Back at the beginning of November, DC Comics announced that Hellblazer, published with the Vertigo imprint, would be ending with issue #300. This would “clear” the way for a new Constantine title set in the DC Universe. To me, it seemed unnecessary since John Constantine had been appearing in Justice League Dark since the beginning, but otherwise, I didn’t think much of it. I saw it as a simple publishing decision. However, others saw it as a sign that what they feared was coming true. Vertigo would be no more.
Then, at the beginning of December, the “end of Vertigo” believers saw another sign. (Because that’s what believers do, they see signs that they use to justify their beliefs.) Karen Berger, the Editor that launched the Vertigo imprint back in 1993, would be stepping down in March 2013. In her statement, she said that she wanted to move on to different things (paraphrasing). But obviously, she was forced out by the evil executives at DC Comics and Warner Bros. If that weren’t true, then it would mean that she chose to leave, and thus chose to abandon “us.”
And so, these two things, to many, pointed to the end of Vertigo.
But today, DC did something that would make it seem like Vertigo isn’t going away, and that they don’t want Vertigo to go away. Today, they announced that Shelly Bond would be the new Executive Editor of Vertigo. Now, I’m not really familiar with the name, because I don’t really keep track of editors, but Shelly Bond is someone that has been with Vertigo since the start. So, in other words, she’s a Vertigo person. Now, I’m not a great business person, but I imagine that if you wanted to get rid of something, you don’t promote someone that’s been with Vertigo for nearly 20 years. You bring your own person to wind things down.
And while I’m at it, ending Hellblazer makes since. Back in 2010, DC had announced that they were going to integrate characters from Vertigo back into the DC Universe that began in the DC Universe. This would make Vertigo focus solely on creator owned properties. The only title that had survived was Hellblazer. Having only creator-owned books at Vertigo isn’t a bad thing. And you don’t know what type of book Constantine is going to end up being. It could still end up as a mature book, even with the DC logo on it. Take a look at the Before Watchmen books. Those are definitely only for mature audiences, but carry the DC logo. So, we won’t know what we have until it is here.
Let’s also look at this from a business perspective as well. It’s not a stretch to say that DC has had difficulty adapting its properties not named Batman into movies. However, what they have had more success in doing is turning Vertigo properties into movies. Movies like V for Vendetta, A History of Violence, The Fountain (joint production of graphic novel and movie), and The Losers. You could add Watchmen to the list, even though it wasn’t published by Vertigo since it didn’t exist yet, because it is a very “Vertigo” book.
In closing, let’s put all of this “death of Vertigo” talk to rest. Vertigo isn’t going anywhere. It’s not dead. If it does end in the future, then we can hold a funeral for it then. But that day is not today.