Despite all the appearances that Vertigo, DC’s line for creator-driven horror, fantasy and crime-based comics, is on its last legs—they only released four monthly titles in May—editors on panels have been insisting that the imprint has been working on a comeback. And now more details on that comeback have been released, in a NY Times piece. Six new titles are planned for the fall:
* The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman and JH Williams, launches in October. It’s a prequel to the original Sandman, explaining what Morpheus was doing when he got captured, and will run bi-monthly, alternating with a companion edition of each issue featuring more artwork, see-through work balloons, commentary, and character sketches.
* The Dead Boy Detectives, no creative team announced, featuring the ghostly snoops first seen in Sandman. They were previously featured in a mini-series by Ed Brubaker and Bryan Talbot—guessing Brubaker won’t be back for this go-round.
The other two titles are still unnamed, the Alatar and Pallando of this piece.
The Times piece paints a hopeful vision for Vertigo going forward, with the new head honcho Shelly Bond saying “It’s so liberating to know that I can talk about all these wonderful books.” Bond is a longtime fixture at Vertigo, of course, and took over after the departure in March of founder Karen Berger. Gaiman is quoted as saying the Williams art for the new Sandman are “the most beautiful pages I have ever seen in periodical comics. I ask him to do the impossible, and he gives me back more than I asked for.”
While the creator-driven nature of Vertigo isn’t really in the forefront of DC’s current mission, and the line has lately been the repository for movie-driven comics (Django Unchained) and WildStorm leftovers (Astro City) it’s still a brand with a lot of name recognition and a distinguished legacy. With such a well-established imprint for more offbeat material, it would have been, well, myopic to neutralize it entirely. So seeing some new things coming is a heartening development.
PS: Yes, I know the Times piece seems to claim that Marc-Oliver Frisch runs the Beat, as several of you emailed me. I think it’s just a copy edit that’s poorly phrased. Either that or I need to have a stern conversation with Marc-Oliver.