C2E2: Vertigo’s New Titles Defy the Limits of Imagination

At Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), DC hosted a “Vertigo: Defy” panel to discuss the stories being released soon. Vertigo is DC’s publishing title for works that lie outside the standard superhero genre defined by the New 52 DC Universe.

John Cunningham, DC Comics VP of Marketing, moderated the panel. The panel members were: Scott Snyder (American Vampire, The Wake, Batman), Lee Bermejo (Suiciders), Greg Lockard (Associate Editor, Vertigo), and Amy Chu (Girls Night Out). They each spoke about the Vertigo titles they create and answered questions from fans.

Title Highlights:

American Vampire: Second Cycle

American Vampire is a world where different families of vampires walk the earth, keeping hidden among humankind. What separates this vampire tale from the many others out there are the monsters and setting. Vampires are not treated like they come out of a pretty cookie cutter. Here, each vampire lineage has a different appearance, powers, strengths, and weaknesses. The origin of a new strain of American vampire takes us back to Gold Rush Nevada, those chapters written by Stephen King. It spins the tale of vampire power struggles, the humans who hunt them, and the vampires who fight not to give in to the monster across the backdrop of key historical time periods in US history – decadent Golden Age Hollywood, World Wars,and  the Rock and Roll of the 1950’s.

Second Cycle focuses on bringing together the various, multicultural lineages and human organizations together to combat an ancient and more powerful enemy. This Cycle weaves supernatural horror and mystery against the backdrop of the 60’s and 70’s, including the NASA space program and the Hell’s Angels. Snyder verified that fan favorite hunter, Travis Kidd, will return in this series.

You can enjoy the Second Cycle without having read the first, but if you value a well-woven story and gorgeous artwork by Rafael Alberquerque (Blue Beetle), you will want to pick up American Vampire Vols 1-5.

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The Wake

In the first half of the story (#1-5), Scott Snyder shows mankind’s first contact with the ancient, mer-humanoids and how the two races collide at the bottom of the ocean, sealing humankind’s fate.

The second half of the story happens after the old deep ones came forth and began their watery war against humanity. Humans are in survival mode, living in scattered pockets. If you like solid female protagonists or modern, mythic dystopias, check out this title. Artist Sean Murphy (Punk Rock Jesus, Joe the Barbarian) gives The Wake a post-apocalyptic fairy tale feel.

As with American Vampire, The Wake #6 is a great jumping-on point into the story. You don’t need to have read the first half in order to enjoy the current arc.

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Suiciders

Suiciders is set 30 years after a massive earthquake destroyed Los Angeles and most of Southern California. A wall separates the affluent citizens of “New Angeles” from those that live in the lawless wastelands of “Lost Angeles”.

“One of the characters is an immigrant, trying to make his way from Lost Angeles into New Angeles,” Lee Bermejo said. “He’s there to pursue a dream.” His dream is to make his way into New Angeles to become a Suicider – a participant in the gladiatorial contests of New Angeles.

Bermejo admits he has a love/hate relationship with LA. He says LA changes you, it can suck your soul, but it’s a great place to find stories. Suiciders promises to be an immigrant/dreamer’s tale exploring how to reach one’s goals without losing one’s soul in the process.

Bodies

Bodies is a sci fi/horror period comic following the career of a time-traveling serial killer. Si Spencer (Hellblazer: City of Demons, Books of Magic: Life During Wartime) writes this intriguing series. What is going to make this a can’t-miss title is that each issue will contain four different eras, each drawn by a different artist (Dean Ormston, Phil Winslade, Meghan Hetrick, and Tula Lotay) for some time-traveling, side-by-side storytelling.

Vertigo Quarterly: CMYK

The new anthology series CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) takes the name from the four-color printing process of comics, with each issue focusing on that color as a theme. The first issue is “Cyan”, and features nine stories from the industry’s top talent (Martin Morazzo, James T Tynion IV, Fabio Moon, Jock, Various, Tony Akins, Shaun Simon, Chris Peter, Joe Keatinge, Amy Chu, Javier Fernandez, Robert Rodi, James T Tynion IV, Fabio Moon, Jock, Various, Tony Akins, Shaun Simon, Chris Peter, Joe Keatinge, Amy Chu, Javier Fernandez, Robert Rodi, Martin Morazzo). Fabio Moon will contribute an over-arching chapter to each quarterly.

Amy Chu described her story in Cyan as a conflict of new vs. old, focusing on a rebooted Detroit on the upswing with an older R&B singer who had been put out to pasture meeting up with an up-and-coming pop star at a ribbon cutting ceremony. Chu says “people didn’t know [she] could get that dark.”

You can read more on Vertigo titles here.