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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2009

NEW YORK COMIC CON: VERTIGO PANEL

NEW YORK -- Several new projects were announced at DC Comics' Vertigo panel at New York Comic Con on Friday.

Following are highlights:

* Panelists included Karen Berger, Peter Milligan, G. Willow Wilson, Amy Hadley, Brian Wood, Peter Gross, Mike Carey, Josh Dysart, Alberto Ponticelli, Brian Azzarello, Dean Haspiel and Jason Aaron.

* Carey and Gross, who previously teamed on Lucifer, have a new creator-owned monthly series called The Unwritten debuting in May. Covers will be by Yuko Shimizu, who also did the covers for The Sandman; Dream Hunters.

Berger described Carey and Gross as a "two-headed beast" in terms of writing the book, with artist Gross contributing story ideas.

Carey said the series is about a writer who wrote books about a lovable British boy wizard, Tommy Taylor, who was based on his own son. After the 13th and final book, the author mysteriously disappeared, and his son Tom is now living with that legacy.

"He's famous, but he's famous as a fiction character," Carey said. "The germ of this idea was that we were both fascinated by Christopher Robin Milne, who was the Christopher Robin of the Winnie the Pooh books and hated it and spent most of his life fighting against it."

The son finds himself on the convention circuit, signing his father's books. The story begins when he is challenged at a convention to explain who he really is because there are things about his past don't add up. And he discovers his father might have lied to him.

"He may actually be a fictional character," Carey said.

"He gets outed at this con and there's no evidence that he was ever really born to that family," Gross added. Hešs either a viral market ploy created by his father to pump these books or there's a group who thinks he's actually the boy wizard."

Carey said that the series is a conspiracy thriller, with a shadowy group of characters -- The Unwritten refers to them -- who are manipulating stories that are read.

The first issue will be 40 pages and, like other upcoming Vertigo debuts, will cost $1.

* Milligan is the new writer of Constantine.

ŗOur Constantine has something different going for him, namely he meets a girl (Phoebe) who he thinks might be the one," Milligan said. "For a while, it's kind of going really good with her. But as is his way, people in his orbit have bad things happen to them. It's a miracle that guy Chas is still alive.

"And, sure enough, something pretty bad happens to this girl, and the story will then follow Constantinešs fevered attempts to turn back the clock or to bring the situation back so he can get his loved one back."

Milligan said a "dark, twisted plot" goes on while Cosntantine tries to figure out if he really did love her.

* DayTripper is a 10-issue maxi-series by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. The series takes place in Brazil and revolves around the eternal struggle between fathers and sons. Berger said the main story is about a son whošs always wanted to write, but writes obituaries while his father is Brazilšs most famous writer.

"It's got a beautiful charm," Berger said.

* Dave Johnson is the new cover artist of Unknown Soldier.

Dysart, who went to Uganda to research, said the new arc will start with #7 focus on an aspect of Ugandan culture, where people in the stabilized south donšt know what is happening in the north. He said it will be told in the structure of a "teen slasher flick."

* Wood said that DMZ and Northlanders will both have one-shot stories coming up.

The DMZ story, #41, will feature Zee, who hasn't been seen on her own in a couple of years and will be drawn by Nikki Cook.

Wood called the Northlanders issue ŗthe hardest thing Išve ever tried to write.˛ It will cover "the breadth of Viking tactical warfare in the context of a single, 22-page sword fight." Art is by Vasilis Lolos.

* The Nobody is a graphic novel written and drawn by Jeff Lemire, author of the Essex County trilogy from Top Shelf. Berger called it "an update of the Invisible Man set in a small Maine fishing village."

Berger said Lemire is doing more, as yet-unnaounced work for Vertigo.

* Wilson noted that Air #7 will be a $1 issue. In Air #6, Blythe mysteriously up in Zanešs body as a young boy, and in #7 readers find out who Zane is. "There's a lot of big reveals," Wilson said.

* Berger said Bang! Tango features some of the best Howard Chaykin covers "in a long time."

* Azzarello said 100 Bullets is "done, thanks," but didn't provide any hints.

* Gone to Amerikay is an OGN by Derek McCullough and Colleen Doran, that Berger described as as a ŗsweeping historical drama about the Irish immigrant experience, that spans three generations and the turn of two centuries."

* House of Mystery #13 will be a "special lucky 13" issue, with four stories drawn by artists who have never worked with Vertigo before, including Neal Adams, Ralph Reese, Eric Powell and Neal Adams. Each story explores what the number 13 means to each of the characters in the story.

* Michael Kaluta returns to Madame Xanadu, drawing Madame Xanadu #11-15.

Hadley said she is working on #9-10, which takes in places in 1940s New York. "I think it has the greatest pay-off ever," Hadley said.

* Aaron said that Scalped #25, out next week, starts a new story. "Lots of nudity and lots of killing," he said.

* Seaguy: The Slave of Mickey Eye will launch in April.

* Berger announced another OGN, Cuba: One Story, for 2010. The memoir-like story is written by comics newcomer Inverna Lockpez and is drawn by Dean Haspiel.

Haspeil said that Lockpez has been like a second mother to him over the last 25 years and has told him little stories about her time in Cuba. "It's probably my most personal collaboration," he said.

* How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less is another OGN. The story, by Sarah Glidden, tells of Glidden taking a "birthright tour" in Israel.

* Luna Park is an OGN by Kevin Baker and Danijel Zezelj, scheduled for November. A modern-day Russian gangster winds up in Coney Island at turn of century and in Russia at various points in Russian history.

* Greek Street is a creator-owned monthly from Milligan and Davide Gianfelice. Milligan explained that Greek Street runs through Soho in London, which is like the city's red light district.

*The series retells classic Greek legends, but played out on the modern streets. "It's kind of a story of the enduring power of myths," Milligan, adding that it dispels how humanity hasn't really progressed.

The lead character is Eddie, who is brought up in a children's home and, upon leaving, decides to look for his mother. "Within 24 hours, he had made love to her and killed her," Milligan said.

* Via a note from Fables creator Bill Willingham, editor Shelley Bond revealed that Jack will be sneaking back into Fables and that Show and Bigby will be exiled to Jack's book.



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