Before there was a Vertigo Comics, sometime after Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and before Neil Gaiman's Sandman, a little known English writer by the name of Peter Milligan made his DC Comics debut with a futuristic gangster romp called SKREEMER. Joined by fellow Brit-comics alumni Brett Ewins and Steve Dillon, Milligan synthesized the sophistication and character of British gangster films as Get Carter and The Long Good Friday with the raw visceral energy and violence of Scarface to produce one of the more unusual and provocative books in the publisher's modern history.
It's thirty-eight years after society is destroyed by The Fall, and Veto Skreemer has murdered and pillaged his way through the ranks of the underworld scum that rose to prominence following the collapse of modern civilization. It's an age of gang rule, bereft of god and justice, overrun by rape, torture and killing; a world that the Skreemer is fighting to maintain as one-time allies and long-time foes forge unholy alliances to dispose him and restore order to the world. Unfortunately for them, the Skreemer has a secret and isn't quite ready to yield to the future just yet.
SKREEMER is the story of how violent men come to be. It's about depravity and self-destruction and moral ambiguity. Even more remarkable, Milligan is given a long leash in which to pursue these themes, no doubt testing the waters for what would one day become the mature readers imprint at DC Comics. Milligan has experienced a resurgence of sorts thanks to recent work at Marvel Comics, but it's with books like SKREEMER where his mark was first made, a work I'm glad to see grandfathered into the Vertigo family.
Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.