Grant may be my favourite writer (who isn’t also an artist) in the history of comics, and this is one of his most completely satisfying works ever. It tells the story of a boy named Joe going into hypoglycemic shock, and his epic heroic fantasy quest to get to the kitchen for a soda, then to the basement to reset the surge protector, after lightning switched the electricity off.
DMZ is a Vertigo title set in a near future America in which the USA is caught up in a civil war between redneck libertarian gun nuts and the brutal military-industrial complex who control the central government. The series is set in New York, which is some kind of frontline or demilitarised zone between the two sides. I suppose the idea is to show First World readers what modern war is like, by bringing an Iraq-style maelstrom home to that most quintessentially American city.
Sometimes it’s easy to see the pitch: what if the Beatles had been superheroes? A decent idea, and it gives you lots to work with. Trouble is, it rather sets up claims for the story that are not remotely fulfilled.
I sometimes struggle to see the point of Vertigo. I guess it wants to be seen as DC’s serious, arty line, far from the superheroes, for intelligent adults, equating to indie graphic novels. Trouble is, it always seems to me to be kind of like a DC comic but with more violence and swearing and stuff like that, and rarely any more genuine intelligence or substance, mostly just the trappings of those kinds of values.
The Extremist was a four issue limited series from Vertigo in the early 1990s that they have now reissued as part of their Vertigo Resurrected line. Set in San Francisco, the book concerns itself with the Order, an organisation of Sadeans with outré sexual urges.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have been making comics together for some time now. Incognito is an attempt to apply the approach seen in their Criminal to something bearing a closer relationship to mainstream superhero comics.
The Unwritten is a Vertigo title that looks at how the world of fiction interacts with the real world. As the narrative unfolds, we are presented with the possibility that characters from stories can become real and manifest in the physical world, though of course that physical world is itself only a comic strip representation.