DARK RAIN: A NEW ORLEANS STORY, Vertigo’s new graphic novel, hit stores yesterday, just a couple of weeks shy of five years since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. So, I had this whole, big angry diatribe about Katrina planned here, but the more I thought about DARK RAIN, the more sense it made to just skip the preaching. I’m sure you’re all very disappointed. But that sort of thing really isn’t what this book, written by Mat Johnson with art by Simon Gane, is about.
As an editor, sometimes you find writers who you just know are your type of, uh, writer. You know because you can throw any weird idea at them, and they come back with, “I think I’ve got something on that.” And then they actually do. That’s what happened with Christos Gage when, a few years back, I mentioned one of my odd little fascinations to him. I have quite a few, as it turns out. But for some reason, at this point in my life, I was intensely fascinated with things that go wrong with brains.
Last month we unveiled the final version of Sarah Glidden’s cover painting for her graphic novel, HOW TO UNDERSTAND ISRAEL IN 60 DAYS OR LESS (well, final for now anyway). The book comes out in November. This one is really something special, both for Vertigo and for me as an editor -- a deeply affecting, charming and fascinating memoir of Sarah’s “Birthright” tour of Israel, a trip on which she found herself undergoing some unexpected personal, political and (dare I say) spiritual transformations.
When you’re a big-time comic book editor, such as myself, you get to know more about the writers and artists you work with than you ever thought you would. A lot more. That’s because this job is kind of a cross between high school basketball coach and psychotherapist. The creative existence isn’t easy, especially when you’re relying on it to pay your rent. It attracts a lot of insecure, needy people. (Trust me -- I am one.) The people who get into it without being insecure and needy, become so in short order.