The Birth of an Imprint
The road to Vertigo's creation began in 1981 when Karen Berger edited her first issue for DC Comics, House of Mystery #292. For over a decade she continued her efforts as a DC editor, publishing comics she actually enjoyed reading. So it was in the dawn of the 90's that she directed her passion into making a special imprint for DC, her own line of titles that people actually wanted to read. This was at a time when people were buying multiple versions of an issue, leaving them unopened, and believing that in some years the comics would be worth millions.
Vertigo was to be something different, it was created in a time when new publishers were popping up constantly and it was to stand out as a line of titles that would draw people in for their stories and pushing the medium forward as opposed to how collectible they were. Another important factor (though it took some years for it to fully take effect due to the fact that a lot of the stuff in early years was brought over from the main DC Comics banner) was that the titles were creator-owned and each writer could create their own universe separate from any other continuity or chronology, in a sense containing a creator's vision unto the creator only.
So, in 1992, a one-shot premiered with an introduction by Karen Berger entitled Vertigo Preview which was essentially little snippets of thirteen Vertigo titles that would be hitting shelves in the next year. Finally, in January of 1993 (though the comics were cover dated March 1993) the Vertigo imprint launched, with a change in the cover design for the core titles that started it all, and a new publisher was born.
It should also be noted that from 1990 to 1992, DC was publishing an encyclopedia series of it's comics entitled Who's Who in the DC Universe and the fifteenth issue " DC's Realm of Dark Fantasy" (published a year before any Vertigo comic) spotlighted characters from Swamp Thing; Shade, the Changing Man; Black Orchid; Doom Patrol; The Sandman; Hellblazer; The Books of Magic and Kid Eternity. All titles that eventually transferred over to the Vertigo imprint which is why for many Vertigo was originally thought of as a "Dark Fantasy" imprint as that was part of what originally tied all the titles together, although over time Vertigo would delve into many other genres.
Vertigo has always been very creator-defined as over the years key creators have produced the majority of its most well-received material, however, while most of the creator's whose works inspired its foundation would continue to produce material for the imprint after its foundation, Alan Moore is the one creator who had a pivotal role in its foundation (thus the phrase "The House that Alan Built") that never contributed to it any new material although his Karen Berger-edited 80's Swamp Thing run is often considered an essential Vertigo comic.
Vertigo or DC? Making the Distinction
Vertigo is sometimes referred to as the adult version of DC Comics, as every issue under the Vertigo imprint also includes the warning: "Suggested for Mature Readers." It should be noted however, that prior to Vertigo's founding, DC had multiple books with this warning on them (as comics were becoming "darker" and more adult thanks to creators like Frank Miller and Alan Moore) and it was specifically titles and creators associated with Karen Berger that were brought under Vertigo while DC would continue to publish its own "mature" material.
Even though some characters were transferred between the Vertigo and DC Universes without explanation the two worlds are usually accepted as being different from one another and when a "crossover" takes place it is usually referred to as being non-canon. Also, as far as the logo on the covers of Vertigo comics, it actually took a few years for a cover to simply say "Vertigo" as initially it would always read Vertigo, and either below/above it DC. It wasn't until late 2002 just before the Vertigo X (representing Vertigo's tenth anniversary) started appearing on covers that DC finally removed its logo from the Vertigo covers and let the imprint get by on its own reputation.
Recently the publishers have been even more officially separated by DC taking back most of its characters to star solely in their universe and become part of their convoluted multiverse while Vertigo is more fully dedicated to creator-owned comics (though some old DC-owned comics are still reprinted at Vertigo and The Sandman seems firmly rooted under the imprint).
1993 was met with the introducing of some company-wide features that would distinguish the imprint from the rest of DC. Perhaps the most important of these was the On the Ledge feature which (barring the occasional publishing error) has been a continuing feature every month of the imprint's existence. Published in all its ongoings, it features solicits for the other books coming out that month as well as a specific write-up; usually by the creator who has a new ongoing, mini or one-shot debuting. They are meant to take advantage of this platform to convince you to read their new comic which often means they end up writing about completely random things.
This year also saw the debut of Vertigo's first cover design meant to set it apart (which would be notoriously met with disapproval by Dave McKean and not appear on the first few Vertigo-published issues of The Sandman). The logo was presented in the top left corner as DC (not DC's logo itself but DC written in a font similar to Vertigo's logo) with Vertigo underneath it. This was also accompanied by a border that would cut off an entire portion of the cover, although it could range in levels of opaqueness/ transparency from being a completely separate and solid color from the rest of the cover to still allowing you to see what would have been there otherwise.
It should also be noted that while the Vertigo "founders" claim it was founded on the idea of comics to be read and not just collected, in its early years the publisher was not entirely above the 90's tactics now blamed for ruining an era of comics such as releasing "Collector's Editions" of several first issues and the 50th issue of The Sandman (their biggest seller).
Animal Man was one of the six flagship titles that up until December of '92 were published alongside all the other DC Comics but in January of '93 moved over to Vertigo. While the series was considered unique among its superhero peers and critically-acclaimed right from its start (thanks to Grant Morrison's initial 26-issue run), it only gained the "Suggested for Mature Readers" warning on its cover in 1992 with #51, the first issue written by Jamie Delano who is perhaps best known for his earlier work as the first Hellblazer writer.
While his first arc was seven parts long, in order to make the series accessible to new readers for Vertigo's launch, the last two parts were published in a double-sized #56 and with its 57th issue it came under the Vertigo banner. With Delano, Animal Man became Buddy Baker and the series moved away from superhero antics and into the horrors of nature, also introducing Annie Cassidy who would have an important role in Buddy's life and breaking Ellen onto her own so she could have stories independent of her husband.
Spun out of the 1988 miniseries by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean (which was updated with a Vertigo trade dress), Black Orchid was the third new ongoing series to come out of the imprint. Written by Dick Foreman, who's previous Vertigo ties were a single co-written issue of Hellblazer and two guest issues of Swamp Thing, the series featured Flora Black on the run from the Logos with her friend Sherilyn. Within its first half year the series already was part of two crossovers (one with Swamp Thing in The Mind Fields and another with The Children's Crusade), possibly indicating a less than solid start.
The Books of Magic
Although no new series was published in 1993, the original 1990 miniseries by Neil Gaiman was collected for the first time and a preview for the ongoing series that launched the following year was released. Bridging the miniseries and ongoing was the Arcana Annual which was published as part of The Children's Crusade (originally the series was going to be called Arcana but this was scrapped and the original title was kept).
While Doom Patrol began in the 80's as standard superhero fare, it was radically changed with its 19th issue when Grant Morrison came onto the book and took things in a new direction. It was this run that helped shape the Vertigo imprint, and it was midway through (#37) that it came to wear the Suggested for Mature Readers warning. Ironically, Grant Morrison's last issue was also the last issue before it came under the Vertigo imprint.
Thus, the Vertigo run was meant to be accessible to new readers by simple extension of being the first issue of Rachel Pollack's run on the book (her first significant work in comics). She began to significantly change up the line-up of the Doom Patrol (as Morrison had before her) and introduced a new headquarters and various team members as well as concepts not commonly explored in comics. Perhaps one of the most notable aspects of her run was the addition of Coagula to the team, one of the first and few transsexual superheroes in comics.
Note: While the Hellblazer franchise is technically an extension of Swamp Thing, it is listed separately as it was established as a separate franchise already by Vertigo's inception and would come to exceed Swamp Thing in longevity.
Spun-out of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing (although never written by Moore), Hellblazer is the oldest Vertigo title to have borne the Suggested for Mature Readers title right from its first issue (since Swamp Thing already had it at the time of Hellblazer's launch). Originally written by Jamie Delano, by 1993 the series' second ongoing writer Garth Ennis was already in mid-run.
To be accessible to new readers, the first issue under the imprint was a one-off featuring the celebration of John Constantine's fortieth birthday with guest appearances from a number of members of his supporting cast. For the remainder of the year the series would continue to build upon previous story threads and build towards the run's climax. Although, it wasn't officially an "annual", a Hellblazer Special was also released this year featuring an extra-length one-off story about John and the First of the Fallen.
Although rarely associated with the Vertigo brand, in Vertigo's early years the character was featured in a number of minis by Joe R. Lansdale and Timothy Truman, the first of which was Two-Gun Mojo published in 1993. This version of the character was featured in a more horror-supernatural Western setting and was a hit with readers, although all involved parties seemed to prefer the idea of minis (the creators and fans) and so an ongoing never came about.
Kid Eternity was the second ongoing series to come out of Vertigo and was based off of the concepts and plot threads originated in Grant Morrison and Duncan Fegredo's 1988 miniseries. Written by Ann Nocenti and drawn by Sean Phillips, the series was not an instant hit and while it survived its first year, it wasn't fated to last. The stories featured a vast array of supporting characters and a seemingly directionless protagonist (Kid) who couldn't seem to figure out what exactly it was he was meant to do.
While Hellblazer is Vertigo's longest-running title, The Sandman is its foundation. Begun in 1989, it too was Suggested for Mature Readers from the start and whereas originally it was more integrated with the DC Universe, over its first couple years it began to become more secluded (a trend that would continue in other DC-owned Vertigo comics). By 1993, The Sandman was a proven success and as something of a testament to that success, it was the exception to the rule in being changed to align itself with Vertigo. Whereas all of the other six titles that switched over to Vertigo in January had a premiere issue that would be accessible to new readers (either as a one-off, start of a new arc or start of a new writer's run), The Sandman published the seventh part of Brief Lives and due to McKean's disgust at the idea of a border ruining his covers, the new cover design that was on all the other Vertigo books was delayed a couple months until The Sandman's 50th issue.
'93 also saw the success of The Sandman's own Death of the Endless who featured in her first miniseries, The High Cost of Living (which was coincidentally the first #1 under the Vertigo banner) as well as a pin-up gallery featuring a variety of artists and various comic-related merchandise such as a t-shirt and a watch that you could use to count down the seconds to your death.
Despite the imprint being known for its back-issue collections a decade later, at the start of its life, The Sandman was the only series that would be consistently collected as the series was published (and was collected in hardcover, followed by a trade paperback re-release while the series was ongoing, something only repeated for the first time almost twenty years later with American Vampire). It is also the only one of the original six Vertigo comics to be fully collected, four of which have never had a single issue of Vertigo-published material ever reprinted.
Sandman Mystery Theatre
While Mystery Theatre is a Sandman spin-off of sorts (since Wesley Dodds was The Sandman that Neil Gaiman originally wanted to write), it is independent of The Sandman and the only tie between the two titles is the idea that it's Dream of the Endless who's inspiring Wesley to bring about the Sleep of the Just (as seen in The Sandman #1). Sandman Mystery Theatre is the first ongoing series released by Vertigo (and one of the longest-running) and Karen Berger has mentioned that it is one of her personal favourites. Originally written by Matt Wagner of Grendel fame, the series was formulaic in its set-up, with each arc lasting four issues and featuring a new serial killer of sorts that Wesley had to identify, trying to help the law enforcement who hate him for his vigilantism. Ongoing plots would connect the arcs but the formula for arc set-up was kept until the series' end.
Shade, the Changing Man
The youngest of the original six ongoings, Shade was a Mature Readers title from the get-go and written by Peter Milligan (and up-to-this-point primarily drawn by Chris Bachalo). Perhaps one of the most accessible titles in the relaunch, Milligan had killed off Shade in the last issue of '92 (#32) in order to resurrect him in the following issue, six months later (one month later in the real world) in an entirely different set-up for the series (although key cast members would remain). Up until now, the two major plot-lines that had taken place in the series involved the character's traveling on the road a lot but at Vertigo they were introduced to "Hotel Shade" which would provide a major setting where the character's could base themselves while the weirdness would come to them including an arc featuring John Constantine (which would later be continued almost twenty years later when Milligan wrote Hellblazer).
Shade became less of a superhero (not that he was much of one at any point in the series) and more of a mentally unstable alien with superpowers having strange adventures with strange people. This year also saw Kathy (Shade's lover) impregnated which would lead to one of the earliest stories at the imprint dealing with the issues surrounding unintended conception.
At this point, Swamp Thing was the longest-running series in the Vertigo stable, being the only series to already be in the triple digits for issue numbering (Hellblazer, a spin-off of Swamp Thing, would be its only Vertigo contemporary to even reach one hundred issues). This was mostly due to Alan Moore's legendary run early on in the series life (#20-64) that would change comics, being the first example of DC not having a comic approved by the Comics Code of Authority before publishing it and introducing the "Suggested for Mature Readers" warning on covers. Alan Moore would be followed by a number of writers that never achieved the same success he did.
At the time it switched over to Vertigo, Nancy A. Collins was nearing the end of her run on the book and to make the series accessible, the first issue under Vertigo featured Swamp Thing hallucinating and reliving his past due to exposure to toxic waste, explaining how he had come to be poisoned in the previous arc as well as explaining his current relationship ties to various characters (which included his split from Abby due to his breaking her trust). Nancy's run would end late in the year, followed by a fill-in issue from Dick Foreman (related to the crossover he was writing in Black Orchid), setting the series up for a fresh debut in '94.
Another spin-off of Swamp Thing launched this year, although it was primarily published in 1994, American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men #1 was released in December and would begin a separate franchise at the imprint following a new generation of Un-Men after Anton Arcane's original creations.
1993 would also see Vertigo's first sub-imprint, a new logo that would feature on comics loosely tied together under a specific premise. In the case of Vertigo Visions, the premise was taking a DC character of varied popularity and success and putting a Vertigo spin on them through a one-shot. The two characters featured this year were Brother Power the Geek and the Phantom Stranger, both already tied to Vertigo. The former through Neil Gaiman's Swamp Thing Annual and the latter through appearances in both Swamp Thing and Hellblazer.
While Vertigo was originally very much focused on "darker versions" of pre-existing DC characters and concepts, it was also meant as a platform for creator-owned comics (often by the same creators writing the DC-owned epics) although it wasn't until 1994 that anything creator-owned would become successful. It should be noted that most of the original creator-owned content at Vertigo in its first year had actually immigrated over from the collapsed Touchmark Comics imprint Disney had intended to launch at the time under editor, Art Young. This included Enigma, Mercy, Sebastian O and the next year's Shadows Fall.
The first creator-owned release through Vertigo was Enigma #1 in January by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo which would continue as an eight-issue limited series dealing with homosexuality and super-heroics of sorts (although with a "Vertigo twist"), while considered a classic by many the series hasn't been kept in print.
In February, Vertigo released its first Prestige Format comic (essentially a miniature graphic novel) to debut the creator-owned Mercy by J.M. DeMatteis and Paul Johnson which was entirely self-contained.
Grant Morrison's first creator-owned comic for the imprint launched in March with Sebastian O, a three-issue miniseries by him and Steve Yeowell (who had previously collaborated on Zenith in the UK) which would also be kept out of print.
Also released later in the year were The Last One (a six-issue miniseries by J.M. DeMatteis and Dan Sweetman) featuring an immortal who would try to help "lost souls" it found as it walked the streets of our world as well as The Extremist (a four-issue miniseries also by Peter Milligan, with art by Ted McKeever), which dealt with sexual perversions and a costumed assassin battling its inner urges as The Extremist.
Although they featured DC-owned concepts, two limited series were published in 1993 that would be confined to these series and mostly forgotten. First of the two was Skin Graft: The Adventures of the Tattooed Man, a four-issue miniseries by Jerry Prosser and Warren Pleece featuring a new Tattooed Man (the Green Lantern villain), although after the mini's end the character would go unused and Tattooed Man would return as a concept in the DC Universe where new versions of the character would be created. Also released, although concluded in '94, was Scarab, a limited series only partially tied to the DC Universe as it was considered too dark for its intended purpose which was to be a Doctor Fate series by John Smith. So instead the character was changed to Scarab, he was introduced as having been a Golden Age superhero and now long out of his prime and some bizarre adventures began, mostly focused on him trying to locate and revive his wife.
Although there would be a few crossovers in various titles at Vertigo throughout the years, it was primarily characters coming from one book into another without backlash on the title they were coming from (such as John Constantine appearing in Shade this year without actually affecting Hellblazer). What was rare in 1993 was that a full-blown company crossover was published featuring ties between most of the company-owned ongoing's at the time, apparently at the wishes of the creator's as at least one editor (Lou Stathis, who wrote the On the Ledge article introducing the crossover) wasn't sure about the idea.
In order not to interfere with the main series too much as to not force people to read the crossover if they weren't really interested, it took place entirely in annuals (ongoing titles having annuals was a trend for only this year, although the rare annual would be published in following years it would just be for a single series and not every title) and was bookended by the first and second issue of The Children's Crusade, the name of the crossover. Neil Gaiman wrote the bookends as they featured The Deadboy Detectives (from The Sandman) and introduced the basic premise that kids were disappearing and this was because Free Country (a Faerie-related place) was in need of children with special powers to save it.
Thus, the annuals would feature each individual child's role in the crossover (sometimes with a back-up story unrelated to the crossover) including Maxine Baker (Animal Man Annual), Suzy (Black Orchid Annual), Tim Hunter (Arcana, The Books of Magic Annual), Dorothy Spinner (Doom Patrol Annual, this was actually the second annual for the series, the first published several years earlier as part of Paul Rosenberg's run) and Tefé Holland (Swamp Thing Annual #7, all previous six annuals had been written by different writers over the years and were entirely unrelated to each other).
In the end, nefarious purposes were revealed and the children had to escape Free Country and the crossover proved to have little impact on most books and was the last of its kind. The two books to have major developments from the crossover were Black Orchid (as Junkin Buckley of Free Country would become a recurring character in the series) and Animal Man (not due to The Children's Crusade itself but due to the manner of Maxine's disappearance which would significantly alter the series' direction all the way up until the end of Delano's run).
Throughout the year two one-shots were also released, meant to interest people by giving them a brief tidbit of the various series ongoing at the time that they might not be reading. The first of these was Vertigo Jam which would feature short-stories from several of the ongoings that weren't necessary to the overall plot-lines and yet gave you an idea of what to expect from the book's featuring The Sandman; Hellblazer; Animal Man; Doom Patrol; Swamp Thing; Kid Eternity; and Shade, the Changing Man.
And at the tail-end of the year, Vertigo Encyclopaedia was released, not a true character encyclopaedia (in comics, an encyclopaedia is typically a Who's Who directory giving stats and brief histories on all the character's in the universe), it was instead a short sampler "narrated" by John Constantine featuring a pin-up and a short synopsis of what was going on in several different titles, always leading up to a plug specifically for the issue being released in January '94 (even if it wasn't much of a jumping-on point in the traditional sense as several of the titles were mid-arc or even releasing the final issue of an arc). The plugged series included Animal Man; Black Orchid; The Books of Magic; Doom Patrol; Hellblazer; Kid Eternity; The Sandman; Sandman Mystery Theatre; Shade, the Changing Man; and Swamp Thing.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 1993
In its sophomore year, Vertigo already began to make significant changes to their line-up and tried to even further distance themselves from just a couple DC books with a new logo, launching their first creator-owned ongoing series, their first original graphic novels, some early examples of trade paperback collections and new creative teams. In only its second year, most of the six flagship titles saw significant changes with one getting cancelled (Doom Patrol), three changing writers (Animal Man/Hellblazer/Swamp Thing) and another seeing significant changes in-story as well as losing the main series artist (Shade, the Changing Man). As with the previous year, the only series seemingly unaffected was The Sandman, although at this point it was already in its climax and closing in on its inevitable conclusion.
Building off of the events indirectly caused by The Children's Crusade crossover in the fall of '93, Animal Man went into a unique direction for the character, going so far as to transform Animal Man to more animal then man in not just attitude but appearance as well when he gave in to The Red and became a creature of both fearsome presence and power. Jamie Delano brought his run to an end this year with the story revolving around The Life Power Church of Maxine, focusing on the potential Maxine had to be a much more perfect conduit between humans and their animal brethren. This all built up to Delano's leaving the book at the end of the year (after a two and a half year run) by killing Buddy. While this normally would be a hindrance to a new writer, it allowed Jerry Prosser to start his story fresh with #80 in December, reintroducing Buddy in the afterlife, now with another new look (albeit a human one).
Black Orchid would struggle to gain the success of some of its peers, at the start of the year, new artist Rebecca Guay came on the book to replace the popular Jill Thompson, making both the writer and artist of the series lesser known creators. The series also began to move into a different direction then its earlier issues and Gaiman's miniseries had established, instead pursuing the idea of Black Orchid being a nymph goddess and stepping further away from the "realism" of her foes into the more supernatural.
The Silent People became less silent and mysterious as Black Orchid began to discover herself. Suzy would also start to come into her own with the occasional issue focusing on her adventures instead of Flora. However, already by the end of the year a climactic arc entitled "A Twisted Season" began, suggesting the beginning of the end for Flora, whether or not this arc was planned due to the suspicion the series would be cancelled is unknown.
The Books of Magic
Quickly establishing itself as one of the mainstay franchises at Vertigo, The Books of Magic launched its first ongoing series in early 1994, written by John Ney Rieber and drawn by a variety of artists such as Peter Gross, Gary Amaro and Peter Snejbjerg. While the title didn't have creators with as large a following as some of their contemporaries, the covers were done by Charles Vess (who had painted one issue of the original miniseries) and all issues credited Neil Gaiman as a consultant, although he never used his power to veto any developments. The new series was not too reliant on the original mini, developing a new world and personality for Tim Hunter, already introducing a number of new characters and concepts within its first year (prominent ones including Molly O'Reilly and Barbatos). However, two primary ideas were continued on from Neil Gaiman's work, including Tim's mysterious heritage and the idea that Tim could potentially use his innate ability for evil as established by a future Tim Hunter whose goal was to make sure the current Tim made the same wrong choices he did.
First of Vertigo's flagship titles to get the axe, while Doom Patrol lasted two years under the imprint, it was cancelled at the tail end of 1994 with its 87th issue. Although Vertigo specialized in comics that differed from the mainstream, in its early years, some titles delved into less favorable directions and were cancelled, Doom Patrol serving as an early example of this due to its bizarre and experimental nature. Without Grant Morrison at its head, this "bizarreness" didn't seem to retain its readership, and Richard Case (the main artist up to that point) leaving in turn for less traditional artists may have deterred readers as well. Although it wasn't enough of a success to continue on past 1994, The Teiresias Wars arc remains one of the few stories from the publisher to deal in depth with transsexuality and the ideas that entails even twenty years later.
The final arc of the book also began to deal with the Kabbalah and other uncommon concepts which made for a unique ending, years later DC would for the most part sweep Rachel's entire run under the rug and return the Doom Patrol to more traditional superheroics, launching their third volume seven years after the conclusion of the Vertigo title. While the Doom Patrol has never found the success it did under Grant Morrison (which is oft-regarded as "classic" Vertigo), it has gone through several attempts at an ongoing series and never returned to the imprint since the 90's.
Hellblazer saw the end of an era for itself in 1994, with what many would think of as the defining run of the book by Garth Ennis coming to a climax and conclusion this year. Concluding the Damnation's Flame arc with the special anniversary issue, #75, two single-issue stories followed and then began Ennis' final arc. Rake at the Gates of Hell spanned from #78-83, being the major story event for Hellblazer that year, it drew numerous story threads to a conclusion and definitively wrapped up things (mostly by killing off supporting characters that had been introduced). The Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon/Glenn Fabry creative team did not disperse however as at the end of their Hellblazer run they were already working on a new creator-owned series where they would revisit and polish up some of the themes already used in their Hellblazer run...it would debut the following year (see Preacher).
To fill in the void Ennis had left behind, two guest writers came onto the book with Jamie Delano returning to write a single issue and Eddie Campbell (of From Hell fame) began a four-part arc. Although the new ongoing writer wouldn't be seen until '95, all these guest stories were drawn by the new artist to replace Dillon, Sean Phillips. Phillips had previously been working at Vertigo on the Kid Eternity series but following its cancellation was brought onto Hellblazer where he remained for a few years.
This year also saw a small step forward in the world of trade paperback collections, with Hellblazer seeing its second collection of issues since Original Sins (which had been released in 1992 under DC). Unfortunately, rather then keeping things sequential, the arc collected was Dangerous Habits, the break-out arc that introduced Americans to Garth Ennis. Considered an essential piece, this skipping of #10-40 caused the decade-spanning system of leaving portions of the Hellblazer series uncollected and only reprinting bits and pieces from the early years.
Although in some ways it would be overshadowed by its close follower, The Invisibles was the first ongoing creator-owned series at Vertigo, beating out Preacher by seven months. Written by Grant Morrison, Invisibles would be one of the few examples of a creator-owned ongoing without a primary artist as rotating artists remained a common part of the book until the end of its run, helping to enforce the idea the story belonged to Morrison. Commonly regarded as Morrison's magnum opus, The Invisibles unfortunately suffered for breaking ground and would be a victim of censorship on multiple occasions, something that would upset Morrison, especially since later creator-owned series wouldn't seem to be held under the same scrutiny. In its first year, The Invisibles remained fairly tame in comparison to what would come of it, introducing readers into its world with Jack Frost, although unexplained major plot threads would be introduced from the very beginning.
There was no new Jonah Hex material produced this year, however a trade was released collecting the five-issue Two-Gun Mojo series from the previous years. This was significant in that it was the first time Vertigo reprinted material it had already published outside of The Sandman.
Not a first to reach for but one Kid Eternity holds claim to, is being the first Vertigo ongoing to be canceled. Only sixteen issues into the series, sales caused the book to be cut short and Kid Eternity fell out of the Vertigo stable, essentially disappearing from comics for several years. Eventually the character would resurface at DC (his Vertigo history abandoned), first in JSA #1 (where he was promptly killed) and finally became a supporting character in 2009 when he was brought onto Teen Titans, he has yet to ever gain another ongoing however.
Moonshadow was a unique attempt from Vertigo to reprint classic creator-owned comics that were now out of print. Rather than collecting the previous series (published by Marvel's Epic imprint from 1985-1986) in a single volume, Vertigo reprinted each issue individually, adding a new cover for each issue but otherwise keeping the same format as the original. Moonshadow is significant for being one of the first fully-painted ongoing comics, it was painted by Jon J Muth. Written by J.M. DeMatteis who would have a lot of his work published at Vertigo in the mid-90's, it was a unique sci-fi/enlightenment tale following the young adventurer Moonshadow and seemed to find more success at Vertigo then any of J.M.'s other works.
Although Vertigo had just begun, thanks in part to the success of The Sandman, the series was already spinning towards its conclusion and '94 was primarily focused on its climactic thirteen-part arc The Kindly Ones. While most of the other titles in the Vertigo stable wouldn't be able to support such a referential, long arc, The Sandman was able to do it and remain a success. Spawning another pin-up only issue (featuring Dream this year instead of Death); continuing to get hardcover/trade paperback collections that were kept in print; and a free pamphlet release of Death Talks About Life to encourage safe sex (the feature was originally a back-up in several "Vertigo" comics in December 1992), The Sandman was still Vertigo's biggest title although this was the last year before new ongoings really began to steal the spotlight.
Sandman Mystery Theatre
Sandman Mystery Theatre would, for the most part, retain its formula throughout its run although in its second year, Steven T. Seagle was brought on to co-write alongside Matt Wagner. Uniquely, Sandman Mystery Theatre was the only series this year to get an annual (and one of the few comics to ever get an annual at Vertigo) although it would never get a follow-up. The series continued to deal with themes like poverty, racism and how they relate to crime.
Shade, the Changing Man
Going through significant changes this year (in-story as well as out), Shade spent the first half of the year publishing its longest (and arguably most important) arc, A Season in Hell (#45-50). On top of the series-altering events that would occur in the 50th issue, it was also the last drawn by the (up until that point) main artist, Chris Bachalo, who would leave for Marvel (where he would end up producing his most famous work). However, the story changes also meant a shift in the status quo and character's that readers had become familiar with were abandoned for new ones, the setting was changed entirely and even Shade took on a new look. Morning of the Masks, the arc directly following these changes (#51-53), has sometimes been blamed for the title's eventual downfall due to reader dissatisfaction and eventual drop-off.
Since it hadn't revamped itself the previous year (rather letting Nancy A. Collins finish her run), Swamp Thing was revamped in '94 with the introduction of a new writer, Mark Millar. His first four-issue arc would be co-written with Vertigo alumni Grant Morrison and have Swamp Thing go rogue in a tale that once again brought into question the Alec Holland/Swamp Thing identity and just what exactly Swamp Thing is.
From there, Mark Millar continued writing the book solo and introduced the idea that would dominate his run, that of The Parliament of Trees not being the only Parliament as each element had their own and Swamp Thing was to absorb all of their powers into himself on a personal enlightenment of sorts. All the while, several mysterious character's would pop in and out of the story, seemingly knowing more then what the reader did. This year also saw the publication of the 150th issue of Swamp Thing, a feat that while mostly due to the book's time under DC, has thus far only been matched once (by spin-off, Hellblazer).
Kicking off a new franchise, Elaine Lee and Will Simpson (neither established names at Vertigo yet) produced the six-issue miniseries Vamps. While not considered pivotal, the series was one of the few books to feature a female protagonist and went so far as to have five of them. Following the five vampire biker chicks, Vamps proved popular with readers although since it was never intended as an ongoing but a series of minis, it is unknown whether it would have been able to last among its contemporaries although successive minis were later published.
While Witchcraft featured The Furies, most commonly associated with The Sandman (especially at this time when they were wreaking havoc in The Kindly Ones arc), the book itself had no ties to The Sandman and took place throughout four time periods following various reincarnations of the same woman and her quest to get revenge on the reincarnation of her rapist from centuries prior. It was written by James Robinson (who would rarely foray into Vertigo) and finished a couple months before he would begin his magnum opus, Starman. His original On the Ledge article for the series proves that his life of debauchery and unique personality as showcased on the ComicVine podcast have been around for decades.
Continuing to focus on old DC characters and showing them in a new "dark", this year Vertigo Visions released another one-shot. This time the focus was Doctor Occult who had recently been re-popularized through Neil Gaiman's Books of Magic, and the creative team saw the reunion of Dave Louapre and Dan Sweetman (creators of Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children). Although both had worked on a Vertigo miniseries prior to this, neither worked at Vertigo afterward and Doctor Occult never found any solo success, remaining a Books of Magic supporting cast member.
In order to help promote the idea of creator-owned work, Vertigo launched a second sub-imprint at the tail of this year, Vertigo Voices, which took well-known creators and allowed them to make a distinctive one-shot that would stand all its own but help reinforce the idea of the creator-driven stories. Two one-shots were released in '94, Face by Peter Milligan (who had already produced a large amount of work for Vertigo) and Duncan Fegredo (his common accomplice) as well as Tainted by Jamie Delano (also a big name at Vertigo) and Al Davison. Both were horror stories that seemed to focus on character's with mental illnesses but this wasn't the over-arcing theme of the line and merely coincidental as later releases would show.
Creator-owned material was produced in two primary forms this year, original graphic novels and collections of previously published material prior to the creator's Vertigo years. There was still a tendency to lean towards established creators releasing new material versus helping new creator's break out with a stand-alone piece.
The three graphic novels were The Heart of the Beast (Vertigo's first ever OGN), The Mystery Play and Mr. Punch, the latter two would be reprinted in trade paperback form the following year although The Heart of the Beast never got reprinted, likely selling less due to its lesser-known creators in comparison.
On the end of reprint material came two firsts:
- Breathtaker was the first collection of previously DC-published material that didn't tie into something that Vertigo was currently publishing (in the previous year, DC-published minis like Black Orchid and Books of Magic had been collected but these were turned into Vertigo ongoings). This four-issue mini had been an early example of a creator-owned comic, written by Mark Wheatley and drawn by Marc Hempel. It was likely this trade was brought about in part due to the fact that in '94 Marc Hempel was the primary artist of The Sandman, drawing most of The Kindly Ones arc so it wasn't a surprise that the introduction was provided by none other than Neil Gaiman.
- Rogan Gosh, a unique endeavor in that it reprinted material that saw its first printing in North America, having previously been serialized in a British comics magazine (the market many early Vertigo creators had come from). It was written by Peter Milligan and drawn by Brendan McCarthy, who at the time were known for their work on Shade, the Changing Man (although Brendan had stopped doing covers for the series with its last DC issue).
A single creator-owned miniseries began at the end of '94, the six-issue Shadows Fall, written by John Ney Rieber (who was writing The Books of Magic ongoing) and illustrated by John Van Fleet. Tied to the dark and supernatural themes of many early Vertigo works, it dealt with a man who's shadow/soul had detached itself from him and was now running rampant in the city, causing others to commit suicide.
With Scarab coming to an end at the beginning of the year and being left in the vault of things best forgotten, another strange company-owned comic would begin near the end of the year. Mobfire was strange in that the character's of it were all original as well as the plot (except for a small role by John Constantine which could have been served by a new character) and yet it was not creator-owned. The story followed a mob family (mixed with the supernatural) and its new head that was trying to undo his own family's success.
While they didn't release much in the way of bonus material this year, Vertigo kept up the annual trend begun in '92 by releasing a sampler, Vertigo Rave, that previewed several of the comics being released at the time as well as containing a short original story to entice those who were going to read the other books anyways.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 1994
With Preacher kicking off at the beginning of the year, the face of Vertigo began to shift from The Sandman (which was mostly tying up loose ends and publishing epilogues) and other DC-owned comics to the new creator-owned properties that were revolutionizing comics at the time, The Invisibles and Preacher. This was also the first time (a much rarer occurrence in the 90's) that Vertigo published comics in promotion of a film. The Tank Girl film was released in early April and Vertigo spent the year releasing Tank Girl comics (consisting of two minis and a film adaptation), but after the year Tank Girl separated its partnership from Vertigo.
Like Doom Patrol the year before it, Animal Man began to see a departure too far from its original superhero nature and it was quickly cancelled. While Delano's run under Vertigo had lasted until its natural conclusion, with new writer Jerry Prosser (a relative unknown) coming onto the book and changing Animal Man yet again the book was soon cancelled. Jerry's run lasted a total of ten issues before the book was cancelled after eighty-nine total issues. Jerry had significantly altered Animal Man yet again (as previous writers on the book had been known to do) and this time Buddy became a Shaman-like character. The book focused more on the idea of the next step of evolution being the child Buddy had impregnated Annie Cassidy with, concluding the series with her giving birth to the unnamed (and abnormal-looking) daughter.
Again like Doom Patrol, due to the lack of success of this experimentation, Animal Man would disappear from Vertigo following the cancellation of the series and not re-emerge until years later. The character would return not at Vertigo but under the main DC logo with the changes at Vertigo being undone and the character changed to a more fun, quirky type and once again wearing his long-abandoned costume. He began to appear occasionally in the DCU again in 1999 and 2000 until 2006 when he served a role in Infinite Crisis which would lead to his more prominent role in 52, a springboard for his proper return to the DCU.
Ironically, after only five years the character was once again rebooted, this time in line with The New 52, receiving his second ongoing series, which would be inspired by (and restore many ideas from) the preceding Vertigo series.
While Black Orchid seemed to face the same predicament as Doom Patrol and Animal Man, unlike either of them, her title never truly flourished and ended before it could really gain a following. Putting out the last four parts of A Twisted Season, Black Orchid was canceled after only twenty-two issues, a less than two year life-cycle.
The series was written in such a way as to conclude the journey of its original protagonist, Flora Black, by having her become the enemy and finally be stopped with her death. However, the story had worked to shape Suzy in such a way that she would be able to take up the mantle of Black Orchid and the original intention seemed to be to one day continue her story at Vertigo but this never happened.
From then on she would fade out of the 90's, only coming back in the new millennium at DC where she would serve minor roles, primarily in comics outside the core DCU. With Flashpoint and The New 52 it seemed the Vertigo Black Orchid was finally swept away completely in return for the original Black Orchid whom Neil Gaiman had killed in the opening pages of the miniseries that started the character's Vertigo development.
The Books of Magic
The Books of Magic flourished in '95, one of Vertigo's strongest sellers (behind only The Sandman and Preacher), the new plot-lines that had been introduced at the start of the series were now (at least temporarily) brought to an end through one of the title's longest arcs, Playgrounds which spanned #15-20. This saw Tim and Molly in Hell and brought Tim face to face with the reality of the evil he could become, which would lead to significant story developments the following year.
Due in part to its success, The Books of Magic became one of the few titles to be collected in trade paperback while it was ongoing. The Sandman, however, would remain the only title to get the hardcover and trade paperback treatment.
Defying the trends of its contemporaries, Hellblazer came out of the year better off then it went in. With Eddie Campbell finishing his four-part arc, the new writer finally came onto the title with #89. Paul Jenkins (who had formerly been working in the industry as an editor) received his first opportunity as the writer of an ongoing comic and after finishing up Campbell's storyline for two issues, began to carve his own distinctive run on the book.
While Garth Ennis had brought the book into a much more supernatural universe filled with angels and demons, Paul Jenkins shifted the book's supernatural direction into a world of British myth and legend as opposed to the established Christian mythology. He also introduced a new supporting cast (Ennis having written out most of his own), although he brought back Ennis' key creation, The First of the Fallen to once again serve as Constantine's antagonist, also finishing some unresolved stories from Delano's early work on the title.
Jamie Delano once again briefly returned to Hellblazer this year, but rather then write the ongoing he wrote the two-issue Prestige format series, The Horrorist. Taking place outside of the main Hellblazer series, this mini was graced with the art of David Lloyd (V for Vendetta's famed artist).
The Invisibles endured its first full year as an ongoing, becoming a defining comic of the mid-90's with its unique story-lines and ideas as could only be written by Grant Morrison. Dealing with politics, sexual deviancy, alien abduction, time-travel, transsexuality, secret organizations and countless conspiracies...The Invisibles had it all. Unique stories this year included the arc focusing on the origins of Lord Fanny (cross-dressing member of The Invisibles) and an issue dedicated to a character retroactively revealed to have been one of the unimportant casualties in the first issue.
Having taken a year off, the Joe R. Lansdale and Timothy Truman creative team returned to Jonah Hex at Vertigo for a second time. The miniseries was again five issues, this time entitled "The Riders of the Worm and Such" and introducing an underground civilization of worms and their human-hybrid spawn that were wreaking havoc in the Old West. Mixing genres, Jonah Hex was both a Western and supernatural, while also spotted with a healthy dosage of humor (all of which are represented partially in the comic's title).
Despite being reprinted material, the Moonshadow series performed well and completed its twelve-issue rerun in '95. While no new material had yet been presented from Vertigo (apart from the new covers), there was a promise of more to come which would be delivered in later years.
Debuting in February, Preacher was the second creator-owned ongoing series at Vertigo. However, it quickly came to overshadow its predecessor The Invisibles and due in part to The Sandman reaching its conclusion, Preacher didn't take long to become Vertigo's strongest title. Preacher's success proved steady from the start and while many comics drop in readership from their first issue on, Preacher's audience grew. This was likely due in part due to the controversial nature of the comic, especially in its time, where it harshly attacked the Christian religion and filled itself to the brim with violence, cursing and things most would never dream of publishing (such as a young teenage boy with an arse for a face because his suicide attempt had gone wrong).
Reuniting Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon and Glenn Fabry from the popular Hellblazer run, Preacher was a formula proven to work and explored much more then had been with the company-owned title. Some readers did seem to have difficulty understanding the idea of creator-owned comics in the early years of Vertigo with the occasional letters to titles like Preacher wishing for crossovers but even if it wasn't part of the DCU, Preacher had found a fanbase. It was also significantly goofier then Hellblazer, which had dealt with similar dark subject matter but not with such a prevalent black comedy influence.
Still going strong as Vertigo's biggest series, The Sandman was unfortunately coming to an end at the wishes of Neil Gaiman who did not want the series to continue on after he left. With Morpheus, the primary protagonist of the series, dying early on in the year, the majority of the issues published in '95 were of an epilogue nature. The Wake arc would put Morpheus to rest with a magnificent funeral that only such an influential being could command and feature a lot of character's from previous arcs whose stories would find some sort of conclusion. The arc also served to establish Daniel Hall, Morpheus' successor in the Dream/Sandman mantle. While the series would have naturally ended this year, due to several skipped months, the final issue wasn't released until January 1996.
A third pin-up gallery issue was released this year in the tradition of the previous two years with this one spotlighting all of the seven Endless as opposed to just Death or Dream. This year also saw new editions made for the early Sandman hardcovers and trades (which had been printed before the Vertigo label and thus had DC branded dress). This would start the trend of giving the book's new uniform dress a number of times over the decades as they would continue to sell out and remain one of not just Vertigo, but DC's strongest sellers in the graphic novel market.
Sandman Mystery Theater
While it was never one of Vertigo's strongest sellers, Sandman Mystery Theatre remained out of reach of the headman's axe and grew in popularity over the year. Although the series featured Wesley Dodds, the Golden Age Sandman, the book was far from a traditional superhero series. Its most superhero-oriented arc would be published this year when The Hourman crossed over into the series for a four-issue arc (#29-32) although this wasn't tied to any Hourman comic and simply showcased the idea there were other heroes in the world who seemingly had actual superpowers, even if Wesley was the only one prominently seen in any capacity.
The series proved to be successful enough to get a trade paperback collection of the first arc, although a follow-up would not come for another decade. This year also saw the Prestige formatted crossover between The Sandman and Sandman Mystery Theatre, Sandman Midnight Theatre. It was primarily a Sandman Mystery Theatre story but saw writing contribution from both Matt Wagner and Neil Gaiman (and was painted by Teddy Kristiansen), featuring a tie-in to The Sandman as a retroactive look at what was going on with Dodds during The Sandman #1 (published in 1988 and featuring a Dodds cameo) and how it tied to Morpheus.
Seekers into the Mystery
Another creator-owned ongoing to debut in 1995, Seekers into the Mystery did not launch with the instant success of its predecessors, although it only released its first two issues this year. Written by J.M. DeMatteis (who primarily had work he had done for other publisher's printed at Vertigo thus far), the series was boasted to have potential to be quite lengthy and more blatantly dealt with the spiritual enlightenment ideas that J.'s creator-owned works commonly revolved around. J.M. was much more able to deal with the subject in detail with the premise of Seekers exactly being a seeking of enlightenment without the vampires (Blood: A Tale) or space-faring adventures (Moonshadow).
Shade, the Changing Man
Continuing in its new direction, Shade began to change quite a bit in tone and content. With Chris Bachalo gone, the series would shift in artists, from the previous year's Sean Phillips to early '95's Mark Buckingham to the latter portion of the year's Richard Case. The character became increasingly less on an emotional level as those he loved were lost to him and he became something of an antagonist to his own series and a far cry from his previous incarnations.
Finally, in what may have appeared as something of a last ditch effort, the final arc of the series released its first issue at the end of the year. It dared an attempt to bring back what had made Shade, and in a way the series, feel so alive (Kathy).
Mark Millar spent all of this year continuing his lengthy journey for Swamp Thing to absorb the powers of all the other elemental Parliaments. The majority of the year was spent on the water-themed portion of the journey, however, the arc's nature meant that each issue was only slightly connected to others and for the most part it was an effective way to portray alternate realities and have Swamp Thing try to solve the problems in them.
While the stories tended to be dark, they were much less graphic (in terms of violence, language and perversion) then the decades later Mark Millar that most people think of, Swamp Thing being written before he became popular in America.
While the Tank Girl film would go on to become a failure (both critically and financially), there was still a quality output of Tank Girl comics coming out that year. A deal was struck with Vertigo to release some Tank Girl minis and so apart from a Prestige format film adaptation, two miniseries were published. The original creators of the character, Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett each took an active role with Martin writing Apocalypse and Hewlett drawing The Odyssey. Apocalypse revolved around a pregnant Tank Girl and the absurdity that comes with such a concept and The Odyssey was a parody of its namesake, replacing Odysseus with Tank Girl but keeping the core concepts of the original story.
Ironically, considering the release of the film, '95 was the death of Tank Girl, Deadline where she had been appearing in the UK since her creation collapsed due to their investment in the failed film. Her creators went on to do other things and it wasn't until 2007 that she re-emerged, at IDW Publishing. She would continue to get various miniseries after this although none at Vertigo, and Apocalypse and The Odyssey would be collected by Titan Books in 2003.
Taking a break from its first miniseries, Vamps was one of the few minis to receive a trade paperback collection in the early 90's and a second miniseries kicked off in December of '95, subtitled Hollywood & Vein.
Vertigo Visions continued its trend of spotlighting character's recently brought back out of obscurity by Neil Gaiman, this time using Prez who had been focused on during an issue of The Sandman's Worlds' End arc. Although the story revolved around the character Prez in a metaphorical fashion, the comic was not actually about him but about his influence, legacy and a teenager who believed himself to be Prez's son. Ed Brubaker and Eric Shanower (who had created the acclaimed An Accidental Death story for Dark Horse a few years earlier) were reunited for this effort which was their debut for either of the Big Two.
The Vertigo Voices concept was wrapped up this year with its two more successful one-shots of the four, The Eaters by Peter Milligan and Duncan Fegredo and Kill Your Boyfriend by Grant Morrison and Philip Bond. Kill Your Boyfriend by far would prove to be the most prominent of the Vertigo Voices releases, going on to be reprinted several times in upgraded formats, a rarity for a one-shot comic.
Creator-owned ongoing titles were still a minority this early on in the imprint's life but by this year, its output of creator-owned material was starting to flourish with a large number of self-contained miniseries coming out from some of the creator's that had otherwise been working on company-owned books at Vertigo. What is arguably the most significant of these was Goddess, Garth Ennis' first accepted American comics pitch (although it would be published years after he had already made a name for himself at Vertigo).
Other titles by established Vertigo creators included Egypt, Ghostdancing and Industrial Gothic with work by writers new to American comics also coming out including Millennium Fever and Chiaroscuro: The Private Lives of Leonardo da Vinci.
With creator-owned comics coming to the forefront, company-owned minis that weren't tied to ongoing franchises disappeared this year apart from the final issues of Mobfire.
Absolute Vertigo was this year's sampler to entice readers into the book's coming out at the time, boasting an original Invisibles story that would be seemingly forgotten in the original trades and first be reprinted in the 2012 Omnibus. In the vein of the Sandman pin-up one-shots that had been released every year, Dreams & Nightmares was also published, displaying renditions of a large variety of Vertigo titles as opposed to focusing on a single one.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 1995
The end of one chapter, and the beginning of another, 1996 saw the conclusion of three of the four remaining "core titles" that had kick-started Vertigo three years prior. Shade, the Changing Man, Swamp Thing and The Sandman all ended this year leaving only Hellblazer from the original six titles, of course Hellblazer had many more years left in its run and celebrated its 100th issue in '96. However, it was quite obvious Vertigo wasn't ready to end the reign of The Sandman as it was only months after its conclusion that they began Essential Vertigo: The Sandman , reprinting the series starting with the first issue. Also in '96 began the spin-off of The Sandman, The Dreaming, a series (of which Gaiman was merely a consultant) that elaborated on many of the characters introduced in the main series.
Preacher also seemed to have established itself as a "intellectual comic", beginning it's eventual complete collection in trade paperback form and spawning some specials, all written by Garth Ennis of course. Grant Morrison's Invisibles also received it's first trade paperback volume this year, and although the series ended after twenty-five issues, a second series began only months later, restarting the numbering.
Vertigo also released yet another subimprint this year, this one called Vertigo Vérité which attempted to separate itself from the mystical and supernatural and employ realistic elements. Unlike the previous imprints, this one was primarily composed of minis rather then one-shots.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 1996
1997 was the year Vertigo seemed to sit back and smell the roses, although they did release some more new titles, it was only minis and one-shots, the only ongoing titles this year were ones begun in previous years. Garth Ennis continued to solidify his placement in Vertigo's most renown creators by writing several new minis this year and continuing his Preacher epic which spawned several more specials this year. Neil Gaiman also wrote for Vertigo this year other then just reprints and collections of his previous work with Stardust, a series of illustrated novels which he worked on with Charles Vess.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 1997
This year, a comic (Sandman Mystery Theatre) that had been ongoing since only a few weeks after the Vertigo imprint first appeared came to its conclusion after a seventy issue run. Preacher still continued to spark controversy and gain popularity but other comics were also coming into the limelight. Transmetropolitan, a series started a year earlier by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson switched over to the Vertigo imprint this year on it's thirteenth issue because DC's Helix imprint met its untimely demise and Transmetropolitan became its ongoing legacy. The Invisibles second volume concluded at the end of 1998 but fans wouldn't have to mourn long because a third volume launched only months later in '99.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 1998
The turn of the century, a sales gimmick? With some hype about Y2K going around, Vertigo went along with the hype but gave it that Vertigo Edge, thus the V2K imprint was born. It was part of the fifth-week event and the first issues were released at the end of December '99, however, unlike most fifth-week event titles these were minis rather then simply one-shots. They painted futuristic worlds, obviously not ones most people would be looking forward to. This year the Essential Vertigo: The Sandman reprints were cut short at only thirty-two issues instead of the complete seventy-five, but trade paperbacks and hardcovers continued to keep the series alive. One debut that would be memorable for years was 100 Bullets, a title by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso that portrayed characters who had nothing left to lose and were approached by Agent Graves who gave them a briefcase with a gun, undeniable proof that they were wronged by someone, and one hundred untraceable bullets. The rest was up to them. Another event this year was the Sandman Presents comics, titles featuring characters and concepts from The Sandman spotlighting them for a chance at future publication. The winner for an ongoing spin-off? Lucifer.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 1999
Three long-running titles ended at the dawn of the millennium, The Invisibles, The Books of Magic and Preacher all released their final issue and gave other comics a chance to step into the limelight. Transmetropolitan, 100 Bullets and the new spin-off of The Sandman, Mike Carey's Lucifer stepped up to the plate. This year also saw a brand new Swamp Thing volume, the first since the 171 issue volume had ended several years earlier. Though this series focused on Alec's daughter Tefé rather then Swamp Thing himself.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2000
Early in the year, the Sandman spin-off The Dreaming ended after a sixty issue run but new ongoing titles took its place in the line-up including American Century, Codename: Knockout and The Crusades. 2001 also bore the first four War Story one-shots written by Garth Ennis meant to tell the stories of World War II, as they were, horrific and gritty. Not so much like his Adventures in the Rifle Brigade minis that had been published this year and the year before detailing a more comical take on World War II.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2001
2002 was the birth of two entirely original Vertigo titles that made great impacts on the comic book world, both of them receiving at least a few awards. These titles were Bill Willingham's Fables and Brian Vaughan's Y: The Last Man, the former a new concept about what the world's favorite fairy-tale characters would be like if they were living among us in New York City, the second a new take on the "last man on Earth story-line". Grant Morrison's The Filth also launched this year and Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan released its final issue. All in all it was a new year, the start of something fresh for Vertigo, quite a vast change from nine years prior when Vertigo first appeared.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2002
This year Vertigo started two new ongoings Human Target by Peter Milligan, finally after its previous mini and sequel, and The Losers by Andy Diggle and Jock. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Vertigo ran a Vertigo X event begun by a Vertigo X Anniversary Preview, although there was nothing that related all the titles together, the event did bear a logo on the covers of the ongoing titles published that year including several minis.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2003
An abundance of trade paperback collections were released this year, not only trades collecting titles that were ongoing at the time such as 100 Bullets, Lucifer, Hellblazer and Y: The Last Man but also the resurrecting of trade collections that were left unfinished many years prior such as Doom Patrol and Sandman Mystery Theatre. 100 Bullets and Lucifer both had their milestone 50th issue this year and Hellblazer reached its own landmark with its 200th issue, a record for any Vertigo title.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2004
In 2005 Vertigo decided to venture into the world of film, releasing two movies (Constantine and A History of Violence) which coincided with Vertigo's re-release of the former Paradox Press imprinted History of Violence graphic novel and the release of Constantine: The Official Movie Adaptation one-shot. Brian Wood's DMZ also began this year, a series about an American Civil War in current times where the citizens of New York City have gotten caught in the crossfire, in the DMZ.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2005
Vertigo continued its film releasing trend and put out two more comic adaptions, V for Vendetta and The Fountain. Several ongoing series debuted this year included The Exterminators, Crossing Midnight and American Virgin. This year Andy Diggle's The Losers and Mike Carey's Lucifer both reached their conclusion and Fables reached its fiftieth issue milestone. As if in celebration of reaching this milestone a Fables spin-off series was launched, Jack of Fables which focused on the character who had been kicked out of the main Fables series several months before.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2006
This year, Brian Azzarello seemed to have become swamped under all the comics he was writing, after having worked on 100 Bullets for eight years already and his current second title Loveless things began to slow down and both titles pushed out about half the amount of issues usually expected in a year. Brian Wood, another Vertigo writer continued his ongoing title DMZ and in December launched Northlanders, a historical fiction title of events in the days of the Vikings. Jason Aaron, writer of The Other Side five issue miniseries launched an ongoing title called Scalped following the lives of a number of individuals on an Indian reservation in South Dakota. Also, the use of trade paperbacks to collect titles (both ongoing and concluded) became a lot more evident as a money-maker for the imprint.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2007
2008 saw the conclusion of 100 Bullets draw near as the series returned to its monthly schedule, but one epic that did reach its conclusion was Y: The Last Man with a final sixtieth issue that has been nominated for (and won) several awards. Fables also hit a landmark with its 75th issue in which the toppling of The Empire was resolved with Gepetto becoming a resident of Fabletown. From this point on the series has been able to take on a new direction and explore other foes...Hellblazer also reached a milestone, concluding the year with its 250th issue. Sadly, seven ongoing titles were cancelled this year: The Exterminators, American Virgin, Testament, Loveless, The Un-Men, The Vinyl Underground and Crossing Midnight.
However five new ongoings launched this year. Them being David Lapham's Young Liars, Matt Wagner's Madame Xanadu, Matthew Sturges' House of Mystery, G. Willow Wilson's Air and Joshua Dysart's Unknown Soldier.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2008
Due to the renewed popularity of Watchmen thanks to its film adaption (which came out in March of '09) DC decided to launch an event called "After Watchmen...What's Next?" which showcased some of DC's titles that fell into the following five categories: Books that Redefine Modern Superheroes; More Books by Alan Moore; Books that Push the Boundaries of Science Fiction; Best-Selling Books from Best-Selling Authors and Books for Mature Readers. Needless to say, many of these releases were comics published under DC imprints, one of which was Vertigo. 32 Vertigo titles were advertised as part of the "After Watchmen Nominees" and although there was no 'winner' several of the nominated titles had special edition releases of their first issue as part of the event including Preacher, Transmetropolitan and Y: The Last Man.
This year also saw the launch of the Vertigo Crime line, marking the first time Vertigo had used a subimprint in almost a decade. Although most of these hardcover noir one-shots were solicited for 2010 release, the line launched in August with two books: Filthy Rich and Dark Entries.
After a ten year-run with the same creative team for the entire series, the concluding 100th issue of Azzarello and Risso's 100 Bullets was released. Another ongoing ended this year, but for different reasons, David Lapham's Young Liars was cancelled after an eighteen issue run due to poor sales.
Several new ongoing titles kicked off this year including Jeff Lemire's Sweet Tooth, Peter Milligan's Greek Street as well as Mike Carey and Peter Gross' Unwritten.
This year also saw possibly the first "crossover" since The Children's Crusade over ten years prior, although two of the three titles tied together were spin-off's of the third title. The story arc was named The Great Fables Crossover and was printed from April-June 2009 in three titles (Fables, Jack of Fables and The Literals) for a total of nine issues.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2009
In 2010, Vertigo's imprint -Vertigo Crime- truly took off, adding many new graphic novels to the collection kicked off in August of '09 with the twin release of Dark Entries/Filthy Rich. This year also saw the launch of several other new titles such as Joe the Barbarian, an eight-issue limited series by Grant Morrison; American Vampire, an ongoing by Scott Snyder (with a back-up story by Stephen King) which is to follow a new breed of vampire through America's historical decades starting with the 20's; and I, Zombie by Chris Roberson and Mike Allred that follows a zombie who must eat brains to keep her memories but with each brain she gains their memories and uses them to catch murderers and such.
Vertigo also saw some more expansion outside of the comic realm with both the launch of a television series and a new film. The comic adapting film was The Losers, based off the thirty-two issues series of the same name created by Andy Diggle and Jock. Like all comic movies, there were obviously some inconsistencies between the comic and the film but the essential storyline of five soldiers learning too much, having their death's ordered by a mysterious individual named "Max", surviving this attempt and "returning from the grave" seeking revenge remained the same. In relation to the comic, the movie took place over issues 16-19 (flashback) and 1-6 (main story).
The television series was the "Human Target", drawing inspiration from the character of the same name a.k.a. Christopher Chance. However, although Vertigo took part in the publicity so did the parent company DC. Therefore, seeing as a previous Human Target television series had been made in '92 and the new series skipped over many of the elements Peter Milligan established in the Vertigo title, it was mostly based off Len Wein's character who was relaunched in a DC-imprinted six-issue miniseries also released in 2010. Season One of Human Target ran for 12 hour-long episodes from January 15 to April 11.
But with expansion must also come compression and Vertigo decided to cut their lower selling ongoing titles: Unknown Soldier at twenty-five issues, Air at twenty-four issues and Greek Street at sixteen issues.
At SDCC 2010, Vertigo announced that the DC properties were leaving their imprint, so far the only cancellations confirmed as a result of this have been Madame Xanadu with its twenty-ninth issue...although whether House of Mystery and Hellblazer are exceptions to DC taking back its characters or on their last leg has yet to be announced.
2010 was also the year DC Comics launched its digital comic store which had a special section dedicated to Vertigo, which although small at launch, like the rest of the site is growing, one Wednesday at a time.
Fables reached a milestone this year with its hundredth issue (the third in Vertigo history and the second from a title that had been under the imprint for the previous ninety-nine issues) which was a 100-page special filled with all sorts of treats such as a story where Buckingham did the writing and Willingham the art and a board game poster.
List of Vertigo Releases in 2010
It was announced in late 2010 that the Vertigo contract would change again. The current contract favors Vertigo as many of the milestones needed to pay out would be hard to hit in this current economic environment. This current contract may discourage new projects to be started since no current Vertigo series is selling 50,000 units and the trades must become profitable for the creative team to see money from it. Two long-lasting ongoings will end (naturally) in 2011...Jack of Fables with it's 50th issue and DMZ with it's 72nd. A third was cancelled in the fall with its 42nd issue, House of Mystery. In 2011, DC Comics began a full-line relaunch of their universe, cancelling the old titles of the DCU and putting out 52 new titles in September, finally revealing why they pulled their characters out of Vertigo. Swamp Thing is to get his fifth series (his fourth ending in 2006 under the Vertigo imprint); Animal Man will be getting his second series (his first ending in 1995 under the Vertigo imprint); and Justice League Dark will be launched featuring John Constantine, Shade the Changing Man and Madame Xanadu who had all appeared at Vertigo in 2010 when the DCU and Vertigo officially parted ways.
2011 became only the second year in Vertigo's history where no new ongoing was launched (the first being 1997); although the Spaceman franchise was launched at the end of October with a nine-issue limited series.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2011
Out with the Old
Northlanders concluded with its fiftieth issue in April 2012, ending Brian Wood's time working with DC Comics.
Scalped is also slated to end with its sixtieth issue, this would have been in May 2012 but since delays are not rare with this series, it instead was released in August.
iZombie was cancelled due to low sales and ended with its 28th issue, also representing writer Chris Roberson's severing of ties with DC Comics, following in the footsteps of many creators before him (who's treatment was the reason for his decision as opposed to any ill will he was personally shown).
On December 3rd 2012 Executive Editor Karen Berger announced stepping down from her position and leaving the imprint in March 2013.
In with the New
Fairest (a Fables spin-off), Saucer Country, Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child and The New Deadwardians all launched in March 2012, while the first three are ongoings, New Deadwardians is an eight-issue limited series. Dominique Laveau was cancelled already in September after seven issues. Vertigo also plans to adapt The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (the Millennium Trilogy of novels) as a series of minis which will be collected in graphic novel form.
Other new series was Punk Rock Jesus (a six-issue miniseries).
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2012
On November 8th, 2012 it was announced that Hellblazer will end at issue #300 in February. John Constantine however will star in a new New 52 ongoing of his own called Constantine in March 2013.
Sweet Tooth ends in January after a forty-issue run, not because it was cancelled but because Jeff Lemire felt it was time and artificially introducing more obstacles just for the sake of keeping the story running didn't seem right.
On January 14th it was announced that Saucer Country will be cancelled at issue #14.
So far this year Vertigo has launched and announced plenty of new ongoings and miniseries.
For ongoings Kurt Busiek's and Brent Anderson's Astro City is currently being released, and FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics (formerly Collider) by Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez, Hinterkind by Ian Edginton and Francesco Trifogli, and Coffin Hill by Caitlin Kittredge and Inaki Miranda announced for rest of the year.
For miniseries The Wake by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy, and 100 Bullets: Brother Lono by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso are currently being released, with Trillium by Jeff Lemire, a new Tom Strong mini Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril by the co-creator Chris Sprouse and Peter Hogan and The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III announced for later.
For Halloween Vertigo will put out a Witching Hour one-shot anthology by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Cliff Chiang, Lauren Beukes, Emily Carroll, Matthew Sturges, Shawn McManus, Tula Lotay and others.
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2013
List of Releases from Vertigo in 2014
Could Have Been/Should Have Been
This a listing of various titles that have some ties to the world of Vertigo comics, even though they were never published under the imprint...either because they were never published at all or were published by someone else.
Note: This list does not include outright cancelled ongoings unless more issues were promised then delivered (in terms of a published promise, not a claim or hope of the creator). Also, some of these projects may still happen someday in the future but it is unlikely. Also, collections are not listed as in theory all things should be collected so it would be a long but overall, uninformative list.
- Bizarre Boys by Grant Morrison (The Invisibles), Peter Milligan (Shade, the Changing Man) and Jamie Hewlett (Tank Girl): Originally supposed to be released under the Vertigo Voices imprint, it was to be a comic about making a comic within a comic.
- The Books of Faerie by Bronwyn Carlton (Books of Faerie) and Linda Medley (Castle Waiting): Although Bronwyn did write two Books of Faerie minis (as well as some back-ups in The Books of Magic), in 1999 a monthly series was announced. It never happened, although that may have been due to a change in direction for Tim around that period.
- Chew by John Layman (WildStorm Editor): Originally pitched to a variety of publishers, it was proposed to Vertigo at least half a dozen times to a variety of editors but none went for the project. Thus, John went instead to Image where his idea was well-received by Eric Stephenson and he was able to finance the initial arc (and through the success of the series, keep it ongoing as a monthly).
- City Lights by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (Hellblazer, Preacher, Punisher): In the Vertigo X anniversary preview which was to tell of things coming in 2003, Zachary Rau interviewed both Garth and Steve on collaborating with one another and their upcoming project, City Lights, a black and white graphic novel featuring slice-of-life type stories focused around four friends and the different cities they all live in…the book was also hinted at in the December 2002 On the Ledge article. Years later, Ennis would mention the book is still coming but that it was their fault for starting the buzz at such an early stage, in an interview mostly about The Boys (the interview was printed in The Boys #50).
- The Darwin Theory by Joe Casey (Godland, Mr. Majestic) and Ben Templesmith (Fell, Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse): Solicited on the Internet back in 2002, including being talked about in interviews with the creators...the project never was released.
- The Discipline by Peter Milligan and Leo Fernandez: Announced in July 2013 and described as an erotic thriller about a woman at the center of an shadow war that spans eons. The project has been replaced with another series, The Names, by the same creative. The series might come into fruition in the future, though.
- Endless by Neil Gaiman (The Sandman): Mentioned in letter columns and various other places, it was originally claimed Neil wanted to write a limited series with each issue focusing on one of The Endless or a mini for each. However, this never happened. Although Death and Dream got some various spin-offs, none of the other Endless were really explored outside of the main Sandman series. The closest equivalent came over ten years after with the release Endless Nights, a graphic novel containing seven short stories, one for each of The Endless. Although this isn't the same project, in a way it does fit the original claim, even though several of the stories focus more on the nature of the idea The Endless represent rather then the individual themselves (Desire and Despair being two examples).
- House of Secrets by Steven T. Seagle (Sandman Mystery Theatre, American Virgin) and Teddy Kristiansen (Grendel, It's a Bird...): In the letters page of the twenty-fifth issue (the "final" one) it was stated that the reason the series was ending was not because of low sales or because it came to a natural conclusion but because both creators were getting busier in real life (Seagle writing the movie screenplay which never turned into a movie and Teddy taking care of his newborn daughter alongside his wife). However, they thought this would be good for the series and said they would continue it in minis that would be finished before they were published, preventing delays and allowing for things a monthly could not support like a fully-painted series. But, as it went, the only mini to spin-off from the series was the two-issue Facade a few years later...a much smaller delivery then the promise.
- The Massive by Brian Wood (DMZ, Northlanders) Originally had intended to launch this series at Vertigo where his other creator-owned work was being published but when he severed his ties with Vertigo and ended those books, he brought The Massive over to Dark Horse. He would later say (in relation to Hellblazer's cancellation) that this book probably would've been cancelled already at Vertigo.
- Nevada II by Steve Gerber (Nevada, Howard the Duck) and Phil Winslade (Nevada, Goddess): Nevada was first introduced in the Vertigo line through the premiere issue of the annual Vertigo: Winter's Edge series back in the holiday season of 1997. Then, in 1998 a six-issue miniseries hit shelves entitled "Nevada". However, even though the mini was completed, Nevada was again featured in Winter's Edge for its second issue in 1998 and it concluded with the tagline, "The Demolition Continues in Nevada II -Steve & Phil". Nevada II was never published and since Steve Gerber died a decade later in 2008, it is unlikely the project will ever happen.
- Otherworld by Phil Jimenez (Wonder Woman, The Invisibles): When originally solicited in the On the Ledge articles in Vertigo publications, Otherworld was said to be a twelve-issue maxiseries but when the seventh issue came out, the current On the Ledge of that month solicited it as the seventh issue of seven. However, the last page reads "End: Part One"...Part Two does not exist, and at this point is unlikely to ever be published although it would be expected to conclude the events the entire first part built up to.
- The Rites of Alchemy by Dick Foreman (Black Orchid) and Paul Johnson (Mercy): In the March 1993 On the Ledge column, editor Tom Peyer speaks of several creator-owned comics that will be coming up in the future…although some would only come years later, this was the only one of the six listed projects that never happened although it was described as such: “a sweeping supernatural adventure”.
- The Sandman Presents: Marquee Moon by Peter Hogan (The Sandman Presents: Love Street, The Dreaming), Peter Doherty (2000AD, The Dreaming) and D'Israeli (2000AD, The Sandman): A one-shot meant to be released in 1997, it was a tie-in of sorts to Love Street (also written by Hogan) and featured John Constantine as well as the comic debut of the real-life band The Clash who approved of the script. The comic was almost entirely completed but never released...however, the script and lettered black and white artwork were released online a decade later.
- The Sandman Presents: Rose Walker by Mike Carey (Sandman Presents: Lucifer, Sandman Presents: Petrefax): Although it was abandoned before it got far in the process, Mike Carey originally intended for his second Sandman Presents mini to be about Rose Walker but couldn't find a way to break her from The Sandman mythos she was too firmly entwined in and as such he ended up making the Petrefax mini instead.
- Seaguy: Eternal by Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart (Seaguy, Batman and Robin): The oft-spoken of and confirmed existing third mini in the Seaguy trilogy…although spoken of in interviews the creators, the comic has never actually been solicited and since it took three years for the second mini to see print after the first, the mini taking until 2012 is not impossible.
- The Spectre Vol. 3: Started in 1992 but did not crossover to Vertigo like Animal Man, Books of Magic, Doom Patrol, Hellblazer, Sandman, Shade the Changing Man and Swamp Thing. Like how Madame Xanadu in 2008 blended DCU and Vertigo, The Spectre Vol. 3 had appearances from characters now considered Vertigo, such as John Constantine (#15), The American Scream (#50) and Lucifer Morningstar (#25 & 57). It is believed since many of the Justice League of America interacted in this series as well the DC parent company won custody of this series, while the "Vertigo" books moved away from the DCU.
- Swamp Thing V5 by China Mieville (Hellblazer #250): Although not solicited, it was reported through an online article that the series proposal was dropped because DC was taking their properties "back" and making Vertigo solely creator-owned comics (minus Hellblazer and House of Mystery at this point in time). Swamp Thing V5 later came into being through DC's initiative tor relaunch their entire line and include the properties previously based at Vertigo back in the DCU.
- Vertigo Secret Files: Endless by (unknown): In the January 2000 SubCulture column, the Vertigo Secret Files line was announced and while it indicated there would be a variety of these published in the future, only three were directly named: Hellblazer, Swamp Thing and The Endless. Vertigo Secret Files: Hellblazer and Vertigo Secret Files: Swamp Thing were both released but The Endless never happened nor did any other books in the line.
- The Winter Men: In the On The Ledge section during 2003 this project is mentioned. The Winter Men would later be released as a Wildstorm book in 2005.
Over the years, several comics have been solicited as Vertigo comics despite not actually having the imprint anywhere on the publications, this has caused many people and websites to mistakenly associate the comics with Vertigo, despite having no actual connection. Below is a list of these comics, that despite common belief, are NOT Vertigo books.
- Dong Xoai, Vietnam 1965: Was featured in On the Ledge, alongside two other Joe Kubert graphic novels that DC reprinted.
- A Gregory Treasury Vol. 2: Is listed on the Vertigo website, actually belongs to the now defunct Paradox Press imprint.
- Jew Gangster: Was featured in On the Ledge, alongside two other Joe Kubert graphic novels that DC reprinted.
- Lot 13: Originally intended for WildStorm, it was briefly thought to be going to Vertigo (as it is creator-owned and of the horror genre) but when finally released in 2012 it was under the main DC imprint.
- The Remarkable Worlds of Phineas B. Fuddle: Was solicited in Vertigo comics when the miniseries came out, although it was still mentioned in those solicits it was a Paradox Press title. However, the trade has ended up on the Vertigo website despite not being a Vertigo title.
- Tell Me, Dark: Originally printed before the Vertigo imprint, a new edition was solicited as an upcoming release in 1994 as a Vertigo release. However, the graphic novel wasn't given a new edition until 1998 and it wasn't under the Vertigo imprint.
- X-Files/30 Days of Night: Co-published with IDW. The miniseries was printed with the WildStorm imprint but the imprint was folded before the release of the trade and it was solicited on the Vertigo website, however it didn't bear the Vertigo logo upon release.
- Yossel April 19, 1943: Was featured in On the Ledge, alongside two other Joe Kubert graphic novels that DC reprinted.
"Vertigo Properties" that Transcend the Publisher
As many Vertigo releases are creator-owned, this is a brief listing of comics that either originated at another publisher (or DC imprint) or ended up being collected by another one despite being originally published at Vertigo. Note: DC-owned properties are not included in this list as they are owned by the publisher, not the creator, and the publisher can choose to publish them with whatever imprint they see fit and as such the properties can go back and forth.
- 2020 Visions: Collected by Speakeasy
- Accelerate: Collected by Image
- Angeltown: Collected by Moonface Press
- The Best of Milligan & McCarthy: Reprints Rogan Gosh and collected by Dark Horse
- Blood: A Tale: Originally serialized by Epic
- Bloody Mary/Bloody Mary: Lady Liberty: Originally printed as two separate miniseries' under the Helix imprint prior to its being shut down
- Breathtaker: Originally just printed under the DC label, reprinted under Vertigo after the imprint was founded
- The Cowboy Wally Show: Originally published by Marlowe & Company as a slightly different version
- Cruel and Unusual: Collected by Desperado
- The Crusades (Vol. 1/Vol. 2): Collected by Image
- Demo: Originally serialized by AiT/Planet Lar
- A God Somewhere: Originally published at WildStorm until the company was dissolved into DC
- A History of Violence: Originally published at Paradox Press, then the movie came out and the imprint no longer existed so it found a new home at Vertigo
- The Last One: Collected by Boom! Studios
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Originally serialized at America's Best Comics, but updated to Vertigo following the dissolving and WildStorm and its imprints into DC
- Marzi: Originally serialized by Dupuis, although it was published in the French language
- Michael Moorcock's Multiverse: Originally serialized under the Helix imprint
- Mnemovore: Collected by IDW
- Moonshadow: Originally serialized by Epic
- Outlaw Nation: Collected by Desperado
- Road to Perdition/Road to Perdition 2: Originally published under the Paradox Press imprint but when a third sequel was released and the imprint no longer existed, all three were placed under the Vertigo imprint
- Rogan Gosh (Revolver): Originally serialized by Fleetway, its collection at Vertigo was its debut to American audiences however
- Scene of the Crime: While it was both serialized and collected at Vertigo, over a decade later in 2012 when it was brought back into print, it was released at Image
- Seekers into the Mystery: Collected (at least partially) by Boom! Studios
- Skreemer: Originally serialized by DC Comics, prior to the Vertigo imprint's founding
- Stuck Rubber Baby: Originally published under the Paradox Press imprint but was updated and shifted over to Vertigo on its fifteenth anniversary
- Terminal City: Collected by Dark Horse.
- True Faith: Originally published by Fleetway, although this would be its debut to American audiences
- Why I Hate Saturn: Originally published under the Piranha Press imprint, following its fold, reprinted at Vertigo
Although not significant enough to warrant their own publisher pages (although some can be found as "story arc" pages), over the decades Vertigo has used a number of "sub-imprints" which defined the titles underneath them as part of a select group of Vertigo books.
Imprints and Their Years of Activity
- V2K (1999-2000): Comics released to debut the new millennium
- Vertigo Crime (2009-Ongoing): Noir-style, black and white, original graphic novels
- Vertigo Pop! (2002-2003): Minis featuring pop culture in cities around the globe.
- Vertigo Resurrected (2010-Ongoing): Reprints of out-of-print Vertigo comics
- Vertigo Secret Files (2000): Profiles the characters of long-running Vertigo titles.
- Vertigo Verité (1996-1998): "Truth"-like comics that showcased stories and genres not associated with the publisher at the time.
- Vertigo Visions (1993-1998): Comics featuring DC characters of lesser fame in a Vertigo-style setting.
- Vertigo Voices (1994-1995): Creator-owned and distinct group of one-shots.
- Vertigo X (2003): These were simply comics published in the 2003 calendar year, Vertigo's tenth anniversary.