Saturday, December 22, 2012

So...what is up with the Vertigo comic's imprint, and DC in general?

Will Vertigo Become Vertigone (He asked, realizing it was a terrible pun everyone else has already been using)?

Vertigo comics, the DC imprint that could...until it started to seem like it couldn't.

Headed by Karen Berger since inception until recent announcements I'll discuss more shortly, as DC's editorial-crew kept changing so did the way DC did things (and therefore the way Vertigo did things). Characters that had been folded into Vertigo after starting out sort-of in the DC Universe re-entered DC's main world ("Swamp Thing," "Hellblazer," and "Animal Man," to a lesser degree). Comics that were going to be for Vertigo ended up in the main DC Universe too ("Dial H For Hero"). It just seemed over time Vertigo was losing anything good to read. This is the line that has had, "Sandman", "Preacher", "100 Bullets", "The Invisibles", and, "Transmetropolitan" to name some of the big-time comics. It also had some quality series of less success such as, "American Virgin," and, "The Exterminators." The line produced what is my favorite comic or graphic novel of all time, "The Filth." What is there now, though?
Karen Berger, basically any Vertigo book ever made has involved her in some capacity.

"Fables," is still coming out, that is indeed going strong...but, "American Vampire," is going on break, "Unwritten," is wrapping up, and other than the occasional one-shot or mini-series (such as the enjoyable,  "Spaceman") what does Vertigo have? Adaptations? The line is putting out a comic-version of, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," but what else? Perhaps it really didn't help that the company used to let their creators keep a lot of the intellectual property rights, but various folk at DC decided it would be better to keep those rights and make more money. Problem is, the paradox occurred of such a plan making them less money because people would rather go to Image and own the rights to their comic than, you know, not own the rights at all.

Change is afoot

Now Karen Berger is all but a memory as of March 2013, and that's after her 20 years heading Vertigo and nearly 30 with DC overall--no small amount of time! DC isn't killing Vertigo, they are hiring Shelly Bond to take Berger's place. DC is shuffling so much however, and you occasionally hear about writers being told specifically what they can and can't do because DC has various plans (Zero month, the rumored Villain month) and due to displeasure with DC's methods people are quitting or getting fired. One exception to all this is Gail Simone. She was fired off, "Batgirl," for some reason or another (via email, no less!), but after immense fan outcry the new writer of, "Batgirl," was announced to be Gail Simone. You did not misread that, Gail Simone was re-hired on to the comic after less than two weeks of the internet basically vomiting with rage as if one of those gross red-lanterns.
Gail Simone, the woman the internet was prepared to up and slap DC across the face for.
Many other folk don't fare well if they incur DC's wrath, however (hello, Chris Roberson), but I imagine because Simone was calm, cool, and collected she was able to just let the internet howl for the blood of DC until she got writing duties back on, "Batgirl." It helps she has an immensely passionate fan-base because lord knows people actually celebrated when Rob Liefeld quit/was kicked off his DC books--and then proceeded to utterly lose his mind as he started  insulting anyone he could, but I digress. Also, the fact that Gail Simone is one of the few writers DC has who happens to be female made it look bad they were firing one of their few employees who didn't have a Y chromosome, that didn't help their case for briefly getting rid of her.

What is the "Game-Plan"? Is There Even Any?

DC seems to be randomly changing plans for comics every few months or even weeks. People are getting mad who work there, a line of comics at the company which has produced some of the best comics-work ever is a pale shadow of itself, how long can all of this keep up before DC realizes something's gotta give? Whether that something is getting rid of Vertigo, being kinder to their writers and artists, or realizing that having 52 ongoing books a month is way too many and they should cut it down to 30 or so (which would make coordinating those events they want easier)--whether it is any of that I can't say.

DC has been doing extremely well since their massive re-launch, arguably because they went about it expertly, to give credit where credit is due. However, at this point it seems the company is running without much of a plan if what we occasionally hear from the comic-book press is true about internal-struggles and everything else troublesome. I want DC to be successful, and I also want them to be kind to their employees and former employees ("Before Watchmen," still pisses me off to no end). At this point I'd settle for hearing there is at least some kind of plan in place though. Until then we can only wonder at what the crazy inner-workings of DC Comics would be like. I like to imagine there is cake everyday, because I like cake and would gladly work at an office that supplied it.

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