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.


  1. Toby Litt has been writing The Dead Boy Detectives in the recent Vertigo anthologies, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s on board for the mini-series.

  2. The only appearance of Vertigo being on its last legs was from nay-sayers and doom-sayers when Berger left. Because they wanted to believe it couldn’t exist without her. Chicken Littles. The lot of them.

  3. Mikael
    A bit too much bitterness? :) Anyway it’s still unproved it will continue to exist and succeed.

  4. No, Mikael, there has been plenty of evidence of Vertigo being in trouble, for a number of years now, much of it coming by way of creators with inside knowledge of what’s been going on at DC. Berger’s departure was merely a symptom of that, not the source. While it’s been something of a running joke that Vertigo has been “on its last legs” since the end of Sandman in 1996, there is no question that Vertigo is not as influential, or as profitable as it once was.

    I’m sure that Before Sandman will be commercially and creatively successful, but it will take more than a couple new Gaiman-derived projects to keep the imprint important – to Warner and to comics – in the long run.

  5. Heidi/Marc-Oliver: It was indeed an unfortunate editing error. A correction is forthcoming.

    Also unfortunate: not enough space, so I couldn’t name all the titles and the full creative teams. One of them in seen in the picture of Shelly. “Coffin Hill.” I am sure the DC press release will have all the info.

  6. That’s why the DC sales column was late, Frisch was busy planning the Beat takeover. But I’m a staunch supporter of Ms. MacDonald. ¡Viva la presidenta Heidi!

  7. What I would love to see Vertigo do from this point on is do what it did from the beginning…take an established DC character like Swamp Thing and bring him into his Vertigo universe. It would be awesome to see that…

    Imagine a tongue in cheek dark detective comedy featuring Eel O’Brien as the detective….or Ambush Bug…..Or a very adult Challengers of The Unknown…..or a 1980’s tough street book featuring Vigilante…

    Any or all of these could be awesome in the right hands…and it would be a welcome change from both the current Vertigo line as well as the New 52.

  8. Thomas, given the events of the past few years, with Animal Man, Swamp Thing and John Constantine all making the jump back to the DCU proper, I don’t see that happening. And honestly, in the current comics landscape, where Image is eating Vertigo’s lunch, I dunno that it’d even be a good idea. Better to add a few more original series like Preacher and Y the Last Man than go back to the well of Vertigo-izing DC characters.

  9. New titles #3 and #4 are mentioned in the Times article but not here. From the Times: “The new series continue that trend and include “Hinterkind,” by Ian Edginton, which focuses on a post-apocalyptic world in which the creatures of myth and legend have returned, and “The Discipline,” by Peter Milligan, an erotic thriller about a woman at the center of an shadow war that spans eons.”

  10. Vertigo seems to be in capable hands. They just need to focus on making adult material that has the highest quality art and writing. For a while, I’ve just been lost in all of the Fables spin offs and vampire stuff. Vertigo was home to the weird and exciting. I hope what Adam says about a new Peter Milligan book is true. I’ve missed his work.

  11. Ahhh Vertigo…a shadow of its former self.

    The way all their current titles sell, I won’t hold my breath that ANY of these will be around for the long haul…

  12. That MOF! How dare he!
    (Quickly adjusts HIS scheme set to launch while The Beatrix is in San Diego.)

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