DC Moves Constantine to DCU, Cancels Vertigo’s Hellblazer, Brings Imprint’s Future Into Question

Issue #300 of Hellblazer, due in February, will be its final. It’s just not trendy these days to have those triple-digit numbers, and John Constantine, the star of the book, is hanging out in the DCU in Justice League Dark (aka “Let’s put all our magicians in one title and call it JL to help it sell”). He’s even getting his own, new title, Constantine, set in the DCU, by Robert Venditti and Renato Guedes.

Hellblazer #299 cover by Simon Bisley

Hellblazer #299 cover by Simon Bisley

Graeme McMillan, bless him (at a link no longer available), asks the question a lot of people are wondering about after all this — what does the future of Vertigo look like? They’ve got four titles left, and although there’s plenty of profit to still be made from the perennial backlist — Sandman, Preacher, Swamp Thing — the line is struggling in coming up with new material with similar strengths.

The comic market is so different now, and people don’t buy new series the way they used to. Those left buying periodicals are following long-time brand-name favorites, even if they’re appearing under different titles and origins. “Edgy” material, like that Vertigo made its name on, can be found in many other places (IDW comes to mind; Dark Horse also has a strong horror line). Vertigo used to be a stepping stone for those who felt as though they were outgrowing superheroes but still wanted to read comics; today, there are plenty of graphic novels for that audience.

Moreover, the kinds of creators that work for Vertigo are aware enough to want creator ownership and other deals that make it more difficult to turn the properties into movies and toys, which seems to be DC’s focus these days.


7 Responses to “DC Moves Constantine to DCU, Cancels Vertigo’s Hellblazer, Brings Imprint’s Future Into Question”

  1. David Oakes Says:

    With John back in the DCU, aren’t all the remaining (current) Vertigo titles all creator owned? (Or at least not the “created as Work-for-Hire, and maintain by someone else as WFH”.)

    I see this less as the death of the imprint (though it may be) as a Chinese Wall to keep the IPs from getting mixed. We may yet see “edgy” comics come from DC – National Comics certainly wants to be Vertigo – but we will no longer see “Sovereign 7″ or Superman at Dream’s wake.

  2. Anthony Says:

    Wonder as well if it’s to make pushing the “New 52″ relaunch even more marketable (“look! Your favorite Vertigo stars are now crossing over with Batman, where they belong!”). That, and DC since Vertigo’s launch (especially under DiDio) has become quite dark/”edgy” as it is… even if DC’s idea of “edgy” these days is having the Joker commit mass slaughter for the 6.022×10^23 time (or somesuch puerile juvenile shock-value “writing”)…

  3. Don MacPherson Says:

    Setting aside the concerns/arguments about pulling Constantine’s solo title out of Vertigo, establishing a New 52 ongoing series for the character seems redundant. Constantine and Phantom Strange strike me as somewhat reundnant titles set in the same continuity. There are a lot of similarities between the characters (especially with the new, sin-riddled, ethically grey take on the Stranger).

  4. Chad Says:

    Moreover, the kinds of creators that work for Vertigo are aware enough to want creator ownership and other deals that make it more difficult to turn the properties into movies and toys, which seems to be DC’s focus these days.

    This. Why would you give up complete creative control and ownership when you can just take your series to Image and sell similar numbers? There are a lot of series at Image right now by established creators that I could easily have seen over at Vertigo years ago, books like Saga, Morning Glories, Manhattan Projects and Fatale.

    For an established creator, I don’t see the benefit of going to Vertigo these days. And when was the last time Vertigo broke someone new? Scott Snyder with American Vampire in 2010? (And that one was helped along with a Stephen King backup in the first few issues; not the kind of promotional push you get every day.)

  5. Johanna Says:

    Excellent points, especially listing those particular titles.

  6. Jim Perreault Says:

    I enjoyed “Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child”, but apparently the series did not take as it was quickly cancelled.

    It seems most of the offerings from Vertigo that I’m interested in are graphic novels, and not ongoings.

  7. What Is Vertigo’s Future After Karen Berger Departs? » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] intent to continue the imprint, as many people started wondering after the announcement of the cancellation of Hellblazer last month, it’s an open question whether Vertigo is needed at all these days, or whether it […]




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