Category Archives: Vertigo

Preview: Time Warp

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So, I don’t usually make a big fuss about preview pages, but this teaser for the upcoming oversized anthology, “Time Warp,” from Vertigo is too incredible to not call attention too. For real, take a look at these pages:

From writer Damon Lindelof and artist Jeff Lemire, a story about Rip Hunter and dinosaurs. Seriously.

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From writer/artist Matt Kindt, a story that looks like a (more) futuristic Hunger Games.

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From writer Ray Fawkes and artist Andy MacDonald, some kind of weird/space mech story. I’m not familiar with MacDonald at all, but his art is just fantastic. It’s perfect for cosmic, and those mechs remind me vaguely of Kirby’s Celestials. Let’s get this guy on a “New Gods” book, K?

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Not sure to what to make of this page from writer Dan Abnett and artist I.N.J. Culbard, but it has a kind of exaggerated Darwyn Cooke vibe that I love.

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And if those names weren’t enough, the issue also features work from Peter Milligan, Toby Litt, Simon Spurrier, Tom King, Gail Simone, Mark Buckingham, MK Perker, Victor Santos Montesinos, Jorge Corona, Rafael Albuquerque, Tom Fowler. The main cover from Eduardo Risso is great, but I would definitely love to get the Jae Lee variant:

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Seriously, how great is that thing? This is the fifth of these anthology series that Vertigo has released over the past two years. Show DC and Vertigo that we want more of this kind of thing by picking it up on March 20th, and hope that one of the stories inside becomes an ongoing series or mini. Vertigo needs fresh blood. The $7.99 price tag may seem high, but it’s a steal for an 80 page book, and a way better deal that the $3.99 you plop down monthly for 20 pages of “Savage Wolverine.” Yeah, I’m talking to you.

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John Constantine is Dead. Long Live John Constantine.

This February DC Comics is cancelling Hellblazer, the longest running title under their Vertigo imprint, with issue #300. Hellblazer stars mystical British con-man John Constantine, a character created by Alan Moore during the course of his run on Swamp Thing. After the end of Moore’s run, writer Jamie Delano took over the character in what would become the flagship book for DC’s fledgling mature readers imprint. The book features Constantine aging in real-time over the course of its 20+ year run, something that is completely unheard of in modern comics. The character has been written by several incredible writers over the years, including long runs by Delano, Garth Ennis, Brian Azzarello, Mike Carey, Andy Diggle, Denise Mina, and Peter Milligan, as well as a few issue written by superstars like Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison. Peter Milligan, who took over the title with issue #251, will close out the Hellblazer saga. Hellblazer has been known for its complex stories, extremely dark themes, and for the strength of its lead character.

However, this is not the end of John Constantine. Starting in March, DC will launch Constantine #1, a new book set in the main DC universe written by Robert Venditti with art by Renato Guedes.

John Constantine, by new series artist Renato Guedes.

This is a controversial move to say the least. Constantine was created as a DC universe character, one that interacted with the likes of the Justice League and other heroes before the shift to Vertigo. Once Hellblazer became entrenched in Vertigo, the title existed in a closed universe, although Constantine would occasionally interact with characters from other Vertigo books. It was essentially the same case as Nolan’s Batman movies, wherein Batman doesn’t interact with other DC properties. In 2011, Constantine returned to the DCU proper in the pages Geoff Johns’ Brightest Day and the New 52 relaunch’s Justice League Dark. This lead to their being two portrayals of Constanine, the mainstream, reader friendly version in JL Dark, and the “true” version in the pages of Hellblazer. Many fans (myself included) feel like the New 52 version lacks many of the qualities that makes the Vertigo Constantine so compelling and complex. I for one just started reading through Milligan’s run on Hellblazer on Comixology due to my excitement for the upcoming issue #300. While I was very dissatisfied with Milligan’s portrayal of Constantine in Justice League Dark, I really like his Hellblazer stuff, confirming that both Constantines aren’t created equal. Even Jeff Lemire, a writer I adore, hasn’t been able to develop the “new” Constantine into a character that I have any real desire to follow.

I don’t have much experience with Venditti’s work. I’ve read the first few issues of the relaunched X-O Manowar and really enjoyed them, but that’s a completely different animal. Venditti is an American writer, and it is generally agreed upon by fans that Constantine works the best when he is written by a British writer. I will be very surprised if Venditti is able to accurately capture the unique voice of John Constantine. I am very familiar with the art of Renato Guedes, and while I am not a fan of his work on Superman during the New Krypton era, his recent work on books like Secret Avengers and Green Lantern has been fantastic. If he can bring that kind of talent to Constantine, then at the very least it will be a good-looking book.

Overall I count this announcement as one step forward, two back. Constantine is already heavily featured throughout the “Dark” books of the New 52, so a solo book is hardly necessary. That slot could’ve been filled by any number of other books fans are actually asking for. Likewise, Hellblazer is the longest running book under Vertigo and its cancellation is a major blow to the imprint. Vertigo has lost many major books within the past year, with long running series like Scalped and Sweet Tooth finishing up and American Vampire about to go on hiatus. Fables, which will take the mantle of longest running Vertigo book, and its various spinoffs are still going strong. There are a few very exciting limited series in the pipeline, such as Lemire’s Trillium, Snyder’s The Wake, and Gaiman’s Sandman prequel, but the imprint is left with very few stable ongoing series. The only book that comes to mind is Paul Cornell’s Saucer Country, which while being very interesting isn’t getting much attention. I hope that this is not a sign that the long running and highly respected imprint will soon be dismantled, especially in a time when interest creator owned properties are at their highest. Perhaps DC is prepping a new imprint to house all creator owned books, regardless of age-range. This, in my opinion, would be the only acceptable for the death of Vertigo as we know it.

Constantine #1 is set to launch in March, meaning DC still has one more book to announce for February or else there will only be 51 New 52 books released that much. Crossing my fingers for that New Gods book. Keep checking back for more news and info.

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From NYCC: Snyder and Lemire Bring the Sci-Fi to Vertigo

At today’s Vertigo panel two of DC’s biggest newcomers, Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire, announced new creator owned projects for the company’s mature reader imprint. Interestingly enough both books as science fiction, which is a change from both writers usual genres of choice, although Lemire previous wrote a “Ultra the Multi-Alien” story in the Strange Adventures Vertigo anthology.

First up we have The Wake, a 12 issue series coming from Snyder and artist Sean Murphy. Snyder describes the series as “a horror science fiction story with post-apocalyptic elements as well. It takes place at the bottom of the ocean, featuring elements we’re in awe of. Really a claustrophobic and terrifying story that then expands and makes the whole world terrifying.” Snyder has previously worked with Murphy on an American Vampire mini-series. Speaking of American Vampire, Snyder also announced that the series would go on a one year hiatus, returning late in 2013. In the meantime, Snyder and artist Rafael Albuquerque will collaborate on some stories set in the DCU. This will give me plenty of time to finally catch up on the fantastic series.

Next we have Trillium, a 10 issue series written and drawn by Jeff Lemire. Billed as “the last love story ever told,” the series will tell the story of two characters separated by time, over 1800 years apart. CBR has a deeper look at the series, as well as an interview with Jeff Lemire, on their website. Also, Lemire will draw a story written by Geoff Johns in the upcoming Vertigo special Ghosts. If that’s not a pairing to get excited about, I don’t know what is.

Both Snyder and Lemire have been among DC’s most popular writers in the New 52, and both have had very well received creator owned projects under their belts. With big series like Scalped and Sweet Tooth wrapping up it’s good to see that there exciting new stories to be told under the Vertigo banner.

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