t your daddy’s comic books, fanboy!” so says Lobo.

And you don’t eff around with Lobo. You can’t kill him and he’s the last of his kind – after committing violent genocide of his race . (Sort of like Dr. Who when you think about it….)

Unfortunately, this spot won’t get into any hall of fame for best local TV ads, but it does the job, and then some.

We aren’t sure when it ran originally for Comics on Parade (sometime in the early 90s?), a comic store in Metairie, Louisiana – we think.

Fast forward a few decades, and we get the following ad for Vertigo Comics, which aired on BBC America in 2010.

Still playing up the sex and danger.

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