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Monday, 6 February 2012


Writer: Steven T. Seagle
Artist: Mike Allred
Inks: Philip Bond
Lettered by: Ken Lopez
Colored and separated by: Laura Allred
Publisher: Vertigo Comics

What’s it about?
Vertical is a little original project from the minds of Steven T. Seagle and Mike and Laura Allred.
Part conceptual project, part life segments.

It is quite an innovative comic, which doesn't really to innovate as much as simply exploring the format.
It is a fun experience all in all. Telling a simple enough and straight forward story/content and having fun with its form.

Vertigo's story focuses on Brando Bale, artist and daredevil living in the city during the Cold War era.
It's the struggling life of young artists trying to get a sense out of live will tension, economics and war loomed over new generations.
Brando makes art by putting his life in danger, doing public stunts-happenings.
One day, he meets Zilly Zane, aspiring actress.
The forces behind his life's goal and dreams will finally meet a stop, as Brando will ponder at this crossroads of life.
He needs to either cease to put his life in danger and embrace life, or continue this useless quest...

What is good about it?
First of all, this comic book portrays such great, lovable and colorful characters.
It's a nice change of pace from most usual books. And even the good, deep other Vertigo publications for example usually portray dark and brooding characters.
Here, our characters (not heroes) are everyday's people. With aspirations, a personality and looking for the bright side of life.

It is a romance at heart, and also a very interesting exploration of the verticality.
Both in the art as well as in the writing.
It's a little slice-of-life kind of story, our characters are quite believable.

Brando and his pals are also part Andy Warhol posse, which gives this book such an interesting take on the era. (Andy himself isn’t a prominent character, but he does have a cameo)

It is only over 64 pages (very) long.
Half the width of a regular comic book.
Stapled on top, making this a tall, narrow and usual read
Yes, a gimmick definitively. But on purpose.

It gives us a this idea of falling and vertigo (pun intended!).
The vertical orientation is quite unique.
All the panels and composition also reflect that feel.

Speaking of art, Mike Allred's artwork is as gorgeous as ever.
Striking, characters well rounded, well defined.

What is bad about it?
I'm guessing if you're not "on board", all the same qualities can be seen as negative aspects as well...

It is only over 64 pages (very) long.
Half the width of a regular comic book.
Stapled on top, making this a tall, narrow and usual read
Yes, a gimmick definitively. Sure....
And you might only see this as gimmicky and waste of paper.
In a way, it is sort of "artsie" one might call it, sort of like an indie movie.
The tone is definitively there.

It is also by no means a bad book, but you might find this whole concept a bit too simple.
Did the authors only want to make a vertical book or did they want to explore the limits of the format, tell an appropriate story and go beyond our imagination...?
Like, could this story be told in a traditional format as well? Well, probably..

I also think some people won't feel engaged in these "hippies" kids as much as, say, more mainstream super heroes.
So, mainstream readers, pass your way!

What’s the art like?
If you've felt compelled to read this story anyway, I can't recommend you enough this comic!
Beautiful, gorgeous, interesting.
Fantastic pages layouts, great vertigo impression.
A must, Mike Allred fans will love it no doubt!

Other information
Color - One Shot Special - 68 Pages
Priced at approximately £4.00
ISBN: 7-6194123872-2

If you enjoyed Mike's work and the tone of this story, I recommend checking out:
iZOMBIE also reviewed here on New readers..!
Madman Atomica! a giant sized omnibus reprint of most Madman comics.

Don't hesitate also checking out other Vertigo books. Most are pretty similar in tone or exploration of the genre.

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