Sunday, November 04, 2007


I just posted in the comments section of Dick Hyacinth's blog. It really was meant to be a two-three sentence response to the fix Vertigo meme going round the internet, but it sort of turned into an essay. What is wrong with me???

I should have some more up at the Fan Art blog later today, but Kenny has stepped up and done a great Silver Age DC piece. Check it out! Poor Star-Baby.

And I'll be starting the next page of Earth Minds Are Weak once I have lunch. During breaks in that, I'll be getting to at least one important email that's been waiting a response.


Blogger Brian said...

That's a good piece/comment. I would add Shade The Changing Man to the list.

A lot of my favorite stuff from Vertigo wasn't long-term serialized, and I would hate to see that type of stuff abandoned were the structure you laid out explicitly acknowledged, but: I think the personality-driven bit is the most important in terms of creating actual good work that speaks to people, and that the formula you lay out is a good way of getting around to that stuff.

What's really weird, then, is the thing that made the blogosphere a few months ago about the writer of Smoke having a meeting at Vertigo where an editor told her to write a pitch based around a story read in the newspaper that morning.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

Shade, Enigma, Kill Your Boyfriend, Industrial Gothic... there's a lot that they've done that fits the formula, usually with sales mirroring how closely they stay on formula. But that doesn't mean everything has to. But you need a few anchors in there to help subsidize any Faces or Extremists that might come down their pikes. And, I think the formula has more leeway than the word formula suggests. I mean, no one is going to confuse Sandman and 100 Bullets.

The personality thing kills me. The imprint was started to reflect the personalities of a group of creators. Moore, Gaiman, Delano, Milligan, Morrison. It was an imprint about THEM and Karen Berger. It wasn't about Animal Man or Doom Patrol or Shade the Changing Man. But then it did become about them. And once the personalities vanished and the ligering affection people had for the characters vanished, so did the readers.

When Vaughn and Azzerello leave (soon), they'll have Brian Wood and... Rick Veitch? He's writing about other kids finding themselves, not the ones in college. Not the ones who are even in the same hemisphere as a comic book store. So, you have Wood.

They've got Carey. But who IS he? Some guy who's written a buch of comics. I'd love to be interested in reading Faker. College party girl drawn by Jock! Sounds like it's up my alley. But who am I getting on the words? The guy who wrote Sandman fan fiction? The guy who writes Ultimate Fantastic Four?

I remember watching the whole DeCampi/Bond thing happen and I know enough about DeCampi to know that she can drive a book. She comes across a bit like Warren Ellis, except with a better understanding of structure and she's cooler.

Vertigo could use a serious cool injection. Remember when you used to be cool, Vertigo?

Damn, there I go again.

11:47 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I think the "formula" is just a good model for something serialized to be broken into graphic novels- Individual arcs with conclusions, grouped together to reach an even larger conclusion. The reason the formula works is because if someone reads it in collected form, it works as a satisfying piece.

The Seaguy trade would work as well as the first volume of a series. Granted, I'm under the impression that wasn't as successful as We3, sales-wise, but that is probably because there aren't subsequent volumes.

Looking outside Vertigo, Scott Pilgrim fits it, although it's not too horrific, unless you were to really throw the term around.

4:16 AM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

Right. It's just the 12 labors of Hercules over and over again, or any story-based videogames since Super Mario Brothers.

Scott pilgrim is, of course, a perfect example. Totally personality-driven (moreso than most anything Vertigo does, due to DC's aversion to cartoonists), OGN serialization, frequent enough to not be forgotten between volumes, aimed at and created by someone in the right age group about timeless but relevant issues, and it fits the classical formula.

No one expects Frank or Jimmy Corrigan or Jimbo or Palomar from Vertigo, and that's fine. But when the lead singer from My Chemical Romance (a band with a name that SOUNDS like the best Vertigo title that Peter Milligan never wrote) grabs up Gabriel Bá and does his series at Dark Horse instead of your house, you gotta wonder what's wrong.

Gerard Way:

"Hi, I'm in love with Grant Morrison comics, I'm in the world's most popular goth-emo band since the Cure, my record label is owned by your parent company, my daily life IS a Vertigo comic, and I've got a series with Gabriel frickin' Bá on art about a bunch of super-powered siblings who meet up at their father's funeral and complain that they never lived up to his image. I call it, The Umbrella Accademy."

Vertigo editor:
"I don't know. Why don't you see what the guys who publish Star Wars comics think. STINEY! Get me one of the writers from Torchwood on the phone! I just read an article in the newspaper I think is right up one of their alleys!"

6:52 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

Oh, and I HOPE the rumors about a new Seaguy series are true. I'd much rather read that then Final Infinity Crisis.

6:54 PM  

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