C2E2 2011: VERTIGO 2011 Panel

AMERICAN VAMPIRE Up Close 2: PEARL JONES

“Comic’s edgiest imprint” brought their top creative talent to show off to the fans at the 2011 C2E2 in Chicago. Hosted by Group Editor Shelly Bond, the panel included Bill Willingham (Fables), Tony Atkins (Jack of Fables), Scott Snyder (American Vampire) and painter Jill Thompson. As the presentation begins, it becomes obvious that the first order of business must be an explanation as to why Bill Willingham is dressed as butler, complete with white gloves and a silver platter. Willingham offers just that he lost an undisclosed bet to DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, and that in payment he must act as Dan’s butler for the day. When the laughs died down, a slideshow of new and upcoming titles was presented.

Delirium’s Party

A companion piece to the Little Endless Storybook and like its predecessor was written and painted by Jill Thompson. She describes it as a silly story that’s also great for kids. In it Delirium is on a mission to make her sister Despair smile for once, so she throws her a party with all of her family in attendance. Prompted by Shelly, Jill reveals that she at least manages to make the little Endless family cry, and hints that a there will be a cake, whose mysterious recipe might sound familiar to fans.

 

American Vampire #15

Scott Snyder describes the cover to this issue as a favorite, and reveals that it is part of a linked, panoramic image with all the other covers in this new arc. Starting with this issue, the scene changes to World War 2 in the Pacific theater with a storyline that centers around the efforts of Allied forces to root out a nest of Japanese Vampires on a small island. At the same time, a separate mini-series deals with the activity of the Las Vegas characters battling Nazi vampires over a possible cure to vampirism. Scott then shared his mentor-like relationship with famed horror author Stephen King, and how King offered his help in the early days of the series, in particular with details around Skinner’s origin. Scott told a story of how the quantity of the material offered by King continually increased, in the same prolific fashion that King is notorious for.

Fables #103

After showing the cover featuring an unseen fable tearing open his shirt to reveal the Fables’ “F” Shelly asked Bill Willingham if the caps and tights development in his book was a mandate from above to improve sales. Willingham relied that the rumor of executive meddling was untrue, the only forcing done was by him. In the new story arc, Pinocchio comes to the realization that Ozma’s plan to take down their dangerous new foe with a small band of powerful fables, sounds a lot like the action in his comic book collection and the idea for a superhero team is born. Willingham then announces that each issue in the arc will feature a Fables-style homage to classic DC comic covers.

Werewolves of the Heartland OGN

Written by Willingham and targeted for a pre-Christmas release, Werewolves of the Heartland is a ‘just off panel’ solo adventure for Bigby Wolf that happens in continuity during the current arc. Few details were revealed, apart from the cover which depicts a human Bigby fighting off werewolves while carrying a mysterious blond woman.

 

Jack of Fables #50 (Extra Large Final Issue)

Atkins is sorry to see a book he’s worked on for six years go, but advises that it will go out in epic fashion while pushing all the boundaries, apropos to a character like Jack. Atkins promises that this issue will tie up all the loose ends, including the resolution to the Jack-is-a-Dragon situation. Reminiscing about the book Willingham shares a story of how he outlined a few of his old army buddies for Atkins to use during a scene taking place during World War 2 and how they turned out to look just like Bill remembered their real life counterparts. Prompted by Shelly, Atkins shared that he’ll miss drawing Gary and really misses drawing the Bagmen from the book’s original arc.

Cinderella: Fables Are Forever

Showing the cover to the recently released second issue of the mini, Willingham bragged about how great the writing has been for the Cinderella books from “the raised in a special tank to become a super-writer“ Chris Roberson, and how inspired the choice of rival for Cinderella was, without revealing her name as not to spoil anyone in the panel room.

Shelly Bond then opened the floor to fan questions. The first fan asked about another Fables prose novel, Bill replied that he has two non-Fables novels in the works and that since it was never released to him how Peter and Max did in sales, the idea of another Fables prose novel is still up in the air. The next fan asked about the Fables TV show and Bill got a ton of laughs with a line that people have been creating new networks just to pass on the Fables series, but he sees the seeds of ideas from his series in other shows in development and production. The subject of the Fables videogame from Telltale games was broached, but Bill could not comment on it. The whole panel audience was intrigued about the sliver platter that Bill was carrying around in his butler garb, and it was revealed that it’s engraving read “The Great Butler Bet, March 19, 2011.” Shelly then asked Bill to start mixing drinks for the crowd to great applause and Bill and Tony Atkins shared a recipe for a World War One era drink of gin, champagne and lemon juice shaken in a French 75mm artillery shell.

Jill Thompson revealed that the reason she did another Endless storybook was that they told her she could. The ‘darkness’ Scott Snyder is bringing to Detective Comics in entirely intentional and it will get darker. Bill was then asked if the classic TV detective Columbo was any inspiration for Bigby Wolf, to which he replied that is at least partially the case, but also Bigby comes from the ‘carrying the world on his shoulders’ look of Bogart.

Asked for advice to break writer’s block, Jill likes to get away from the screen for a while and do things like garden, Bill likes to vanish to a cabin somewhere while Scott powers though it despite the possible consequences.

Shelly was asked about the return of Sandman Mystery Theater, but there are no plans. Finally, the panel was asked what DC property they’d like to crossover into Vertigo. Bill and Tony agreed on a Batman/Bigby crossover, while Scott surprised the audience with his choice of Wonder Woman.

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