Comic-Con: ‘American Vampire,’ ‘Fables,’ more at Vertigo panel

July 25, 2014 | 9:30 a.m.
fabl cv145 previews Comic Con: American Vampire, Fables, more at Vertigo panel

A look inside "Fables" No. 145. The award-winning series will end with No. 150. (Vertigo / DC Entertainment)

“American Vampire: Second Cycle” writer Scott Snyder told the “Vertigo: Defy Conventions” audience at Comic-Con on Thursday evening that one of the joys of his and artist Rafael Albuquerque’s series is “we’re able to explore different moments in American history and … talk about American culture and why things are monstrous or heroic at different moments.”

Coming up: a space race tale that involves — naturally — astronaut chimps who become vampires. That arrives in No. 6, but before that readers will get a look at the background of the deadly enemy known as the Gray Trader in a tale set during the Gold Rush.

It’s all part of giving the series’ second half the “biggest, craziest war we can create between different species of vampires, different species of monsters — you’re going to see everything from mummies, werewolves, demons, everything all together in this big crescendo,” the writer said.

Another ambitious Vertigo project from the writer, “The Wake,” with artist Sean Murphy, finishes its 10-issue run next week. But is it the end? Snyder joked to editor Shelly Bond that he’d soon be pitching a spinoff series starring “Wake’s” dolphin and robotic parrot.

"Fables" No. 142. (Vertigo / DC Entertainment)

“Fables” No. 142. (Vertigo / DC Entertainment)

The long-running, acclaimed fantasy series “Fables” is also closing in on its end, set for the 150th issue. Bond said the two words she’d use to describe what writer Bill Willingham (not present) has coming up are “body bags.” Its longtime principal artist, Mark Buckingham (present), said his two would be “nervous breakdown.”

The as-it-turns-out-not-so-late Bigby Wolf is back and dangerous, and Buckingham said the final story arc concentrates on the two key relationships of Snow White and husband Bigby, and Snow and sister Rose.

Bond said that on conference calls with the creative team Buckingham often politely disagrees with the upcoming deaths Willingham has plotted.

Buckingham is also writing an arc of sister series “Fairest” that focuses on the Farm, where Fables who can’t pass as human are housed, not always to their liking. It picks up on dissatisfaction that the Farm denizens have over never getting Prince Charming’s campaign promise of glamour to let them appear human and leave the Farm. It stars Reynard the Fox, and is a chance to explore characters including the Sunflower Kid and a detective duo of Sgt. Wilfred and Clara the Raven.

“I must admit the other reason in the great scheme of things why I was quite happy that this happened now at this final moment in ‘Fairest,’” Buckingham said, “is because, knowing how Bill is and how he was slowly working his way through the population of Fabletown with a big cleaver, I felt, well, if I take over the Farm and I write it, he can’t kill them all.”

Until No. 150, Bond pointed out.

“I might kill Willingham in 149,” Buckingham replied.

Vertigo, DC’s mature-readers imprint, also offered details on other ongoing and upcoming series.

“FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics” is in an arc set in a different reality in a small Alaska town, writer Simon Oliver said. Nos. 14 and 15 look at how Cicero became part of the FBP and shows the agency’s academy. It also details why the long missing and much sought Professor Hardy is important not just to his son Adam, the book’s main character, but to Cicero too.

Editor Will Dennis said “The Names,” coming in October from writer Peter Milligan and artist Leo Fernandez, will run eight or nine issues and is a thriller in which a woman seeking revenge for the death of her husband attempts to figure out the cabal controlling the financial world.

“The Kitchen,” from writer Ollie Masters and artist Ming Doyle (with Jordie Bellaire on colors and Becky Cloonan on covers), is set in the 1970s in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood and is about the wives of Irish gangsters, Dennis said. When their husbands go to prison, the women take over the rackets. And when their husbands are released, they may not be willing to give them back. The first issue arrives in November.

A look at "Bodies." (Vertigo / DC Entertainment)

A look at “Bodies.” (Vertigo / DC Entertainment)

Bond described “Bodies,” which debuts next week, as “four eras, one body.” The story of a time-traveling serial killer is written by Si Spencer is set in 1890, 1940, 2014 and 2050, with detectives in each era dealing with the same body turning up on the same London street. Artist Tula Lotay said she based a “scatty but kick-ass” amnesiac female character on actress Janet Munro’s “sassy” style. The book’s colors are by Lee Loughridge, who is taking care to differentiate the periods, Bond said. Each issue has a different cover artist, including Paul Pope, Francesco Francavilla and David Finch.

Lee Bermejo said his “Suiciders,” due out next year, is in the ‘80s science-fiction mold of “Escape From New York” and the Mad Max movies. Set in Southern California 30 years after a cataclysmic earthquake, it follows one person from the walled citadel of New Angeles and another from the stuck-on-the-outside Lost Angeles. In the more desirable area, the big sport is a gladitorial game that is “UFC mixed with the Danger Room from the X-Men,” Bermejo said.

Comic-Con, with an estimated crowd of 130,000, continues through Sunday at the San Diego Convention Center.

Blake Hennon | Google+ | @LATHeroComplex

[For the record, 11:33 a.m., July 30: A previous version of this post misidentified “Bodies” writer Si Spencer as Si Spurrier.]


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2 Responses to Comic-Con: ‘American Vampire,’ ‘Fables,’ more at Vertigo panel

  1. SPM says:

    Great writeup but the writer of BODIES is Si Spencer, not Si Spurrier.

    • blakehennon says:

      Thank you for pointing out the error! It has been fixed, and I have appended a For the Record noting the correction to the post.

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