Posted by Manbehindthewires (344 posts) - - Show Bio

With DC's current business model of "drop the lowest selling 4-6 comics in DC every 6 months or so, and replace them with brand-new/obscure titles and see how they fair..." I can't help but wonder, would some of these books have a better chance for survival on DC's sister-ship Vertigo?

Vertigo currently puts out around 6 comics a month, while DC handles around 18 per week. That's 12 times the output of Vertigo!

Vertigo is well known for publishing DC's more obscure side, and also bringing it success. Swamp Thing is always the first that springs to mind, followed by Hellblazer, Fables and, more recently, Animal Man and 100 Bullets.

I've always thought Dial-H would fit neatly in amongst those, not to mention Insurgent, Human Bomb, Team 7, hell, even Deathstroke! Those latter 2, which are being cancelled for being in the "relegation zone" of DC's charts (selling between 13k and 16k in Dec 2012), would actually be in Vertigo's upper half for sales, and since they're technically the same company, doesn't that mean their sales weren't all that bad?

It seems to me like DC are wasting an opportunity with Vertigo; they could give smaller/weaker books a chance to nurture there, give the work to a cheaper writing pool, who'd surely welcome the titles. A lot would also gain from having the "indie" label of Vertigo above their titles. People reading titles like Deathstroke are already fans of an underdog, and it'd only add to his credibility, much like it did with Swamp Thing and Hellblazer, by placing him under an underdog publisher.

When I see announcements for the likes of Vibe, The Green Team and The Movement, I can't help but think "cancelled in 8 issues time, just like the others, who's going to buy an 8 issue ongoing..." and before you know it every jaded, comic reader, like myself, is picking up issue 1 of it (just to be sure) and then slowly dropping it over the months, to save the inevitable disappointment of DC doing it for us.

If I saw the same book under Vertigo however? Granted, it wont carry the same hype, Vibe alone is sailing on the coat tails of so many other DC books and creative teams with the subtitle of "coming soon...the character from that team you kind of liked...that are a bit like that other team...and written by that guy you like...well not WRITTEN by him...but he assisted...probably read it a couple of times before it went to print...might have changed a line or 2...comes VIBE!!!"

But maybe the book could do without all that, it might sucker us in for a couple of issues "the DC way" but shortly after, it fades back into the background. Selling comics based on hype is a very short game, and although it works initially, it damages that titles reputation...and even sometimes it's creators...and soon enough, you're looking for another low-level character to strap to a big title in the hope of selling lots of issue #1's again. With Vertigo, a writer would have more creative freedom, wouldn't be tied to the new 52 continuity, wouldn't have the constant fear of DC's relegation zone and would have the indie label, showing that although it's something a little different, care's been made to make it special...and it's not being diluted by everyone else's input. This means potentially deeper story's, written by somebody who cares about the book and, you guessed it, longer, more spread out, ongoing runs. Maybe not 16000 sales a month for 8 months like DC can rustle up, but 10000 sales a month over 36 months and more sounds a lot better to me.

Once a title has enough wind behind it; sure, throw it in with the DC heavyweights and see what happens, but brand new books like this are otherwise destined to fail.

#1 Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose (6257 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree. What with DC being limited to 52 ongoing titles, moving some over to Vertigo would make space for more obviously DC properties. They could probably move most of the 'Dark' titles and some of the 'Edge' titles over to Vertigo. Means they could focus on 'Superhero' comics with DC, and have Vertigo handle the other stuff.

If they wanted to boost Vertigos profile a bit, they could even publish more mature titles starring mainstream DC characters. A Batman series with ultra violence, bad language and nudity would probably fly off the shelves. I don't necessarily think that would be a good idea, but it's the kind of thing that could happen.

#2 Posted by Billy Batson (57960 posts) - - Show Bio

Wouldn't they be wasting Vertigo by placing cape comics over there?
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#3 Edited by Manbehindthewires (344 posts) - - Show Bio

@Billy Batson said:

Wouldn't they be wasting Vertigo by placing cape comics over there?

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I don't see how it could be a waste of a publisher by getting them to publish more, no.

If, however, you mean "wouldn't it be a waste of a cape character by publishing them under a label that predominantly doesn't handle capes?" then you're probably right, although Image is doing a good job of it.

Sorry, maybe Vibe was a poor example, due to it's JLA tie. Although, like I mentioned, superheroes have traveled from Vertigo in the past. As said, darker and more obscure titles would easily fit in, which was one of the main points I was trying to make with the likes of Dial H, although I still think any comic that lacks the reputation to keep up with DC's heavy hitters would have a better chance for survival in an indie pool, and since DC already has their own, it feels a waste not to use it.

#4 Posted by Farwind (67 posts) - - Show Bio

He does have a good point. While Vertigo, in my opinion, should stay away from producing cape comics (for reasons of keeping non-superhero comics alive), there's no reason they should be cancelling series that will be making them profit.

#5 Posted by cbishop (7573 posts) - - Show Bio

This idea would have had a better chance of flying if it were presented before the New 52. The problem is, in preparation for New 52, DC took all of their characters that used to be connected to the DCU back from Vertigo, and put them back in the DCU. So they're unlikely to shift any DCU characters to Vertigo now. And I'm surprising myself here actually, because I'm going to say that's a good choice. Here's why...

Vertigo cut its teeth on making DC properties like Swamp Thing, Sandman, Doom Patrol, Black Orchid, Animal Man, House of Mystery/Secrets, The Losers, and even Shade the Changing Man cool, and that's great. But they moved on to Indy stuff with no DCU ties, like Preacher, 100 Bullets, Fables, Invisibles, DMZ, Y: The Last Man, and American Vampire (among others). Vertigo has become an established brand for the cool, slick, gripping Indy, and to inject DCU characters back into that would be doing that brand a disservice.

However, could DC use a Vertigo-like label for some of their DCU books? Absolutely. Vertigo has changed too much to be that label though. I love your idea of Dial H getting the Vertigo treatment. It's kind of getting it now, but it's not going to survive much longer in the New 52. Under another label? Oh yeah. I could definitely see it lasting at least three to five times as long. Amethyst could benefit from a V-ish label too, and probably a few others that the need for sleep is keeping me from thinking of.

It is my theory that DC isn't in the business of putting out good stories with their DCU books right now. They're in the business of using every gimmick they know to sell issues, because someone beyond the DC offices is forcing them to up their issue sales. So we get #1's, #0's, Annuals, and "WTF Certified" moments (WTF indeed), until that outside force lets them go back to telling good stories. I think they know they're effing up the DCU, and as long as they're not being forced to eff up Vertigo with it, they're not going to. But that's just a theory.

#6 Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose (6257 posts) - - Show Bio

I think a possible solution to titles getting cancelled quickly, would be to let go of the 52 title limit. They're cancelling titles just to make room for others, so if they stopped limiting themselves, they could just publish as many titles as they want, rather than being forced to cancel something every time a new idea comes along.

On a slightly unrelated note, they probably shouldn't be putting the New 52 branding on titles that didn't start with the first wave. By all means keep it on the remaining 34(I think) New 52 titles, but remove it from the others.

#7 Edited by Manbehindthewires (344 posts) - - Show Bio

@cbishop: That's a really good point. It's probably because I'm more a DC reader than a V reader that I failed to appreciate that Vertigo, to many, is a bastion of creative, independent writing outside the DCU, not just a training pool for upcoming talent (although it does that really well too). The idea of a 3rd label is really interesting and would be ideal for giving non-N52's and alternative-DC's their own identity, which many of them need to stand out amongst the big guns, especially when they're constantly being compared with them in terms of sales.

@V_Scarlotte_Rose: Exactly. I'm no businessman, but to me, limiting production for the sake of a gimmick, is ridiculous. I can't see why they'd sacrifice so many books, upset and move around so many creators, and above all, remove any illusion of loyalty with their non-mainstream buyers. It's obvious that a formidable percentage of DC fans want to see more than just capes and cowl's from their creators, but are regularly punished for doing so. Again, a 3rd label like suggested could swiftly put a stop to that. People who care about the books would still know it was a DC product, and DC would still get the pats on the back, and everyone would get what they want out of DC.

They already deliver 30 flavours of Batman on a monthly basis to provide for differing fans; a couple of extra flavours of alternative can't be that much more of a stretch.

#8 Posted by Xorion (439 posts) - - Show Bio

vertigo? Don't talk to me about vertigo... They've taken my hellblazer

#9 Posted by Billy Batson (57960 posts) - - Show Bio

@cbishop said:

This idea would have had a better chance of flying if it were presented before the New 52. The problem is, in preparation for New 52, DC took all of their characters that used to be connected to the DCU back from Vertigo, and put them back in the DCU. So they're unlikely to shift any DCU characters to Vertigo now. And I'm surprising myself here actually, because I'm going to say that's a good choice. Here's why...

Actually that change happened in 2010, before The New 52 (for the most part).

@Manbehindthewires said:

@Billy Batson said:

Wouldn't they be wasting Vertigo by placing cape comics over there?

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I don't see how it could be a waste of a publisher by getting them to publish more, no.

If, however, you mean "wouldn't it be a waste of a cape character by publishing them under a label that predominantly doesn't handle capes?" then you're probably right, although Image is doing a good job of it.

Sorry, maybe Vibe was a poor example, due to it's JLA tie. Although, like I mentioned, superheroes have traveled from Vertigo in the past. As said, darker and more obscure titles would easily fit in, which was one of the main points I was trying to make with the likes of Dial H, although I still think any comic that lacks the reputation to keep up with DC's heavy hitters would have a better chance for survival in an indie pool, and since DC already has their own, it feels a waste not to use it.

Yeah, I was going for the latter point.
I agree with cbishop and your points (would love to see some dark/war/western titles again) but like cbishop pointed out, DC transferred all their characters back.
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#10 Posted by cbishop (7573 posts) - - Show Bio

@Manbehindthewires said:

@cbishop: That's a really good point. It's probably because I'm more a DC reader than a V reader that I failed to appreciate that Vertigo, to many, is a bastion of creative, independent writing outside the DCU, not just a training pool for upcoming talent (although it does that really well too). The idea of a 3rd label is really interesting and would be ideal for giving non-N52's and alternative-DC's their own identity, which many of them need to stand out amongst the big guns, especially when they're constantly being compared with them in terms of sales.

I think a 3rd label would be cool for those odd titles, but then, DC did a Claw the Unconquered run at Wild Storm, and that seemed to get lost in the shuffle. I saw that as the right idea, but the wrong label. Giving Claw a non-DC place for his own story was great, but trying to shoehorn DC characters into Wild Storm was not a good idea. I'd want to see another label with a new name.

@Billy Batson said:

@cbishop said:

This idea would have had a better chance of flying if it were presented before the New 52. The problem is, in preparation for New 52, DC took all of their characters that used to be connected to the DCU back from Vertigo, and put them back in the DCU. So they're unlikely to shift any DCU characters to Vertigo now. And I'm surprising myself here actually, because I'm going to say that's a good choice. Here's why...

Actually that change happened in 2010, before The New 52 (for the most part).

Right. They shuffled the DCU characters at Vertigo back into the DCU, then shut down the DCU to relaunch it as New 52. Sorry, I wasn't clear - my view on DC's prep for N52 goes back a ways. ;)

#11 Posted by Markus_Langbourn (387 posts) - - Show Bio
@Xorion said:

vertigo? Don't talk to me about vertigo... They've taken my hellblazer

But John's on the Justice League now! It's so cool and is definitely not a giant middle finger to his character!!!
#12 Posted by Xorion (439 posts) - - Show Bio

@Markus_Langbourn: yes that's cool I'm reading JL dark and I'll read constantine series too but still this means we won't get the tone of hellblazer. I like this young constantine too but I'll miss the old bloke with his dark stories and all

#13 Posted by longbowhunter (7047 posts) - - Show Bio

Vertigo is circling the drain. I buy a lot of the stuff in trade and have for years. I bought Punk Rock Jesus and plan to buy The Wake and Trillium in singles. Its a very small step but I'm just one person. Right now Image is the home of cutting edge independent stories.

#14 Posted by V_Scarlotte_Rose (6257 posts) - - Show Bio

@Markus_Langbourn said:

@Xorion said:

vertigo? Don't talk to me about vertigo... They've taken my hellblazer

But John's on the Justice League now! It's so cool and is definitely not a giant middle finger to his character!!!

Justice League Dark isn't actually a branch of The Justice League though.

#15 Posted by Markus_Langbourn (387 posts) - - Show Bio
@V_Scarlotte_Rose said:

@Markus_Langbourn said:

@Xorion said:

vertigo? Don't talk to me about vertigo... They've taken my hellblazer

But John's on the Justice League now! It's so cool and is definitely not a giant middle finger to his character!!!

Justice League Dark isn't actually a branch of The Justice League though.

Yeah, I know. I'm just being facetious about the whole "integration of Vertigo mainstays" into the DCU thing.
#16 Posted by Manhunter2070 (106 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Karen Berger herself said that she always wanted Vertigo to be a creator owned and original IP outlet, and that originally including DC properties was more of a way to keep the line interesting to more mainstream customers. What does seem a waste is DC's new rating system, which they never go above a T+ so it means adult aimed DC properties are nowhere on the horizon. I'm cool with the Vertigo-verse being re-integrated, I think the DCU is better for it, I just wish its wasn't as toned down for the characters that need less censoring.
 
Another problem , Image offers far better deals when it comes to creator owned stuff, for example, I believe the Vertigo contract says that WB has first rights to any movie deal, but since we all know WB doesn't ever seem interested in making them the creators don't have any reason to take their ideas to Vertigo if possible movie deals are just going to be sat on and never used by WB.  
 
Vertigo still has brand power, but they need to be attracting the Image crowd far more. 

#17 Posted by NeonGameWave (7712 posts) - - Show Bio

I think so.

#18 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33071 posts) - - Show Bio

@Billy Batson: Constantine should have been left at Vertigo and Dial H, I' Vampire, Green Team and The Movement should have all been Vertigo books.

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#19 Posted by arnoldoaad (1007 posts) - - Show Bio

I think Vertigo lost all the power that it had left once Karen Berger left

Vertigo used to be that Dark and mature side of DC as well as that place to go for new creators, now its just Fables Editorial and Image is the new place for new future creators

#20 Posted by colonyofcells (2038 posts) - - Show Bio

Warner Brothers don't seem to be interested in creator owned stuff and Warner Brothers wants to own things that can be used in all media. Vertigo can still be used as a for adults only comic line. Maybe dc should even try a porn line of comics.

#21 Posted by Billy Batson (57960 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jonny_Anonymous said:

@Billy Batson: Constantine should have been left at Vertigo and Dial H, I' Vampire, Green Team and The Movement should have all been Vertigo books.

From a fan's standpoint yes but the separation of the DCU and Vertigo happened a few years ago meaning that they can't use the characters apart from a few characters but those went back to the DCU too. Not sure how the whole separation thing works.
Sure they could do some tweaking but seeing two vampire books at the same time is rather weird.
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#22 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (33071 posts) - - Show Bio

@Billy Batson: Well technically it would be three vampire books because you'v also got The New Deadwardians

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#23 Posted by Billy Batson (57960 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jonny_Anonymous:

Oh yeah but that was a mini :p
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