DC Comics’ Vertigo Imprint is Ending

Vertigo Titles Will Become Part of DC Black Label in 2020

Sandman artwork
Artwork from "Sandman: Overture"
DC Comics

Vertigo, the imprint of DC Comics that gave the world acclaimed titles like Sandman and Preacher, will soon become a thing of the past. DC Comics announced this week that in 2020 it would consolidate its titles under three imprints, based on the recommended ages of their readers.

Readers of titles currently being published by Vertigo shouldn’t worry too much about their favorite comics going away, however. In a report on the change, Polygon noted that “[m]any current Vertigo books will wind up under the umbrella of DC Black Label, now representing stories for ages 17 and up.”

This comes roughly a year after the imprint celebrated its 25th anniversary — and announced ambitious plans for a new batch of comics, including a return to the setting and characters of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, including new books written by Nalo Hopkinson and Kat Howard.

Some of the new Vertigo comics didn’t work out as planned: the Mark Russell-penned Second Coming, a satire of religion and superheroes, changed publishers before its publication. And the miniseries Border Town was canceled before its run concluded after serious allegations of abuse were made against its writer.

But largely, the 25th anniversary push helped to raise interest in the imprint after several quiet years. It’s also been a particularly visible year for television adaptations of Vertigo books. Preacher, iZombie, Lucifer, Doom Patrol and Swamp Thing all come to mind — and there’s an adaptation of Y: The Last Man in the works.

Acclaimed books on Vertigo have, over the years, helped to launch or fortify the comics careers of numerous writers, including Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Brian K. Vaughan, G. Willow Wilson, Warren Ellis and Ed Brubaker. It is not hyperbole to say that Vertigo had a seismic impact on popular culture, and continues to do so to this day.

Even if Vertigo ceases to appear on the covers and spines of comics after next year, the artistic legacy of the imprint will still continue. It’s also worth mentioning that editors Karen Berger and Shelly Bond, both of whom helped shape Vertigo’s aesthetic, are currently running imprints at other publishers where they’ve continued to keep that groundbreaking sensibility going: Berger with Berger Books at Dark Horse Comics, and Bond with Black Crown at IDW.

If this news prompts you to hole up for the weekend with a collected edition of 100 Bullets or Doom Patrol, we don’t blame you. But don’t get too lost in nostalgia: there are still plenty of great, ambitious comics being released every week — some by the same creators who may have sparked your interest in comics years ago.

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