So go meet him if you’re in the area and tell him I sent you. If you can’t make it, pick up a Milligan title and get caught up on your reading!
PM: What was the first Vertigo book you read?
AR: HELLBLAZER was a game-changer for me. Also, John Constantine did the impossible: make magicians cool. Hell, he even made cancer cool once. Top that, superheroes!
PM: What was the first Vertigo book you edited?
AR: FABLES. Finding out I'd be working on Fables was like Vince Papale finding out he made the roster of the Eagles - like a dream come true. The first issue I edited was Fables #41. Boy, was I pumped. This was the arc where you finally discovered who the Adversary was.
March is the month of Milligan or Milligan is the march of the Month
Whichever way you look at it, for all you Peter Milligan fans out there (and I am first in line, though I have to fight off many!) there are sensational stories galore every week of the month from one of Vertigo’s first and finest.
March 3rd: GREEK STREET #9: The world of Greek Street often feels very self-contained — almost a street out of time — but this issue, all the horrors of the real world circa 2010 rear their ugly, bloody heads when a terrorist plot unfolds inside the Furey's club...with explosive results. Meanwhile a vision of Sandy’s that we saw all the way back in issue #1 finally gets played out...but not in the way she saw it... With art by Davide Gianfelice
March 10th: GREEK STREET Volume 1: BLOOD CALLS FOR BLOOD
Finally the first collection of the mind-blowing modern mythological series featuring a cast of characters that will either touch your soul or shock you senseless. Nobody writes a beautifully layered tale rife with suspenseful mystery and human emotion better than Milligan. If you’re one of many readers who “wait for the trade” here it is: Present-day London adrift with Oedipus as Eddie Rex, Cassandra as Sandy, Agamemnon as Lord Menon plus many more, all entwined in this urban horror drama that’s like EASTENDERS meets THE WIRE. With art by Davide Gianfelice.
March 17th: THE BRONX KILL: A Vertigo Crime original graphic novel that crime authors are raving about! A dark history and darker secrets plague Martin Keane, a struggling writer from a family of policemen whose life begins to unravel when his wife goes missing. A generational saga with a truth more shocking and monstrous than Martin could ever imagine, is all finally revealed on a lonely stretch of godforsaken land aptly named the Bronx Kill. With special excerpts from Martin’s novel, this thrilling graphic novel gives you an extra dose of Milligan’s prosaic flair. With art by James Romberger
March 24th: HELLBLAZER #265: Constantine lives up to his true punk calling in NO FUTURE when he reluctantly becomes embroiled with a group of anarchic punks who worship a powerful effigy of Sid Vicious. With guest art by the one and only Simon Bisley.
March 31st You’ll need this week to recuperate!
I asked editor Will Dennis to take a trip down memory lane with me. Below is our conversation. You may recall I asked Mark Doyle these very same questions here.
PM: What was the first Vertigo book you read?
WD: well I would say HELLBLAZER #1 but that wasn’t technically Vertigo. of course then I’d have to count Swamp Thing...hmmm. I do distinctly recall buying 100 BULLETS #1 at a comic shop on 23rd St. Less than two years later I was editing the book. what are the chances?
PM: What was the first Vertigo book you edited?
WD:my first editorial credit was THE DREAMING 45. it had a crocodile-looking creature with a naked woman’s body on the cover and lots of Fairies inside. Exactly the kind of book I have tried to do ever since. First book I was full editor credit was 100 BULLETS 20...Shepherd talking to Benito in Washington Sq Park — NYC in the snow. perfect.
PM: Thanks Will!
LOOKS 10, DANCE 3
For those of you who think I require little more than a 263,000 watt
spotlight and a brief excursion to the Courreges Universe, you're clearly mistaken. I've decided to
share the stage with my old accomplice Peter Milligan, one of the original
Vertigo provocateurs of pop fiction. He’s currently the writer of the
monthly GREEK STREET (think fresh blood/ancient myths), the upcoming crime
graphic novel THE BRONX KILL and the regular scribe on our longest running
title, JOHN CONSTANTINE, HELLBLAZER. The latter of which hits the stands
today and marks issue #263.
Bond: Like John Constantine, you've spent most of your life in London. Is
this the only thing you have in common with our proverbial low-rent, occult
Milligan: Well, I don’t smoke like Constantine, but I used to. And now
that I think about it I did dabble in the supernatural when I was a kid.
Maybe it was being cooped up in a pokey council flat with three bedrooms,
four siblings, my parents and a ghost that made me fantasize about being
able to escape my mortal body. In any event I researched, practiced and got
heavily into astral projection (really). I almost died one scary night while
“projecting.” If I’d been a bit braver or more successful maybe I would
have continued exploring even darker arts. But I still wouldn’t smoke as
much as Constantine. Come on, I have to look after my singing voice.
Bond: So if you're that inspired by Old Blighty, why send Constantine to
India? Does he have a death-wish that involves being a part of Bollywood a
Milligan: Bollywood and all things movie-land are a long way from
Constantine’s mind. I don’t think he really gives a toss about popular
culture. If anything, he prefers unpopular culture. Preferably without the
He’s going to India to save the life of a woman who’s already dead. Like a
lot of people before him, Constantine is going to the east to find purity.
He might not find purity--but he will find plenty to keep his
uncultured mind busy.
Bond: But what they really want to know: Who would win in a pub fight
--John Constantine or cover artist Simon Bisley?
Milligan: If Simon was drawing the comic of this bust-up, I’m sure he’d
flatten Constantine on page one. Thankfully in spite of any image he might
have of being tougher than Lobo and just as sensible, Simon is in fact a
sensitive flower, and probably a bit of a cry-baby.
None of this unashamedly girly side is in evidence when he gets stuck into
drawing NO FUTURE, the two part post-punk viciously political punch-up
that’s appearing in HELLBLAZER directly after INDIA.
Bond: For the Record: HELLBLAZER #263, India, part 3 is on sale today.
Check out the attached artwork from the secret files of the cracking art
team of Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landini and see how the layouts and
finishes come to life -- or in this case, death!
And note the cover to issue #264 by the handsome, irascible Simon (you'll never catch me
commenting on his girlie side) "The Biz" Bisley...apparently SOMEONE thought
that seeing John Constantine in a kick line would be one for the books!
One of the comic book industry’s iconic anti-heroes, John Constantine, the man who’s literally been to hell and back travels to the only thing worse than Hades’ realm—the frontlines of war.
Commemorating the 25th anniversary of his first appearance, HELLBLAZER: PANDEMONIUM (on sale in February) heralds the return of original HELLBLAZER series writer Jamie Delano as he sends Constantine to the darkest corners of the magic world. Joining Delano is fan-favorite artist Jock (The Losers, Faker), who for the first time illustrates an entire graphic novel in the style of his Eisner-nominated covers, for a dissection of war and terror in a horror story tailor-made for the 21st century.
Here’s a preview:
This October, Vertigo is publishing its first ever HOUSE OF MYSTERY Halloween Annual with insert stories from some of our ongoing series including HELLBLAZER, MADAME XANADU, and the upcoming I, ZOMBIE.
This special issue also includes some fun Halloween related questions answered by many of its amazing contributors. Here’s an exclusive sampling. Enjoy!
What’s the eeriest thing that’s ever happened to you?
MICHAEL ALLRED, artist I, ZOMBIE
When I was in high school I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep. I opened my eyes to find a black figure looking down at me about eight inches from my face. It had no features. And it filled me with pure terror. It absolutely had an evil presence to it. There was a street light outside my window giving the room a soft glow, yet I couldn't make out anything but a shape as I froze in a freaky staring contest. I eventually got the nerve to move and quickly rolled off the other side of the bed and grabbed my baseball bat on the floor. When I sat up it had moved to the far side of the room which was open to the stairs. The figure had its back up against the wall and slowly oozed down the stairs. I yelled for my folks who slept downstairs. I heard them stirring. They were kind of mad actually that I was yelling my head off late at night. I ran to the light switch and as soon as I turned on the lights, the shape was gone. I hope I never see it again.
GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI, artist HELLBLAZER
I have no eerie story, but if you allow me, I can tell you this: I met my wife at Halloween (which makes it very easy for me to remember the day we met!). It was at Lucca, in Italy, during the annual Comic Convention. I met Jessica in the evening, through common friends, and we really couldn’t wait until dinner was done to kiss each other, when she invited me over the counter, to have a couple of drinks on our own, in a more intimate corner. That was an unforgettable moment for us. Oh, wait, now I remember an eerie detail: The day after we met, at night, we were making out in my car, and at some point we heard some noise, and there was a bunch of cosplayers from the Comic Convention passing on the street: an elf, an ogre, a magician—Now, that was creepy!!
MATTHEW STURGES, writer, HOUSE OF MYSTERY
I went rock climbing once when I was twelve. I'd just pulled myself up onto a narrow ledge and had begun to ascend the incline beyond when I slipped on a loose rock and tumbled backward. In that instant, I pretty much knew I was dead, because the ground was about fifty feet below me. Instead of plunging to an early demise, however, I slammed into a tree that was growing improbably out from the corner of that narrow ledge. Now, the weird thing about this was that when I was climbing up the ledge, that tree WASN'T THERE. I'm sure of this, because if it had been, I would have used it to climb up. I climbed down, shaken, and didn't climb anything more dangerous than stairs for years afterward.
Superstar cover painter, Simon Bisley has been cranking out gorgeous covers on HELLBLAZER, most recently on #256, 257, and 258. Well, along with the covers, he is also the interior illustrator of the upcoming issues #259 and #260! His style combines a unique realism with a graffiti edge. Just what you would expect from the drummer in a death metal band named Kaotika.
Check out these incredible pages from #259:
On Tuesday you discussed your favorite works by Peter Milligan. Now, here are the covers to some of his upcoming titles.
SHADE THE CHANGING MAN Vol. 1:
SHADE THE CHANGING MAN Vol. 2 :
GREEK STREET #4:
And HELLBLAZER #260:
Peter Milligan, one of the founding writers of Vertigo, is a busy man. He has captivated us with numerous works over the years including, HUMAN TARGET (soon to be a Fox TV show), SKREEMER, ENIGMA, and SHADE THE CHANGING MAN (Vol. 1: The American Scream will be re-issued in paperback and, for the first time, issues 7-13 will be collected in Vol. 2: Edge of Vision, both to be published in November). Since January, starting with issue #250 Milligan has been the series writer on HELLBLAZER and now, his new ongoing series GREEK STREET is the talk of the town.
With such an accomplished list of work I'm sure it's difficult to chose just one, but tell us, which is your favorite Peter Milligan title and why? Please discuss.