Today sees the release The Names #1 by Peter Milligan and Leandro Fernandez. Published by Vertigo and described as Kill Bill meets The Wolf Of Wall Street, the book tells the story of Katya Walker, a woman who is thrown into a web of financial and technological intrigue after the sudden suicide of her husband -- a suicide that we learn in the first pages of issue #1 was not committed out of despair but at the behest of a man called the Surgeon, working for a world-dominating cabal of financiers known only as the Names. Dubious that her husband would take his own life, Katya's search for the truth takes the reader through a violent, decadent and technologically advanced world of money and power that teaches the young woman not just about the chilling reality of how the world works, but about the role her husband was subtly preparing her to take should the Names ever go too far.
Drawn in a wildly expressive and sexy style by Leandro Fernandez with delicate, mood colors by Cris Peter, The Names is has some aesthetic and narrative similarities to Vertigo's revenge epic 100 Bullets, but with a very contemporary theme obviously inspired by current events such as the Global Economic Crisis and, presumably, the enduringly frustrating fact that its cruel architects have not been brought to justice.
ComicsAlliance sat down with Milligan to talk about the real-world inspiration for The Names, his plans for the project, and to break down some special moments from its first issue.
Since it began nearly 20 years (!) ago, writer Kurt Busiek and artist Brent Anderson's Astro City has offered up superhero tales from the perspective of the regular humans who encounter them. Clearly, it's proven to be a concept with some serious longevity. The creative team is still coming up with fresh concepts.
Take the newest issue for example. On sale now, issue #14 of the Vertigo series focuses on an elderly woman named Ellie who runs a roadside museum -- the kind one often finds on long drives out West -- full of what seem to be busted-up robot henchmen. To the superheroes who destroyed them on their way to taking down a supervillain, they were just another obstacle. To Ellie, they're showpieces, and, as the title indicates, friends.
Paul Pope is one of comics' most respected and versatile talents. Over the past three decades, he's produced an amazing body of work, from his breakthrough self-published THB series to a number of acclaimed projects for DC/Vertigo. Last October, he unleashed his long-awaited Battling Boy graphic novel, which became a bestseller and won "Best Publication For Teens" at the Eisners last month. This coming September, First Second will publish the first of three tie-in volumes, The Rise Of Aurora West, written by Pope and J.T Petty, with art by David Rubin.
We sat down with Pope at the First Second booth at San Diego Comic-Con, the morning after the Eisners ceremony, and had a wide-ranging conversation about his creative inspirations, the changing face of the comics market, and his new and upcoming projects.
Mark Buckingham’s art hasn't just made Fables a classic — it has made it, and comics in general, accessible to reluctant readers the world over. His work on the long-running Vertigo series chronicling the lives of exiled fairy tale characters is simple, but never simplistic, and visually strong without ever sacrificing complexity. From Buckingham’s pen flow wooden soldiers of truly oaken resolve, smart-mouthed witches, rumpled detectives and alcoholic, anthropomorphic pigs, all living and loving in the little slice of New York City they've made their own.
Buckingham has helped propel the Bill Willingham-written series to the bestseller lists over and over again, inspired decadent cosplay and made Fables the kind of work that's beloved by your bag-and-boarding friends and your mom alike. Now, as the story nears its end, Buckingham is preparing to say goodbye the world he so richly imagined. ComicsAlliance found him at San Diego Comic-Con to discuss the fond farewell and what the future holds.
Constantine is not modelled on the disappointing 2005 Keanu Reeves movie, also called Constantine. Nor is it an adaptation of DC Comics' current superhero comic book, Constantine, set in the rebooted New 52 DC Universe. The TV show very clearly goes back to the source material, the 1980s DC/later-Vertigo comic series Hellblazer, written initially by Jamie Delano and based on the character John Constantine created by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and John Ridgway in the pages of Swamp Thing. The leading man looks just as he does in the comics, with his familiar trenchoat and tie, and he acts broadly the same way too. Just as crucially, his backstory draws heavily from Delano's Hellblazer run. This Constantine is riddled with guilt and fearful for his soul because he failed to save a girl named Astra in Newcastle from the demon Nergal.
This means that the the TV adaptation of the comic is actually more faithful to the source material than the current version of the comic -- but only in broad strokes. In actual execution, this TV show is not the mature affair that the Vertigo comic offered. This is not a cable television supernatural show. This is more like... a Supernatural show.
While at Comic Con, Grant Morrison dropped several enigmatic hints and subliminal messages to ComicsAlliance about his next mega-event, Multiversity, broke down the divisions between fictional universes, and even proclaimed that he thinks that he's made the world's first real superhero. He says things like that. Some people like him, many love him, and some people straight up hate him. With Multiversity starting up in August, you can be sure that there will soon be legions of detractors proclaiming that Morrison is the most overrated writer in comics, and nothing he's ever done has ever made any sense.
The release of DC's Doom Patrol Omnibus finally equips us to give these people the bludgeoning they deserve. (Metaphorical bludgeoning. ComicsAlliance does not condone actual bludgeoning.)
This week, Chris and Matt gush about the amazing work Matt Fraction, David Aja, Matt Hollingsworth and Chris Eliopoulos do on the highly experimental and enjoyable Hawkeye #19. Then they talk about the Brian Buccellato-written Detective Comics Annual #3, which features collaborations with a whole slew of artists. Speaking of big groups of artists, they then pivot to talking about the new Vertigo series Bodies, which is written by Si Spencer and has art by Meghan Hetrick, Dean Ormston, Tula Lotay and Phil Winslade.
In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”
Artist Chrissie Zullo got her break in comics via the DC Comics Talent Search in 2008 and has been working consistently ever since. She has worked for a variety of major comics publishers, including Archie, Dark Horse, IDW, and Vertigo, on covers and interiors for series including Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love, Fairest In All The Land, Womanthology: Space, Madame Xanadu and Life With Archie.
Creators Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy's mind-bending, centuries-spanning Vertigo Comics horror/sci-fi series The Wake comes to an end today, and it has covered a lot of ground in its 10 issues -- which is quite an accomplishment for a book that takes place in a world almost entirely covered by water.
A mix of horror and mythology spanning three different time periods, The Wake features a group of scientists, led by Dr. Lee Archer, attempting to uncover the secrets of a vicious Merman-like creature captured by the U.S. government. As Dr. Archer and her team do their best to discover the truth, the creature -- with the ability to invade their thoughts, granting them each what they believe to be their heart's desires -- has other plans. The creature unlocks many of mankind's myths of the sea -- and, consequently, itself -- and propels a wild-eyed, high adventure narrative that traverses centuries and brings in monsters, pirates, super-science, post-apocalyptic cultures and some of the most haunting psychological horror Vertigo's published in years.
Throughout, the Eisner-winning series has taken the emotional, intellectual and philosophical and made them manifest on the page with some highly innovative and bold storytelling techniques, such as when, after five issues of following Dr. Lee's adventure, the book jumps hundreds of years into the future to focus on a new protagonist and her cybernetic dolphin. The final issue takes that approach to a whole other level, telling a creation myth while providing closure for the characters. It's quite an accomplishment, and we talked with Snyder and Murphy about how they pulled it off.
With more than 200 panels to choose from at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday alone, the programming at the show can be completely overwhelming -- and it's far too easy to miss a panel you know you might have loved, or to find yourself on the wrong side of the con floor five minutes before a great panel is about to start!
Take heart, brave reader. ComicsAlliance has sifted through the schedule to offer up our pick of the best panels, screenings, and events, starting with programming for Thursday 24th July -- with an emphasis, of course, on comics programming.
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