DC To Retire Vertigo Imprint Ahead Of New Labeling Strategy

DC Comics’ Publishers Panel at WonderCon 2019 hosted by Dan DiDio and Jim Lee

Lot’s of things going on at DC Comics and let’s hope that in the long run it’s all for the best. I felt like they hit a home run with most of their Rebirth titles a few years back and recently with DC Universe streaming service that allowed you to catch up on so many comic books. But recently there have been some questionable moves by the publishing giant. Like their sudden cancellation of Green Arrow a few months back, their over-reaction to the backlash of the first issue of Batman: Damned from it’s mature reader DC Black Label, their shortened Tom King Run on Batman and of course their decision not to have their own booth at this year’s Comic-Con 50. True they are trying to spin-it as a “mega” booth with Warner Bros. but I doubt they will have even close to the same interaction.

With that said today DC has announced that beginning in 2020 the Vertigo imprint that as been around since 1993, will be retired and absorbed into one of three age-specific labels DC Kids, DC and DC Black Label. The Vertigo label gave us titles like Sandman, Preacher and Y: The Last Man. Other DC imprints like DC Zoom and DC Ink will also assigned to it’s appropriate label.

This new labeling system is something that both Dan DiDio, DC Publisher and Jim Lee, DC Publisher Chief Creative Officer, hinted at during their Publisher’s panel where they had talked a lot about doing whatever they could to match readers with appropriate titles. Something that would could start from someone casually picking up a comic book at Wal-Mart and then venturing to a comic book shop to learn more about the character or creative team. Here is how the labels will be structured according to a press release by DC Comics:

DC Kids will focus on readers ages 8-12 and offer content created specifically for the middle-grade reader
DC, focusing on ages 13+, will primarily be the current DC universe of characters
DC Black Label will focus on content appropriate for readers 17 and older

“What we’ve done here is apply an ages and stages organizing philosophy that will strengthen what we’re already doing well, whether that is our move into the young adult and middle grade audience or our long track record of success with creator-driven pop-up lines,” said DC Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee. “We will also continue to publish creator-owned projects, and will evaluate and assign to the appropriate label to help our fans find the best books for their interests. These new labels not only bring greater consistency and focus to our characters, but they also open up a wealth of new opportunities for the talent working on our books.”

DiDio also commented on the retirement of the Vertigo line, which he now believes contains the type of stories that have become mainstream throughout other publishers making the need for that label unnecessary. “We’re returning to a singular presentation of the DC brand that was present throughout most of our history until 1993 when we launched Vertigo to provide an outlet for edgier material. That kind of material is now mainstream across all genres, so we thought it was the right time to bring greater clarity to the DC brand and reinforce our commitment to storytelling for all of our fans in every age group. This new system will replace the age ratings we currently use on our material.”

I do not mind the labeling change as I like the idea of making it easier for the casual reader to get into the core of their favorite superheros, the comic books. I just hope that they can stand by their books and creators in case some on the public deem their story or art offensive or whatever in their Black Label, like what happened with Brian Azzarello & Lee Bermejo’s Batman: Damned.

What do you think of DC’s new labeling? Let us know in the comments section below!


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Source: DC Comics

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