The first issue of The Girl in the Bay is on sale today, courtesy of the fine folks at Dark Horse/Berger Books. It's a dark, twisty tale of time travel, doppelgängers, mysticism and murder. Very excited about this series—and so happy to be working with my old friend Karen Berger and the wonderful Corin Howell.
Check out the trailer below. And I hope you enjoy The Girl in the Bay.
Jokes on you Dematteis, I bought the issue yesterday. Deal with it.ReplyDelete
I'm dealing, Jack. And thanks for supporting the work!Delete
It is nice to have something with this vibe, I am glad Ms. Berger didn't retreat away.Delete
Vertigo really was something special. It is interesting to look back at some of the proto-Vertigo books, like that Dr. Fate series and Forever People series by that guy with the Italian name. I wish I could remember his name, probably lost to teh sands of time.
Both were edited by Berger, and they had that feel to them. I always felt that feel was unintentional, that it just happened.
I hope this imprint is working out well, there have been some great books filling a void in a lot of reader's hearts.
I just wish I knew when Ms. Nocenti's series last two issues were going to drop.
I do have a question about "The Girl in the BAy." In it you wrote, "There's a bond kids share at that age- a willingness to open up and be vulnerable." Is that a Brooklyn thing?
While I like Kathy, and the story, I am a little annoyed she didn't know one of the key truths to life. Never trust a man in a frayed leather jacket.
Also, how bad will you feel if it IS a bad year for the stock market. You will have caused that.
And there are a few panels Corin Howell did a truly amazing job on.
How likely are future Dematteis-Berger Books team-ups? Is there one planned?
I just with Dark
I'd love to do more with Karen, Jack. Right now I'm just concentrating on finishing GIRL.Delete
As for a "Brooklyn thing," I don't think so. More a teenage thing, in my experience.
I'm not only relatively sure that may not be universal for teenagers based on my own experience, but I would go as far as to say that if it were, rock music, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and yes even comic books, would have made it to the 21st century.Delete
Just a hunch though.
I'm glad there is potential for more Berger Books, not only from you, but anyone. Dark Horse didn't do a great job advertising what that first series was, and gave readers I know the wrong idea of what it is.
There is also the uphill battle that many readers are waiting for the trades, which I am sure damages the balance sheet a little.
I'm glad DH is cutting the imprint some slack, and letting it grow a fanbase. I think it will payoff in the end.
My experience so far has been that Dark Horse has done INCREDIBLE promotion for THE GIRL IN THE BAY. Some of the best I've ever received for one of my projects. I'm incredibly impressed.Delete
And, yes, it's a shame that rock and roll, science fiction and comic books all perished back in the 20th Century.
If that is the case with the promotion it is... unfortunate. If not for you mentioning it on your website I would not have even known the series was happening, let alone the date of release.Delete
For that matter, I had to go to a completely different comic book store than usual to pick it up. It was actually quite a bit further from my home.
When you consider the owner of my usual is a dyed in the wool Vertigo lover, who believes Karen Berger can do no wrong, that is a bit of a promotional problem.
Especially when you consider on top of THAT, that the store had been voted best in a five state area so many times it pulled itself from the running.
However, the fundamental problem with the promotion for the first BErger book was a lack of clarity. The first book was a horror anthology, based around a Japanese tradition, and set in a kitchen.
Sounds pretty Vertigo.
The solicitations made it seem like it was just a story about a sushi chef. So the people who would want to read it didn't know they did, ad the people who wanted the solicitation weren't getting what they wanted,.
As for Science Fiction, comic books, fantasy, and Rock Music, well...
There was an interview with the creator of Elric, around the time Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings had films coming out, where he stated that is fantasy was as popular when he started reading it as it was at the time of the interview, he ever would have bothered.
He cited that the rebellion had gone out of it. And I think it is true that Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Comic Books are rebellious. They attract a certain type of, or their lives.person who is in some way unhappy with the world. This obviously can take many forms.
However, it is not a surprise that fans of Punk, Metal, Psychedelic, and alternative rock often had fans of these three genres/mediums. Even the performers fit the bill, David Bowie is a perfect example. Andy Warhol was a comic fan. There was a very Jack Kirby -ish Thor at the entrance of the Electric Kool-Aide tests. Hippies notoriously loved Tolkien, PKD, and 'Stranger in a Strange Land.'
Since these are tied to rebellions, it is no shock the love is formed in adolecence. It there were a built in support system, why have so much need to rebel and and find your own world.
Which actually leads to the interesting point you stumbled upon. All those things you named actually AREN'T doing so great in the 21st century.
Yes comic book movies are scoring huge amounts of cash, but the industry that spawned it is not doing so hot.
Now there are a lot of reasons comics are not doing as great as one might expect. A lot. And I am more than willing to go into it in depth. I believe it would truly be an education for the industry, but not right now.
One of the big problems is that they aren't replacing fans with younger ones quickly enough. This is because it is caught in a rough middle.Delete
Comics are still considered a garbage medium, people assume the movies are taking crap and turning it into something worthwhile. So, it will never go mainstream.
However, the properties are mainstream, so the primary beginner audience, teenagers who feel out of place, can't call it there own.
You see similar things happen in Sci-Fi and Fantasy after their booms in the 90s and 00s, respectively.
They got chewed up and made more mainstream in many ways... at least with science fiction.
Now you have short stories and novels that are overly meta-contextual and/or self aware, or works that are almost ashamed to be science fiction.
A big fantasy reading chum of mine points out that there really hadn't been anything in that realm since a Song of Ice and Fire (Don't call the books 'Game of Thrones' around her, i ends poorly), which came out in teh 90s.
Everything else is a tie-in to something, or trying to be as real world as possible to trick the casual reader, or clearly recycling formulas.
Because actually grabbing a book or literary magazine on such things is still considered to be for nerds... no matter how many millions the movies bring in.
But the fantastical that drew in curious and different minds quickly became a culture icon.
As for Rock n' Roll, that is on the way ourt as well, but for a different reason.
The theory is actually economical.
With a disappearing middle class, and stagnant if not shrinking working class wage for 20-30 years, the cost of instruments, amps, and lessons is now not as likely to be purchased.
Conversely, electronic music can be made on a computer, with cheaper equipment, with the most expensive element, the computer being something most people already have.
Seriously, I am pretty sure I will be done with comics by the end of the year, and I am more than willing to politely, and with civility, explain why. Just say the word.
Finally, would you consider your Forever People story among the proto-Vertigo comics?
GIRL has received more promtional push than anything I've done in years—including work from Marvel and DC. It's been more widely reviewed, awareness is high, and I've got no complaints.Delete
I think folks that order for comics shops don't always pay as close attention to indies as they do to the superhero stuff that's their bread and butter. It's easy for new work, new imprints, to get lost in the shuffle.
FOREVER PEOPLE as proto-Vetigo? Not really. Yes, Karen edited it and yes it was an odd new twist on the Kirby characters, but it still slotted into mainstream DC pretty easily.
I ask about Forever people because you had referred to your Dr. Fate book at one point as being very Vertigo.Delete
The fact is, Vertigo is sort of a curiosity in comics. They are often very personal stories, but still share a certain feel.
It had both very indie books, as well as commercial...ish books.
However, s I said, it was that Dr. Fate statement that got me thinking about it though it was some time ago), it also has that feel.
I do now have to ask, is the continuity thing all that you think holds it back?
For all the talk of a Vertigo Universe... it isn't true.
Sandman, THE Vertigo book, is where Elemental Woman died. Dream encountered the Justice League. He was in Green Arrow's resurrection story in 2001. His successor is HAwkman's grandson, picking up a plot thread from All-Star Squadron.
Swamp Thing never stopped guest-starring in comics, and would make reference to his Vertigo dealings. The Gaea stuff stands out in my mind.
Sandman Mystery Theater, was referenced heavily in JSA, and in Ostrander's Spectre (which was a bit Vertigoish in its own right) had Wesley Dodds say he was uncomfortable with Jim Corrigan because of his similarity to a character created for that series.
Starman even had a crossover full of references. Well, depends on how you describe 'crossover' it was only in Starman, but clearly with the Vertigo Wesley Dodds.
If you still say no, I'll believe you I'm just saying that might not be the ceremony to stand on.
Not to mention 'proto' would imply 'precursor to'.
In fairness, Marvel and DC don't have to promote creators. They have the characters. People will buy Spider-Man no matter what.
As I said, the guy who runs my comic shop loves Karen Berger. Like, the way most comic readers love Stan Lee. Not an overstatement.
It is true that comics being in somewhat dire straights probably would cause most shops to cling to what is known to sell.
However, I specifically spoke top this guy about Berger Books just a month before they launched.
Dark Horse admittedly has had its own problem since its bread and butter, Star Wars, was yanked from its publication.
In the end it doesn't matter, but the point of promotions to sell comics. I had to go to what we around where refer to as "the Wal-Mart of comics."
It may say more for the state odf the industry than anything.
For what it is worth, I liked the book, and plan to buy the further issues (character unrealistically trusting a man in a fray leather jacket aside... it is fantasy), hell I'll even recommend it.
I was around in 1969, Jack, and, as I recall, my best fried wore a fringed jacket like Hugh's...although he never hurled anybody into Sheepshead Bay.Delete
Promotion is always a problem...and, as creators, we always want more. But, honestly, I've seen similar issues in the book business when major publisher put out work and don't support it at all. More and more, creators have to take responsibility for their own promotion. Which makes me appreciate Dark Horse's support all the more.
FATE seemed proto-Vertigo because it was so odd, so offbeat, so very personal. FOREVER PEOPLE was a solid series, but I don't think it strayed off into the quirky and personal quite as much as DR. FATE did.
That you know of Dematteis. He never threw anyone into a bay that you know of. But, how well do we really know anyone.Delete
Or maybe you DID see it, and blocked it out because you didn't do anything to stop it. Now decades later it is your conscious finally catching up with you.
You gave her a little time travel story because you have to convince yourself she WAS okay.
Now THAT becomes the sequel comic, and it is just an endless series about the uncovering of the guilt. Layer after layer of reality as you come to terms with it.
Yeah. I'd read that.
Because no man in a fray leather jacket can be trusted. It is a rule as old as time and twice as repected.
If it makes you feel any better, if Kathy is a high school senior in the Spring of 1969, that would make her one year (give or take) younger than my mother.
I have know reason WHY that would make you feel better, but at least the possibility is on the table.
Dark, Jack. VERY dark.Delete
I agree my mother being born in 1950 is a little dark, but I don't think it qualifies as "VERY Dark."Delete
You're an amusing lad.Delete
If I'm being honest with myself, I haven't been so excited for a new series in over a year. New work is always appreciated.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Bill! Hope you enjoy it!Delete
I've been looking forward to this for a while. Reading a description, it reminded me of those original comics for Vertigo you wrote when that imprint was first starting.ReplyDelete
After reading the first issue, it did not disappoint.
I'm very much looking forward to the next issue.
Thanks...whoever you are! Very glad you enjoyed it!Delete
I loved the first issue. There's a review over at my blog at http://penguincomicsnet.blogspot.comReplyDelete
Thanks for the great review, Douglas! So glad you enjoyed it!Delete
On some level, it seems like the real problem with entertainment these days is that there's so much great stuff out there no one can keep up with everything. There's not a monolithic culture comparable to what we once had.ReplyDelete
This isn't to say all entertainment is great. But I know that for me, personally, shows need to strive harder to earn my attention than they once did. And I still put so many recommendations aside because there's simply not time. It's the same with music and comics, too, especially with the ease of digital. It can be overwhelming.
Glad GIRL IN THE BAY is doing great, its praises are well deserved.
Looking ahead a bit, I could see this kind of story being adapted for THE TWILIGHT ZONE. I think Serling would have loved it. And hey, if they ever do want to adapt it, I'm sure the guy who wrote it could be persuaded to punch out a television script...
I'm sure he could, David!Delete
Hope you enjoy the rest of the series. And I hope we get to do more: My head is already swimming with sequel ideas.
I think the only thing I want as much a J.M. DeMatteis Doctor Fate reprint volume would be a Sandman Mystery Theater collectionReplyDelete
I would be happy to see both those things, Douglas!Delete