Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Vertigo: First Taste


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Official Press Release

Six thrilling VERTIGO #1 issues are collected at the low price of just $4.99 in VERTIGO: FIRST TASTE, a 160-page trade paperback coming in April!

This VERTIGO primer serves as a great introduction to six acclaimed VERTIGO series, and features tales by Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Brian K. Vaughan, Brian Azzarello, Warren Ellis, and Si Spencer, with art by Eduardo Risso, Chris Bachalo, Steve Bissette & John Totleben, Pia Guerra, Darick Robertson and others.

"For those readers who haven't gotten a taste of these incredible titles, your excuses are up!" says Karen Berger, VP - Executive Editor, VERTIGO. "This is the perfect opportunity to get the first bite of some of VERTIGO's definitive and popular series, and experience the first sensation of some powerful and riveting work."

"FIRST TASTE is a tremendous value for readers," says Bob Wayne, DC's VP - Sales & Marketing. "$4.99 is a great price for six classic stories - in fact, it's less than the price of two new VERTIGO titles."

The stories collected in the VERTIGO: FIRST TASTE TP are:

* 100 BULLETS #1, written by Brian Azzarello with art by Eduardo Risso
* THE BOOKS OF MAGIC: LIFE DURING WARTIME #1, plotted by Neil Gaiman & Si Spencer and written by Spencer with art by Dean Ormston
* DEATH: THE HIGH COST OF LIVING #1, written by Gaiman with art by Chris Bachalo & Mark Buckingham
* SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #21, written by Alan Moore with art by Steve Bissette & John Totleben
* TRANSMETROPOLITAN #1, written by Warren Ellis with art by Darick Robertson & Jerome K. Moore
* Y: THE LAST MAN #1, written by Brian K. Vaughan with art by Pia Guerra & José Marzan Jr.

The VERTIGO: FIRST TASTE TP will be solicited in the February issue of Previews (Volume XV #2). It is suggested for mature readers, and is scheduled to arrive in stores on April 6 with a cover price of $4.99 U.S.

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I highly reccomend that you check this out. Six books for five dollars! 160 pages! Five dollars! All first issues! FIVE DOLLARS!!!

Now, I've read most of these books collected and can shed a bit of light on them.

Everyone that's been reading my blog knows that I really like 100 Bullets. This has the first issue which introduces us to Dizzy and Agent Graves. 100 Bullets, like I've said before, is best read in trades. If you find yourself liking this representation of Azzarello and Risso's breakthrough hit go out and find First Shot, Last Call, the trade paperback reprinting the first several issues.

Books of Magic: Life During Wartime didn't really click with me. And I was one of the people who read, and enjoyed, the previous Books of Magic series. I don't know why, but it just didn't have the same charm. The original mini-series (written by Neil Gaiman) can be found in one book, Books of Magic and I would reccomend that one to start with instead. Then go into the first regular series with Bindings.

Death: The High Cost of Living was THE book that announced Vertigo as an imprint to be reckoned with. Sandman, Shade the Changing Man, Animal-Man, the Doom Patrol, Hellblazer and Swamp Thing had all been going for a while before they were brought together (thanks to editor Karen Berger) under the umbrella that became Vertigo. You cannot read this book without wanting to read more stuff by Neil Gaiman. And if you do, check out the first collection of his Sandman series, titled Preludes and Nocturnes. And there's a trade collecting the full three issues of The High Cost of Living, also.

Saga of the Swamp Thing, by Alan Moore is one of the books that led to not only the creation of Vertigo but also the emergence of comics into a serious literary form.
If it wasn't for Swamp Thing we wouldn't have had Watchmen. Moore's run on Swamp Thing won several awards and is just an amazing thing to read. Swamp Thing Volume 1: Saga of the Swamp Thing brings issues 21 through 27 under one cover.

Transmetropolitan is a strange beast. Either you really love it or you really just... don't get it. I was one of the ones who didn't get it. I guess I just didn't spend the time needed to actually get to know the lead character. But if you do find the story entertaining, and Ellis is good at entertaining, check out the rest of Transmetropolitan, beginning with Back on the Street.

Y: The Last Man is a recent gem in Vertigo's crown. It has garnered a lot of fan praise and critic acclaim. The story of one man left alive after a plague wipes out mankind from the planet. Sounds bleak, doesn't it? Notice I said MANkind. The women were left alone. So... you have one man... and a planet of women... What could go wrong? If you want to read more, Unmanned is the book to get.

I was surprised that a few books were left out of First Taste: Hellblazer, Preacher, Fables and Lucifer. All three are worthy of inclusion. Of course, I can see the release of the Hellblazer trades the previous month covering ground for it. But Fables and Lucifer are both books that deserve attention. For a good impression of Hellblazer check out Constantine: The Hellblazer Collection. Timed to co-incide with the movie it includes reprints of key events in the series as well as the movie adaptation.

Preacher is a book to be read to be understood. The lead character is literally a preacher who gains the power to make people do what he suggests. Call it "motivational". The series lasted a good long time and began with Gone to Texas.

Fables is a book about all the different fairy-tale characters going AWOL and moving into the real world. It reads better than it sounds, trust me. You can pick up Legends in Exile to see what the fuss is about.

And Lucifer is about... well guess. Actually a spin-off from Sandman, the main character, Lucifer Morningstar, is out to reclaim his throne. I never really read any of the issues. Just didn't appeal much to me. It has, however, become pretty popular. You can check it out with Devil in the Gateway.

One series that I loved, Sandman Mystery Theater has only recently been focused on in trades and I would suggest anyone who likes pulp magazine fiction to try it out. The Tarantula is the first book reprinting the series. Set in the 1930s with a 1990s mentality (written by Matt Wagner), the book lasted over five years. The character, Sandman, unrelated to Neil Gaiman's Sandman, was a costumed mystery man who fought crime much like the Shadow or Batman when he was first created. The difference being the higher level of subject matter and the deep characterization that filled the book. The Sandman ended up in more adventures during this series than he was in his original title back in the '40s.

One last book to tell you about. This one isn't available in trades, yet. It's Shade the Changing Man. Starting with issue #33 (the first under the Vertigo imprint) Peter Milligan and Chris Bachalo told a fantastic tale of a slightly psychotic hero and those around him. During this run the lead characters discovered that they acted as magnets for weird and strange beings or occurances and decided to set up shop in an old hotel. If ambient was a term to define comics, this would be one of the books to be listed. Too bad it's not in paperback. But it can still be found in it's original form.

A word of caution: Vertigo can cause impairment of reasoning. And it can also result in temporal reality shifting. Read some and see if I kid.

I remember the first time I read any Vertigo comics. I was there when it begun. It was around the same time as I started listening to electronica. It was almost like being on drugs. But without the drugs.

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