Wednesday Comments – There’s Nothing Better Than a Vertigo Anthology

Sorry for the lack of content the last couple of weeks, but I took a vacation that spanned two Wednesdays, and when I’m on vacation, I’m on vacation. No writing, no working and barely even coming in contact with a computer.

And as relaxing as my trip was, I came home to a stack of comics to read. Two weeks worth of book used to not be that big a deal, but every since the New DCU came around, I’ve been doing a lot more reading. I’ve been home for almost a week and I still haven’t fully made my way though my stack of comics…and by the time you read this I’ll have this week’s batch added to the pile.

One book that I was really looking forward to reading but haven’t yet is Vertigo’s The Unexpected. I haven’t read it yet because I really want to take my time and devour it. I want to sit down and enjoy it, scour every panel and analyze every word. There’s nothing better than a Vertigo anthology.

In fact an anthology is the book that got me hooked on Vertigo in the first place. 100 Bullets was the first Vertigo ongoing series that I collected, but Gangland #1 was the first Vertigo book that caught my eye.

I’d been aware of Vertigo before that point. I could remember when Animal Man, Doom Patrol and Sandman had launched under DC and moved over into Vertigo once it was established. I remember thinking how weird the covers for Vertigo books were. They utilized photos and collage. I remember hearing about how cool Preacher was and what a hot book it was. But I could never really find a reason to try out Vertigo books.

But then I saw the cover to Gangland #1. With the guy on the toilet. It’s one of my favorite Tim Bradstreet covers. Especially because it had the fold-over reveal of the corpse in the stall next to him. It was such an awesome image and gimmick that I had to read the issue.

And the fact that it was an anthology of crime short stories sounded too good to be true. I loved every issue. It was where I first fell for Brian Azzarello’s writing (in the awesome “Clean House.”) And it got me familiar with other Vertigo creators such as Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, Ed Brubaker, Frank Quitely and Peter Milligan. Gangland #1 showed me that comics could be about more than superheroics.

From there I fell into all of the Vertigo anthologies. I backtracked and picked up Weird War Tales which had come out prior to Gangland. I also picked up Strange Adventures, Weird Western Tales and Heartthrobs when they were released.

I think what attracted me the most to the anthologies was that I never knew what was around the corner. The stories shifted in terms of tonality and art styles. It was actually thrilling to read them.

Those Vertigo Anthologies is one of the reasons why I was so irked when Marvel scooped up editor Axel Alonso, because he was the guy who had spearheaded them. He was the one who made them happen and gave them their spark.

Naturally, when Flinch was announced, I was overjoyed. I was going to have an ongoing monthly Vertigo anthology? It was like a dream come true.

Of course, Flinch ended and Axel left and the anthologies dried up. Those fringe creators whose work I was a fan of went off to become superstars in the comic world.

But then this past summer Vertigo put out a Strange Adventures one-shot. It came with a rather steep $7.99 price tag, but given the brand history, I was certain that it’d be worth it. Plus it was launching the latest collaboration between the 100 Bullets team of Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso, Patricia Mulvihill and Clem Robins (the book is Spaceman, which is actually in stores today. It’s a $1 issue at the store and a 99 Cent issue to download digitally.) I read Strange Adventures and was impressed.

And that’s why I’m so excited to read The Unexpected. Not only does it have an awesome cover by Rafael Grampa, but it’s got a ton of creators that I’m a fan of. Plus it’s also going to be the launching pad for a new Vertigo title.

That’s why on Thursday I plan on setting aside some time of the day to just sit down and read The Unexpected. I’m really hoping it lives up to its name. And based on my experience with Vertigo anthologies, I’m certain it will.

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