BY HEIDI MACDONALD
As reported last week
in THE PULSE
, Vertigo's AMERICAN CENTURY
is wrapping up with issue #27. A cynical, sexy take on 50s pulp adventure, the book was created by Howard Chaykin and David tischman and had an acclaimed run before succumbing to low sales. The Pulse caught up with Tischman for some thoughts on the series winding down.
"Howard and I did some really good work on AMERICAN CENTURY," he says. "We got to tell the stories we wanted to tell, and I think we told them in a smart and fun way. I'm proud of the book, and I'm sad to see it end. Sales on the book were never great, but we have a dedicated fan base who enjoys [our main character] Harry Kraft. These people look forward to reading the book each month, and as a writer, you can't ask for more than that."
Luckily, Chaykin and Tischman have enough time to plan for the series to go out with a bang. "Issue #24 is a self-contained story; it's a western, with terrific artwork by John Severin
, and a sexy, painted cover by Howard. Issue #25 starts the final arc--which puts Harry in 1950's New York City, working in comics, trolling the city for sexually-liberated beat chicks, and palling around with the nicest midget wrestler you'd ever want to meet. There's a lot of cheap sex, as always, and we re-introduce Mindy Marin, a very hot actress from the Hollywood storyline, who's in New York, acting on Broadway. We had originally intended the New York storyline to go 12 issues, but we reworked those plot lines because of the cancellation, and in the end, it still came out great."
On a personal level, he feels the book is going out on a high note. "This [New York] story, even though it only runs three issues, is my favorite; it kicks ass in all the right ways, and it highlights the ideas and the morality and the world view that Howard and I have enjoyed exploring throughout the series.
Although Mark Laming
was the penciller for most of the run, Lan Medina
recently signed on for not getting to work with him more is Tischman's one regret. "His pages have been phenomenal. Mark Laming did a great job on the earlier issues, and Mark's work gave the book a sense of time and place. But I know Lan would've taken the book to the next level. I also have to thank John Stokes for an incredible job on inks. He's a professional--what else can you say? The painted covers--by Howard, John Van Fleet, Jim Silke, and Glenn Orbik--were a hallmark of the book. They're visually distinctive, and added even more period authenticity to the series."
As for any future plans, "AMERICAN CENTURY is a creator-owned book, so who knows what'll happen down the road? For now, though, we've done the work we need to do. Karen Berger's been a huge supporter of the book, right from the start; we wouldn't have made it this far without her. And our editor, Shelly Bond, has nurtured the book, and worked incredible hours, every month, to help us put out the best book possible. Creatively, all of us saw the book the same way, and it shows in every issue."
However, don't fear for the Chaykin/Tischman team's workload. They have the BARNUM graphic novel coming out, Chaykin is working on MIGHTY LOVE, and doubtless more down the pike.