Just as AMC, The CW, and MTV have reinvented themselves to appeal to new, younger audiences over the years, DC/Vertigo is currently going through a similar metamorphosis. Many years have gone by since the glory days of Gaiman’s Sandman run, Garth’s Preacher, and Brian K. Vaughan’s Y the Last Man. Bill Willingham’s Fables has been a strong flagship title for the brand, but now that’s come to an end, as well. With Image Comics dominating the original, creator-owned corner of the market for years now, DC/Vertigo had a tough task ahead of them to regain some of their previous glory.
After checking out a few of their new offerings, I have to say I like the direction they’re going in. DC/Vertigo has come up with some fresh new concepts on established genres and have put together some incredible talent, with established creators that they have a long running relationship with and a few new faces, too.
I see a parallel between the way DC/Vertigo has approached their 2015 “pilot season” and the way many TV networks do. Establishing a strong brand with their audience and not straying too far from what people expect. I know that sounds like a boring and anti-creative approach to programming, but, personally, I kind of like that I know what type of show I’m getting when I tune into The CW versus FX. The creators behind the programs and comics can still be as creative as they want, as long as they get people to watch or read what they’re putting out.
So, here’s a few of the new titles from DC/Vertigo that I encourage all of you to check out, and who knows, maybe we’ll be seeing a few of these on the small(or big) screen soon!
New Romancer written by Peter Milligan, with art by Brett Parson: Issue #1 just hit comic racks last week and this could be my favorite out of the lot. I dig how the concept ties the struggles of modern romance, à la internet dating sites and feelings of isolation, with old ideas of love, using such iconic historical figures as poet Lord Byron and infamous socialite Giacomo Casanova.
Also, I like the connection(in spirit, at least) of main character Lexy, a modern day computer coder, to Lord Byron’s daughter, Ada Lovelace, considered the first computer programmer ever. That’s a nice touch! Brett Parson’s strong, expressive, pop-off-the-page artwork is a match made in heaven for Milligan’s characters!
Unfollow written by Rob Williams, interior art by Michael Dowling, with covers by Matt Taylor: This one really surprised me, because at first glance, I thought that the concept would be too gimmicky! It’s another clever spin on modern technology and how we communicate, today, on social media platforms. Like a dark, twisted mix of Survivor & Lost on your smart phones. The story is suspenseful with lusciously detailed interior art by Michael Dowling and powerful cover design work by Matt Taylor. Already, the TV gods have optioned this one!
Survivors’ Club written by Dale Halvorsen & Lauren Beukes, art by Ryan Kelly & Inaki Miranda, with covers by Bill Sienkiewicz: When you have artists like Ryan Kelly and Bill Sienkiewicz attached to your comic, you’ve got my attention! I’m new to the authors, but I’m impressed with the complicated(but, not overly!), yet fast-paced, fun horror tale they’ve weaved, so far. The diverse cast of characters in Survivors’ Club each have interesting and exotic back-stories that are good enough to be their own separate horror comics, but by putting them all together in this mini-universe of horror, the creators have opened up endless possibilities for readers.
Art Ops written by Shaun Simon, with art by Michael & Laura Allred: I’m a sucker for just about anything the Allreds do, but this series stands on it’s own merits. The Allreds’ pop-art style is a perfect fit for this mind-bending caper about famous art pieces coming to life! I look forward to the countless masterpieces of art that we’ll get to see distorted and exploited in the next 60 issues or so of this series!
Twilight Children written by Gilbert Hernandez, with art by Darwyn Cooke: Yes! This is like getting the Magic and Jordan of comics to work together on one court. And this “dream team” has not disappointed, so far, with this dark, mysterious story. I’m crossing my fingers that there will be a sequel or volume 2 after the final issue comes out.
Since I’ve enjoyed the 5 titles listed above so much, I may have to check out some of the others recently launched, including Clean Room, Slash & Burn, Red Thorn, and the new, relaunched Lucifer looks like fun!