If you follow many of the great current comic creators today on Twitter, you sure enough saw an outpouring of respect and gratitude sent away yesterday to Karen Berger. You know her currently as the long-standing executive editor of the Vertigo imprint at DC Comics. From now until March 2013 though, she will be transitioning that post to a new team and leaving. Having held the position for 20 years and spearheading many great books in the medium, this is obviously a big deal in a niche industry such as comic books.
The speculation of course couldn’t be helped when this was announced regarding the direction of Vertigo. The “team” that supposedly is handling Berger’s position hasn’t been announced yet. And you’ve seen the many changes happen with the imprint since the New 52 started that has seen Vertigo streamline with the initiative. Constantine now being part of the new DCU, along with his own solo title coming out and the Hellblazer series ending at issue 300, is a sign of that. Yes, Vertigo announced lots of new projects at NYCC from guys like Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire (and we still have the Sandman prequel from Gaiman and Williams late next year), but one can’t help but wonder if we’re seeing a slow disassembling of a mighty brand that changed the way people thought of how comics should be done.
I admittedly came late to the Vertigo game. Not willing to take a chance for a long while, I finally gave in when a friend recommended Fables to me 7 years ago. Then I met my CBF comrade, Mike Buechele, later and he got me into the Sandman books, one of the series Karen Berger helped bring to DC before there was a Vertigo and helped make Neil Gaiman a household name to comic fans. These books changed my perception on what comics can do and I was hooked. Y : The Last Man, 100 Bullets, Scalped, DMZ, Northlanders, Sweet Tooth, American Vampire….you name it and Berger had something to do with it. Whether or not Vertigo sticks around for the foreseeable future, the one certainty we have is Berger’s legacy that inspired and challenged many to make comics about more than just the superheroes.
Please listen to the special announcement at the beginning of this show to get info on how you can help out with Hurricane Sandy victims…
We’re closing out the last arc soon of this magnificent series before it goes on hiatus. Snyder and Albuquerque once again keep building things up to a boiling point that could see some significant changes to the lives of Pearl and Henry. You can trade wait at this point, but really – don’t you want to a piece of the action now?
The theme this week was fun. And there was a lot of that:
- Hawkeye #3 has Clint, Kate, a woman to save, and bros
- Before Watchmen Minutemen #4 shows us why Darwyn Cooke is the right choice to give depth to these characters’ stories
- American Vampire : Lord of Nightmares #5 brought an end to Agent Hobbes’ story and started something fresh for Felicia Book.
One would think I’d be tired of the Rotworld arc going into Animal Man #13, but I like the new direction it’s taking. Just when you thought Buddy Baker and Swamp Thing had it all figured out, the Rot plays its wild card and takes us into the future where the Rot has won. Jeff Lemire continues to bring the goods with this story while still keeping Buddy and family in mind.
And if you’re looking to get out of the New 52 and get good old-fashioned Batman storytelling going, look no further than Legends of the Dark Knight #1. This was well-missed when it was cancelled back in 2007 and it makes a great comeback with an impressive array of talent in Damen Lindelof, Jeff Lemire, JG Jones, and Nicola Scott for starters.
And lastly, there’s that giant elephant again with the final issue of Avengers vs. X-Men #12. I’ve said my piece already about the previous issue and it unfortunately continues to hurt it here. Jason Aaron does what he can to wrap things up (and it was fine enough), but not enough to get over the inconsistent pacing, unexplained appearances of characters, and lack of meat to a story that had 12 issues to tell it. That being said, art continues to win with this event and Adam Kubert delivered it in spades.
Scott Snyder’s penultimate issue of this mini-series keeps delivering the goods with great action and more great history of Carpathian vampire lore. He does what great monster movies tend to do, which is build up the presence of a great evil without actually showing him. And having Dustin Nguyen on hand to create this aura/presence is what makes this mini-series just as fantastic as the main one.
Snyder, along with Greg Capullo, also gets to play with New 52 origins with Batman #0. Bruce Wayne’s origin story is not anything we haven’t seen before, but is still solid enough of a build as we get into next month’s Death of the Family arc. James Tynion IV’s back-up story though was great, as we see the impact of Batman on his eventual partners’ lives.
And then there’s Avengers vs. X-Men #11. If you didn’t catch my rant on Twitter or Facebook last week after reading this issue, then you’ll want to listen to this.
Small weeks give great chances to try something new. That’s why I’m glad I was able to pick up The Rocketeer : Cargo of Doom #1, as it gave me a chance to rekindle my love for the movie as well as enjoy the work behind the same creative team behind Daredevil. It was all beautifully put together, between the pacing of the story and the detailed colors that Chris Samnee brings. Whether or not you were a fan of the movie – you owe it to try this out.
But not to be left out to dry, Batman Incorporated #3 made a strong case for being at the top this week too. Grant Morrison continues to weave together all of his plots that he is well-renowned for. Good thing is it’s not as convoluted as when he first started writing Batman. Chris Burnham is at his best here, almost complimenting the same style as Frank Quitely. Great stuff all around as the Leviathan story rolls on.