If you've been reading comics at any point in the past two decades, there's a good chance you've crossed paths with a book published by Vertigo, and there's also a good chance you became addicted to that book. Founded in 1993 by editor Karen Berger as a place to publish DC's more mature titles, it has since evolved into an imprint for creator-owned comics entirely separate from the events and characters of the DC Universe. Vertigo's 21-year history is packed with acclaimed, award-winning titles that frequently rank among the greatest comics ever, including Sandman, Fables, Astro City, Preacher, Y: The Last Man, Transmetropolitan, 100 Bullets and many more.
DC Comics as a whole is going through a major transition right now, as the company prepares to move its comic-book operations to the West Coast to work alongside other DC Entertainment divisions already located in California. In a new interview about that transition, the state of the market and future plans for the company, DC co-publisher Jim Lee noted that this exciting time for the company will also include a "rebrand" of Vertigo.
"If you look at what we’re going to do in 2015 (which I’m not at liberty to discuss at this moment), possibly first quarter next year, you’ll see that we’re going through a major effort to rebrand the imprint," Lee said. "That’s going to come about through the projects themselves.
"We’re working on a hit list of the top creators in the business and we have some exciting news to unveil in the early part of 2015."
Lee, as he himself noted, didn't elaborate on just what this rebrand would entail, but his remark about "the projects themselves" combined with his remark about "top creators" makes it at least sound like Vertigo's hoping to launch a new slate of creator-owned titles next year that will draw the same kind of attention Image Comics has been getting lately for its diverse, genre-spanning lineup of titles from writers like Ed Brubaker, Scott Snyder, Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, Kelly Sue DeConnick and more. Lee also emphasized that the imprint "can't rest on [its] laurels," because Vertigo doesn't have the benefit of ongoing characters like Superman to keep readers coming back. When the creators end the story in a Vertigo book, that's it, and the publisher then has to go out and find new stories. Lee also noted that this rebrand might extend beyond comics.
"We work very closely with Geoff Johns and his group to maximize the impact of these projects, not just through publishing, but beyond through the Warner Bros. family," Lee said. "That’s been a part of our strategy. Stay tuned to 2015; there’s a lot of amazing things in the works."
Again, we don't know any specifics of what DC's got planned for Vertigo, or which creators the company might be drawing in to do work there. Next year does seem like a great time to take some risks and push the imprint in a new direction, though. Not only will DC as a whole be relocated, but Vertigo's current crown jewel and longest-running series, Fables, will end in early 2015 after 13 years of publication. A modern classic of comics will be over, so it'll be a good time for Vertigo creators to drum up some new classics.
We'll keep you posted on any Vertigo Comics announcements in the coming months.