Unless you were on a particularly good vacation, you probably heard the news a few weeks back that Vertigo editors were in high demand.  Karen Berger, who founded and ran the Vertigo imprint, was hired by Dark Horse and will be having her own imprint.  Then Shelly Bond, who took over after Berger’s departure, was hired over at IDW to start up her own imprint.

These hires are huge no-brainers.

First off, let’s take a look at what the comparative sales are for Dark Horse, IDW and Vertigo.  I looked at this a couple weeks ago while looking at the sales bands, but let’s look at it from an individual title perspective.  These are Comichron’s Feb. estimates, based on what charted in the top 300 for Diamond:

Tables with the actual titles/numbers will be at the end of the article, but as you can clearly see, Vertigo’s sales figures for February are more or less mid-list for what Dark Horse and IDW these days.  If they’re comfortable with those kind of sales numbers, all Berger and Bond have to do is bring what most people would consider diminished Vertigo monthly sales to the table and it’s an instant win.

Here’s the thing, though.  Berger and Bond might actually get a little more buzz starting up their own imprints.  They also aren’t going to be hamstrung by changes in ownership participation that reportedly gave a lot of creators second thoughts about working with Vertigo, starting a few years ago.  If they can dip into their considerable networks and package some comics that sell 10K/issue, that’s moving from instant mid-list to modest hits in the continuum of Direct Market indie sales.  There is considerable upside here.

You’d like to think that Berger and Bond are likely to be handling comics that should have above average lifespans as collected editions, too.  That’s another level of upside and pure gravy as long as those monthly sales meet cash flow expectations.

For IDW, they really haven’t had a lot of breakout non-licensed hits since Locke & Key, so it’s also a good way for them to take a step forward with the creator-owned side of the market.  (Incidentally, people really should be checking out Walt Simonson’s Ragnarok – vastly underappreciated title.)

In Vertigo’s defense, they have a presence in the world of Warner and you do see some incidents of synergy like iZombie showing up at the WB.

Oh, wait… Dark Horse and IDW both have production units and shows on cable right now.  Gosh, how terrible for them to handling new imprints run by people with a history of developing properties that get picked up.

Two of the easiest editorial hires in recent history.

And let’s be honest, there’s nothing quite like competition to improve the product.  If you at all care for the Vertigo aesthetic, you’re going to have plenty of choices soon.  It’s not like Vertigo is going away and it will be interesting to see if they find a way to turn the competition to their advantage, internally.

Want to learn more about how comics publishing and digital comics work?  Try Todd’s book, Economics of Digital Comics or try some fiction.

Astro City41$4.99DC10,066
Lost Boys5$3.99DC6,527
Everafter From The Pages of Fables6$3.99DC5,399
Clean Room16$3.99DC4,741


Serenity No Power in the Verse5$3.99Dark Horse19,505
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 114$3.99Dark Horse11,169
Visitor How and Why He Stayed1*$3.99Dark Horse8,034
Aliens Vs Predator Life And Death3$3.99Dark Horse7,740
Angel Season 112*$3.99Dark Horse6,681
Baltimore The Red Kingdom1$3.99Dark Horse6,141
World of Tanks5$3.99Dark Horse5,185
Ether4$3.99Dark Horse4,795
Empowered Soldier of Love1*$3.99Dark Horse4,425
Dept H11$3.99Dark Horse4,097


Batman TMNT Adventures4*$3.99IDW24,927
TMNT Ongoing67$3.99IDW15,255
Star Trek Green Lantern Vol. 23*$3.99IDW14,526
TMNT Universe7$4.99IDW11,452
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic50$5.99IDW11,093
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic51$3.99IDW10,552
My Little Pony Friends Forever37$3.99IDW9,200
Star Trek Boldly Go5*$3.99IDW7,724
Back To The Future16*$3.99IDW7,648
Optimus Prime4*$3.99IDW7,600
Transformers Lost Light2*$3.99IDW7,534
Back To The Future17*$3.99IDW7,156
Highlander American Dream1*$3.99IDW6,979
Transformers Lost Light3*$3.99IDW6,770
Transformers Till All Are One7$3.99IDW6,426
Rom Annual 20170$7.99IDW5,901
Darkness Visible1*$3.99IDW5,534
Jem & The Holograms Annual 20170$7.99IDW5,088
Jem Misfits2*$3.99IDW4,860
Ghostbusters Annual 20170$7.99IDW4,648
Uncle Scrooge23$3.99IDW4,356


  1. I wonder just how sustainable those sales levels are for creator-owned books at IDW these days, given that they’re now charging $5 for about 20 pages of actual comics content on books like Starstruck (which has a few pages of glossaries as back-up) and Ragnarok (backed with the pencilled or inked versions of a few pages). The creators and other readers may disagree, but I don’t think that content is really worth an extra buck, and I imagine it’s included largely to make customers feel less bad about having to pay the higher price IDW now needs to charge for these types of books.

    Or perhaps IDW is just greedy and is maximizing profits. I don’t know.

    So will Bond’s books launch at $5. Probably not, but might they be there shortly thereafter, as sales decline?

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