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  1. #1
    Fighting Injustice on CBR SUPERECWFAN1's Avatar
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    Default The Long , Sad , Pointless , Stupid , Idiot ...Demise of Vertigo Comics.

    DC Comics has had a ton of changes the last decade. Paul Levitz , Karen Berger , Shelly Bond and numerous others have been surfed out of the company as it looked to reboot itself for the 21st century. Change happens in comics. The old guard can't stay around forever and every entertainment company has to reboot things at the top after years of running. Its just in DC's case the changes pretty much impacted a viable brand they had that wasn't DC Comics main universe of titles.




    Back in the early 1990's DC launched a waive of "Adult themed" titles. These were Doom Patrol , Animal Man , Sandman , Shade and Hellblazer. These books in the case of Animal Man and Doom Patrol drifted to those themes by the time their books really kicked in with creator Grant Morrison. The adult themed books had DC in a spot. They were really good ground breaking work but they didn't fit the DC mold so a solution was needed. So they decided to branch out an imprint named "Vertigo".

    And Vertigo allowed DC to appeal to the long older fan who became jaded by the modern 1990's comic scene. Creators had a big role in Vertigo as well as time passed as creators launched a number of books as we saw. This was a breath of fresh air for many who discovered the adventures of con artist magician John Constantine. Or loved the bizarre Shade the Changing Man.




    Time passed , more books came out like Fables and Preacher. The 2000's had more creators take shots at Vertigo as well. But there was storm clouds on the horizon as the changes at DC started. Paul Levitz the long time publisher finally left and then dominoes fell quick within a year. DC was being moved eventually to LA as we discovered (2015) and a number of editors would not make the trip as cuts happened.

    The 1st change was DC started pulling its main characters from Vertigo. For years Swamp Thing , Shade , and Doom Patrol was a staple of Vertigo line. But now those characters were starting to be pushed back into the main DC Universe of books. A lot were not successful as fans have long seen these characters for the adult themed books they once were. But this hasn't stopped DC from launching numerous attempts since the 2000's to make these characters work again in mainstream DCU.

    For the longest time DC held off one move that would literally change Vertigo. Their longest running title in its history was John Constantine. In fact Constantine was a title with such a history and legacy people thought it would never be cancelled or ended. But by 2011 DC was prepping for Flashpoint and after the debut of the weak DCU John Constantine ; they decided to end the classic one people actually supported for nearly 3 decades.




    To say this move worked out would be a complete lie. Its been a disaster. The mainstream Constantine has failed repeatedly as a title after 2-3 relaunches and push by DC. Many have said the character worked best in Vertigo and its pretty clear that the character did .

    After this and the end of Fables ...Vertigo became a literal ghost imprint. It existed but well its hard to determine what exactly was coming out from it. DC gave such little fucks as they ended up letting Berger go as well as Bond that they promoted other imprints instead. Vertigo was literally DOA. The imprint of a lot of great work from Road to Perdition to other ground breaking work was literally getting no attention as it withered and died there.

    By 2018 DC seemed to sense that after years of no promotion , no real push and letting various editors go ...they had a historic imprint named Vertigo and it may need books. A various bunch of launches happened but with issues behind the scenes and more ...it fizzled quick. Instead of doing a smart move by sending established characters back like Swamp Thing , Constantine and more. To try and salvage the imprint they tried new launches.

    Now its being reported that due to DC's utter stupid moves Vertigo is likely dead for good. How could a company mismanage what once was considered a great imprint . That Marvel literally tried once to copy with MAX (and it too seems dead as of 2017). So how could DC let this imprint fail ?

    In all DC will likely look back at this years from now as a big face palm as they literally have the keys to make the imprint work. They have a Sandman title running . They have the characters fans want to see back there. Yet refuse and roll out shitty reboots of Swamp Thing and Constantine repeatedly . With no real care for them.
    "The story so far: As usual, Ginger and I are engaged in our quest to find out what the hell is going on and save humanity from my nemesis, some bastard who is presumably responsible." - Sir Digby Chicken Caesar.

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member numberthirty's Avatar
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    Just to point this out, Epic Comics(and later Icon Comics) were probably closer to an "Apples"/"Apples" comparison than MAX ever was.

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member Kusanagi's Avatar
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    There was a point when Vertigo took up a hefty chunk of my pull. As books like 'Y the last Man' ended I kind of pulled away and stopped paying attention. Sad the brand has hit such hard times.
    Current Pull: Amazing Spider-Man and Domino

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    Swollen Member GOLGO 13's Avatar
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    Was this the case of critically acclaimed yet sales were kinda...meh?

  5. #5
    Old school comic book fan WestPhillyPunisher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOLGO 13 View Post
    Was this the case of critically acclaimed yet sales were kinda...meh?
    Pardon my ignorance (which is considerable when it comes to the business side of comics), but isn't pretty much always the case?
    Avatar: Here's to the late, great Steve Dillon. Best. Punisher. Artist. EVER!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GOLGO 13 View Post
    Was this the case of critically acclaimed yet sales were kinda...meh?
    I suspect Vertigo Comics do a lot better on the trade market. Most of them (including books like Sandman)
    read vastly better in trades.

    I suspect DC decided to double down on company owned product and throttled Vertigo to do it.

  7. #7
    Fighting Injustice on CBR SUPERECWFAN1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOLGO 13 View Post
    Was this the case of critically acclaimed yet sales were kinda...meh?
    Quote Originally Posted by WestPhillyPunisher View Post
    Pardon my ignorance (which is considerable when it comes to the business side of comics), but isn't pretty much always the case?
    Quote Originally Posted by Vic Vega View Post
    I suspect Vertigo Comics do a lot better on the trade market. Most of them (including books like Sandman)
    read vastly better in trades.

    I suspect DC decided to double down on company owned product and throttled Vertigo to do it.
    years.
    As an example Hellblazer sold 8,000-10,000 copies a month near the end. While its not huge numbers Vertigo sold very well in TPB for years. It really was an alternative brand as we saw and allowed the writers to tell up more adult themed work. And as posted once DC yanked all their characters from it , they ruined the brand and still can't make Swamp Thing , Doom Patrol , Shade or John Constantine sell in the mainstream DCU.

    Honestly if DC is gonna save Vertigo the best move would be to throw those characters back in. Or some of them.

    Relaunch John Constantine : Hellblazer at #301 and do an arc resolving what happened last time. Bring Swamp Thing back in a new horror title for Vertigo. Bring the Shade back in that . If your gonna save that imprint its time to bring the characters people remember from that line and do this. Also fix your contracts. A big problem getting creators now as brought up is Image , Dark Horse and IDW are better for creator owned projects than Vertigo. That has to change.
    "The story so far: As usual, Ginger and I are engaged in our quest to find out what the hell is going on and save humanity from my nemesis, some bastard who is presumably responsible." - Sir Digby Chicken Caesar.

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    Fighting Injustice on CBR SUPERECWFAN1's Avatar
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    Heidi McDonald brings up the behind the scenes issues with Black Label , Vertigo and why DC's started to get scared of material. The most surprising thing is Black Label was nearly cancelled due to the bat penis situation.

    https://www.comicsbeat.com/what-is-h...ng-at-vertigo/
    "The story so far: As usual, Ginger and I are engaged in our quest to find out what the hell is going on and save humanity from my nemesis, some bastard who is presumably responsible." - Sir Digby Chicken Caesar.

  9. #9
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    I think it's a few things...losing Levitz and Berger, the creator owned contracts for Vertigo changed which I'm guessing made Image look better to industry vets, and many of the newer titles that a few years back that would have been Vertigo titles ended up under newer imprints like Young Animal and the Sandman lines.

  10. #10
    Astonishing Member Joker's Avatar
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    Losing Berger and Bond was a big factor.

    The contracts also were not as favorable for the creators as say, an Image contract. There isn't much incentive to do work there anymore.

    Edit: haha, beat me to it!

  11. #11
    Swollen Member GOLGO 13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SUPERECWFAN1 View Post
    years.
    As an example Hellblazer sold 8,000-10,000 copies a month near the end. While its not huge numbers Vertigo sold very well in TPB for years. It really was an alternative brand as we saw and allowed the writers to tell up more adult themed work. And as posted once DC yanked all their characters from it , they ruined the brand and still can't make Swamp Thing , Doom Patrol , Shade or John Constantine sell in the mainstream DCU.

    Honestly if DC is gonna save Vertigo the best move would be to throw those characters back in. Or some of them.

    Relaunch John Constantine : Hellblazer at #301 and do an arc resolving what happened last time. Bring Swamp Thing back in a new horror title for Vertigo. Bring the Shade back in that . If your gonna save that imprint its time to bring the characters people remember from that line and do this. Also fix your contracts. A big problem getting creators now as brought up is Image , Dark Horse and IDW are better for creator owned projects than Vertigo. That has to change.
    I get the notion that DC prefers to infantilize it's IPs for a major audience & go no further. Somehow they believe they can market a John Constantine character to the WB network for YA's to watch.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOLGO 13 View Post
    I get the notion that DC prefers to infantilize it's IPs for a major audience & go no further. Somehow they believe they can market a John Constantine character to the WB network for YA's to watch.
    Well, they did get "Hellblazer" on NBC of all places. And "Lucifer" on Fox!

  13. #13
    Fighting Injustice on CBR SUPERECWFAN1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOLGO 13 View Post
    I get the notion that DC prefers to infantilize it's IPs for a major audience & go no further. Somehow they believe they can market a John Constantine character to the WB network for YA's to watch.
    Quote Originally Posted by ed2962 View Post
    Well, they did get "Hellblazer" on NBC of all places. And "Lucifer" on Fox!
    In both cases executives didn't seem to get the characters as well. Plus the lead star of Constantine himself wanted to do more edgy material. He wanted to do the full Hellblazer stuff but given network constraints couldn't.
    "The story so far: As usual, Ginger and I are engaged in our quest to find out what the hell is going on and save humanity from my nemesis, some bastard who is presumably responsible." - Sir Digby Chicken Caesar.

  14. #14
    Swollen Member GOLGO 13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed2962 View Post
    Well, they did get "Hellblazer" on NBC of all places. And "Lucifer" on Fox!
    Lucifer on FOX is both a curious achievement & seems like the perfect spot for a TV show about the devil.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member superduperman's Avatar
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    Okay, first of all, let me start by saying I have my issues with the post-Crisis DCU. Superman's post-Crisis origin for instance. That having been said, it's not just Vertigo. The entire DCU has been in decline for 20 years. The collapse of Vertigo is just the latest in a long line of bad management decisions that has existed for two decades now. It started with that whole stupid Brainiac 13 in the Super-books or whatever the hell it was called in January, 2000 and has just gotten worse ever since. I don't know if management just magically changed hands on January 1, 2000 or what but it seems like almost every decision, at least in mainstream continuity, has been a bad one. Superman alone has had something like 5 separate origins. I was actually excited when New 52 happened because it honestly looked like we were getting a clean slate DC desperately needed. And they still managed to fuck that up too. So where am I going with this?

    Well, a while back on the main DC board, someone suggested that DC go back to 1999 and just pretend the last 20 years never happened. And the more I thought about it, the more I think they might have a point. Maybe that's what DC needs to do. They didn't have all these continuity problems back then. Vertigo's mismanagement is just the latest example of mismanagement at DC as a whole. The handling of the Batdick at Black Label being another good example. As it stands right now, the only DC books I'm reading are out of continuity. And I don't see that changing anytime soon. And, don't get me wrong. I think a lot of their out of continuity ideas have been good ones. BUT can anyone say they're really happy with the direction the main books have been going in lately? Heroes in Crisis, anyone?

    Now we're getting rumors of some new reboot around 2020. Unless the management there also changes, I don't see this making any real difference. Like I said, I have my issues with the mainstream DCU and the way some things were back then, but let's be honest: I'm not getting what I want now. One could easily argue that all these continuity changes in the last two decades are responsible for the decline in DC sales overall. That isn't to say that things were perfect 20 years ago. But you also didn't see this kind of infighting either. Both Kahn and Berger seemed to run a pretty tight ship. Greed killed Vertigo. And if things stay on the path that they're on, it wouldn't surprise me if the suits at Warners or AT&T don't step in and take over. If for no other reason than to make sure the comics and the movies have "synergy". You think they're going to care about creator's rights?

    Someone from the old guard needs to step up and be willing to fall on their sword to tell management there the truth. They don't know what they're doing and Kahn and Berger just plain ran things better. Until something like that happens, I don't see things improving. At this point, it might actually be better for the company as a whole if the suits DID take over. At least you'd get some sense of stability. I hate to give Rob Liefeld credit for anything but he might be the canary in the coal mine here. The best thing I can think of for DC to do for Vertigo would be to give those characters their own universe apart from the main DCU. Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, Shade, even Animal Man. Might benefit from having their own Earth. Superman and Batman wouldn't exist there. Any references to them would be references to comic book characters. Maybe have one of Animal Man's kids reading a Superman comic or something to confirm this. This might be the best thing they can do for the Vertigo characters at this point. And even that wouldn't save the imprint itself.
    Now listen to me, Clark! This great strength of yours--you've got to hide it from people or they'll be scared of you!

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