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death, destiny and vertigo comics

[also posted at blogcritics]

Vertigo Comics is celebrating their tenth anniversary.

Whenever I go to comic shows (not conventions, I mean the small ones at your local K of C ), I immediately head for the vendor who has the boxes sitting on the floor, labeled in black Sharpie "Back Issues, 50 cents each," because he will invariably have a ton of Vertigo titles stashed away in those boxes.

The thing that originally drew me to Vertigo (besides Neil Gaiman) was the covers of their comics. The art was always dark, mysterious and sometimes frightening. You could tell a Vertigo title a mile away. My favorites are the Dave McKean covers, and that's usually what I would be rummaging through the boxes for.

Some of the titles were just mediocre. I would still buy them for the art, using the covers to inspire me when I was hitting a writer's block.

I've read a bit of just about everything Vertigo has put out, and the whole series of quite a few titles.

I started with Sandman, quite a few years ago, reading the few issues I found at a comic show one day. I now own the whole collection and became a bona fide Neil Gaiman addict.

I collected Preacher by single issues and the collected editions, reading all of them from front to back and then again. I miss Jesse and his exploits.

I've read 100 Bullets, Hellblazer and The Invisbles.

I just bought the Transmetropolitan collecteds and am in the midst of reading them. I've developed a deep, disturbing crush on Spider Jerusalem.

I've spent a good portion of the past few years submerging myself in the world of dreams, staring wide-eyed at the subculture of politics and media and riding out to the Alamo wtih a vampire.

Through Vertigo, I have met Delerium, Destiny and Death. I hung out with Jesse and Tulip and learned to despise Cassidy. I've seen what's in Spider's bag of tricks.

I also discovered the art of Dave McKean, which has inspired me more than anything I've come across artistically in my life.

Happy anniversary, Vertigo. Here's to many more.

Comments

My favorite Vertigo covers are by Duncan Fegredo. He did the covers for the fantastic Enigma mini-series, and for the last twenty-five or so issues of Shade. His covers always set the perfect mood for the story within, and were less collage-y than most of McKean's stuff. If you haven't, pick up Enigma. He pencilled it as well.

Do you have a copy of the Veritgo Tarot? I highly recommend it, if you love McKean's art so much.

And somewhere, you must dig up the two completed issues of Big Numbers. Art by Sienkewicz, but he went to art school with McKean, I believe, and they had the same mentor. (Or possibly the same drug dealer.)

I'm with Kevin. I still remember the advance issue previewing the Vertigo launch, and that got me primed to start scooping up Sandman and Black Orchid, but when Enigma hit, that's when I really got sucked into grown-up comics. It was gripping and surreal, and at 15 and coming off my first viewing of Repo Man, that was all it really took to reel me in.

10 years later and Vertigo is still the best, most consistent imprint on the market. If they put out nothing but 100 Bullets and American Century, they'd still be head and shoulders above everyone else.

And has anyone read the Chaykin & Tischman Barnum HC? I really wanted to get it, but I have a drinking habit to support.

No, but I looo-oooved Chaykin's take on The Shadow.

100 Bullets is getting nasty. This five-piece prison story is going to set the standard for general AND specific grimness. And it seems to be done entirely in three colors: black, orange, and red. I wish they'd do a little more with the original idea - one suitcase with an untraceable gun and a license to kill, delivered by a haggard scary old guy in a good suit. The backstory is less interesting than the stories themselves.

Of course, I'll still buy every one of them.

I love Vertigo -- Michele, you should "wish-list" Sandman Dust Covers, if you don't own it already. Beautiful. My favorite cover of all is the one from "Convergance" -- the short story arc -- with the Moon crouched by a trunk, holding its head.

If you don't know already, while Vertigo's doing okay, Fantagraphics is decidedly not. :(

"100 Bullets" is an Bold New HBO Original Series waiting to happen. So is "Global Frequency" for that matter (though inexplicably that's not Vertigo).

More like Global Narcolepsy.

Did anybody read that Vertigo 10th anniversary thing last month? I liked the Shade story, kind of.

Preacher was AWESOME!

The original owners of the comic store I used to live near took the liberty of adding it to my standing order when it came out because they knew it was something I'd like. Good call.

I have a lot of the Sandman issues, starting from the first one. Somewhere in the middle for a while I missed some, then picked up again later.

I think I have most of the Hellblazers, and most of the Swamp Things after the first 20 or so.

Of course, I also used to love Groo the Wanderer.

I used to really enjoy Morrison's Doom Patrol.

To me, Andy Helfer and Kyle Baker's run on The Shadow was the first unofficial Vertigo title.

Got two graphic novels left to buy in the Preacher series. No idea what's going to happen, but the ride is nice.

Sandman is the shit!

I'm rather surprised no one has mentioned Bill Willingham's Fables.

Five words:

Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children

Not a Vertigo release, but a great series of books in the same vein. You've got to love a book that opens with the circus burning down and a group of drunken clowns taking off with the fat lady in a stolen car.

AHHH!!! ANOTHER TRANSMETROPOLITON FAN!!!

I love Transmet. Spider Jerusalem is one of my favorite anti-heroes. He's not 2 dimensional like alot of them are. I am planning on writing a screenplay about the comics, though i don't know exactly how i am going to go about it, but, Spider has given me alot of ideas.