DC Comics announced today that they are eliminating the Vertigo imprint and reorganizing how they are labeling their books. This news is not unexpected, but still is somewhat of an important event. Beginning in 2020, DC Comics books will be identified in one of three categories.
There will be the main DC label for standard DC super-hero books. The newly launched DC Ink and DC Zoom will be folded under a single DC Kids banner. The DC Black Label banner will remain and include all mature readers books aimed at readers 17 years old or older. This is a departure from the initial intent of the line that would be out-of-continuity boutique type books.
“We’re returning to a singular presentation of the DC brand that was present throughout most of our history until 1993 when we launched Vertigo to provide an outlet for edgier material,” said DC Publisher Dan DiDio.
This news has been met with sadness from the creators and fans who have looked to Vertigo for high quality mature comic storytelling for over twenty-five years now. The imprint that brought us Sandman, Preacher, and much more will be no more.
As a former intern there and a guy who broke in there, to me Vertigo is @karenpberger and the unprecedentedly brilliant group editors she put together. They made the best comics in the world. That legacy isn’t going anywhere. pic.twitter.com/D0j5QaKHPC
— Tom King (@TomKingTK) June 21, 2019
Corporate thinking & creative risk-taking don’t mix.DC nixing Vertigo was a longtime coming. But hey, we changed the game & we had a blast doing it!Honored to have worked with so many incredibly talented creators & editors & thx to all our fab readers! #VivaVertigo #Bergerbooks
— Karen Berger (@karenpberger) June 21, 2019
— The Alex Paknadel Experience™ (@AlexPaknadel) June 21, 2019
— Preorder SPENCER & LOCKE 2 (JUN191333)! (@Peposed) June 21, 2019
This news makes me sad. I was there at the beginning, working with Vertigo visionary (and old pal) @karenpberger, two great editors (and equally-great people), Art Young and @sxbond, and a group of amazing artists. I tip my hat to them all and wish Vertigo a fond farewell. https://t.co/RPTE2xipoY
— J.M. DeMatteis (@JMDeMatteis) June 21, 2019
While the loss of the name is like an ending. We have hope that the spirit of character focused and creator owned comics will continue at DC. According to Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee, “We will also continue to publish creator-owned projects, and will evaluate and assign to the appropriate label to help our fans find the best books for their interests. These new labels not only bring greater consistency and focus to our characters, but they also open up a wealth of new opportunities for the talent working on our books.”
While there is a lot of business and marketing sense in this move, it definitely feels like DC is still having identity issues that it seems to be constantly fighting. Let’s end with a prediction from the great John Layman.
Prediction: Vertigo will return. Probably within 5 years. CERTAINLY within ten.#Nostralaymus!!!
— LAYMAN (@themightylayman) June 21, 2019