After nearly three decades of offering up comics that trended toward less in the way of punching, more in the way of moody philosophizing, DC announced today that it’s killing off its fabled Vertigo imprint for good. The line—originally conceived back in 1993 as a way for the company to publish comics outside the restrictive strictures of the Comics Code Authority—will officially end in 2020, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
When it initially launched, Vertigo was meant to be a home for existing series like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Peter Milligan’s Shade, The Changing Man, and other highlights of the early ’90s wave of metatextual, highly literary “superheroes.” Its efforts to launch new series sometimes struggled, though; Grant Morrison’s Kid Eternity lasted only a year, for instance, although his magical-sci-fi opus The Invisibles fared much better. After nearly 20 years on the job, the line’s creative mastermind, Karen Berger, stepped down in 2012, leading to a number of editorial shifts, culminating in a full relaunch effort back in 2018.
Said relaunch produced some quality comics—stuff like the short-lived Border Town, or Sandman follow-up The Dreaming—but DC apparently got sick of answering “What the hell is Vertigo?”-style questions; per THR, the decision to kill the line off is part of a wider restructuring at DC, which will see all of its comics lumped together and then divided into three lines: DC Kids, DC, and DC Black Label, determined by the suggested age range of their audience. Ongoing Vertigo titles will be moved under the DC Black Label aegis, designed for readers aged 17 and up.