Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. This month I will be doing theme weeks (more or less), with each week devoted to a single writer. This pseudo-week: Steve Gerber. Today’s page is from Vertigo: Winter’s Edge #2 and Gerber’s story called “New Year’s Demolition,” which was published by DC and is cover dated January 1999. Enjoy!
No, good readers, not only do I not own Howard the Duck or Man-Thing, two early Gerber works, but I don’t even own Nevada, his DC spin-off of a Marvel comic. Woe is me! I do own Winter’s Edge #2, though, which features a story starring Nevada and Bolero, her ostrich, and that’s what we see here!
Gerber has to get a lot of information on this page because this story is only 8 pages long, and he does his level best. We know the place, the date, and what’s happening – the hotel in the background is being demolished. We don’t know the girl’s name, but we do know the ostrich’s name. Nevada is an entertainer, obviously, but she’s not having a good night. That’s pretty much all we’re getting from this page, but that’s not bad.
Phil Winslade does a nice job with the artwork. The long shot establishes the place fairly well, and Chris Chuckry’s colors do a nice job showing how the night is banished by the harsh lights of the stage, as the darker purple at the edges of the panel attest. Winslade gives us a good close-in shot, too: The numbers are prominent for a reason (the story involves Nevada having to go into the soon-to-be-demolished hotel), Bolero is suitably odd, and the sight of Nevada being sexy while wearing a white beard indicates that this story is going to be a bit off the beaten path (if the presence of the ostrich didn’t clue us in). Winslade gives us some weird people in the crowd, too – the dude with the Bill Clinton mask is freaky, while the devil underneath the caption box in the center is a subtle hint about the “villain” of the piece. For a part of the drawing that Winslade had to know was going to be covered by the initial panel, caption boxes, and the credits, it’s remarkably detailed.
I suppose the first page of this story doesn’t really have to lure people in – this is an anthology book starring a bunch of established Vertigo characters, so if you bought it, you’re probably going to read this story – but Gerber tries to give us some information to lead us into the rest of it. That’s all we can ask for, I guess!
Next: The final great series of Gerber’s life! What can it be? It hasn’t yet shown up in the archives, I’ll tell you that much!