Vertigo and Young Animal are without a doubt producing some of the weirdest things in comics today and since it’s comics, everyone loves them for it. At New York Comic Con, DC gathered a panel to discuss the current and future plans for both imprints: Joshua Williamson, Riley Rossmo, Tim Seeley, Steve Orlando, Simon Spurrier, Rachael Stott, Nick Derington, John Ridley and Magdalene Visaggio.
Tim Seeley kicked things off discussing his new Vertigo book, Imaginary Fiends, a horror comic coming this November which follows a young girl recently released from jail for stabbing someone. Why you ask? Her imaginary friend told her to. Think X-Files meets IT. Seeley describes the story as “Lyrical horror.” He went on to say, “Kids come up with really creepy stuff — my nephew came up with the name ‘key lime Batman’,” which got a huge laugh from the crowd. Seeley left us with, “Reality is really subjective right now, like with our President and media.”
John Ridley, writer of The American Way: Those Above and Those Below was a surprise guest. Ridley started the project ten years ago when Wildstorm was still publishing comics. The original project started ten years ago, with the story taking place in 1962, focusing heavily on race and identity. The main character was this world’s first black superhero at a prevailing time when people weren’t prepared for that. This book revisits this world ten years later in the ’70s. Ridley remarked, “Revisiting these heroes ten years later, having ten years of separation, I hope I could have a different and better perspective. I’m going to talk about how we compartmentalize and distance ourselves from one another as a nation and society. It’s a story that’s timely, and unfortunately, a story that’s timeless.”
From across the pond writer Si Spurrier and illustrator Rachel Stott bring us the inter-dimensional tale Motherlands. An emotionally needy woman is trying to build a relationship with her mother as they hunt bounties across time and space. Spurrier tried to give the crowd something to relate to: “Anyone seen Absolutely Fabulous? It’s kind of like that. It’s a mother who used to be the ‘it’ girl and she still thinks she is, but in reality she’s a mess.”
Rachel Stott’s passion for wacky, crazy concepts and love of drawing weird body language makes this grim black comedy the perfect place to add her unique sci-fi visuals. “Sending the designs off I was wondering if they’d call the police on me and think I was unhinged. The script pushes the buttons that I like,” she said.
Is it me or is Joshua Williamson everywhere right now? I guess writing The Flash and having a hand in remaking the DC Universe through Metal isn’t enough to fill his plate. I can’t say I’m complaining though, as his new book with illustrator Riley Rossmo, Deathbed, looks so intriguing. Their story follows a man who’s emerged after vanishing for 20 years. During his life he traveled the world far and wide, constantly reinventing himself along the way and now he needs someone to tell his life story; his legacy.
Parenthood is an important theme, Rossmo explains “Josh and I are both parents. It was important for us to be able to tell a story that I felt proud of leaving behind. That was the foundation of this story.” Williamson is confident he has the right man for the job in Rossmo: “Riley is an insane genius when it comes to storytelling in comics.”
At San Diego Comic Con this year DC and Vertigo announced a JLA/Doom Patrol crossover, from Steve Orlando and Gerard Way. The crossover even that follows will be known as “Milk Wars,” with Milkman Man leading the way (seriously). Steve Orlando was in attendance today and had this to say, “Putting together Milk Wars with Gerard has been one of the best creative experiences.” ACO from Midnighter is joining Gerard and Orlando in the art department.
Readers can expect to see things about the Young Animal universe that they didn’t know about before, as well as new gods you didn’t know existed in the DC Universe, and best of all we get to see Lobo will his mustache shaved off.
Orlando shared a story that had the entire audience roaring. “I texted Gerard and asked what Milk Wars was in one sentence, and he said ‘It was Milk Wars in one sentence.'”
Gerard Way’s partner in bringing hilarity and insanity to the universe of Young Animal, Nick Derington, advised the crowd to expect a big event for Doom Patrol on the horizon. With 12 active characters, a 14-year-old metal kid trying to learn magic and a punk rock humanoid cat already on the roster, I can’t imagine what they have in store for us. What I do know is this event will set the status quo for the rest of the Young Animal universe.
The most exciting moment of the panel for me was the announcement of Young Animal’s newest book, Eternity Girl, from writer Magdalene Visaggio and artist Sonny Liew. Visaggio asks the room, “What if you’re an immortal who wants to die? What do you do? What if someone shows up and says, ‘what if we destroy the universe?’ and you say ‘yeah!'”
The main character is Carolyn Sharp, an ex-superhero who lost the ability to control her shapeshifting powers from her final confrontation with her nemesis, Madame Atom. Sharp’s forced retirement has left her suicidal and depressed. Visaggio explains, “It’s a tale of her quest to destroy the universe while at the same time, dealing with her intense depression and trying to figure out a way to keep living.”. The first time we’ll meet Eternity Girl is in Milk Wars.
In Vertigo news, July 2018 is the 25th anniversary of Vertigo. To celebrate, they’ll be releasing a big hardcover 25th anniversary special. Inside you’ll find tons of new material, artwork, interviews, and backstories covering the 25 years of Vertigo’s publishing history.
As if this panel couldn’t have been more awesome, Vertigo gave every person in attendance a 25th anniversary poster featuring Sandman drawn by Jim Lee!