Shade, the Changing Man Vol. 1: The American Scream

Written by Peter Milligan
Penciled by Chris Bachalo
Inked by Mark Pennington
168 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

When the Vertigo line first began in 1993, there were six existing series that had blazed the trails to get there. The “youngest” of the six series was Peter Milligan’s and Chris Bachalo’s Shade, the Changing Man, created by two virtually unknown creators. Now, a decade later, both have gone onto greater fame on a variety of different projects, and Shade, the Changing Man tops far too many “series I’d like to see collected into trade paperbacks” list. With the release of Shade, the Changing Man: The American Scream earlier this year, it’s hopefully the first of many collected volumes of this classic series.

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Human Target #2

Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Javier Pulido
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

When Peter Milligan and Edvin Biukovic brought The Human Target back as a mini-series back in 1999, Milligan’s take on a man addicted to professional impersonations took the comic world by storm. After the original mini-series and a graphic novel also by Milligan, The Human Target is back once more under Milligan’s guidance, this time as an ongoing series. In an era where hidden faces are feared instead of creating fascination, though, will The Human Target still have a place to fit in?

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Fables: The Last Castle

Written by Bill Willingham
Penciled by Craig Hamilton
Layouts and Inked by P. Craig Russell
48 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

Ever since Fables began a year and a half ago, one of the most-demanded questions from readers has been, “What happened when the Adversary took over the Fables’s Homelands?” Creator Bill Willingham’s been keeping the answer to that question to himself… until now. Fables: The Last Castle reveals part of that answer, but in true Willingham form, asks more questions.

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Losers #1-2

Written by Andy Diggle
Art by Jock
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

If you’d told me ten years ago that the Vertigo line would be publishing an action-adventure thriller, I’d have laughed. It’s amazing how much the Vertigo line has diversified in the last decade, moving from just dark fantasy/horror and skewed superheroes into a line whose commonality seems to be a mature sensibility… in other words, a perfect home for The Losers.

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Swamp Thing: Dark Genesis

Written by Len Wein
Art by Berni Wrightson
240 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

When DC Comics announced late last year that they’d be reprinting Swamp Thing: Dark Genesis I remember hearing a lot of surprise that it was chosen to be next on the schedule instead of the final Alan Moore Swamp Thing collection. (Which did, indeed, show up a couple of months later.) Now that I’ve sat down and read the collection, it seems blatantly obvious to me; this is a collection of classic comics that should definitely be kept in print.

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Hellblazer #182-183

Written by Mike Carey
Art by Lee Bermejo
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

When DC Comics began its Vertigo imprint ten years ago, six existing titles were shifted into its offices: Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Hellblazer, Sandman, Shade, the Changing Man, and Swamp Thing. At the time, Swamp Thing was the longest-running book to make the shift, and was often predicted to be the book that would outlast all of its brethren. While Swamp Thing ended with #171, and four of the other “anchor” ongoing series for Vertigo have also come to an end, one of them is still being published ten years later. Reading the latest story in the pages of Hellblazer, it’s not hard to see why the book is still going strong.

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