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FRIDAY, JUNE 27, 2008


ROSEMONT, Ill. -- DC Comics' Vertigo panel became the Brian Azzarello Show on Friday at Wizard World Chicago.

Editor Will Dennis and Azzarello, who have worked together for nearly 10 years, were the only panelists for the event.

Following are highlights:

* The panel started with a slide show of current, past and future Azzarello projects.

* Joker is a 128-page hardcover written by Azzarello, with art by Lee Bermejo (who worked with Lex Luthor: Man of Steel), due in October.

"It looks fantastic," Dennis said. "Lee's doing a fabulous job."

Dennis said Joker serves as a bookend to the Lex Luthor.

* Dave Johnson's cover to 100 Bullets #95 was shown, with what Dennis called a "big clue" to a character's "situation."

* Asked about co-editing with Bob Schreck on Batman: Broken City, Dennis noted that he tends to trust his creators.

"It was the anti-Hush actually," Azzarello said of the 2004 mini-series.

* Azzarello said he and Bermejo were reluctant to work again so soon, but came up with Joker at a bar during Comic-Con International in San Diego. "We weren't going to do it, but then Lee got fired off of Hellboy and he needed the work," Azzarello joked.

Azzarello said he and Bermejo are already talking about another project.

* More work on Batman? "Maybe, but they have other plans for Batman," Azzarello said.

* Talking about the amount of sex in Loveless, Dennis said Azzarello has "Plus, it was a husband and wife. It was a relationship story. And sex is a part of that," Azzarello said.

* Azzarello on Joker: "There's no Batman. I didn't want to muck up the story with that asshole. It's about being in the Joker's gang and why would anybody want to be in the Joker's gang. It's like the death sentence."

Dennis said the premise is that if you're a criminal in Gotham City, the last person you want aware that you're out there is Batman.

"This isn't from the Joker's point of view," Azzarello said. "I don't think you want tell the story from his point of view. You would be doing a disservice to the character. He's so undpredictable and when you try to get inside his head, he loses so much power.

"He's not funny. He thinks he's funny, but he's not funny."

* Azzarello said 100 Bullets will end the way he intended. "There's a bit of hesitation," he said. "These are my friends. So there was apprehension. But it's time."

* Dennis said the last issue of 100 Bullets is targeted for February.

* Dennis said that while there has been an overall plan in 100 Bullets, there have been a lot of side trips throughout the series' run.

* What other DC Universe character would Azzarello like to write? "Aquaman, I'm not kidding around. I am not kidding."

What would he do with Aquaman. "I can't tell you that," Azzarello said. "I have an idea."

Azzarello said that Black Manta is "one of the coolest villains."

* Dennis noted that Azzarello also has a lot of Jimmy Olsen stories.

* Talking about Doctor Thirteen, Azzarello said it was a case of him getting angry about the characters not being used.

He said he enjoyed using "comic-book logic" of the stories during a time consequences in the DCU were becoming heavy. "We got a hall pass on that, both from the fans and editorial," he said.

* On a side note, Dennis said there is no plan to end Fables. "The story is so wide opens and he (Bill Willingham) is having so much fun with it," he said.

* Azzarello said he would to have closure with the major characters in Loveless, but will not reveal what he had in store. While he's comfortable with the last issue, he said couldn't get in everything he wanted with the last six issues.

* Maybe those stories will find some other avenue to get out to readers," Dennis added.

* As far as writing company-owned properties, Azzarello said that it isn't concerned with it while he is writing, but then he realizes the limitations.

* Azzarello said he is really terse in his descriptions and art direction. "For one thing, I don't want to tell the guy what to draw," he said, noting he does the dialogue first.

* Asked about what is happening with Swamp Thing, Dennis said, "He's on hiatus," adding there will problem be a gap before the next project with the characters.

* What's going with the 100 Bullets video game, "I don't know," Azzarello said.

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