Live From The Vertigo Defy Panel At San Diego Comic Con – Vampirized Chimps In Space

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It was a full line-up of creators for Vertigo Defy at San Diego Comic Con, with Mark Buckingham, Tula Lotay, Shelly Bond, Lee Bermejo, Scott Snyder, and Simon Oliver, Mark Doyle, and Will Dennis. In fact, it was one of those dais-breakers where not everyone can quite fit and they better watch the chairs on those edge points. It was heading into evening, and things had a kind of relaxed, but excited feel like this would be an interesting informal conversation about upcoming and ongoing projects.

John Cunningham was here to keep this "unruly mob ruled".  First up was a discussion of American Vampire via Scott Snyder. Now that they are back they are "full steam ahead" and if the first half was about new mythology, this part of the series is about bringing all those things into conflict, into the "biggest craziest war" they can create with werewolves, demons, mummies, the works. #1-4 are meant to bring you up to speed and catch up readers and Rafael Albuquerque and Snyder have been taking issue #5 into a standalone into the goldrush period, exploring more moments in American history. The series is an "opportunity to talk about American culture and where things are monstrous and heroic at different moments". Then issue 6 brings the "biggest, most bombastic" story they've done. Now it's going to be about the space race and literally is about "vampires in space", something they used to be teased about and originally said they'd never do. They are showing "secret moments" in American history, but they are also going to explore how the "monsters" change things and are more on the "surface". The space-race kicks off with sending chimpanzees into space, and coming back to earth "vampirized".

The Wake #10 cover being shown roused a round of applause and it looked rather ethereal with Leeward struggling upward through the water and a haze of sun and sunset above/behind her. Snyder said that The Wake was always meant to be a place to experiment, and he commented on the "elasticity" of Sean Murphy's style, also creating so many details in each panel that you "believe in the world". The art was so "convincing" that Snyder felt pushed to pitch more and more unusual things. The tenet they set was to "challenge" each other and be unafraid and explore, also the theme of the book. Restlessness, fearfulness keeps humanity from exploring, but ultimately the "universe rewards curiosity" and "rewards fearlessness". One upping each other on the book was part of the fun, but at its "heart", the series is about being exploratory, saying "I know that what I find might be ugly if I try things that are new and I might fail, but I'm going to try anyway". They screened a page with double-helix evolutionary scale and tiers, showing eras in history and a focus on tears. The hardcover collection of The Wake, all 10 issues, will be out in November.

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Shelly Bond said the end of Fables in two words would be "body bags" whereas Buckingham said "nervous breakdown". With this final story arc, Buckingham, there were two primary things that kept people reading: the relationship between Snow White and Bigby and the second, the relationship between the sisters. Bigby is back and is changed, and is not a potentially huge threat to the Fables community. They'll be exploring Snow, and Rose, and discovering that they are both magical creatures of "great power" under a gathering "storm". It's all "building toward a potentially chaotic conclusion", Buckingham added. Image shown portrayed them as "magical, powerful knights" who could potentially destroy the world. Bond said that Buckingham, she, and Dennis have conference calls on who is going to die and who won't. Reminding that they are in their 12th year, at 150 issues, as a monumental achievement, garnered a round of applause.

Buckingham is actually writing the newest arc of Fairest, Bond also reminded, wearing many hats in comics from penciller to inker to artist (as he put on his actual straw fedora). There were discussions of cleevers and "not killing them all". They moved onto a discussion of Dead Boy Detectives and the emergence of a third detective, Crystal, and in this first arc she's had a "rite of passage" of meeting the two boy detectives, and having a "perilous adventure of her own" that's bonded her with these two characters. They've also discovered something important in the first arc in that Charles has a sister he didn't know he had, which is opening up "new worlds" and big questions in his existence.

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Simon Oliver spoke about FBP, formerly Collider, and in their second arc pursuing an alternate reality. In the 3rd arc they'll be revisiting the FBP academy and Cicero's story, and will cover why Professor Hardy is so important to his son (our lead) but also to Cicero. Then they'll launch into an even bigger arc before scaling it back down again to its basic premise of living in a world where physics don't work anymore.

They moved onto "good news" showing some upcoming books, such as The Names coming in October, a "financial thriller", Dennis said, with Peter Milligan and Leo Fernandez. Dennis asked "Do I have to say the colorists now that they are getting credit on the cover?" and insisted it was a joke after a slight pause of uncertain reaction. It's based on a secret "cabal" called The Names who control the financial world "as we know it" except it's starting to get out of their control, too. A central female character looking for revenge for the death of her husband keeps pursuing the truth. It's a "little twisted in the way Milligan is", Dennis said. He compared it to 100 Bullets in the same "wheelhouse".

download-3Another new book coming in November, The Kitchen. Set in the 70's and the reference is to Hell's Kitchen with a high concept dealing with the wives of Irish Gangsters. They decide they want to take over "the racket" but when their husbands get out of jail, things may not work out like they expected. It's the world of New York, the Summer of Sam. Olly Masters, a young British creator is making his debut, more or less, and when Benis heard the pitch, he wondered "why hasn't anybody done this before". It's not just "another gangster story", he said. It's a "clean, fun, hard-boiled lead", he said. Bond pointed out a Vertigo trait of the "unexpected angle" that they are looking for in publishing books.

They moved onto a discussion of Bodies, describing it as "four eras, one body". Bond explained that it's written by Si Spencer of The Vinyl Underground, who pitched Bond a story about a time-traveling serial killer. The idea and the execution are both impressive. In each chapter, there are four chapters, all set in different time periods. They are trying to figure out who dies in four separate times on the same London streets. Tula Lotay is the artist on the "future" chapter storyline. In the future, everyone's losing their memory and trying to figure out why this is happening, Lotay said. Images screened in the panel showed layers of blues in colors and the central character is based artistically on Jeanne Moreau. All the coloring in the book is by Lee Loughridge, who distinguishes the different time periods by color scheme. They've also hired different cover artists on each issue from Paul Pope to Francesco Francavilla. It's arriving next week.

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Suiciders is coming out in 2015. Lee Bermejo teased Mad Max and 80
's sci-fi and he's been getting first feedback on work for the book. The book is a "post disaster" story that takes place 30 years after a huge earthquake decimates Southern California, and watch a city that's been recovering over that time. The city of New Angeles is wealthy in the "valley" and towards the ocean, you have "Lost Angeles", a ghetto. It's the study of two characters, one from Lost Angeles in New Angeles, and another character at the top of his game in the walled city whose life is "slowly falling apart". There's a gladiatorial game, he explained, as they showed art. It's like UFC but mixed with the "danger room" from X-Men, he said, and that's the sport of the city.

They showed the covers for the Millenium Trilogy also (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its following books).

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About Hannah Means Shannon

Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Independent comics scholar and former English Professor. Writing books on magic in the works of Alan Moore and the early works of Neil Gaiman.
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