NYCC 2011: VERTIGO - Scary $#*! Panel

ALBUQUERQUE Grows as Artist on AMVAMP

Vertigo fleshed out some of their new upcoming series and unveiled several new storylines Saturday at the Vertigo - Scary $#*! Panel at New York Comic Con.

Led by executive editor Karen Berger, the panel began with a new cover for American Vampire by Rafael Albuquerque, with a 1950s-style drag racer licking his lips -- showing some giant fangs.

"This is our version of the Punisher or Van Helsing," said series writer Scott Snyder, adding that the fanged figure on the cover is not a vampire, but a vampire hunter. "He's not a Vassal, however -- he just wants to go out and kill every vampire in the world." While his hot rod has a trunkful of weaponry, his favorite is a set of wooden fangs. "He wants to bite them back."

Snyder described the four-issue drag-racing 1950s arc as "the stuff we've been dying to get to since we even pitched the series." "We're going to introduce some new characters and reintroduce some of the old characters that you love," he said.

When asked by a fan about whether there would be any more spin-offs, Snyder said there were more in the works, specifically delving into vampire evolution and organization, including those outside of the United States. But when another fan asked about the ending of the series, Snyder says that they do have an ending in mind, but he sees the series continuing all the way to the present day.

Selwyn Seyfu Hinds was also on hand to introduce his new series Voodoo Child. The series follows college student Dominique, who is on the run when she learns she is the heir to the Voodoo Queenship, a key part of the secret magical underworld of New Orleans. After the previous queen dies during Hurricane Katrina, Dominique is blamed for the death, drawing numerous forces upon her. Hinds said that the series moves from the French Quarter to the Civil War to the cosmic. "It's grounded in mythology," he said. "It's grounded in character, it's grounded in the city."

Chris Roberson then discussed the next arc for iZombie, which begins this issue. Following the zombie invasion of Eugene, Ore., the city is in shambles, and zombie protagonist Gwen is in hiding from monster hunters. Yet her ghostly pal Elle won't let her sit in her crypt — Elle's in love, and since she's intangible, she needs Gwen's help to make her romantic dreams come true. Yet a fan question did reveal that some of Gwen's less palatable habits -- namely, her need to eat brains -- will still be in the series, as Roberson said readers will soon be introduced to "the brain smoothie."

Meanwhile, Gwen's brother, Gavin, also has some sparks flying — with Gwen's friend, Scott the Wereterrier. "Gavin was clearly trying to pick him up, but Scott was totally oblivious," Roberson said. "Scott is coming to terms with his sexuality really really gradually, and Issue #19 is his first date. He hasn't come out yet, he hasn't told his friends yet." That burgeoning romance will have some wrinkles, of course, such as Gavin being possessed by the spirit of a pulp-style, monster-hunting ghost called the Phantasm. "He's been mentioned several times [in the series]," Roberson said. "We're having a ridiculous amount of fun with this dude."

Sweet Tooth will be taking a look to the past, focusing on the origin of the plague earlier in the 20th century. "Shephard's out in the wild, things evolve -- the group heads to Alaska," Lemire said. When a fan asked about Gus's visions and whether they were metaphoric or more deliberate, Lemire said they were "very specific," but wouldn't say more about the whys and wherefores.

Colorist Jose Villarrubbia described Lemire's lines as "very fast -- they're very spontaneous and they're very fast, they're very generous and well-rendered, but they're very quick, so I have to try to match that." The first variant cover for Sweet Tooth will also be coming up soon, illustrated by Lemire's artistic partner on Animal Man, Travel Foreman.

Ryan Kelly, who is teaming up with writer Paul Cornell on the book Saucer Country, described their new series as "The X-Files meets The West Wing." The series protagonist, Arcadia Almorado, is the governor of New Mexico and has her eyes for the Presidency. "But something happened to her -- she's been abducted, possibly by an alien," Kelly said. "She's running for president, but she has to come to terms with what happened to her -- she has to come to terms with it, and prove it. And possibly warn the government that something is coming."

Brian Azzarrello was brief with his discussion on his new series Spaceman, saying that readers should use the first issue as a message to DC and the industry as a whole. ""This is a big deal -- its the first issue of original content for 99 cents, its the first time DC has done this," he said. When Berger asked him if he had anything to say about the post-apocalyptic story, Azzarrello responded: "It's a dollar. And it's 99 cents. And you don't have any excuse not to buy it. Especially digitally -- you've got to support this thing. They don't think we can do it. They don't think we'll be able to do 99 cents. Prove 'em wrong."

Marzena Sowa and Sylvain Savoia also discussed the American printing of the graphic novel Marzi, which deals with Sowa's childhood growing up in communist Poland. "We publish very few books that we don't originate at Vertigo, but what attracted me to Marzi was it was a story about Poland at a time where nobody really talks about," Berger said. "The blend of innocence and curiosity that Marzene brings to her childhood experience, like being mad at your friends or not wanting to go to school, some of the universality of childhood alongside living under a very oppressive regime."

"I didn't really read comics in Poland, because it's not as widespread as it is in France or Belgium or here. But I always wanted to write, and [Savoia] introduced me to this world," said [Sowa]. "It was a little bit strange, because I never thought about being a comic book author. But when I told [Signal] about my childhood in Poland, he told me to write it down, so it wouldn't be forgotten. I didn't think we would do a comic book over this -- I thought I was doing this for me, or for him, to discover myself better."

When a fan asked Berger if there would be any more Vertigo characters making their way back to the mainstream DC Universe, Berger laughed: "They took 'em all." She said that having two versions of John Constantine was fine with her, as Peter Milligan was writing both, and with Vertigo writers Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire taking on Swamp Thing and Animal Man, she felt the books were in good hands.

"We're writing both of those books as if we were writing them for you," Lemire replied. "We just can't swear."

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