SDCC '08 - Vertigo: View of the Future Panel

The Vertigo panel Friday at Comic-Con featured a huge line-up of the artists and writers who put together the comics from the imprint.

Karen Berger, executive editor of Vertigo, hosted the panel. Joining her was:

Amy Hadley, Madame Xanadu artist

Matt Wagner, writer of Madame Xanadu

Cameron Stewart, Seaguy artist

Jason Aaron, Scalped writer

G. Willow Wilson, writer of Air

Bill Willingham, Fables writer

Mark Buckingham, Fables artist

David Tischmann, writer of Greatest Hits

Brian Azzarello, writer of 100 Bullets

Matt Sturges, Jack of Fables and House of Mystery writer

Will Dennis, editor

Fabio Moon and Gabrielle Ba, whose new Vertigo title Day Tripper was announced

Brian Wood, DMZ writer

Joshua Dysart, writer of Unknown Soldier

A new series called Day Tripper by Fabio Moon and Gabrielle Ba was announced. The two are probably best know for their work on Umbrella Academy. "They never quite tell me who draws what and who writes what," Berger said as she introduced the two Brazilian creators.

Moon said the series is about "a guy who wants to be a writer and how the things you do in your life every day, there's stuff that can determine what you're going to do the rest of your life." The series is set in Brazil, so the "background is going to be very different," he added.

"It's got a real nice magical realist aspect to it," Berger said. The series will be out next spring.

Berger talked about the Vertigo Crime imprint, a line of graphic novels in black and white hardcover that will be "all crime thriller, smart, sexy, edgy books," Berger said. The imprint will feature writers known for work in crime fiction as well as Vertigo writers. "Interest in the genre is very big," Berger said. "Our writers really want to tackle more crime thrillers and mysteries."

There are several new Vertigo Crime stories in the pipeline, and Vertigo will start producing them next spring. Will Dennis will be the primary editor.

"Primary editor is a euphemism for it's my fault if it doesn't work out," Dennis joked.

New Vertigo Crime books that are coming out include Dark Entries, a new book by writer Ian Rankin with Werther Dell'edera artist. Rankin is best known as the writer of the Rebus novels, on which the BBC show is based. "It's using the character of Constantine from Hellblazer," Dennis said. The story follows what happens when John Constantine is called in to investigate what went wrong on a reality television show.

Filthy Rich is a new Vertigo Crime book by writer Brian Azzarello and Victor Santos, an artist from Spain. "Basically, it's a story of a big man who makes even bigger mistakes through his life," Azzarello explained. "He is hired to be a clandestine bodyguard for a wealthy automobile heiress."

Filthy Rich takes place in the early '60s so it has that "upbeat vibe," he said. "It's all about the celebrity culture of wealth and why people find that fascinating."

Matt Sturges said that in the second storyline of House of Mystery, "they go into the basement and they find bad things there."

The first collection of Young Liars will be out in December.

The Alcoholic is a new graphic novel by Jonathan Ames and artist Dean Haspiel. It's a memoir story about a writer named Jonathan A. Berger said it's "funny, sad, poignant... you could give this comic to anyone who doesn't read comics, which is always a goal for us as well as entertaining you guys."

Wilson said Air is "a cool kind surreal adventure story about a stewardess who's afraid of heights," and gets "sucked into the other side of flight."

Mike Kaluta will be the artist on the next story arc in the Madame Xanadu. "Amy takes break; she'll be back after that," Wagner said. "That storyline features an appearance by a character I used to write who shall remain nameless."

Greatest Hits is a new series that follows how, if there really were superheroes, they would act and behave like rock stars. The book is about a filmmaker who's making a documentary about the greatest superhero of all time.

Although nothing could be revealed about the ending of 100 Bullets because, as Berger said, Azzarello "is winding down," she did say that "Brian and Eduardo have a number of projects in development to do after 100 Bullets ends."

Brian Wood said Issue #9 of Northlanders will be a two-part story where new readers can jump on board. "It's a great way to get into the book and see if you like it or not," he said.

Cameron Stewart said Seaguy 2: Slaves of Mickey Eye and Seaguy 3: Seaguy Eternal will be 3 issues each for nine issues total, then they will be released in a set. "If you read the first one and liked it, then you're going to like this one, and I'm super excited to be working on it," Stewart said.

Unknown Soldier is new Joshua Dysart title, for which he took a trip to Uganda to for research. The story is about a man raised in America who goes back to the nation of his birth, Uganda, to help with relief efforts. "The story starts with him receiving an award for his work, and will end with him killing a child," Dysart said. "It's definitely an action book. I felt like we couldn't do an Unknown Soldier book without being true to that."

Haunted Tank is a new mini-series by writer Frank Maraffino with British artist Henry Flint. The story is a new take on the classic war characters from Haunted Tank. Jeb Stewart will be in the comic, and the tank will be in modern day Iraq. "Frank has introduced a whole new cast of soldiers from different walks of life," Berger said. One of the soldiers is a descendent of Jeb Stewart, but he's an African American while Jeb was a Confederate soldier.

Aaron said Scalped #21 will be what he called a radical departure. "I'm going to take the book and make it really dark and violent," Aaron joked. He said the end of the issue features a dark turning point. After that, R.M. Guera comes back for a four-issue arc that concentrates on Chief Red Crow and teenager Dino Poor Bear. "I promise it won't be as happy-go-lucky as the rest of the book has been," Aaron dead-panned.

Two issues of DMZ called The Island with Kristian Donaldson drawing will show what happens when Mattie goes to Staten Island.

Demo is a new follow-up series from Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan. The original run of Demo was just collected. Wood said he just handed in the first script. "Becky said it made her physically sick. And she wasn't kidding around. It's a little bit grim," Wood said.

Berger said Fables will have some big announcements at the Fable panel tomorrow. But she said a very big issue of Fables that Mark is "still drawing in his hotel room" is Issue #75. "It's quite the issue."

Willingham said Issue #75 is the issue that the book has been leading up to since the beginning. "It's the war between Fabletown and the Homelands. It's huge. It's 50 pages of story," he said.

Buckingham said the issue is entirely done with double-page spreads. "I think it's going to be a real epic scope to the whole thing," he said.

Willingham said that if anyone doesn't like who dies in Issue #75, they should blame Buckingham.

"After 75, so many things change, it's almost as if the series is starting over," he said, adding that two new Fables projects are being announced tomorrow.

Berger shows the cover for a Fables collection of covers, a "coffee table art book collecting all of James Jean's covers." The book will come out in the fall and will include all the covers through Issue #75 and the covers for the trades.

The Sandman: Dream Hunters is a four issue mini-series adapted by and drawn as a comic as opposed to illustrated text. By Craig Russell, it will be out in November.

The Complete Death is coming out as a hardcover collection with all the death mini-series and a few short stories that were in various Vertigo mini-series over the years.

Swamp Thing is going to be released as a series of hardcover books. And Preacher will be in hardcover starting next fall.

Berger then opened up the panel to questions from the audience.

- Hellblazer #249 is Andy Diggle's last issue, so who's replacing him? Berger: Simon Oliver, writer of Exterminators, will take over with #250. Leonardo Manco will remain as the artist.

- Any more Harvey Pekar past the current issues? Berger: Nothing planned.

- Digital distribution? Berger: "It's something that DC as a whole has thought about for quite some time. We don't have anything currently in place."

- More Neil Gaiman Vertigo? Berger: No. "He's a very busy guy."

- Anything about War Cop from Grant Morrison? Berger: "War Cop is a new series that Grant is in the process of working out." Sean Murphy will be drawing the six-issue mini-series.

- Any chance of Jason Aaron doing another war comic like The Other Side? Aaron: "I'd like to return to the Vietnam War at some point."

- What is the Vertigo Double Shot that comes out next Wednesday? Berger: House of Mystery #1 and Young Liars #1 both sold out, so this is a flip issue of both of the books priced at $2.99.

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