Dizzy Future for Vertigo Comcis
Yesterday, we received news that long-standing executive editor of Vertigo Karen Berger has stepped down from her role that has spanned almost twenty years. With so many changes happening over at the imprint, are we looking at a rebirth or a demise of Vertigo?
During the 1980s and 1990s, mature comic books starting coming back into the mainstream after years of censorship hindering the medium’s progression. The Comics Code Authority would still have influence and some of the mature comics would feature new characters or known characters in Elseworlds’ stories. Then Wonder Woman editor, Karen Berger, would begin bringing UK writers over to DC Comics. Writers Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and Grant Morrison brought their work to American comics. Eventually in 1993, these more mature books would be ushered to an imprint known as Vertigo.
Personally, I believe Vertigo has been one of the foundations of comic books and the starting ground for many creative forces that we enjoy today. The idea of creator-owned comics was foreign to many comic book fans. Vertigo and eventually Image Comics would change that. For me, Vertigo comics gave more than enough reason to venture outside of the stables of the Big Two.
DC Comics, or more precisely Warner Bros. Studios, recently wanted to restructure contracts to have more control of the Vertigo series as well as cut back on under-performing series. Many writers and artists begin to opt into publishing their books elsewhere. Trade paperbacks and graphic novel supply numbers would be reduced. And before Berger left, Vertigo’s longest running series was cancelled; only to be integrated into the DC New 52.
That is a lot of hits for the imprint to take.
Currently, there are a handful of titles still under the Vertigo banner although American Vampire is going on a slight hiatus to help give Scott Snyder a break. But honestly it may only be time before these titles see their eventually demise whether it be planned finale or cancellation. The Vertigo name still has a lot of weight behind it just by its history, but it seems that DC/Warner want to continue gutting the imprint.
I understand with no major publishing company under the Comics Code Authority but instead installing their own censorship programs that the days of hysterical censorship may be of the past. I just do not understand why an imprint with such a history can be abused in such a manner.
The future of Vertigo may mean that the imprint is simply swallowed by DC Comics where creators must tow the line that DC editorial staff may set up. After yesterday, I can not imagine a future where the young Gaimans, Snyders, Azzarellos or Woods may work creatively and freely while enjoying the publishing giant that is DC Comics/Vertigo with a strong editor fighting for them. I guess time will tell. I hope the best for Karen Berger and the new Constantine title.