What Is Vertigo’s Future After Karen Berger Departs?

I first saw the news from Graeme McMillan at the Newsarama blog (link no longer available), that Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger (and the woman who built that DC line into what it was during its glory days) would be leaving her position in March. One sentence from his writeup struck me. He said,

Karen Berger

it’s impossible to consider the mainstream American comics industry without Vertigo these days, especially when you consider that Marvel’s EiC these days cut his editorial teeth at the imprint

I think Graeme means “consider the affect Vertigo had on the comic industry over the years”, which is indubitably true, but when I first read his comment, I thought it was completely wrong. It’s very possible to envision an American comic industry without Vertigo, and many people are. Although DC’s press release indicates 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 had a future under the Warner/DC Entertainment regime with or without her. There’s no longer any need it fulfills for the company or creators, as the main DC line now publishes mature readers material and creator ownership is easier to get elsewhere.

I don’t know whether Berger intends to change industries or find something else to do in comics or retire, whether she’s tired of what DC has become or simply feels like a change, whether the company made her an offer she couldn’t refuse or suggested she leave before they pushed or were tired of paying that many vice presidents. I hope we hear more from her next year. She had a long and storied career, responsible for all kinds of major accomplishments it’s too late for me to list accurately. On a political level, she was one of the most visible women in a high-ranking position at a comic company, and losing her feels to me like another sign of how female-unfriendly corporate American comics have become.


One Response to “What Is Vertigo’s Future After Karen Berger Departs?”

  1. The Karen Berger era and what comes next Says:

    [...] real, brutal question is…is the Vertigo imprint even needed any more? Johanna Draper Carlson lays it out: It’s very possible to envision an American comic industry without Vertigo, and many people are. [...]

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