Vertigo editor Jamie S. Rich moderated a panel featuring some of the imprint’s most prominent writers like Tom King (“Sheriff of Babylon”), Tim Seeley (“Lost Boys”), Scott Snyder (“American Vampire”), Joshua Williamson (“Frostbite”) and writing partners Dave Justus and Matt Sturges (“Everafter: From the Pages of Fables”).
Though it happened at the very end of the panel, they did announce that “Sandman Slim” writer Richard Kadrey would take over writing “Lucifer” with #13. In fact, regular writer Holly Black will pen the first half of the series and then pass it off to the newcomer who she also hand-picked as her predecessor.
Rich started off talking to Snyder about the latest “American Vampire Anthology” which features the likes of Joelle Jones, Marguerite Bennett, Steve Orlando, Kieron Gillen and Raphael Albuquerque kicking off what will be the last two volumes in the current iteration of the series.
After thanking the audience for supporting the Vertigo line, Snyder said that the issue will not only allow the other creators to play in his fang-filled sandbox, but also tee off the book’s eventual finale. “It’s a huge honor having other people take these characters and do great things with them.”
“The next two arcs are the finale to this iteration of ‘American Vampire,'” he said. “It’s taking place in the ’70s, near the bicentennial. That’s the big, big crescendo of everything we’ve been build for.” He added that the anthology will give a good deal of hints about the upcoming stories.
Before getting into the upcoming climax of his own series, “Sheriff of Babylon,” King took a moment to geek out, remembering the role that room played in his comic book career not long ago. “My whole career started four years ago under that exit sign, waiting for the Vertigo panel to finish,” he remembered.
With that out of the way, he transitioned back to the topic of “Babylon” coming to a close soon with issue #12. He remembered how the whole book started as an 8-page story, morphed into a possible novel and wound up coming out as a comic book series.
Rich joked that the deal to get more issues of “Babylon” revolved around stopping “Omega Men” early which got a laugh from the crowd. “We got add moments and do longer scenes,” he said, noting that the moments are the pieces he’s most proud of when it comes to that book. “You get to see two cultures trying to come together, clashing and not quite succeeding,” he added.
“‘Sheriff’ is the end of a trilogy I wrote,” King said of “Omega Men,” “Vision” and “Sheriff.” “They’re about someone trying to do something right and they run into a world that’s just too complicated for them.”
King then extolled the virtues of “Sheriff” artist Mitch Gerads for actually producing 12 issues of a series in one year. “Nobody in comics does that ever, anytime,” he said.
Williamson then took the mic to talk about “Frostbite,” the story of a world overtaken by snow and a disease that makes the sick slowly freeze from the inside out. “I really wanted to do a book in the snow,” he said. “And I had this character. I could hear her voice and feel her.” That character turned out to be Keaton, the lead of the series, who Williamson says will not hesitate to seek revenge against anyone who puts her or her people in danger.
While on a trip from Mexico to Alcatraz, Keaton feels torn between making friends with another woman on their journey and allowing her new friend to see her true self. “Keaton is a person who doesn’t have friends so, for she’s trying to keep this secret while all this crazy stuff is going on.”
Williamson also equated working with an artist on a new series to making a baby. “You’re starting a possibly lifelong journey with this other person,” he said. He added that he and Jason Shawn Alexander hit it off immediately. “I trusted him to take what I was thinking about and this world and run with it.”
Sturges then commented on working with Travis Moore on “Everafter.” He had been one of the rotating artists on “Fables: The Wolf Among Us” project and immediately came to mind when Vertigo asked them about potential artists. “Some artists, you have a picture in your head and somehow they just know what that picture is. Not only do they know that picture, but they make it better.” Justus also added that Moore’s a “unicorn” in that he loves drawing all of the things that most artists hates, even horses.
Snyder continued with the marriage and baby analogies by calling his former “Batman” artist Greg Capullo his comic book husband. “I’m grateful for the people I work with,” he said before noting how Jock and Albuquerque took risks on him when he was starting out. Snyder added that he regularly talks to his artists to help him figure out the best way to go with the story.
“I was an artist for 12 years,” Seeley interjected. “The pencilers all hate you — it’s just the truth.” That worked as a nice segue into talking about the new “Lost Boys” comic which picks up right after the film ended and focuses on a group of Goth vampire girls.
Seeley remembered a dinner he had with Rich where they discussed different movies to sequelize as comics and he immediately jumped at the chance to work on the 1980s teen vampire classic. “You already had the pitch ready,” Rich recalled.
“It’s one of the things that contributed to my undying love of horror movies,” Seeley said. He also explained that writing this book allowed him to ask his own questions about what happened to Michael, Star and the Frog Brothers. “It really focuses on the character Star,” he teased.
“I want to see the Goth girl version of the boy’s gang, so I thought they should be all girls,” Seeley said. He added that he took inspiration from bands like Sisters of Mercy and Siouxsie and the Banshees for the look and style.
“There will be epic fights on rollercoasters, and you will see The Believer,” Rich added referring to the saxophone-playing character briefly seen in the film.
Moving on to “Everafter,” Justus explained that they looked at this huge cast of characters Bill Willingham created and saw plenty of potential for more tales. “We’re setting up a spy espionage book,” he said. “So people who liked the Cinderella stories, we’re not a million miles away from that.” He explained that it won’t just be a spy book, though, that it will look at all aspects of the world from different points of view.
The cast includes Bo Peep, Peter Piper, Hansel, and one of Snow White and Bigby’s sons who eventually goes on to become a great adventurer, but not yet. “That’s one of the most fun things to write,” Sturges said of the up and coming hero. “He’s a kid who wants to be James Bond and could be James Bond, but he is not James Bond.”
The panel ended with a video recorded by writer John Ridley who wrote a series for Vertigo years ago called “American Way.” Since then he went on to write films like “12 Years a Slave,” but will now return with original artist Georges Jeanty for a series called “The American Way: Those Above and Those Below.”
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