A number of sources are talking about how DC Comics is planning to shut down their Vertigo imprint. This can be some rather shocking news, seeming as information from DC Comics not to long ago says that they just gave the go ahead on multiple Vertigo projects. Nevertheless, it seems some changes are coming to the comic book landscape.
Created in 1993 as a publishing imprint that allowed DC to express their more graphic and adult oriented stories under the Comics Code Authority, Vertigo created a somewhat revolution in the comics medium that is often over looked. Created by Karen Berger, the Senior DC editor at the the time, she allowed a place where creators could have more freedom than there was within the main DC publications, giving an R rating to comics that at the time could only be PG to PG-13.
This publication and imprint gave a safe place for some of DC’s more darker works, such as “Hellblazer“, “Swamp Thing“, “Doom Patrol” and of course “Sandman“. And although Vertigo often focused on horror and fantasy, it wasn’t shy to deal with social commentary and things that were relevant to the times. It created the publishing model that is often used today, where monthly series are placed in collected editions which are then kept in print for bookstore sales.
Vertigo is actually somewhat responsible for most of the television shows based on comic books out there. These include series like “Constantine” (which was cancelled and then moved into the Arrowverse on the CW), “Lucifer” (which was cancelled and then picked up by Netflix), “Doom Patrol” and “Swamp Thing” (both exclusives to the DC streaming service), and one of my absolute favorites, “Preacher“. The brand also holds titles that were turned into films such as “V for Vendetta” and “Watchmen” (which is now a highly anticipated HBO series).
The company has gone through some trouble in the past, including the Warner Bros. vice president, Alan Horn, trying to turn creator owned characters and series into television shows, which led to many of the creators parting ways from their contracts and looking for work elsewhere (such as famed writers like Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison). And also demoting the founder of Vertigo comics, Karen Berger, and then firing her, and then firing her successor, Shelly Bond, right after. But don’t worry for them because they both created their own imprints at other comic companies, with Berger creating Berger Books at Dark Horse comics, and Shelly creating Black Crown over at IDW.
Nevertheless, it takes a lot of comic book fans by surprise that DC and Warner Bros. would even joke about shutting down Vertigo. Vertigo, a company that at times would be responsible for updating and recreating characters that no longer fit in the world we know as today, and turning them into something interesting rather than a lackluster character (examples being Animal Man and Sandman). Vertigo, that has created such amazing series and given spotlight to lesser know comic publishers and creators, as well as giving a place for greater known creators to express their own creativity. If it is true that Vertigo comics is going out, then that is a huge casualty to the comic industry as a whole.