PM: What was the first Vertigo book you read?
JV: Hmm. Good question. There were so many! I lived in Japan from 1993 to the end of 1995, so Vertigo didn't appear on my personal radar until sometime in 1996. One of the first I can remember from around that time was a 4-issue mini-series called "The Unseen Hand," written and drawn by Terry Laban. It wasn't one of the better-known Vertigo books to say the least, but I'm a sucker for the "paranoid thriller" genre and I got a big kick out of it.
PM: What was the first Vertigo book you edited?
JV: The very first single issue I edited was "Swamp Thing" #7 (the most recent run of Swamp Thing, that is). And I was stupidly lucky in that I got to work with the legendary Richard Corben -- one of my favorite artists since I was a kid! On my very first issue!
The first series that I edited from issue #1 was "The Exterminators." It lasted 30 issues and is still one of my favorites, mainly because Simon Oliver's scripts made me laugh every time. And the various artists who worked on the book -- primarily Tony Moore, with fill-ins from Darick Robertson, Mike Hawthorne, John Lucas and Chris Samnee -- always brought out Simon's twisted humor and made it even more hilarious. Or at least more twisted. Philip Bond's covers may have been the funniest of all. His cover to #3 still cracks me up. Who doesn't like cockroaches in their cereal?
But I suppose the first book I worked on was the graphic novel "The Quitter" by Harvey Pekar with art by Dean Haspiel. I pitched the idea of working with Harvey Pekar to Karen the second day I was on the job here in 2004. That makes it officially the first -- even though the final product bore very little resemblance to what we talked about that day.