Berger Books Lineup Announced, Led By Anthony Bourdain's Hungry Ghosts

First announced back in February, the initial lineup of Berger Books, legendary former Vertigo editor Karen Berger's new Dark Horse Comics imprint, has been announced via Vulture.

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Berger Books will start off strong with four brand new series in 2018. The first is Hungry Ghosts, a four-issue anthology co-written by Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose, and illustrated by artists including Vanesa Del Rey, Leo Manco, Alberto Ponticelli, Paul Pope and Mateus Santolouco. The series marks Bourdain's return to comics, following the 2012 Vertigo graphic novel Get Jiro! and its 2015's sequel Get Jiro!: Blood & Sushi, which were also co-written by Rose.

Here's Dark Horse's official description of Hungry Ghosts: "Inspired by the Japanese Edo Period game Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai or 100 Candles, played by samurai warriors to test their courage, Hungry Ghosts reimagines this classic game of dread and terror as a circle of international chefs invoke modern tales of horror, terrifying yokai, yorei, and obake, all with the common thread of food." Hungry Ghost #1 is scheduled for Jan. 31, 2018.

Next up is another series with Vertigo ties: Incognegro: Renaissance by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece. It's a prequel to the 2008 Vertigo graphic novel Incognegro: A Graphic Mystery by the same team, which itself will get a 10th anniversary edition from Dark Horse. The five-issue Incognegro: Renaissance is scheduled to debut with its first issue on Feb. 7, 2018, with the new version of Incognegro: A Graphic Mystery out the same week.

Mata Hari is a five-issue series slated to debut on Feb. 21, 2018, from the team of writer Emma Beeby and artist Ariela Kristantina. It tells the story of real-life Dutch "stripper-spy" Mata Hari, who was convicted during World War I as being a German spy, and subsequently executed. Here's the description: "A century after her death, Mata Hari tells her story through fictional diary excerpts, drawn from biographies of the real woman whose past has been shrouded in mystery by both the lies of her accusers and the outlandish stories she told about herself."

The fourth new series announcement is  The Seeds from legendary Daredevil writer Ann Nocenti and Hawkeye artist David Aja. Here's the synopsis for the four-issue series, slated to debut on March 28, 2018: "In an imminent America where fact-based reporting is gasping its last breath, an idealistic journalist stumbles into the story of a lifetime, only to realize that she can’t report it. Instead, she has to pitch the biggest myth of her career. An eco-fiction tech-thriller where flora and fauna have begun to mutate, The Seeds is also a story of love beyond race and gender, and of the resilience of both human and animal kind."

In addition to the aforementioned titles, Berger Books will also rerelease an out of print Dave Gibbons’s comic The Originals, expanded from its original Vertigo debut.

Berger is perhaps most renowned for being able to discover new talent, so her imprint will be fascinating to watch for the long haul. When asked by Vulture if she was planning on producing books similar to those she edited with Vertigo, Berger answered that she will follow her instincts, which led to much of her earlier success. "There’s no set guidepost," she said, "There’s no set bible. There never was at Vertigo. People say, ‘Well, if it’s weird, it must be a Vertigo book.’ Well, not really. Weird is a component, but it’s not the driving force.”

“I plan to have another wave of books later in the year as well,” Berger added. “It’s not going to be a huge line, because it’s only me editing, which is another reason why I’m excited about doing this: It’s me back to my roots editing comics all the time, which I didn’t get a chance to do hands-on as much as Vertigo grew and grew.”

Berger worked as an editor at DC Comics from 1979 to 2013, and the unconventional comics she shepherded inspired the creation of DC's mature readers line, Vertigo, in 1993. In her time as the Executive Editor of Vertigo, she oversaw multiple acclaimed and influential works, from Sandman to Hellblazer to Preacher to Y the Last Man.

After leaving DC Comics, she kept a relatively low profile in comic books, but returned to editing last year with Image Comics' Surgeon X. Berger Books marks her return to full-time editing, and she's the sole editor of the imprint.

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