John Cunningham moderated New York Comic Con's Vertigo Defy panel, with no fewer than 9 creators on board, including Shelly Bond, Caitlin Kittredge, Inaki Miranda , Sean Murphy, Rafael Albuquerque, Robbi Rodriguez, Scott Snyder, Ian Edginton, and Lee Bermejo.
Bond jumped in immediately on the subject of waiting for the new Sandman: "You will not be disappointed, artist JH Williams has raised the bar of artistry in modern comics with Sandman Overture", she said. Bond introduced a "top secret" plan, since it's 17 years since the first issue of Sandman, 17 days from its release, the panel would allow a fan to see a preview of the first issue of Overture for 17 seconds and comment afterwards. The chosen fan's comment: "It's fucking gorgeous". Bond did not argue with that assessment.
Bond promised, while showing cover art on A and B covers for Sandman: Overture by both JH Williams and Dave McKean, who's doing the B covers, "There's something in the Sandman Overture # 1 that has never been done in comics before and will blow your mind".
Robbi Rodriguez, talking about his book FBP (formerly Collider) admitted that it's a lot of work, "God this book drives me up the goddamned wall", he laughed. Bond gave a shout-out to Nathan Fox's covers on FBP, meanwhile, to applause. Rodriguez says they'll be dealing with more epic ideas. "If you guys are mind-fucked now, you're going to be even more mind-fucked", he warned. They'll be playing with "multi-universe theory" where the covers are going to be telling an alternate story that eventually ties together on two levels in the comic.
Cunningham plugged the new Hinterkind book by Edginton as something all fans of Saga should be reading also. "It's a post-apocalyptic fantasy only it's not", Edginton explained. There are elves and dwarves, but they are "evolutionary cousins" rather than magical, who have been traditionally wiped out by mankind. In a world where 90% of the population has been wiped out, the Hinterkind group struggle to survive in a world where nature is taking its own back. Different colonies feature, and "seeing the world through the eyes" of a central female character. "It starts out small and gets bigger and bigger", Edginton warned.
If you love American Horror Story or Sleepy Hollow, Kittredge said, you'll like her new series Coffin Hill. A variant cover by Gene Ha wowed the crowd. Inaki Miranda enjoyed drawing "the blood, because it's easy", he joked. He's finding himself "experimenting" on the book, and feels he's been drawing his whole life to get to the point to work on the series.
Scott Snyder, who was suffering from "karoake voice" talked about The Wake as a place to "experiment" particularly in "scope and the sweeping nature of it". He described the series as one that "unlocks the secrets of human evolution" in plot. A big horror buff, Snyder talked about renting movies from a video shop that wouldn't rent to kids but only if you ordered them on the phone (which he did), and the inspiration the 80's horror films gave him. Issue #5 is the big turning point of the series for Snyder, when the second half of the book jumps in time ton almost "fairy tale like" version of post-apocalyptic America.
The story "changes gears entirely" and they wanted to do a book that was really "two books" and completely different in tone. All the teasers about Neanderthals and outer space in the first half will culminate in a story "about a girl and her sonic dolphin". The idea was that Snyder wanted a sense of "wonder and also terror", moving from claustrophobia to wonder in the second half. "It's really about discovering the mysteries of language coming up from the deep", he said, and explains to us "why we feel so lost and why we feel so at home at times" as people on land.
Sean Murphy described a recent page he drew for the book as having Snyder's request of "a thousand mermaids attacking". Snyder has explored the ways to handle water visually in the series, and has enjoyed having those ideas "lobbed at him" and being pushed to come up with solutions. He loves "surprising the writer with his own script" on the book. Snyder feels that Murphy's abilities as a writer and storyteller have contributed greatly to the book, "making it exponentially better than it was in the script form". Bond jumped in to highlight The Wake as a standout example of high-functioning collaboration in comics.
When Bond brought up American Vampire, there was a round of wild applause from the floor. This new arc of American Vampire has a bit of Straw Dogs, and even of Wizard of Oz in it, according to Snyder. Snyder's delighted to be back with Albuquerque on the book, and "there's no higher priority for me at DC than American Vampire ever", he said. "We are completely committed to bringing this back and making it the best thing it can be from here forward", Snyder confirmed.
Lee Bermejo will be writing and drawing Suiciders in 2014 and feels that this is one of his most personal projects. The story takes place in Los Angeles 30 years after an earthquake decimates the city, more post-disaster than post-apocalyptic. With a city split into two sections, New Angeles, and Lost Angeles, the latter a ghetto. Two main characters feature, an immigrant new arrival in Lost Angeles, and a celebrity from New Angeles. A gladiatorial game, the biggest thing in New Angeles for entertainment, stands at the center of the title and plot.
In a panel crammed with information, updates, and comments from a huge cast of creators, this was nevertheless the most "feels" I've seen from fans at NYCC thus far. Fans were rabidly enthusiastic throughout the Vertigo Defy panel, interrupting with applause and hooting at different points as each series rolled out for discussion. The response suggested that the attendees read multiple Vertigo lines, maybe even all of the current/new series being released. But they definitely had their favorite teams, and as each took the spotlight to talk about their work, they got the opportunity to show their support.
Hannah Means-Shannon is Senior New York Correspondent at Bleeding Cool, writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org, and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress. Find her bio here.