DC Creates New Reprint Format With Vertigo Resurrected, DC Comics Presents


Vertigo recently announced Vertigo Resurrected, a 96-page $8 special due in October that promises to finally print “Shoot”, a story by Warren Ellis and Phil Jimenez that was intended to be Hellblazer #141 but was banned by Paul Levitz in the aftermath of the Columbine shootings.

Backing it up will be “rarely seen tales exploring the disturbing depths of horror, war, romance, and science fiction by Brian Azzarello, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis and artists Jim Lee, Phil Jimenez, Bernie Wrightson, and others.” Speculation has it that these may be short pieces previously published in such anthologies as Weird War Tales, Flinch, etc., not banned stories. Some observations:


  1. What a definite sign that DC is operating under a changed regime.
  2. No matter how shocking something is at the time, ten years later, it won’t be.
  3. I’m not sure the younger folks remember how crazy everyone was about hints of school violence at that time, to the extent of holding part two of Buffy’s season finale for three months just because it was set in a high school.
  4. A company will eventually publish anything they have paid for.
  5. Those observers hoping that this means that we’ll see Rick Veitch’s “Swamp Thing Meets Jesus” story or a reprint of Finals or other famous banned projects are likely going to be disappointed. There’s mention of this being first in a series, but I suspect DC sees it as a way to capitalize on creator name value, not reverse creative decisions of years past. Although if sales are strong and voices loud, never say never.
  6. Is this a cleaning-out of the cupboards in preparation for something else?
  7. I suppose this means you won’t be able to read Shoot here for much longer. (Right! Link no longer available.)
  8. Why would you title this special something that suggests that you’re coming back from the dead at a time when people are speculating on the future of your imprint? That seems a bit tone-deaf.

There’s a similar DC project called DC Comics Presents that has seven issues announced, including a reprint of Ellis’ aborted Jack Cross series, a Young Justice special that reprints the two-issue JLA: World Without Grown-Ups, and a reprint of the two-issue Batman and Catwoman: Trail of the Gun that is strangely titled “DC Comics Presents: Ethan Van Sciver #1”. In the DC case, it seems to be a way to put out omnibus reprints that don’t quite qualify for trade paperback collection.

If we combine the two ideas and consider the possibility of the DC book printing a cancelled story, I vote for Kurt Busiek’s Krypto story.


  • Never read that Hellblazer story until just now. Wow, what a bunch of noise over nothing. Just a really lame, ham-fisted example of Vertigo at its worst.

  • Looking at it now, yeah, it wasn’t an offensive story. But if anyone remembers just how awful Columbine was that day, it’s hard to fault the DC regime at the time pulling the plug on the story. It wasn’t a controversial story in itself; it just was tangential to the worst school shooting in American history, that’s all, and that was enough for a major corporation to pull the story. Glad to see it’s finally coming to light now.

    Perhaps this is DC’s way of courting Ellis. His work-for-hire contract with Marvel is coming to an end soon…

  • I disagree. If I remember it correctly, it was offensive in suggesting that some of the victims in this fictional example wanted to be killed. That would have been incredibly controversial at the time. I’m not sure what I would have done if responsible for editing it — I support artists engaging with the issues of their time, but I also understand why DC didn’t want the flak it would receive, especially when complicated by the author being British.

    That’s a very interesting point about Ellis being focused on for both of these projects. In days past, DC wouldn’t have promoted someone exclusive with the competition. (A decision many wondered about, since it seemed to be leaving money on the table.)

  • Thad

    I was a junior in high school in ’99, and the aftermath of Columbine was damned uncomfortable. You had to watch what you said, what you did, and what you wore, and we’d get periodic threats which the administration consistently handled poorly. (On one occasion they herded us all into the football stands while bomb-sniffing dogs went through the halls. If somebody HAD been there with a gun, we would have been sitting ducks.)

    I also remember Nicieza did a school shooting story in Thunderbolts right after that, and I thought it was quite tasteless and exploitative.

  • Tim Rifenburg

    I like the fact they are reprinting things that are timely to what they are publishing. (characters / Writers / artists) The pricepoint is ok (definitely cheaper than a 128 /144 page trade). The only ones that grab me are the JLA book and the one reprinting stories starring characters from Brightest Day. At least they are trying to be timely with reprints and tie them into the stuff they are publishing. (Something DC hasn’t always been good about.)

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