A new rumor indicates DC Comics will shut down their Vertigo Comics imprint.
The rumor comes from Rich Johnston and Bleeding Cool who notes he “has been informed by a number of sources.” He also states that the shuttering of the iconic comic imprint has “come from on high rather rapidly.”
He notes that DC Comics are revoking some contracts, returning creator-owned titles to creators, and some are being moved within the publisher. We spoke to our own source and they indicated there are rumblings inside DC Comics that Vertigo might be in trouble. They specifically told us Vertigo might be in trouble because none of the recent titles have taken off.
Vertigo Comics was founded in 1993 by Karen Berger and focused on the horror and fantasy genres with comics targeted toward a more adult audience that featured violence, drug abuse, sexuality, nudity, profanity, and other controversial topics. It would eventually house crime, social commentary, and other genres.
The imprint saw success in a number of now famous comic book series including Sandman, Preacher, Y: The Last Man, 100 Bullets, Animal Man, V for Vendetta, American Vampire, Fables, DMZ, Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, iZombie, and Hellblazer.
Many of the Vertigo Comics titles have been adapted into live-action television and films with Bill Willingham’s Fables series seeing a successful video game adaptation in The Wolf Among Us from Telltale Games.
Vertigo Comics TV series include Constantine, iZombie, Lucier, and Preacher. A Y: The Last Man series is currently in development. As for films they include Constantine, A History of Violence, V for Vendetta, The Fountain, The Losers, and the upcoming adaptation of The Kitchen.
While Vertigo Comics has a storied past, it’s current incarnation is anything but. DC Comics announced a relaunch of the imprint under Senior Editor Mark Doyle in 2018 that featured a number of extremely controversial creative teams including Zoe Quinn, Robbi Rodriguez, Ramon Villalobos, Eric Esquivel, Rob Sheridan, and Richard Pace among others.
Following the relaunch, the controversial creators announced would plague the imprint.
- Robbi Rodriguez would tweet unsolicited pictures of his extremities at former DC Comics Ethan Van Sciver.
- Zoe Quinn would take to social media to call Republicans evil.
- Ramon Villalobos would espouse anti-white racism.
- Rob Sheridan would attack Donald Trump supporters.
- Richard Pace advocated that businesses should deny services to those he deems “active fascists in power.”
- Eric Esquivel would be accused of sexual misconduct and see his Border Town series cancelled. He would deny the accusations.
And while the creators themselves were making controversial statements, their books were not selling. Quinn’s first issue of Goddess Mode only shipped 17,471 copies. The second issue shipped 8,116. It wouldn’t get any prettier.
Esquivel and Villalobos’ Border Town would only ship 15,259 copies of the first issue. The second issue shipped 8,847. You can already see the trend forming.
Hex Wives by Ben Blacker and Mirka Andolfo would only 17,158 copies of issue one. The second issue shipped 9,869.
Sheridan’s High Level #1 shipped 16,824 copies. The second issue shipped 8,155 copies.
American Carnage would only ship 12,891 units for its first issue. The second issue only shipped 7,434 units.
As you can see none of the Vertigo Comics titles were really making any waves among the comic buying public.
It’s quite possible the big boys at WarnerMedia decided to cut their losses and pursue other ventures.
As for what will happen to most of the Vertigo Comics, if the rumor is true one can expect most of them will get cancelled. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman Presents Line will more than likely find a new home. And DC Comics has already set a precedent for bringing in popular Vertigo Comics properties into the DC Comics fold like Constantine and Swamp Thing. They are also continuously announcing new DC Black Label books with the most recent being a Joker and Harley Quinn story. It’s possible some Vertigo Comics titles might find a home with DC Black Label. They’ve also moved former Vertigo Comics titles like Doom Patrol under their Young Animal imprint. They definitely have room to move some of their more mainstay titles that they are already finding success with in live-action adaptations.
What do you make of the rumors that DC Comics will shutter Vertigo Comics? Are you surprised? Do you think it should have happened sooner?