DC Comics' mature-readers imprint Vertigo celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. It had been previously announced that the event was to be marked with a new Sandman series, curated by series' creator Neil Gaiman. Now it has been revealed that The Sandman Universe was only the first step in a line-wide rebranding effort that will restore the Vertigo line in much the same manner that DC Rebirth took the DC Comics Universe back to basics.
The original Vertigo Comics line was the brainchild of editor Karen Berger, who was given a mandate to take most of DC Comics' series aimed at mature readers (such as Sandman, Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, and Doom Patrol) and develop them into something different, tackling real world social issues in addition to telling quality stories. While the original Vertigo line-up was heavy on fantasy and horror titles, it quickly expanded into presenting historical, true crime, speculative fiction and slice-of-life stories as well. Many of Vertigo's series went on to become regular honorees at the Eisner Awards. Still others were adapted into successful movies and television series, such as iZombie and Preacher.
The press release from DC Comics' speaks to this proud heritage and the legacy that Vertigo Comics has established. Their focus is on the future, however, with seven new series premiering across the next year in addition to the previously announced titles making up The Sandman Universe. The revival is being overseen by Mark Doyle, who returned to Vertigo after editing the Batman family of titles for DC Comics.
The seven new series include Border Town written by Eric M. Esquivel with art by Ramon Villalobos, Hex Wives by Ben Blacker and Mirka Andolfo, American Carnage by Bryan Hill and Leandro Fernandez, Goddess Mode by Zoë Quinn and Robbi Rodriguez, High Level by Rob Sheridan and Barnaby Bagenda, Safe Sex by Tina Horn and Mike Dowling and Second Coming by Mark Russell and Richard Pace. Border Town is expected to debut in September, Hex Wives in October, American Carnage in November, and Goddess Mode in December, with the remaining titles coming in 2019.
These seven new comics cover a variety of genres, including fantasy, horror, science fiction, true crime and superheroes. They also seem ready to follow in the Vertigo tradition, with the series' summaries suggesting the new line will continue tackling social issues such as racism, sexism and religious extremism with a sharp, satirical edge. The most controversial of these new series may be Second Coming - a series about Jesus returning to Earth and being horrified by the state of modern Christianity in America, as represented by an all-powerful superhero called Sun-Man, who is described as "the varsity quarterback son God never had."
Another standout title is Goddess Mode - a dystopian story about a world protected by super-powered women and the all-powerful artificial intelligence that rules their society. While there's nothing overly political about the concept, the fact that Goddess Mode is written by Quinn - the game developer who endured an unprecedented level of harassment due to Gamergate - will doubtlessly lead to some degree of organized protest online.
Such protests seemed as doomed to failure as earlier efforts to protest diversity in American comics. Doubtlessly this revival line will fail to find favor with those who contend that "social justice warriors" are ruining comics, but there is no basis for such a claim. The fact of the matter is that Vertigo has been tackling these issues since the very beginning and they and DC Comics seem unlikely to stop doing so anytime soon.
Source: DC Comics
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