iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy – Episode #16: “Vertigo”

Show Notes

This week, iFanboy talks about Vertigo Comics, and the imprints place in comics today. Some of the best comics ever for grown ups have come from this arm of DC publishing, and we debate whether they’ve still got it, and what “it” is. In many ways, Vertigo forged the way for modern comics, but will they continue the trend? Sandman, Fables, Y: The Last Man, Transmetropolitan, 100 Bullets and many more books come up in the discussion, and as expected, there’s some dissent among the team..


Running Time: 00:23:19
For Direct Downloads – Head over to iFanboy at Revision 3
While we love flash, we recommend the downloadable hi-res versions
Subscribe in iTunes:

We can’t help but wonder what kind of snack would go best with these comics. So what’s the best Vertigo stuff you’ve read? Have things changed? Is it as good now as it was then? Was it ever that good? Can anyone disabuse Ron of his Vertigo prejudice? Please, share!

Download

For Direct Download

Subscribe

Get Involved

Doing the podcast is fun and all, but let's be honest, listening to the 3 of us talk to each other can get repetitive, so we look to you, the iFanboy listeners to participate in the podcast! "How can I get in on the fun?" you may ask yourself, well here's how:

  • E-Mail us at contact@ifanboy.com with any questions, comments or anything that may be on your mind.
  • Call us at 1-888-FANBOYS (326-2697) and leave a voicemail

Please don't forget to leave your name and where you're writing/calling from and each week, we'll pick the best e-mails and voicemails to include on the podcast!

Comments

  1. import says:

    Good show guys. I think I get too caught up in my Marvel comics that too often I over look Vertigo. I’ll have to change that. DMZ has my interest.

    I think one reason Marvel’s Max line never took off was because around the same time Marvel “dropped” the Comics Code. What is the point of creating an adult oriented line if (in theory) all of your comics could be adult oriented?

  2. import says:

    Ron, I hope you think Sandman is…”awesome”.

  3. import says:

    I honestly think as Y and Fables as equal. I buy both in trades, but I personally like Fables more.

    When I started with Y the Last Man, I got a sense of “huh, this is interesting” but with Fables, I read the first two trades and thought “I need all of the other ones and I need them now!” Then I went out and bought the other 5 trades at the time. While I think Y sells more for right now but after it ends, Fables is going to take over. I think.

  4. import says:

    I really have to agree with your thoughts on Vertigo as of late. Vertigo played a huge part in getting me into comics, but aside from Y the Last Man and Fables (and 100 Bullets to a lesser extent), their recent offerings haven’t quite captured me. I think it largely has to do with the fact that the new Vertigo books are built too strongly around their high concept, and with that thesis statement, I will launch into my long winded explanation.

    If you look at Vertigo’s breakthrough books – Sandman, Preacher, Y the Last Man, Fables – they all share one thing in common: a high concept idea that revolves around strong characters and strong character interactions. Aside from the high concept, I think that’s the one thing that separates Vertigo books from everything else.

    Sandman hit me in The Game of You arc, when I really felt that these women were living, breathing characters that I had probably met once in my life. It hit me in Preacher time and time again; I really felt the love and friendship shared between Jesse, Tulip, Cassidy. It pushed through the mires and mires of obscenity to be the one thing I remember fondly about the book. I feel it in Y the Last Man since I can so relate Yorick more than any other fictional character I’ve come across in fiction. And yeah, I feel it in Fables, too. When Snow and Bigby got — well, you know — in issue #50, I was really touched, teary-eyed even. And when Boy Blue — well, you know — in the Homelands arc, I felt so goddamn triumphant that it uplifted me a bit. That doesn’t happen to me often.

    Of course, strong characters are the hallmark of any good book, but I think that’s why these books broke through to the mainstream (at least more than other Vertigo books). I’ve tried out all of Vertigo’s recent offerings, and while they all have a strong high concept, they just don’t have the heartfelt characters that these books had.

    For example, I’d argue that DMZ, while a wonderful book, doesn’t really have it. It hinges strongly on its concept, but I really think it’s done at the sake of compelling characters. The story revolves around one character who interacts with few mainstay characters, and I think that’s one of thing that makes the book feel flat to me. And I, being a left coast native, have a disconnect to New York and can’t really relate to the integral part the city plays in the book — I know a lot of people love it, and I have to wonder if being intimately familiar with New York itself has something to do with it.

    American Virgin, while a fun book, doesn’t really have that either. It’s wacky fun and brings up some relevant question about modern religion, but again, I think the book was sold on its high concept and not its characters. The same deal with the Exterminators and, to a lesser extent, Crossing Midnight.

    And Testament… Jesus Christ, I don’t know even know what’s up with that book. I assume it has something to do with the said Jesus Christ, but I can’t really tell anymore.

    So, there it is. It all comes down too good writing, and I just don’t think the recent batch of books from Vertigo are offering it in the same way the breakthrough Vertigo books have.

  5. import says:

    Mmmmm, Fables…. the first trade didn’t do it for me, I picked up the first couple of Trades and sat down and read them all, after the first one I was kinda cringing thinking to myself “Whats so good about this?”, after a couple of trades, then I was hooked, sux that it took that long, but now I really enjoy it

    Have yet too read Preacher

  6. import says:

    I’ve been reading vertigo books since the start and have to agree that they had a bit of a dip for a while but I think right now they’re putting out some top quality product. I highly recomend people checking out the exterminators. Its one of my favourite books coming out for the moment. There are 2 trades available so far I think. Also DMZ is a great read. Something that wasn’t mentioned on the podcast but I know has been mentioned here before is that the first issues for almost everything that vertigo have published are available free online at the vertigo website

    http://www.dccomics.com/sites/vertigo_num1s/

    And also that the first trades from a series are always low priced to offer people a chance to give there books a fair chance. Something i applaud them for.

  7. import says:

    You know, I really love most of the Vertigo books out there. So far, I’ve really been digging Scalped and can see that being a title that people will buy. I think it’s got a pretty cool concept and some of the plot twists have been fun so far. Plus, the art is pretty dang good and gives the books a very gritty feel.

    Overall, I think no matter what Vertigo does, they will still bathe in money because as more and more people get hooked on comics, they will always turn to the trades of all their books. They could probably close shop now, and live like kings.

    I trust, though, that they’ve got something on the backburner that they’re just waiting to unleash. And I can’t wait.

  8. import says:

    I think you overestimate how many books they sell at Vertigo. I’d be surprised if they were much more than barely profitable. Certain books probably do OK, but most probably lose money, losses covered by the winners.

    I have no figures to back this up.

  9. import says:

    With or without numbers, you’re probably correct Josh. I’m just thinking that with the success of Y, Fables, and other titles you guys mentioned, it wouldn’t be surprising if they could continue to make money solely off those trades. I feel like those are the books that people who read comics show to their friends or families.

    But who knows…maybe they just sell really well at my LCS. Either way, I’m glad Vertigo is around and I love a lot of their product.

    I would also like to mention, while I’m thinking of it, that Hellblazer is an excellent Vertigo title and Andy Diggle’s brief two issue story these past months was super dope. I think more people should take a gander at that one.

    And…scene.

  10. import says:

    Appropo of nothing, I just painted my living room and I now notice the color looks almost exactly like that on the walls in the podcast room. Did I subconsciously internalize this color? Did I choose Cabbage Green 410A-2U not because of it’s cheery brightness, but because I secretly want to sit around on my couch and pretend I’m on the ifanboy.com set? Only the shadow knows…

    Seriously, though, great podcast. I haven’t read any Vertigo books since BKV’s last Swamp Thing run, but it’s fun to hear you guys talk about them.

  11. import says:

    Here we go (thanks to Marc-Oliver Frisch for this!) :

    80/81 – FABLES (Vertigo)
    03/2003: Fables #11

  12. import says:

    I should of added that Fables #58 and #59 were 80 and 81 on the top 300 and that Y #55 was 82 on that list. The key note between the books is is the growth of readership in the past 6 months to 1 year for Fables. Y is ever so slightly losing readers in that same period.

  13. import says:

    Top 100 Trades for Diamond (Direct Market only)

    March -
    39th FABLES VOL 1 LEGENDS I/EXILE TP
    80th Y THE LAST MAN VOL 1 UNMANNED TP
    90th Y THE LAST MAN VOL 8 KIMONO DRAGONS TP
    98th FABLES VOL 2 ANIMAL FARM TP

    February -
    63rd FABLES VOL 1 LEGENDS I/EXILE TP
    93rd Y THE LAST MAN VOL 1 UNMANNED TP
    97th Y THE LAST MAN VOL 8 KIMONO DRAGONS TP

    Janurary -
    52nd FABLES VOL 8 WOLVES TP
    54th FABLES VOL 1 LEGENDS I/EXILE TP
    68th Y THE LAST MAN VOL 8 KIMONO DRAGONS TP
    78th Y THE LAST MAN VOL 1 UNMANNED TP
    81st FABLES VOL 2 ANIMAL FARM TP
    83rd FABLES 1001 NIGHTS O/SNOWFALL HC

    December -
    1st Fables Vol. 8 Wolves TP
    50th Y The Last Man Vol. 8 Kimono Dragons TP
    57th Fables Vol. 1 Legends I/Exile TP
    69th Fables 1001 Nights of Snowfall HC
    81st Y The Last Man Vol. 1 Unmanned TP
    98th Fables Vol. 2 Animal Farm TP

    November -
    1st Y The Last Man Vol.8 Kimono Dragons TP
    10th Fables 1001 Nights of Snowfall HC
    70th Fables Vol. 1 Legends in Exile TP
    89th Fables Vol. 2 Animal Farm TP

    October -
    1st FABLES 1001 NIGHTS O/SNOWFALL HC
    No Fables or Y: Last Man TPs place in this month.

    I think looking at these past 6 months, based on this list, that “torch” has already been passed. The special HC probably did wonders for the Fables ongoing and brought with it, new readers. Not once this past 6 months has a Vol.1 from Y: The Last Man outsold a Vol.1 from Fables. This of course would also refect to how well the Vol.2s are selling for both books as Y: The Last Man does not have a Vol.2 place in the top 100 for the past 6 months.

    Based on the numbers, the “torch” has already been passed.

    C.

  14. import says:

    For a long while, I disdained american comic books, only making the change when I read Neil Gaiman’s novels. Curious, I picked up Sandman, and I have been a part time comic lover ever since. Within reccent months, Fables has struck another chord with me; despite the cries of mysogony about Snow and Bigby, I can say with all honesty that I love the series. Y was interesting, but it hasn’t held my interest to the extent of Fables. In the great race ahead, I can see Fables taking the lead with no great effort.

  15. Drakoen says:

    Good podcast. Some interesting ideas there. I must say though that I completely disagree with your thoughts on 100 Bullets. I think this series is getting better and better. I think it has been the best Vertigo series on the shelves for years, though Fables, Loveless and Scalped are also excellent reads. Still, good work, guys.

Leave a Comment