I was estatic to hear about DC/Vertigo's press release concerning the publication of Harvey Pekar's next graphic novel 'The Quitter' illustrated by Dean Haspiel. I fondly remember Dean was at a table promoting a few of his self published series , Billy Dogma and Keyhole back when I was working the Small Press department for the San Diego Comic Con in the summer of 1997- or was it '98? I forget. Anyway, Dean has gone on to the big time- or the big two- as they are prone to say, while I labor away on my Deposit Man series for it's fifth year with hardly a ripple of a movie deal or a pitch for a animated series which would only look good on Spike TV.
I feel it's a natural progression for Harv- seeing that the film based on his American Splendor graphic novels was distributed through HBO Films which sent independent film art house boffo soaring to the atmosphere. It's only feasible that Harvey continues the relationship with Vertigo.
Which got me thinking- (which doesn't happen too often)
Like I was saying a few entries ago- I have become a DVD alcoholic. Every night I can't wait to wind down without having a few under the belt and watching a few dvds to whisk me off to Ashley Scott wet t-shirt dreamland. On weekdays I usually nurse a nightly Farscape fetish, now that I have bought the entire complete series on disc and I try to finish out the homestretch with a HBO series. Watching a television show uninterrupted, without commercials, is like a fucking rapture to me. Profanity, naked flesh, and the anticipation of unexpected wanton violence soothes me down like no other cup of herbal tea could accomplish. So, it's no surprise that I bury myself in a litany of Emmy winning and Emmy nominated series such as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Band of Brothers, or The Wire - not because they're so goddamn good, but they're so goddamn cheap since I'm a employee of Time Warner. While most people are dropping down 100 dollar wads of cash and credit cards on these box sets, I'm swooping in with my employee store like a invertebrated bird of prey and snapping them up for $ 50.00 or less. At this price, it's probably cheaper than one would subscribe to HBO per month just to watch the entire season on the tube.
Which got me thinking again. A thought popped in my head while I was watching Angels in America a couple of weeks ago.
This is totally straight out of a Neil Gaiman bowel movement. I mean, putting the stroy elements together like a jigsaw puzzle- angels, the complexities of living and dying with HIV and AIDS, strange occurring phenomena based on fantasy fever dreams , the discussion of legends and mythologies through extended dialogue scenes- this is exactly the kind of stuff that Neil Gaiman would shit out in a issue of Sandman or The Dreaming on a day to day basis.
And then it just hit me why I love HBO shows - even though I don't subscribe to the channel-
HBO is like the Vertigo Comics of television!
Why did it take me so long to realize that?
So- why isn't HBO trying to tap in the vast wealth of Vertigo comic book properties? One of HBO's first series was based on a comic book property- which was a anthology based on Tales of The Crypt - which also in turn spawned two movie sequels (and where are those DVD box sets, BTW?) But since HBO and DC/Vertigo comics are run by the same company- it would only make sense to at least develop a couple of shows based on comic book series. The channel's preminum pay competitor, Showtime already produced a cult series loosely based on a french comic book called Jeremiah (it's on my someday must watch list) which ran for two seasons, I don't see why HBO can't do the same, since it currently has a ongoing series that delves into the macabe called Carnivale. There's a unlimited untapped potential when you pick up something like Y: The Last Man or 100 Bullets and wonder to yourself- jeez, they could easily smack together a budget and get this rolled as a thirteen episode season on HBO on a very modest budget. And the good thing about doing these shows is that there's a bridge of a gap time in between seasons of up to a year or two. I mean, take the Sopranos for instance- it takes approximately a year and a half between one season to the next- and they reflect that gap in the scripts themselves. And the best thing about recurring HBO series is that they promote the shit out of it with billboards and bus cards no matter what time of the year it is.
Look at these comparsions:
If HBO pull something off like Carnivale - then it should be no problem doing a series based on Neil Gaiman's Sandman supporting cast spin-off series, The Dreaming or House of Secrets- or better yet- Fables. Fables, holy shit, that would be bitchin' as a tv series and the pitch itself would probably be a throat grabber.
If HBO could pull something off like the Sopranos - then there should be no problem putting in place a production based on The Losers, 100 Bullets, Johnny Double, or the Human Target (although the latter, was already done as a summer series in 1992 on ABC with Rick Springfield in the title role- but it wasn't a Vertigo book back then)
Deadwood- jeez, Jonah Hex for cripessakes.
Curb Your Enthusiasm - Well, that category would fall under anything that Grant Morrison comes out with The Filth would be the perfect vehicle for Larry David if he ever wanted to do superheroes.
Just think - the possiblities are limitless, Preacher, Books of Magic, Shade the Changing Man, Beware the Creeper, Proposition Player, or Hellblaz -
Um, never mind that last one-
That's already being brutalized by Warner Bros Pictures for Febuary of next year.
Today, Harvey & Vertigo, tomorrow the edge of comic book made for cable series options.