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WonderCon: Vertigo Looks Ahead

by  in Comic News Comment
WonderCon: Vertigo Looks Ahead

Saturday afternoon at WonderCon saw DC VP of Marketing John Cunningham leading a Vertigo panel including Editor Jonathan Vankin and “Y: The Last Man” creators Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra. Cunningham reviewed the projects presented at last week’s New York Comic-Con and opened the floor to questions.

Jason Aaron’s “Scalped” is wrapping up its second story arc in May. Vaughan recommended “Scalped” for “Y: The Last Man” fans looking for a new book in the wake of the latter’s pending ending. Vaughan went on to say that Aaron’s “The Other Side” is one of the best things he thinks that Vertigo has published.

Ty Templeton will draw a two-issue story for “The Exterminators” beginning with issue 17; Darick Robertson will pencil a five-issue arc following Templeton’s, with Tony Moore returning on art duties with issue 25. Vankin explained that “The Exterminators” was originally a TV pitch, and Simon Oliver’s producer thought it would make a great comic.

Cunningham queued up the cover to Brian Wood’s “Northlanders” and described the work he’d seen as “breathtaking.” The first story arc will be called “Sven the Returned” and the series is planned to debut in December of 2007.

Attention turned to Vaughan and Guerra as the cover to “Y: The Last Man” issue 56 appeared on the screen. As noted in May’s solicitations, “Y: The Last Man” will be moving to a bi-monthly schedule, with the series-ending issue 60 scheduled for January 2008.

Cunningham then asked Guerra how she was feeling now that the series was approaching its end. Guerra said that she was relieved, but a little sad. One of the benefits of moving “Y: The Last Man” to a bi-monthly schedule is that it takes some of the scheduling pressure off of her.

Cunningham (to Vaughan): “If you could change one thing about the book, what would you change?”
Vaughan: “My page rate?”

After the laughter died down Vaughan said that there were probably places where he’d like to tweak some dialogue throughout the story, but he didn’t want to “pull a George Lucas” and make any major revisions.

Guerra said the only thing she wishes that she’d done differently is differentiate some of the characters more; as the book heads towards its close, she’s currently faced with the challenge of featuring three similar-looking characters in the same scenes.

Vaughan joked, “Well, isn’t that the point of the book? That all women are the same?” which met with laughter from the audience.

Cunningham then covered Vertigo’s other ongoing series, and closed out the presentation portion of the panel by discussing Vertigo’s upcoming original graphic novels: David Lapham’s “Silverfish,” Percey Carey’s “Sentences: The Life of M. F. Grimm,” G. Willa Wilson’s “Cairo” and Jonathan Ames & Dean Haspiel’s “The Alcoholic.”

The panel then opened up to questions and answers:

Vaughan explained to the audience that he doesn’t really know where the idea for “Y: The Last Man” came from, but he has several fake anecdotes that he loves to tell. Vaughan then proceeded to explain that he’s always wanted to write stories revolving around gender in comics.

Cunningham: “Does your wife think you know a lot about women?”
Vaughan: “No!”

Guerra was asked if she knew what the last page of “Y: The Last Man” looked like, to which she eagerly replied, “He’s going to tell me this week! Hopefully tonight.” Vaughan nodded and followed up, “She’s known everything up to this point, but I’ve always been reluctant to talk to the end moments, because I’m sure she’s going to say that [the ending] is profoundly stupid.” The room exploded with laughter.

The question was asked if Vertigo would ever move away from monthly books entirely and release serialized graphic novels instead. Vankin replied that Vertigo has a strong monthly audience, and that monthly issues weren’t likely to go away anytime soon. Vankin and Cunningham agreed that there were some titles that would probably perform better in a trade paperback format, but the business model isn’t in place for it.

Vaughan was asked what the impetus behind Marvel character The Hood was, and how much control he had over the character. Vaughan quipped that he was really just trying to write a Vertigo-style book at Marvel, which met with laughs. After the laughter died down, he said that between Brian Michael Bendis using The Hood in upcoming stories and Joss Whedon taking over Runaways, he felt like he was putting his children up for adoption, except it was Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt adopting them, and that they were in good hands. The audience member asked which one was which, and Vaughan laughed and said “Oh, Bendis is Jolie, no doubt!”

When asked how to break into the industry, the entire panel replied that persistence and hard work were two of the most important factors.

Asked if Vaughan and Guerra would continue to work together after the end of “Y: The Last Man,” Vaughan stated that there are no plans on the table right now, but that they would both like to do more work in the future.

Vaughan said that progress is being made on the “Y: The Last Man” movie. Vaughan has submitted a script to New Line, and that the studio is currently looking at directors.

Work on the “Preacher” television show continues, but Vertigo is not involved at all.

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