NYCC 2018: Ben Blacker channels his anger into DC Vertigo’s ‘Hex Wives’

“I don’t know if you’ve been living in the world the past couple of years, but nothing is funny anymore.”

DC Vertigo’s panel at New York Comic Con was centered around one question: Why comics? The impressive team Vertigo has assembled for its relaunch celebrating the imprint’s 25th anniversary are mostly newcomers to the comic book world, including Ben Blacker, who is writing the upcoming Vertigo series Hex Wives. Coming hot off the heels of the massive success of Border Town (the first Vertigo book to sell out in over five years), Blacker had his worries. “This is terrifying. Border Town is so good,” he joked. “Don’t even read it. Just pick it up, go on Twitter and say you loved it!”

Hex Wives is, at its core, a drama. Mark Doyle, Vertigo’s executive editor who moderated the panel, asked why that is. “I don’t know if you’ve been living in the world the past couple of years,” Blacker responded. “But nothing is funny anymore.”

He continued: “I’m a bit heated up, and this is what it looks like. I’ve spent the last three to four years angry (and 35 years before that mildly annoyed). And I’m a white guy! I’ve had it easy, and I’m angry.”

“There’s too much to say. Too much that could get lost among too many jokes. And I don’t feel like making jokes anymore.”

That’s not to say the book is devoid of humor, however. Blacker made sure to add that there is a lot of funny in the book, whose characters are almost all based off of pop culture figures (such as Lizzo).

Hex Wives follows a coven of witches who don’t know that they are witches. As the story unfolds, they slowly start to realize it. (The aforementioned Lizzo-based character is thrilled — Blacker relayed her reaction as something along the lines of “F--k yes! This is the best. I knew it!”).

A group of men, who are afraid of these women, hold them against their will and try to control them — hey, no one said the symbolism was going to be subtle. But for the all-new DC Vertigo, that’s sort of the point. These comic books are a vehicle to process the raw anger, divisiveness and sense of hopelessness permeating the world right now.

All panel-goers were treated with a copy of Hex Wives #1, and if this issue is any indication, Vertigo is showing no signs of slowing down after the huge success of Border Town.

Hex Wives #1 is on sale October 31, 2018.