NYCC 2018: A Closer Look At Invisible Kingdom, LaGuardia, The Girl In The Bay & More From Berger Books

by Gary Catig

During the second day of New York Comic Con, Dark Horse imprint, Berger Books hosted a panel. The morning audience was treated with a new book announcement, overviews of current and future titles and never before seen art. In attendance was moderator and head, Karen Berger, art director, Richard Bruning, and creators Darin Strauss, Adam Dalva, Ann Nocenti, Christopher Cantwell, Martin Morazzo, Dean Haspiel, JM DeMatteis, Corin Howell and Joel Rose.

Strauss and Dalva spoke about Olivia Twist, their take on the classic novel. They found Dickens’ serial way of writing chapters comparable to individual comic issues. In addition, they switched the lead to a female and focused on immigrants because they thought these people would be the outsiders in the future. For fans of the original, they added another layer of the story so as not to be a direct retelling and also incorporated other Dickens’ characters. The next three covers were revealed with artwork provided by Vanesa Del Rey, Tula Lotay and Sana Takeda.

Nocenti then discussed how she wanted to tell an alien story where the visitors weren’t all powerful with the goal to destroy the earth in The Seeds.

For She Could Fly, Cantwell wanted to show reactions of normal people to superhuman abilities, in this case, flying.  The lead is a high school girl diagnosed with a form of OCD that only exists in her mind. Her disorder causes her to relentlessly search for a flying woman. Artist, Morazzo, enjoyed illustrating the characters, Bill and Bernard, and had the least fun drawing Dan, because of his awful personality.

Originally a Vertigo title, The Alcoholic is being rereleased by Berger Books. Artist, Haspiel, describes it as a life story of a writer spanning from his teen years to his mid-30’s. It depicts a version of what it’s like to be an alcoholic with the struggles and the ups and downs. This edition will have plenty of extras including an essay about how Jonathan Ames, the writer, first met Haspiel.

A new book coming this February from DeMatteis and Howell is The Girl in the Bay. DeMatteis was terrified of how quickly time can pass and wanted to take a look at what if life took a different path. This title is close to Berger not only because of her close friendship with DeMatteis, but also many of the settings were actual places the two used to frequent.

There was a solemn moment during the panel as Rose, co-writer of Anthony Bourdain’s Hungry Ghosts, reminisced and paid tribute to his collaborator and friend.
Finally, the audience saw new artwork for two previously announced series. In Invisible Kingdom, by G. Willow Wilson and Christian Ward, two young women uncover a conspiracy where leaders of a major religion collude with a large Amazon-like corporation. There is a sci-fi element as the setting is in a different galaxy. The images include work in progress and concept art.

The other series is LaGuardia, from Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford. It is a very modern story on immigration where interstellar travel has been achieved and aliens are trying to assimilate into our society. A Nigerian-American doctor, named Future Nwafor, smuggles an alien plant, named Letme, through LaGuardia’s customs. The two struggle with discrimination alongside all the other immigrants all the while Future is hiding a dark secret.

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