Remember the days when Vertigo Comics was regularly publishing comic book fiction that pushed the boundaries of the art form, giving voice to dozens of burgeoning writers and artists each month that would never have been heard from in mainstream publications?
It was probably the mid to late 1990’s or early 2000’s.
And you were probably in high school or college at the time – and my, oh my, weren’t those the glory days of comic book reading?
It’s a little strange then, that with all the great comics that Vertigo was publishing at the time, a title such as the 2001 three-issue miniseries, User, flew a bit under the radar, even though it won industry awards.
It’s stranger then, that the same title is compiled in a handsome hardcover format by an entirely different publisher (one who has taken up the philosophical mantle that Vertigo Comics once owned), over fifteen years later.
And that the story of User, released (again) today, still resonates!
User – Hardcover
Written By: Devin Grayson
Illustrated By: John Bolton and Sean Phillips
Published By: Image Comics
Originally published in 2001 as a three-issue miniseries from Vertigo Comics, User, written by Devin Grayson (Catwoman, Batman: Gotham Knights, Nightwing) and illustrated by long-time industry favourites John Bolton (Marada the She-Wolf, Black Dragon, Books of Magic, Man-Bat) and Sean Phillips (Hellblazer, Criminal, The Fade Out), was nominated for a 2001 GLADD Media Award for outstanding comic book.
User is a story about gender fluidity, utilizing virtual world MUD (Multi-user Dungeons) as a springboard for character storytelling. You know: Second Life meets Dungeons & Dragons. Stuff like that.
In User, the troubled Gen-X’er, Meg Chancellor escapes the doldrums of her reality for the heroic escapades of her online character, the gallant knight, Guilliame de la Coeur. But digital drama soon starts to bleed into the everyday, with User flitting between the painted, but hyper-realistic art styles of John Bolton and the computer-aided visuals of Sean Phillips.
Isn’t that online affliction something we’ve all negotiated at some point? I remember getting deeply lost in the engaging narrative of Skyrim, not realizing the passing of time in certain instances.
With User, it’s much more than that. It’s also the uncertainly of sexual preference and identity – studies that were the hallmark of Vertigo Comics creative publications in the 1990’s and 2000’s – and the readers who devoured them. Image Comics wears that important publishing crown now – and has given us the complete User to both entertain and inform us as both fantasy and reality-drama.
Make the run to your local comic book shop today and pick up the hardcover compilation of User.