Vertigo Comics founder Karen Berger left the publishing industry 20 years after providing a platform for some of the most inspired (and twisted) auteurs and artists, including Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, Neil Gaiman, and Marc Hempel, as well as the many people who’ve worked on Hellblazer. (Vertigo’s also published many other comics that didn’t spawn TV series, of course.) Vulture reports Berger’s now poised to change the face of comics again, with her own line, Berger Books. The Dark Horse Comics imprint has already lined up multiple piquant properties, like Hungry Ghosts by Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose, an anthology series about a kind of ghost story-telling competition among chefs (duh) that will be out January 31, 2018. There’s also Mata Hari (due February 21, 2018), Emma Beeby and Ariela Kristantina’s tirelessly researched historical fiction about the dancer and spy.
In March of next year, Berger Books will release The Seeds, from Daredevil and Catwoman writer Ann Nocenti. This project will hit a little closer to home, as it’s set in “an imminent America where fact-based reporting is gasping its last breath,” and a journalist with a huge story about a world-shifting mutation might not be able to break it. Berger tells Vulture that she steered right into the provocative, timely subject matter: “[It was really, honestly, the election and the state of the world that made me really want to get back and create, and to do great stories, and work with great people. I felt like I needed to be more actively useful and productive.”
Continuing in that spirit, Berger Books will also release Incognegro: Renaissance, a prequel to Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece’s 2008 graphic novel, about a light-skinned black man who can pass for white, and how fraught that situation becomes during the Harlem Renaissance. As Berger explains, “the series and the characters are great lenses in which to explore race and prejudice in America. The polarizing times we live in—you’ve got to tell more and more stories about those issues.” Incognegro: Renaissance publishes February 6, 2018.
Additionally, Berger Books is releasing an oversize edition of Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons’ The Originals: The Essential Edition. And although she’s nailed down the first part of next year, Berger’s already planning “another wave of books later in the year.” Because she’s editing her picks, Berger says her line won’t be huge, but she relishes the opportunity to get back to “[her] roots editing comics all the time,” which became virtually impossible the bigger Vertigo got.