The creator-driven wing of DC Comics is called Vertigo, and it proves that not everything in this industry has to deal with superheroes. So let’s check in with the panel at San Diego Comic-Con.
On the panel: John Cunningham of DC, Fables‘ Mark Buckingham, American Vampire’s Scott Snyder, FBP’s Simon Oliver, Shelly Bond, Mark Doyle, Will Dennis. Tula Lotay.
Here’s the live-blogging of the panel as it happened.
First up is American Vampire Second Cycle. Snyder thanks the crowd for being supportive after their time off. The first week they were off the series, Snyder realized he really missed it. Now they’re full steam ahead. This part of the series is about bringing all of the characters they created in the first cycle into conflict. Mummies, werewolves, demons all together in a big crescendo. This cycle gets you up to speed, as a great place to start. Issue #5 is a standalone going back to The Gold Rush – different moments in American history are open to the series. It’s an opportunity for him to talk about American culture and why things are heroic or monstrous at different times. The Great Trader returns, and he’s an amalgamation of folklore about the devil. The Miner 49er culture is there as well. Issue #6 is a bombastic arc dealing with the space race. Vampires in space! A panel is shown saying “Great, vampires in space. Fuck me.” There will be vampire chimpanzees. American Chimp Vampire will be a spinoff series, he jokes. With a Batman cameo to move units.
Related Link: American Vampire Second Cycle #1: Rejoice!
The Wake is up next. The Wake #10 is due out next week, the finale with Sean Murphy. Snyder talks about how they miss it, and joked with Sean that maybe they’ll come back for a series with just the dolphin and the robotic parrot. It was designed as a place for Scott and Sean to experiment. Murphy’s art style is so daring and different with so much detail in every panel, and it’s so convincing that it allowed Snyder to experiment. The tenet was that it would always be them improvising things they never tried, to be unafraid and explore, and #10 is a testament to the idea of waking up fearful and finding the courage to explore, be curious and fearless. It has the nuttiest things. “What if we have a robot dolphin?” “Only if it’s in an avalanche.” “Only if someone’s riding it in an avalanche!” It’s about risking failure to try things. Cavemen have lasers in this issue. Don’t be afraid to try things that shouldn’t go together and shouldn’t work. They never expected the level of response it got. Hardcover collection comes in November.
Fables is on #142, and it’s coming to an end soon. Shelly Bond says “two words. Body bags.” The plan for this issue was a big shocker. They kept the surprise that Bigby Wolf is back, hungry for the kill. Buckingham (aka “Bucky”) says the final story arc is bringing back the core things that hooked readers, Snow/Red and Snow/Bigby. Bigby is back and Bigby has changed, and he now represents a potentially huge threat to the entire Fables community. They’re also exploring Snow and Rose, discovering they are magical creatures of great power that neither of them understood before. The gathering storm taking place reveals aspects of them we haven’t seen before. New powerful beings are showing up and leading towards a chaotic conclusion. It’s also potentially a very sad time. Nobody is safe in this arc. Bond says that Bucky and Bill Willingham and she have conference calls where they wrestle about who is going to die and who Bucky doesn’t want to die. 150 issues is a monumental achievement, and they are very proud of the book.
Fairest with Bucky and Russ Bralin. Bucky is now writing Fairest after being an artist on Fables so long. He’s writing about Raynard the Fox, going back to the story of Animal Farm, which brought Bucky into the Fables universe and made him realize that he doesn’t like drawing people and likes drawing animals and environments, so he left superheroes behind. They’ve never really properly spent time with the animals created to get their backstories. He’s wanted to write for it for so long, to revisit the Farm and deal with their confinement to the farm. Prince Charming had promised he’d grant them freedom to explore the mundane world if elected, but that never happened. Raynard is telling people how great his life is now that he can become human sometimes, and the animals are pissed about it. Over the course of six issues, he’s highlighting a different character – the Sunflower Kid, etc. He’s glad that this happened now since Bill is taking a cleaver to the population of Fabletown, and if Bucky takes over the farm, Bill can’t kill them. Until 150, where Bucky has no say.
Bodies #1. Bond says “four words. Four Eras, One Body.” Four different covers for the first issue. Sy Spencer (Hellblazer: City of Demons, The Vinyl Underground) writes a story about a time-traveling serial killer. Bond loved it from the first page. Each issue has four chapters set in a different time. Tula Lotay is on art. In the future, there’s a mass amnesiac thing, and there’s a character trying to work through the memory loss. Lotay says she’s based on Janet Monroe to try and capture the 1950s pinup style. She’s sassy, but living in a futuristic world where everything’s broken down. Lee Loughridge is doing colors to differentiate each time period. Eduardo Risso, Paul Pope, Francesco Francavilla, David Finch did covers. It’s due out next week!