It’s a bit of an unwritten rule around VERTIGO that the interior artist doesn’t do the cover art. Some of it is a tradition that goes back to SANDMAN, some of it’s a time management thing, and some of it’s that often artists who are great at interiors aren’t always so great at the single image needed for a cover. It’s two totally different parts of the brain for an artist and not everyone can pull it off.
So we set out with the same approach to SAUCER COUNTRY...trying hard to think of someone cool to do the covers. We approached a couple of artists but it just wasn’t coming together. Ryan Kelly was pretty sure he was NOT the right guy for the job. But, as so often happens in life, fate stepped in...
We needed something to show at New York Comicon last fall and we were running out of time. So I asked Ryan to throw together a “promo image”. A promo image is basically a teaser image that we could show at the panel when we announced the book. Ryan sent a bunch of sketches for this and behold, they were AWESOME. So much cool thinking and energy...I felt right away that he should stop worrying about it and start doing the covers. He fought me on it saying, “There must be someone better for this!”...He lost that fight and got the job. Ha Ha!
So here’s the original sketches he sent and one of the final covers...With any luck we’ll be able to squeeze some more good ones out of Ryan!
-- Will Dennis
SILVER SPACE LADY. GREYS. ZETA RETICULA. MEN IN BLACK. BARNEY & BETTY HILL. MISSING TIME. PHANTOM AIRSHIPS. PROJECT BLUEBIRD. AREA 51. ROSWELL.
If these terms mean something to you already, then SAUCER COUNTRY is the book for you. If they don’t, then SAUCER COUNTRY is STILL the book for you!
Because apart from being a political thriller set during a crazy Presidential season (something we’re all familiar with by now), SAUCER COUNTRY is going to be a deep exploration of the mythologies surrounding UFOs and how they’re all intertwined with the history (and mythology) of America. It’s about the lies and truths we tell ourselves...and the narratives that spring out of them. It’s about the power of the bully pulpit but also about the power of faith. Not necessarily a religious faith (although that will likely come up in time) but faith in our leaders and the faith we have in our shared experiences both as Americans and also as humans beings.
Paul Cornell has said that he’s been writing this book in one form or another his entire life. I believe him and I can’t wait to see what he and artist Ryan Kelly come up with – I have faith that it will be fascinating, thought provoking and totally entertaining. I hope that you will choose to make the journey with us.
Thanks for you continued support of VERTIGO and keep watching the skies!
Sometimes a series comes with an artist attached to it but, in my experience at Vertigo, that’s pretty rare. Usually I have to work closely with the writer to get an idea of how they see the series in terms of the art – the look, style, and tone of it. I have my own ideas often but it’s always a back-and-forth since the writer is the one who has the pictures in his/her head.
In the case of SAUCER COUNTRY, Paul and I had some long talks about the overall “feel” of the book and knew we needed someone who was very naturalistic in style who could handle a lot of the “acting” that would be crucial to this series. Almost immediately, I thought of RYAN KELLY.
Having worked with him before on DMZ and NORTHLANDERS I knew he was incredibly versatile and creative and knowing well his work on NEW YORK FIVE and Local, he was amazing at tackling real characters (especially women) struggling with real issues.
I sent Paul some samples of his recent work and he totally flipped for it! So we called Ryan and asked for a few character sketches based on very broad strokes. He nailed them and as it happens, he’s a total alien conspiracy geek himself. As soon as we started riffing on Whitley Strieber minutiae, I knew we had our man!
Here are some of his first character sketches and thumbnails of the first script pages. Be sure to check out SAUCER COUNTRY #1, on sale now!
Peace & elbow grease,
See a gallery of SAUCER COUNTRY sketches here.
Every comic series good, bad or otherwise begins with a pitch.
Sometimes it’s a writer sending in 5-6 short ideas and asking you to “pick one” (Appreciated!); Sometimes it’s a writer approaching you at a convention after a panel to ask, “What you’re looking for?” (Answer most often given by me? “I’ll know it when I see it.”); Sometimes it’s even a drunken writer cornering you in the men’s room to berate you about his misunderstood genius (True story).
In the case of SAUCER COUNTRY, I have no idea what writer Paul Cornell’s approach was because he originally pitched it to my former colleague PORNSAK PICHETSHOTE! So I inherited the project from him, which sometimes is a drag, but in this case, Pornsak had me at “it’s THE WEST WING with aliens written by Paul Cornell.”
What follows is one of the later drafts of Paul’s pitch. Much of it has changed in the time we’ve been working on it (for starters the title!) but the heart of it is still beating strong. We hope you like it as much as we do so please check out issue #1 this Wednesday!
Peace & hair grease,
A Vertigo Series by Paul Cornell
ARCADIA ALVARADO is the Latina, female, Republican Governor of New Mexico. She’s on the Libertarian wing of her party, a secret athiest who attends church to appease the religious right, but still a basically honest and dedicated politician who knows that people want to believe in something.
But when, one night, she and MICHAEL (who has a well-rumored drinking problem) are taken from their car by what she believes to be ALIENS...her life changes forever. She was told by the little Grey beings that they'd nearly completed their centuries-long plan for Earth, and will be back, not just for her, but for the whole human race... in one year’s time.
She makes herself tell her fatherly Chief of Staff HARRY BROOKS. Hotshot new PR consultant CHLOE SAUNDERS finds out what happened from MICHAEL. BROOKS hires Professor of Modern American Mythology JOSHUA KIDD to dissuade her from going public. Of course, none of them believe her but they still believe IN her. For that reason, they will follow her orders to try and hack through the chaos of UFO myth in a quest to find some solid evidence that they can show to the White House, before the year is out.
ARCADIA’S team soon discover they’re being played against: by foreign intelligence services, who seem to know that something is going on; by the USAF; by the office of the President, who want to know what ARCADIA is up to. But it turns out all of them are absurdly reacting to smoke and mirrors, that nobody really knows anything.
The clock is ticking.
To complete her quest, ARCADIA must be at her very best. She’s going to have to become the person she wants to be, who can be honest about everything she is. And she might end up saving the world... from something she can’t yet begin to understand.
UFO mythology is wonderful, strange, and varied. It stretches back centuries, from Biblical descriptions of flying machines to medieval crop-circle-making demons to the ‘foo fighters’ of WW2 to the flying saucers of the 1950s and flying triangles of the 1980s. Only recently has it started to become a concrete narrative about ‘Greys’ and ‘abductions’. Our aim with this title will be to journey through this powerful modern mythology, weird and resonant, full of wonder, a map of what America (because these are American dreams) is right now. To know a country, know its mythology. And this is the only modern American mythology.
There’s a vast audience out there for conspiracy theory novels, Armageddon stories, for fiction about what’s really going on. Added to that, we have a dark satire about truth in American politics. It’s The West Wing with aliens.
Paul Cornell is well known in science fiction and television circles, having written critically-beloved episodes of the BBC TV series Doctor Who. He’s a multiple Hugo award nominee, and written comics for both DC and Marvel.
Last week, we linked to all of the exclusive previews of the new Vertigo series launching in March. Below, take a look at all the previews that ran (sorted in the order of publication and separated by cover--FAIREST March 7, SAUCER COUNTRY March 14, DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD March 21, THE NEW DEADWARDIANS March 28), compiled here in one easy location for your convenience. [gallery link="file"]
Check out all the issue #3 covers to the new Vertigo series in one place. FAIREST cover by Adam Hughes SAUCER COUNTRY cover by Ryan Kelly DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD cover by Rafael Grampa
Vertigo Preview 2012 landed in stores today. In case you didn't get a physical copy at your local retailer yet, you can see the previews from Vertigo's new series launching this March at the outlets below.
USA TODAY spoke to writer Paul Cornell about SAUCER COUNTRY and ran the exclusive first look inside issue #1.
io9 ran the exclusive first look at DOMINIQUE LAVEAU: VOODOO CHILD #1.
The LOS ANGELES TIMES HERO COMPLEX spoke with artist I.N.J Culbard about THE NEW DEADWARDIANS and ran the exclusive first look inside issue #1.
And IGN ran the exclusive first look at FAIREST #1.
New Year’s resolutions. Everybody makes them. By now, if you’re like me, you’ve already broken them. So yeah, I’ll be getting fatter this year, I’ll continue to read the comments on message boards and my personal finances will remain a mess. Oh well. So let’s change it up...A THURSDAY’S resolution. I’ll be here every Thursday to show you a little behind-the-scenes at VERTIGO. Something cool that came across my desk, into my inbox or over the transom (Does anyone really have a transom anymore?) Thursday. It’s the new Friday. peace & hair grease, Will Dennis P.S. Let’s get it started...SAUCER COUNTRY #1 variant by SEAN MURPHY! Colors by David Stewart. It’s a rocket, man!