Coming From Vertigo: The Annotated Sandman, A Fables Spinoff, And Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy

Art from the upcoming A Flight of Angels by artist Rebecca Guay

By Elizabeth Keenan

If you’re eager to find out what edgy new comics and graphic novels DC’s Vertigo imprint has coming out over the next year, the Vertigo Visions panel at New York Comic Con offered a full slate of talent and a spate of announcements, including digital titles going day and date.

Berger first discussed the already-announced end to Jason Aaron and R.M. Guéra’s critically acclaimed Scalped, describing it as “on a short list of the best things we’ve done.” Aaron was on hand to describe the final arc of the series, in which “quite a few people meet their demise.”

“Things that have been brewing for five years are coming to an end,” he said. The final arc, “Trail’s End,” will conclude next spring.

The cover to the original Vertigo graphic novel A.D.D.

Next up, Berger announced A.D.D., a new series by Douglas Rushkoff, starting in January, 2012. Rushkoff described the project as answering a hypothetical question.

“What if A.D.D. wasn’t a bug, but a feature? What if it was an adaptive strategy?” he asked. The media-centric series will focus on a group of kids raised to become videogame testers, who end up being able to “break through that entertainment spell.”

In March, another new series will debut, Berger said. Gone to Amerikay, a multigenerational story of Irish immigration written by Derek McCulloch and drawn by Coleen Doran, is both “beautifully written and incredibly drawn,” Berger said.

Berger moved on to Fables spin-off Fairest, where Phil Jimenez will draw the first storyline, which focuses on Sleeping Beauty and Ali Baba.

“It’s a book that focuses on the ladies of Fables,” Jimenez said. “I was telling a bunch of people that as long as I work for DC comics, I should be drawing a princess of one sort or another.”

Spaceman is Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s highly-anticipated follow-up to 100 Bullets

Next up, Berger showed art from Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s highly anticipated Spaceman, which debuts at the end of October at the exciting bargain price of $1 for print and 99 cents for digital. Azzarello pointed out that it was not at all like 100 Bullets, his previous collaboration with Risso.

“There are no similarities. People who have seen it and read it have said it’s better than 100 Bullets, but I think that’s bullshit,” he joked. “I’ll leave it up to you. It’s new and it’s very different. You’ll have to use your attention.”

Also up on Vertigo’s slate of publications is Marzi, an autobiographical tale of Marzena Sowa’s childhood in communist Poland, illustrated by Sowa’s boyfriend Sylvain Savoia. Marzi writer Sowa described the process of writing the book, which began when she met Savoia in France and the two became a couple.

“I was telling him the stories of my childhood and the habits we used to have, and about the communists and ordinary life also,” she said. “He told me I should write it down in order to not forget it, for myself, and for him, also, to get to know me better.”

Savoia thought it would be a great idea to show it to other people, and eventually the series of memories became Marzi, a graphic novel illustrating short vignettes of Sowa’s childhood.

Berger moved onto Voodoo Child, written by former editor of The Source, Selwyn Hinds and illustrated by Denys Cowan.

Voodoo Child is about a city and a woman,” Hinds said. “The city is New Orleans. It’s both the New Orleans that we know—the New Orleans of Katrina, Mardi Gras, Louis Armstrong, and Lil Wayne. It’s also the New Orleans we don’t know, the magical and supernatural side.”

Hinds’ vision of voodoo is “not your grandfather or grandmother’s voodoo,” he said.

“I tried to deal with voodoo in this book the way Mike Carey does with Christianity in Lucifer,” he said. “It’s much more about the demigods that are West African in origin, who function in a similar way to the Olympian pantheon.”

The woman is Dominique Laveau, a descendent of voodoo queen Marie Laveau, who is fingered as a culprit when the current voodoo queen is killed and the equilibrium between worlds is destroyed.

“Everything that lives and breathes, and some things that don’t live or breathe, are out to get her,” Hinds said.

The new series Saucer Country is described as “West Wing meets the X-Files.”

Berger turned the floor over to Vertigo editor Will Dennis, who described another highly anticipated new series, Paul Cornell and Ryan Kelly’s Saucer Country, as “West Wing meets the X-Files.” The series follows the story of a Mexican-American female governor, who is abducted by aliens on the eve of announcing her candidacy for president.

“It becomes the central question,” he said. “Was she abducted? Or is she just crazy. Within that, Paul also wants to explore UFO-ology, and America’s fascination with that.”

Berger shifted to Unwritten’s new 10th arc, which will ship twice a month for five months. In the new arc, the whole numbers will follow the main conflict, while the .5 stories are one-offs about major supporting characters.

Sweet Tooth writer Jeff Lemire was on hand to describe his book’s new storyline, drawn by Matt Kindt.

“It takes place in the early 20th century,” he said. “It might seem like it has no connections, but the next issue starts to connect, and it reveals the origins of the plague. It has many implications for the present-day mythology.”

Lemire noted that there will be approximately 40-45 issues for the series, which is currently at number 29.

“He’s said that before, but don’t listen to him,” Berger joked.

Berger announced a Hellblazer annual, which takes Constantine back to his hometown, where suicides are happening.

Berger then introduced A Flight of Angels artist Rebecca Guay, who described her forthcoming graphic novel.

“It’s a Decameron setting,” Guay said. “A group of fairies in the woods finds a falling angel, who appears to be dead.” The mischievous fairies set up a tribunal to decide whether to save or kill the angel. The fairies exchange stories about angels, each set in a different time period and written by noted fantasy writers such as Bill Willingham and Holly Black, and each drawn or painted by Guay in a different style.

An old classic of Vertigo, Sandman, arrives in a must-have, four-volume annotated format. Les Klinger, who worked on annotated versions of Dracula and Sherlock Holmes, addresses every page of the book. The first volume covers the first 20 issues of the book, Berger said, and is 700 pages.

American Vampire is focusing on the 1950s in the new story arc

Scott Snyder described the new arc of American Vampire, set in the 1950s. True to the era, the story is framed with a car race. Hot-rod driving Van-Helsing-esque Travis Kidd is a “rockabilly punk vampire killer,” Snyder said, who puts in wooden fangs and bites out the throats of the vampires he kills. The arc traces Kidd’s reasons for hating vampires and the race focuses on the vampire he thinks is responsible for his problems.

Finally, the panel closed with a major announcement: Vertigo will adapt Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, starting next year. Each of the three novels—The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest—will appear as a two-volume graphic novel.

“We don’t normally adapt novels,” at Vertigo, Berger said, citing Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere as the only other exception. “But the opportunity came up, and we could not turn it down.”

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