Wednesday Comments – Vertigo Vision?
by Mathan Erhardt on January 16, 2013

Hey! Remember me? Probably not, as I’ve taken the last third of a year off from the site. I had a lot going on in my life with a new job (as a professional writer) in a new city (New York.)

Basically, I’ve been swamped.

But in the new year I’ve found myself with some spare time, so I figured I’d get back to my roots and revive the old column.

And what a time to be a fan of comic books. There’s so much that’s gone on lately. Amazing Spider-Man #700. The Walking Dead. The DC (Creative) Implosion. Karen Berger leaving DC.

That last one is the one that saddened me the most. Actually I don’t know if “saddened” is the right word. It shocked me and frightened me. Karen Berger leaving Vertigo is a huge deal, but it’s not inherently a bad thing. It’s just the implication for Vertigo is bad.

Seven months ago I wrote up how I was feeling about Vertigo at the time. I’d always meant to do a follow up on how to right the Vertigo ship, but I never got around to doing it and then I had those aforementioned life changes.

But I guess now is as good a time as any to offer up my ideas on how Vertigo, as a brand, can be salvaged.

First off; bring back the anthologies. Vertigo’s been dipping their toe in the anthology pool with quarterly oversized one-shots. They all feature great creative line ups and usually have one story that ties into either a current ongoing or an upcoming one.

But Vertigo needs to do that and more. One of the cooler aspects of Axel Alonso’s time at Vertigo was that he really spearheaded the anthology miniseries movement that started in the late 1990’s. Gangland, Heartthrobs, Strange Adventures, Weird War Tales and Weird Western Tales were all anthology miniseries and they all have special places in my heart.

I’d really like to see Vertigo give that a try again. The first time around it was successful enough to launch Flinch, a monthly anthology. While Flinch didn’t last terribly long, it did have offer up some pretty good reads.

If Vertigo did go the anthology miniseries route, I think it’d go a long way to getting in touch with new talent. Those anthologies really sort of worked like tryouts for the big leagues. If you go back and flip though those minis, you’ll find some early work of some rather big names in the industry right now.

Speaking of bringing new talent in; Vertigo could make inroads in that area in other ways.

Considering that DC is working overtime trying to make the New 52 a success, Vertigo should be allowed to play with the toys they aren’t using at the moment. It’s only fair considering DC took back Swamp Thing, Animal Man and now John Constantine. Vertigo should get their pick of any DC property that’s not being used.

Say, for instance, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips had an idea for an awesome gritty noir starring Detective Chimp, Vertigo should have no problem making that happen.

I’ve heard that Vertigo’s contracts aren’t as creator friendly as they once were. But Vertigo could counter that, and increase its allure, by offering a chance to put your spin on DC concepts and characters.

Anyone seen Adam Strange in the New 52? Boom, he’s ripe for a Vertigo relaunch. Honestly the Justice Experience would make for an awesome Vertigo title. And who needs John Constantine? Not Vertigo, Buzz from Peter David’s Supergirl is available and I think he’s make a suitable replacement.

Think of the scores of characters, concepts and names in the DC canon that are currently collecting dust, who could receive the Vertigo makeover? The possibilities are astronomical.

I want Vertigo to succeed, I really do. In fact, I saw they were looking for an Assistant Editor and I even applied for the position. Of course I don’t have an “in” over there so it’s highly doubtful that I’ll ever get a call from them.

Still, I’ve got this column, which means I’ve got a voice. So maybe if I put my ideas out there, someone in the Vertigo offices will read this and pass it off as their idea and maybe pull Vertigo out of the much it’s been suck in for the past few years.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be back next week with a new column. Until then, it’s Wednesday, go and pick up some comic books.



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