Tag: Vertigo Comics

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    Creator Spotlight: Karen Berger

    Karen Berger
    Karen Berger

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    A Brief History of Karen Berger

    Karen Berger is a comics writer and one of the most-influential editors of the last four decades.

    She began working in comics in 1979 as an assistant to editor Paul Levitz at DC Comics. She later became Levitz’s editor when he was writing Legion of Super-Heroes. Pursuing her interest in horror comics, she became editor of House of Mystery and was instrumental in nurturing Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing.

    She is credited as ushering in a wave of British writers including Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis and Neil Gaiman. Berger helped bring Gaiman’s work to a mass audience by having him write The Sandman. The success of works under Berger guidance led to DC’s creation of Vertigo in 1993, a line of mature-reader comics. Wildly popular titles under that imprint include Fables, Hellblazer, The Invisibles, 100 Bullets, Preacher, V for Vendetta, and Y: The Last Man.

    A New Chapter

    At the end of 2012, Berger stepped down as Executive Editor & Senior Vice President of DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint. In February 2017, she announced her return to the comic world. She is teaming up with Dark Horse Comics to create a new imprint, Berger Books. The new imprint will feature creator-owned work hand-picked and edited by Berger herself.

    In addition, she has won many prestigious awards including the the Inkpot Award in 1990, three Eisner Awards (1992,1994 and 1995), and the Comics Buyer’s Guide Award for Favorite Editor every year from 1997 through 2005.


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    The Frog Brothers Return in the Lost Boys Comic Book

    NCBD Oct 12th

    It’s Wednesday, and that means it’s New Comic Book Day! Ready for some reviews of a few of this week’s new releases? Check out past articles so see our thoughts on other books that have recently released. Be sure to comment or share our post on Facebook or Twitter if you like our articles!

    SPOILER ALERT — We try to keep from posting spoilers, but one may sneak through to our reviews now and again. Read with caution, true believers.

    The Lost Boys comics at TFAW.com

    The Lost Boys #1
    By: Tim Seeley, Scott Godlewski, Tony Harris

    Set immediately after the events of the cult horror classic film, The Lost Boys #1 finds the Emerson Brothers attempting to find some semblance of normalcy while the Frog Brothers continue to hone their vampire hunting skills. Meanwhile, Grandpa Emerson maintains order in the Santa Carla Hunter’s Union. That is until a new gang of vampires hits the scene to cause some havoc. This time our cast of characters aren’t just involved by fate, they’re the target.

    Tim Seeley captures the tongue in cheek feel of the original film perfectly. The ridiculousness, yet somehow still serious tone comes through with each scene. Scott Godlewski recreates 1987 in all it’s glory and strangeness. Together, they make it feel like the direct follow up people have craved. [Mikey N. at TFAW.com]


    Spider-Man: Clone Conspiracy comics at TFAW.com

    Spider-Man: Clone Conspiracy #1
    By: Dan Slott, Jim Cheung, Gabriele Dell’Otto, Ron Frenz

    Clones and Spider-Man. In the mid-’90s, these two were intertwined pretty heavily for better or worse. Now, history is repeating itself with Spider-Man: Clone Conspiracy #1 by Dan Slott and Jim Cheung. This is the big Spidey event of the year and Slott has been building toward it since this year’s Free Comic Book Day title from Marvel.

    Looking at the timeline, this story arc is going to run all the way through February of next year and it is starting out on the right foot. There’s a lot of set up in this issue but it works, although it does help if you’ve been reading Amazing Spider-Man lately but it’s not so dense that you can’t dig this book up fresh and figure out what’s going on. Slott definitely gets who Peter Parker is, and I think that’s the strongest element of his take on Spider-Man.

    Jim Cheung’s art is as beautiful and dynamic as ever. I really like his rendition of Rhino. There’s also a nice back up story by Slott with art by Ron Frenz that takes us back to the death of Gwen Stacy that’s an excellent character piece. This is absolutely recommended. [Dustin M. at Universal City Walk TFAW]


    Super Mario Adventures Graphic Novel at TFAW.com

    Super Mario Adventures
    By: Kentaro Takekuma, Charlie Nozawa

    If you ever had a Nintendo Power magazine as a kid, you may remember a small part of this graphic novel. The Super Mario Adventures GN reprints the classic comics that appeared in Nintendo Power back in the day. It’s a funny tale of Mario and “Weege” trying to save the Mushroom Kingdom, again. It’s classic ’80s comical Manga with over exaggerated emotions and the inclusion of terrible rapping.

    This was a fun trip down nostalgia lane. I can only hope that Viz can keep putting these books out! There were many comics that appeared in the Nintendo Power magazines. A Link to the Past came out last year and was the first and I only hope that Super Mario Adventures is not the last! [Martin M. at TFAW.com]


    What did you think of these books? Were you a fan of the Lost Boys movie? What do you think of the idea of clones returning to the pages of Amazing Spider-Man? Let us know below!

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    December’s Product Review Contest Winners Announced

    Walking Dead #147 review at TFAW.comEvery month, our customers submit hundreds of product reviews that help others determine how great (or not-so-hot) certain comics, graphic novels, and other collectibles are. We took a look at the reviews that were submitted in December and are awarding $25 gift certificates as part of our monthly Product Review Contest. The winners who submitted product reviews in December are:

    Arturo from Chaparral, NM had written several reviews for Walking Dead comics last month, here’s what he had to say about issue #147.

    I’m a big Walking Dead fan and when the TV show came about, I loved it even more! I love the characters, I love the story line and I love the fact that it’s all about survival and not just about the dead. I thank you for sending issue #147 perfectly on time. I will always trust your service. You have so much to choose from that I constantly go to your site. Thank you for the awesomeness.

    The Walking Dead has been on a tear lately, and although it’s hard to wait for each month’s issue, it’s totally worth it.

    Doctor Mirage review at TFAW.comOur second winner is Michael from New Orleans, LA, who wrote a 5-star review of the Doctor Mirage TPB by Jen Van Meter and Roberto de la Torre:

    I was surprised at how good this book is, it captured all of the elements a good story should have and paced it just right. The art supported the supernatural feel, I’m a fan of the Valiant universe and this is one of their best books.

    Sandman Overture comic book review at TFAW.comLast but not least, Violet from Largo, FL dropped by to offer her thoughts about Sandman Overture Deluxe Ed HC:

    Well it’s the Sandman. Neil Gaiman’s beautiful brain baby. This prequel/overture is full of the storytelling loved in the first stories. It’s answers some questions, gives you more questions, and expands on things merely mentioned before. Also, while the art was beautiful before, the art in this is incredible. Very surreal.

    Honorable mentions from December’s Product Reviews at TFAW:

    Thanks so much to everyone who wrote reviews last month. You’re helping people decide what to get (or what to avoid) next.

    Remember, you don’t have to write a novel to win. Product reviews can be short and sweet, or highly detailed — as long as they help other customers, that’s what we’re looking for. So submit your reviews and help your fellow collectors sort out the “HOT” from the “NOT”! Who knows, you may be one of next month’s winners.

    It’s simple! Just visit any product page and look for this:

    Click on it and our product review form will appear in a popup. Just fill out the pertinent information and submit your review, and you’re done! We’ll take a look at your review and get it up on the product page soon thereafter!

    There’s also a really easy way for you to call up everything you’ve ever ordered from us and review it. Simply log in to your account and go into the Order History Section. Next to each item, you’ll see a “Review it!” link.

    Questions? Comments? Let us know below!

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    September Product Review Contest Winners Announced

    The Wake #3 review at TFAW.comWow! With so many fantastic product reviews to choose from last month, it was nearly impossible to narrow the field down for this month’s picks. Nevertheless, we’ve picked three of our favorites as part of our monthly Product Review Contest. Below, you’ll see who won from September’s Product Reviews. $25 TFAW gift certificates are on the way to the folks who posted them.

    Steven from Chicago, IL stopped by with his five star review of Scott Snyder’s The Wake #3:

    I don’t give five stars on any review lightly. This is so far a brutal yet lovely series. I can’t wait to see how it gets wrapped up in issue 10. Please support this book and Vertigo since they seem to be telling amazing stories.

    Trillium #1 review at TFAW.comOur second winner is Paul from Indianapolis, IN. He had this to say about the Trillium #1:

    Interesting first issue. It has two covers, you can start with either one, that track the story of the two main characters until they meet in the middle. The story told enough to make it an interesting first issue as well as leaving enough questions to be answered in later issues. Excited for the rest!

    Usagi Yojimbo TPB review at TFAW.comLast but not least, Dustin from Redmond, OR wrote a review for the Forever Evil #1 that we had to share:

    Really fun book. the big fold out page with just about all villans was fun to look at to see how many I could name. A proposition is made to them all, will be interesting to see who does what. Only slight problem is I’m not sure how Lex Luthor could’ve gotten out unscathed from what happens to him in the begining of the story. but hey, comics.

    Thanks so much to everyone who wrote reviews last month. You’re helping people decide what to get (or what to avoid) next.

    Remember, you don’t have to write a novel to win. Product reviews can be short and sweet, or highly detailed — as long as they help other customers, that’s what we’re looking for. So submit your reviews and help your fellow collectors sort out the “HOT” from the “NOT”! Who knows, you may be one of next month’s winners.

    It’s simple! Just visit any product page and look for this:

    Click on it and our product review form will appear in a popup. Just fill out the pertinent information and submit your review, and you’re done! We’ll take a look at your review and get it up on the product page soon thereafter!

    There’s also a really easy way for you to call up everything you’ve ever ordered from us and review it. Simply log in to your account and go into the Order History Section. Next to each item, you’ll see a “Review it!” link.

    Questions? Comments? Let us know below!

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    The Hinterkind Are Coming: Ian Edginton Gives Us the Inside Scoop

    The HinterkindOne of Vertigo’s most exciting upcoming series is The Hinterkind, by writer Ian Edginton (Batman: No Man’s Land, Aliens) and Francesco Trifogli (Mystery in Space).

    Decades after The Blight all but wiped out the human race, Mother Nature is taking back what’s hers, and she’s not alone . . . The Hinterkind have returned.

    Who are The Hinterkind, and what will their return mean for the last remnants of humanity who struggle to survive in a world gone wild? We asked that question and several others of Edginton, who introduced us to the book as well as Prosper and Angus, two teenage friends who venture out of the safety of their village, unaware of the dangers they will face!

    Check out our interview, below, as well as a five-page preview of The Hinterkind #1, courtesy of DC Entertainment!

    TFAW: What was “The Blight”?

    Ian Edginton: It’s the unspecified biological event that wipes out 98% (or thereabouts) of the human race in a matter of weeks. It’s unspecified because no one survives long enough for it to be studied and examined thoroughly. It’s uniquely infectious, there’s no defense against it. After it’s done its work, those who are left are more concerned with trying to survive in what’s left of the world than investigate what caused it.

    If it sounds a but like handy-dandy plot device to neatly provide a convenient apocalypse, it is — but it’s also much more. I have to tread carefully here because I don’t want to give too much away, but as the story progresses, we’ll discover that The Blight is more than a nifty plot device, it’s fundamental to the whole return of The Hinterkind.

    The Hinterkind #1 Preview Page 1TFAW: Who are The Hinterkind?

    IE: It’s a catch-all title that covers scores of different races, creeds, and cultures. There are Centaurs, Satyrs, Sprites, Elves, Dwarves, Ogres, Trolls, Vampires, Werewolves, and many, many more besides. They’re a myriad menagerie that mankind has used to hang its tales of myth and magic upon. In darker, less enlightened times, it was mankind’s way of rationalizing the irrational, but these aren’t fairytale creatures as we know them, they are beings and beasts of flesh, blood, and passion.

    The Hinterkind are a divergent species. Exotic, evolutionary “try-outs” that couldn’t compete with the rapacious ape. Hunted to near extinction through fire, fear, and pogroms, they fled to the great forests and deserts, losing themselves in the shrinking wilderness of an ever-expanding world.

    Part of my thinking behind the history of The Hinterkind is the theory that Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon man existed at the same time. That they interacted, inter-bred or (in the Neanderthals’ case) were wiped out by their evolutionary neighbors. Suppose then, we make a leap and say that the creatures we built our myth and legends around actually existed, too? Red in tooth and claw, hunted and hounded to the edges of the world. Now their fortunes have turned and the world is theirs for the taking.

    The word hinterkind is derived from the word hinterland, which comes from the German meaning the “land behind” or the hind land.

    It’s the wilderness or back-country. In the story it’s what the world’s become, green and overgrown. The Hinterkind themselves have lived in the wilderness, at the edges of the developed world for centuries, but now that the world is the wilderness, they’ve come back to claim what’s theirs.

    The Hinterkind #1 Preview Page 2TFAW: The cover to issue #1 is reminiscent of Fables, but the solicitation copy warns that “these aren’t childhood fairytale creatures.” How does The Hinterkind compare to Fables overall?

    IE: It’s like apples and pears, they’re similar but different. The fundamental difference between the two is that The Hinterkind doesn’t have the fantasy element of Fables at all. The Hinterkind themselves look fantastical, but that’s about as far as it goes. The world has slipped back into a dark age, which was when they last walked abroad unmolested, so there is very much a tribal, feudal, medieval feel to everything. The Hinterkind are governed by what tribe, family, caste, or clan they’re born into. Life is perilous, short, and bloody, especially if you’re human. There’s a treacherous uncertainty to it all. Heroes will do terrible things to further their cause, villains will perform acts of kindness, and characters you grow to love will die in sudden, sometimes stupid and violent ways that you didn’t see coming.

    TFAW: What can you tell us about Prosper and Angus?

    IE: They’re friends in their late teens. They grew up together. Asa Monday, Prosper’s grandfather, is the village doctor. Her parents died when she was a baby and he’s raised her on his own, so they’re very close. Angus is the sister of Sophie Chung, who Asa’s training to be his replacement.

    Prosper and Angus are like brother and sister. They love each other. They fight. She’s gets them into trouble that he has to get them out of. They’re children of the new world. We’re so media savvy and saturated these days, we can’t imagine what it would be like without cell phones or social networking, but this is their world. We walk down the street, heads lost in a little screen, often tuning in on world-wide events but ignoring the people around us.

    The Hinterkind #1 Preview Page 3For Angus and Prosper, they know everyone in their village. Their lives and welfare are inextricably linked to those of their neighbors. They’re connected to their friends and family in ways that we don’t seem to be anymore. Ways we might find intimate and intrusive. Plenty of us might remember our grandparents saying that they used to be able to leave their doors unlocked without fear of anyone breaking in? It’s that kind of place.

    This also means they don’t have the prejudices and paranoia that life in our time brings with it. They’re not innocents, they know how dangerous their world can be, from getting cut and catching tetanus, to being eaten by bears or Ligons. They’re both wary of the wild and respect it, but they’re not afraid of it, until they learn about The Hinterkind, of course!

    When Angus decides to leave the village (I can’t say why) Prosper doesn’t think twice about going with him, even if he doesn’t want her to at first. However, there also comes a time, that no matter how close you are to your friends, you have to walk a different path, and that time is fast approaching for Angus and Prosper.

    TFAW: In The Hinterkind, nature has taken back the earth from humankind, and the preview pages show very striking images of New York City overgrown with trees. Was there something specific that inspired this?

    IE: Absolutely. The way the world has changed post-Blight is an important part of the story. Without us being around to maintain our “civilized “world, Mother Nature will take back what’s hers with a vengeance. There was a National Geographic documentary, World Without People, that charted how quickly the major cities of the world would fall into decline and decay if people weren’t around to maintain them. Once nature and the elements gain a foothold, it doesn’t take long for things to start falling apart. I used that idea as a springboard for the way the world of The Hinterkind would look.

    The Hinterkind #1 Preview Page 4New York itself is massively overgrown. The survivors, those who stayed behind in the city, have established a village in Central Park. They’ve turned the meadow into farmland, built houses from what they’ve been able to salvage from the city around them, which as you might expect, is quite a bit. They’ve stayed in the city, on Manhattan Island, primarily because of that — it’s an island. During the dark days as The Blight gripped the world, there were bands of marauders and rogue military who would raid, plunder, and kill communities. Being on an island, especially as the tunnels flooded and bridges became overgrown, has afforded them a unique sense of security and isolation.

    TFAW: What other changes have come about, thanks to The Blight?

    IE: The Blight has meant the effective removal of mankind from their place as kings of the hill, which means the Hinterkind have moved in and the various clans are jockeying for that top spot. The favorite contenders are the Sidhe, what we would call Elves. Of all The Hinterkind, they’re the most powerful, organized, and politicized culture. With humanity gone, they have the mechanisms in place to quickly re-establish their empire, which they can develop and expand in ways undreamt of when humans were around. Then there are the Centaur clans in the Midwest, the Ogre-kin and so on. They’re all carving up America in their own way, but when the edges of their empires brush against each other, that’s when the trouble starts.

    TFAW: How did Francesco Trifogli enter the project, and what’s the greatest advantage of having him?

    The Hinterkind #1 Preview Page 5IE: [Editor] Will Dennis got in touch to tell me he’d found this amazing artist. He sent me some samples of Francesco’s other work and I was blown away. I told Will, “Yep, he’s our guy,” and that was that. Job done. Francesco’s been great at taking all the ideas I’ve flung at him and coming up with this amazing art. You forget, we’re world-building on a huge scale. There’s not only the over-grown America to design, but all the people of The Hinterkind! That’s a massive undertaking, and Francesco’s admirably stepped up to the plate. I’m worried about working the poor guy so hard that he just keels over!

    TFAW: What else are you excited about?

    IE: I’m looking forward to the New York Comic Con next month. Sitting in my office at the top of the house writing the scripts is one thing, but to finally be let loose into the wild to talk about the book is going to be exhilarating and not a little scary. This kind of job has a habit of making you something of a borderline agoraphobic, so the thought of talking in front of a crowd is a tad unnerving.

    I’ve also been working on the next series of Brass Sun with I.N.J. Culbard (New Deadwardians) and Stickleback with D’Israeli (Sandman) for 2000AD. I’m also working on a Judge Dredd run with Dave Taylor (Batman: Death by Design). I’ve not long finished writing a 200-page graphic novel adaptation of Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman’s young adult novel Noughts & Crosses. I also have a television project in the works and that’s progressing nicely.

    Big thanks to Ian Edginton for answering all of our burning questions! Make sure to pre-order The Hinterkind #1 and #2 to save 20-35%, and check out all of Vertigo’s cool new series.


    Are you looking forward to The Hinterkind? What do you think of our preview pages? Post your comments below!

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    Mike Carey & Peter Gross Chat About Unwritten Fables & More

    Unwritten FablesThe Unwritten, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, debuted in 2009 and follows Tom Taylor, who was his father Wilson Taylor’s inspiration for a series of hugely successful Tommy Taylor children’s fantasy novels — much like the Harry Potter series. When we first meet Tom, his cold, distant father has long since disappeared, leaving Tom jaded and disillusioned, scraping together an existence signing his father’s books on the convention circuit.

    When a woman named Lizzie Hexam shows up and questions whether he’s the real son of Wilson Taylor, Tom’s world explodes, with half his “fans” believing he’s a fraud, and the other half believing he’s the living incarnation of the Tommy Taylor character come to save the world. Framed for multiple murders and on the run, joined by Lizzie and journalist Richie Savoy, Tom is suddenly thrust into a world where stories literally come to life, and he’s pursued by a mysterious cabal who wants to control what people read — and believe — at any cost.

    Unwritten explores the sheer power of stories — and of readers’ beliefs — making it an intense, engrossing read. To make things even more interesting, Unwritten is traveling to the world of Fables, another Vertigo superstar, starting with Unwritten #50 this June. Plus, September marks the arrival of the original hardcover graphic novel, Unwritten: Tommy Taylor & The Ship That Sank Twice, the graphic novel “adaptation” of the first Tommy Taylor book!

    We chatted with Fables writer Bill Willingham last month, and now we’ve had the opportunity to interview Unwritten co-creators Mike Carey and Peter Gross. Read below for a fascinating look into the past, future, and present of Unwritten, as well as a four-page peek into Unwritten #48, available now!

    TFAW: Unwritten is such a multi-layered, surprising series. How did it come together, and how much did you have planned out when it debuted?

    Unwritten #50Mike Carey: Thank you! Well the gestation process was really a very strange one. After we wound up on Lucifer, Peter and I really wanted to do another book together, and we pitched a whole lot of ideas to Shelly Bond, our editor, but for one reason or another none of them made it through the triage process. And then after a while we stopped pitching because other stuff intervened. Peter went off and did American Jesus, I did Crossing Midnight and my Marvel stuff.

    And then we met up again at San Diego Comic-Con in (I think) 2009, and Vertigo editor Pornsak Pichetshote was there too. We got a dialogue going, and we carried it on after we all went home from the Con. But basically Peter had one idea and I had another, and we weren’t sure which one we wanted to develop. “Put them together,” Pornsak suggested, “and see what happens.” We did, and what happened was The Unwritten.

    Peter Gross: My idea was about a kid whose father wrote a famous book using the kid as the main character, and then disappeared afterwards, leaving the kid with the awful fallout of being famous and abandoned. Mike’s idea was about a guy who is given a magic horn that if you blow it, the world changes. When we started merging them together, we basically had the opening scene of The Unwritten!

    And from there we planned out what we wanted the book to be about, and came up with the ending and the main stepping stones along the way. As we’ve developed and executed it more, those beats have altered and some characters have been added, made more important, or even determined their own paths, but the ending has remained (in our heads) essentially the same as what we planned at the start.

    Unwritten #49TFAW: What was it that most interested you about the character of Tom Taylor?

    MC: I guess for me it’s that I like heroes who start off completely clueless and out of their depth and have to grow into the role. Nothing turns me off quicker than a James Bond-like protagonist who’s always got exactly the skill set he needs to survive. Tom, when we first meet him, seems to have no skill set at all — but he does have the “literary GPS” that his dad drummed into him, and that turns out to be relevant. Apart from that he’s a babe in the woods. But gradually he pulls it together and manages to survive, against all the odds.

    PG: I think for me it was the challenge of dealing with the reluctant hero. That’s actually the sort of character I oftentimes find frustrating and unsatisfying. And I think at times, to be honest, Tom can be frustrating, especially because he’s a character caught up in a lot of big story ideas — within the pages of the series, and within our intent. So Tom’s challenge is to find his humanity in all that.

    TFAW: What do you think is the biggest change Tom Taylor has undergone during this series — besides learning to believe in magic doorknobs and such?

    MC: He becomes someone who’s capable of compassion. The Tom of the early issues is really all about himself — very selfish, quite self-pitying, more than a little obnoxious. Then when Cosi and Leon Chadron die right in front of him in issue #8, he starts to realize what responsibility is. Which is why, when Lizzie starts to fall apart, he responds in the way he does. He’s prepared to risk himself to help her, not because of the whole romantic/sexual thing between them, which hasn’t happened yet, but because he feels responsible for what his father has done to her on his account.

    Unwritten #48PG: Not only is Tom a reluctant hero, but he’s also a very reserved one. He was terribly hurt as a kid, and there wasn’t anyone in his life to open up to about it. So he’s very reserved and doesn’t reveal himself. But I think more and more, we find out the reasons for that, and he’s able to open up more. But it’s a long slow process for him. And I think it’s all very tied up in the role his father has tried to design for him. But on one level, Tom’s story will always be about becoming more human.

    TFAW: One of the main themes of Unwritten is the power of words, and of readers’ beliefs. They can influence reality, and literally change one into a different person! How do you see this relating to “real life”?

    MC: Peter and I talk about this side of the story all the time, and I think we both see it as the single most important thing we’re saying. And weirdly, it’s Pullman who gets to voice it most clearly, in the very next issue. We don’t actually live in the real world, although we generally think we do. We live in ideas and situations that we build for ourselves — stories about the world, overlapping, sometimes contradicting, but empowering in the sense that the stories allow us to function. They provide meaning, and without meaning we’re just deterministic ping pong balls. We react, blindly, to external circumstances.

    So yes, I think it’s true that we live in a narrative of our lives. And therefore the construction of that narrative becomes very, very important. People will constantly offer you stories that you can choose to buy into. Big government is killing you. Immigrants are swamping our country and destroying our values. Jews are evil, or Muslims or Communists or gays are evil. You have nothing to lose but your chains. Jesus will save your soul. These propositions furnish your world. You effectively choose to live in the world where they’re true. And obviously there’s a much wider set of propositions that’s just about you. The story of your life becomes your life.

    Unwritten #48 Page 1PG: I think, more and more, as we worked on this book we’ve learned of other examples of how our lives are based on narrative — both biologically, and culturally. But the underlying principle of that is that narrative is always a lie we tell ourselves. At their core, all stories are lies, and all storytellers are liars. Not sure where to go with that, but I guess we’ll find out by the end of The Unwritten!

    TFAW: Peter, there’s a big focus on the power of words, but you also have the challenge of presenting this visually to the reader–what are the easiest and most difficult parts of illustrating Unwritten?

    PG: The most challenging is trying to find ways to illustrate “books” in comics and still have it feel like a book. The opening scene of the series is an example of that. Mike wrote the whole Tommy Taylor [interlude] as prose, and we were going to have it just as text, but I was worried it might turn off some readers. So I did it as a mixture of text and visuals that became our way of doing a book. A similar thing happens with finding ways to show web pages, TV, and other more modern ways that information gets delivered in the digital age.

    The easiest part is . . . actually, none of it is easy — but the funnest part is when we divert to other story styles and I get to bring in wildly different artists to do “finishes” over my layouts to give the chapters a distinct and separate look.

    TFAW: In the current story arc, we finally get some answers about Pauly Bruckner. Is this going to be the finale of this character?

    Unwritten #48 Page 2PG: No! Pauly is a character who was not planned from the start, and he’s the character who has most demanded more scenes and a greater role in the story. He’s our wildcard factor, and we never quite know where he’s going with things.

    MC: Absolutely! Pauly is along for the duration, and still has a very important part to play. Every book needs a sweary rabbit!

    TFAW: Pauly has become such a compelling character — absolutely repugnant, totally self centered. He literally thinks everything is about him. Does he represent something to you guys? Is he a stand-in for something?

    MC: If Tom is the clueless hero, Pauly is the villain hero — our Richard the Third. Like you say, he’s a monster, but he works really well as a viewpoint character. We did the monster as Everyman in Lucifer — and there’s a sense in which Pauly is like Gaudium in Lucifer, except that at rock bottom he’s a tragic figure. He tortures himself by assuming that every place he finds himself is unbearable. Willowbank Wood, when you think about it, would have been heaven for some people, but for Pauly it’s Hell. And now we meet Pauly in Hell and we think, you know, maybe this is how it’s always going to be for you. You make your own weather.

    PG: Pauly is Mike, if Mike was American and not a polite British fellow! 🙂

    MC: I’m gonna take that as a joke.

    Unwritten #48 Page 3PG: Well there was a smiley face and all . . .

    TFAW: Richie has had such a character arc — a journalist who glommed onto Tom, then became a vampire, then rejected Tom to go live his own story. What’s next for him?

    MC: The next time we see Richie, those two aspects of his character — journalist and vampire — are both going to be crucial. He’s in a very extreme situation, trying to avert a catastrophe or at least slow it down. But he’s got to go against type in some ways, and do some things that don’t sit right with him. Because he does have a conscience, even though he tries to hide it. I tend to see Richie as an idealist who’s pretending to be a cynic.

    TFAW: Lizzie is another character who has undergone a huge shift — from a troubled orphan girl to a brainwashed Dickens character, programmed to help and love Tom — and that’s before she died! Can she and Tom ever have a relationship as equals?

    PG: Both Lizzie and Richie exist partially because they have to. Tom’s father has created pathways of story that Tom’s life slips into to build on the power of the Tommy Taylor stories. Tommy Taylor, boy wizard, had his companions Peter and Sue, so Tom Taylor attracts his own companions, Richie and Lizzie, to fulfill those roles. So the challenge for them, just like it is for Tom, is to hold on to their humanity and not get swept up into the greater currents that Wilson Taylor has set into motion.

    TFAW: What can you tell us about Unwritten Fables, the next arc?

    MC: It’s a stage in Tom’s odyssey in which he finally comes face to face with some unwelcome truths about the fictional characters he’s been meeting, and maybe to some extent about his own nature — and the backdrop in which he makes these discoveries is the Fables Homelands. Sort of. But with a very scary twist. Because the Fables side of this equation is a crisis that we had every reason to think was over and done with, and it comes live again in a really alarming way. I think there are big narrative payoffs for readers of both series.

    TFAW: An UnwrittenFables event seems like a perfect fit — both center on the power of stories and belief. How did the idea germinate?

    Unwritten #48 Page 4PG: Bill Willingham was a big supporter of The Unwritten from the start, and kept saying he wanted to do a crossover or something shared. But as close as the two books are in concept, they each take a different approach to the subject of stories and characters from stories. Ours is that the stories happen, and then characters might appear because of the stories. Bill’s is that the characters were real, and the stories came from their actions.

    Those are two pretty opposed ideas, and it wasn’t until we got to a point in our story that those ideas sort of demanded attention, that doing a shared arc with Fables finally became a possibility. The nice thing is that this isn’t just a throwaway event designed to boost sales — it’s an essential story tipping point for us. If we couldn’t do this story with the Fables characters, we’d still have to do the story somehow.

    MC: Although it wouldn’t have been nearly so much fun. Using the Fables cast has been pretty much pure pleasure.

    TFAW: What is your favorite thing about Fables?

    MC: I love the feeling you get from Fables that nobody is safe and anything can happen. It’s like the fairy tales and folk tales that are part of its source material — it portrays a world where the worst outcome can always come to pass, and where life and happiness are precarious. That’s part of what makes it such an exciting read.

    Unwritten #51And of course I love the vivid, evolving characters — my all-time favorites being the Thirteenth Floor witches.

    PG: I like the powerful simplicity of what Bill brought together. I think it was Fables that led the way with all the fairy tale-based movies and TV shows out there now. And I love that after 125 or so issues, it’s still compelling and readable. It’s one of the few comics that continue to catch my jaded interest and that I make sure to keep up on.

    TFAW: Bill Willingham mentioned that he begged to write parts of the story, because, I quote, “I’ll never get a chance to handle certain characters in this way again. One hopes.” Care to shed a little light on that?

    MC: We go to some very dark places with this story, and we see some harrowing things. More than that, I think, we get to see good people making bad choices because all the good choices are gone. If we do it right, parts of it will hurt.

    PG: Bill and Bucky had a lot of input into the story, and there were some things they talked about that they had wanted to do with Fables until the stories went off in another direction. Because of the nature of fiction in The Unwritten, we are able to go in some of those other directions.

    TFAW: What else are you reading right now?

    MC: The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway. Very, very clever stuff. Too clever for its own good, sometimes, but man it’s a great read.

    Unwritten HC Tommy Taylor & The Ship That Sank TwicePG: I haven’t been able to read anything in a while because I draw most every minute of the day. But I’ve been slowly listening to audiobooks of Game of Thrones!

    TFAW: What else do you have coming up that you’re excited about?

    MC: I’ve got a novel coming out in January of 2014 that I’m very proud of. It’s sort of a retelling of the myth of Pandora in a post-apocalyptic future. And my superhero series, Suicide Risk, is debuting over at BOOM! Studios.

    Oh, and I just got the green light to go to script on a movie version of one of my own novels, which is really exciting.

    PG: I’m excited about our graphic novel adaptation of Wilson Taylor’s famous first novel, Tommy Taylor and the Ship that Sank Twice, coming out in the fall of 2013!

    MC: Yeah, and that . . . 🙂

    Our sincere thanks to Mike Carey, Peter Gross, and Vertigo Comics for an excellent interview. Pre-order Unwritten #50 and Unwritten: Tommy Taylor & The Ship That Sank Twice and save 20%!



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