Vertigo (comics)

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Vertigo is an imprint of the US publisher DC Comics, founded in 1993 . In contrast to the rest of DC's comic series, the Vertigo series also brings up controversial topics such as drug addiction and sexuality . In general, Vertigo tries more sophisticated entertainment for adults . The counterpart to Vertigo at Marvel Comics is called MAX .

In June 2019, DC Comics announced that they would discontinue the Vertigo brand by the end of the year and split their products across three new brands, DC Kids , DC and DC Black Label .


Vertigo was founded in 1993 after various "adult" DC titles such as the series The Saga of the Swamp Thing (1982–1985), The Dark Knight Returns (1986) or Watchmen (1986/1987 ) taken over by Alan Moore ) have shown as successful series. Vertigo was designed to attract writers who wanted to publish their kind of comics without worrying about any negative impact on children and the resulting censorship. Karen Berger acted as editor of the titles, largely creatively supporting her authors, who were mainly recruited from Great Britain and, by American standards, mostly through more explicit depictions of nudity, sex and violence, very provocative authors. At a time when the cartoonists were the real attractions of the comics, Vertigo made a name for itself by selecting the most capable authors . One of the most famous Vertigo titles and the unofficial flagship was Neil Gaiman's Sandman (1989–1996), which also attracted women as readers.

It was founded after a failed attempt by Disney to also publish comics for the same target group. This enabled DC to buy numerous half-finished comic series inexpensively and make them the basis of the new “Vertigo” brand. Karen Berger became editor-in-chief. Under Berger's direction, Vertigo introduced formative comic book authors of the modern era on the American market, such as Garth Ennis (“Preacher”) and Warren Ellis (“Transmetropolitan”) as well as Harvey Pekar (“American Splendor”) as well as the series “100 Bullets”, which is limited to one hundred issues “By Brian Azzarello .

Many of Vertigo's comics were based on the classic superhero comics from DC, but rather played in “peripheral areas of the extensive DC superhero cosmos. There were appearances by heroes like Superman and Batman, but they remained the exception. ”Current series, such as the aforementioned“ Hellblazer ”, a“ Swamp Thing ”spin-off, and“ Doom Patrol ”, were made from the DC Universum was outsourced and new series were added, such as "Sandman Mystery Theater", a crime noir series. As part of the Flashpoint event in 2011, it was declared that the Vertigo stories took place on a parallel earth and now with the earth of the other superheroes such as Superman or Batman , whose stories are now also aimed at an adult audience, to the new DC universe ( The New 52 ) is merged.

Due to declining sales in the American comic market and several less successful series in the 2000s, Vertigo's commercial success declined. The original business policy, according to which rights to the comics were shared with the authors and draftsmen or left entirely to them, and original comic pages were returned to the draftsmen after publication, has been changed. DC changed this with the increase in comic book adaptations in the cinema and television in order to be able to negotiate film rights more easily and not have to share the resulting revenue. From 2010 the publisher claimed all rights to Vertigo comics for itself, which led to many well-known authors leaving the label and working for other publishers. In some cases, new publishers established themselves, including the now successful Image Comics label . Karen Berger left the label in 2012, and in 2013 the 300-editions longest lasting Vertigo series “Hellblazer” was discontinued.

In June 2019, DC Comics announced that they would discontinue the Vertigo brand by the end of the year and change their brand structure. The three brands DC Zoom, DC Ink and Vertigo are to be split into three new brands: DC Kids , DC and DC Black Label .

Well-known authors and draftsmen

Authors and illustrators of Vertigo comics at Comic Con 2007

Well-known titles

Film adaptations

In 1982 - even before Vertigo was founded - Swamp Thing was filmed under the title Das Ding aus dem Swamp ; in 1989 the sequel followed with The green thing from the swamp . In 2005, Vertigo began filming other titles. This is how Constantine , based on the Hellblazer series, came to the cinemas. Also, A History of Violence (2005), The Fountain (2006), V for Vendetta (2006), Stardust (2007) and The Losers (2010) were filmed. The exclusive Amazon Prime series Lucifer (2016) is based on the comic series of the same name.

See also


  • Beatty Scott et al. a., The DC Comics Enzyklopädie, Panini Verlags GmbH, Stuttgart March 2005, 1st edition
  • Irvine Alex et al. a., The Vertigo Enzyklopädie, Panini Verlags GmbH, Stuttgart December 2008, 1st edition

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Susana Polo: DC Comics is shuttering the Vertigo Comics imprint on, June 21, 2019; accessed on June 27, 2019.
  2. a b c d e Out for "Sandman" label: #Vertigone on tagesspiegel.d, June 26, 2019; accessed on June 27, 2019.
  3. Flashpoint # 5, Panini Comics, Stuttgart 2012