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#1230272 - Fri Nov 22 2019 12:04 AM Goodbye Vertigo Comics
First Amongst Daves
Offline Banned from the DCMBs since 2002.

Registered: Wed Jan 23 2002
Posts: 15169
https://www.worldcomicbookreview.com/2019/11/07/a-eulogy-for-vertigo-comics/

I posted a link to this article on Twitter and Karen Berger gave it a "like". No comment, through. :D

Berger now runs Berger Books, an imprint of Dark Horse Comics. I don't recall reading any of their books. On the other hand, Shelley bond is at black Crown. I've read Euthanauts, published by Black Crown, and it was pretty good and could easily have been published by Vertigo during its time in the sun.

Pimping my site, again.

http://www.worldcomicbookreview.com


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#1230274 - Fri Nov 22 2019 08:19 AM Re: Goodbye Vertigo Comics [Re: First Amongst Daves]
the G-man
Offline Officially "too old for this shit"

Registered: Fri May 16 2003
Posts: 43612
Loc: the right
I didn't realize until poking around the article source that you're the editor/publisher. Did you retire from practicing law?
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#1230291 - Sun Nov 24 2019 12:28 AM Re: Goodbye Vertigo Comics [Re: the G-man]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 20425
Loc: A glorious bold new America



A nice eulogy to the Vertigo imprint, Dave. One part that wasn't covered, (or possibly you covered it in another article) is that Karen Berger's reign as editor of SWAMP THING was kind of the beginning of Vertigo (before there was a Vertigo), when she opened the fountain and recruited Alan Moore from the U.K., and that led to the vast movement of British talent from the U.K. to DC over the 1984-1990 period. Including Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Jamie Delano, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis and many other writers and artists.

Honestly, I didn't like Vertigo all that much, it wasn't my cup of tea. I found its titles dark, overly cynical, trendy, and ultimately, pretentious. And as Vertigo evolved into the early/mid 1990's, vulgar and profane.

But I still recognized in those years (1988-1997 or so) that Vertigo was expanding comics readership, bringing in readers from other subcultures and literary circles who normally would never give a second look to the episodic superhero genre that has existed for decades.

I mostly agree with your points about Vertigo opening up the field to new kinds of storytelling, in stories that are less episodic, and more focused on stories with a beginning, middle and an end, as compared to what DC and Marvel overwhelmingly offer.
But I do think you overstate Vertigo as uniquely doing that. Vertigo was one publishing outlet that did push in new directions, yes.
But it was preceded by many other comics publishing ventures, such as the SABRE graphic novel, that evolved into Eclipse Comics, and Dave Sim's CEREBUS, and EPIC ILLUSTRATED and the Epic comics line, and Pacific Comics, and First Comics. And Dark Horse. And Frank Miller's RONIN and DARK KNIGHT RETURNS that opened new outlets. And Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer-winning MAUS.

All of which preceded Vertigo.

I also think that Vertigo, while different from Superman and Batman and the DC establishment mindset, also to some degree is a franchise as well, such as the many spin-off Sandman titles, or similarly FABLES, and others.

But hey, I agree that Vertigo is an innovative outlet that expanded comics storytelling in new directions. And as you say in your article, while Vertigo is dead, it has spawned children in other publishing ventures that would not exist if not for Vertigo, and will carry the creative torch in new directions, on past Vertigo's demise.

Maybe you covered this in another article, but since you mentioned Jim Lee, DC also used to have a Wildstorm imprint, and I never quite understood why it existed or why it was ended. I guess it obviously ended for the same reason Vertigo was ended, to reign in all the imprints, and the creative control, under the one DC umbrella. But I wasn't sure why it ever began or existed in the first place.

I was also surprised, with DC's other imprints you listed, that you didn't mention Piranha Press.
https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?pl=Piranha Press
The best of that line for me was the two EPICURUS THE SAGE graphic novels. The rest, similar to Vertigo, just wasn't my cup of tea.



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#1230292 - Sun Nov 24 2019 07:26 AM Re: Goodbye Vertigo Comics [Re: Wonder Boy]
the G-man
Offline Officially "too old for this shit"

Registered: Fri May 16 2003
Posts: 43612
Loc: the right
 Quote:
Honestly, I didn't like Vertigo all that much, it wasn't my cup of tea. I found its titles dark, overly cynical, trendy, and ultimately, pretentious. And as Vertigo evolved into the early/mid 1990's, vulgar and profane.

But I still recognized in those years (1988-1997 or so) that Vertigo was expanding comics readership, bringing in readers from other subcultures and literary circles who normally would never give a second look to the episodic superhero genre that has existed for decades.


I liked a lot of the titles. But I also liked the fact that for the most part it was a standalone universe.

The problem with both Marvel and DC these days is everything has to be so interconnected.

I’m not talking “we know Spidey exists in the same universe as X-Men” interconnected. I’m talking “every issue of every book has to be part of a months’ long intercompany crossover team up” interconnected.

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#1230296 - Sun Nov 24 2019 11:46 PM Re: Goodbye Vertigo Comics [Re: the G-man]
First Amongst Daves
Offline Banned from the DCMBs since 2002.

Registered: Wed Jan 23 2002
Posts: 15169
Thanks gents. Its true that there were other publishers. Even First comics with American Flagg! and Grimjack were forerunners to Vertigo. but Vertigo was the publisher which cracked the big audience.

I did know Karen Berger relied very much on British talent - in fact I think there is even a note about this on the Wikipedia entry for Vertigo. She was the entry point for people like Grant Morrison, Frank Quietley, Jock, and others.

 Originally Posted By: the G-man
I didn't realize until poking around the article source that you're the editor/publisher. Did you retire from practicing law?


Ha! I wish. No, this is a hobby.

Pimping my site, again.

http://www.worldcomicbookreview.com


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#1230297 - Mon Nov 25 2019 02:17 AM Re: Goodbye Vertigo Comics [Re: First Amongst Daves]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 20425
Loc: A glorious bold new America



An odd thing I noticed looking at SANDMAN back issues...
https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=109581

SANDMAN is the quintessential Vertigo title. But it had the DC logo for most of its 75-issue run. It wasn't until issue 47 (March 1993)that the Vertigo label began appearing on its covers.

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#1230301 - Mon Nov 25 2019 02:19 PM Re: Goodbye Vertigo Comics [Re: Wonder Boy]
Matter-eater Man
Online   argumentative Fair Play!

Registered: Sat Jun 07 2003
Posts: 14298
I wasn't a huge Vertigo fan myself but recognize that it was hugely successful. I didn't like DC migrating titles like Swamp Thing & Doom Patrol to a separate universe. It took away from the main dcu. I did enjoy titles even after they became a Vertigo titles but it wasn't the same. A little surprised that it's gone away.

Fair play!

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#1230302 - Mon Nov 25 2019 06:28 PM Re: Goodbye Vertigo Comics [Re: Matter-eater Man]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 20425
Loc: A glorious bold new America



Yeah, taking regular DC titles and turning them into Vertigo titles was morphing titles I liked into a subculture or genre I generally didn't like. I guess what annoyed me most in Vertigo titles was that all the characters, even eternal mythological gods, had a trendy 1990's look, and looked like the people you'd see in a rock band of the period, or a trendy night club.

In some ways Vertigo was innovative and had good storytelling and new talent, but mostly I saw it as a way to re-package stuff and market it to a new audience. I'll never understand why people rave about the alleged brilliance and literary transcendance of SANDMAN. It had a degree of quality and I generally liked it, but I felt it was made out to be so much more than it actually was, and that made me less receptive to it.
Likewise a series like PREACHER, that while powerfullly impactful at times in Ennis' writing, was a truly ugly story with characters I didn't like, and went out of its way to be as profanity-laden and blasphemous and as unbelievably foul as they could possibly be.

Likewise Grant Morrison's 3-issue KID ETERNITY series.

Likewise Y THE LAST MAN, which was briskly written and fast-moving, and often very funny, but overall had a lot of dark and cynical elements that kind of ruined and overshadowed the more enjoyable elements of the series for me.
I was repelled from the outset by titles like TRANSMETROPOLITAN and THE INVISIBLES.

Even of the Vertigo series I enjoyed, none of these are titles with great concepts or beautiful prose and art I enjoyed to the point that I would like to re-read them multiple times, such as O'Neil/Adams BATMAN and DETECTIVE, Wein/Wrightson SWAMP THING, Moore/Bissette/Tottleben SWAMP THING, Goodwin/Simonson MANHUNTER, Dave Sim's CEREBUS and so forth. I think Gaiman's SANDMAN is the only Vertigo title I've re-read.

But I can't deny there's an audience for this stuff, and that Vertigo opened that market. I see Vertigo as more of a packaging and marketing tool, and Vertigo-izations of titles like SWAMP THING and DOOM PATROL are examples making that point.

Even titles like SANDMAN and PREACHER and FABLES weren't lacking in episodic franchise exploitability, and have been the jumping point for many spin-offs and limited series. As opposed to, say, WATCHMEN or V FOR VENDETTA or MAUS or FROM HELL, that were novels in comic book form with a clear beginning, middle and end.


To my knowledge, Art Spiegelman's MAUS (which won a Pulitzer Prize and was marketed almost exclusively through mainstreaam book publishing and only slightly after the fact through comic book distributors) and Neil Gaiman's SANDMAN (which won a World Fantasy Award for best short story, and then World Fantasy members changed the rules so that a comic book could never win the award again!) have truly broken through into mainstream publishing.

I do see reviews and cover blurbs from a lot of mainstream sources on Vertigo collected books. But that's also true for a lot of non-Vertigo books, such as Alan Moore's works, and Frank Miller's DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, Frank Miller's 300, and one of my favorites, ENEMY ACE:WAR IDYLL by George Pratt, or Rick Veitch's ABRAXAS AND THE EARTH MAN, to name a few.

So I'm not 100% clear on what it is that Vertigo did that no other publisher has.

Australia-Dave has talked about how many Vertigo titles have broken through into movies or TV series, but again, I don't see how that's unique to Vertigo. Marvel and DC have broken through for decades into box-office topping movies and TV series and animated series.
And in the acclaim department, Dark Horse has also done that for close to 30 years with movies like The Mask, Sin City, Men In Black, 300, Mystery Men, Hellboy, Hellboy II, Golden Army and others.

So while I'd agree that Vertigo has opened up another avenue for these kind of cross-cultural influences, I again don't see where Vertigo has uniquely and singularly done so.



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#1230309 - Mon Nov 25 2019 10:52 PM Re: Goodbye Vertigo Comics [Re: Matter-eater Man]
the G-man
Offline Officially "too old for this shit"

Registered: Fri May 16 2003
Posts: 43612
Loc: the right
 Originally Posted By: Matter-eater Man
I wasn't a huge Vertigo fan myself but recognize that it was hugely successful. I didn't like DC migrating titles like Swamp Thing & Doom Patrol to a separate universe. It took away from the main dcu. I did enjoy titles even after they became a Vertigo titles but it wasn't the same. A little surprised that it's gone away.


For me, it depended on the book. Swamp Thing and Doom Patrol seemed to work in that universe. kid eternity, with it’s ties to Shazam, didn’t.

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#1230310 - Mon Nov 25 2019 10:55 PM Re: Goodbye Vertigo Comics [Re: Wonder Boy]
the G-man
Offline Officially "too old for this shit"

Registered: Fri May 16 2003
Posts: 43612
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 Quote:
Australia-Dave has talked about how many Vertigo titles have broken through into movies or TV series, but again, I don't see how that's unique to Vertigo. Marvel and DC have broken through for decades into box-office topping movies and TV series and animated series. And in the acclaim department, Dark Horse has also done that for close to 30 years with movies like The Mask, Sin City, Men In Black, 300, Mystery Men, Hellboy, Hellboy II, Golden Army and others.


It might be a percentage game. Out of hundreds, if not thousands, of characters DC and Marvel had a half dozen or a dozen turn into hit movies. Whereas, vertigo may have had a half dozen or a dozen characters turned into hit movies but that was a huge percentage of their overall output.

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