Ideas in motion... crash to a halt
April 20, 2016 6:30 PM   Subscribe

DC comics has announced a "restructuring" of their Vertigo imprint and has eliminated Shelly Bond's role as Vertigo Vice President & Executive Editor. Bond was also involved in setting up Wild Animals, Gerald Way's DC imprint which uses many early Vertigo characters. Meanwhile previous Vertigo head Karen Berger has returned to comics editing a book for Image.
posted by Artw (61 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Previous Vertigo
posted by Artw at 6:31 PM on April 20, 2016


Sounds like they're getting ready to take Vertigo out behind the shed and put it out of its misery. I thought something was up when they announced Wild Animal. Also, seriously, WTF DC. That's TWO prominent women editors in a row that you pushed out the door.
posted by KingEdRa at 6:59 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Way to make someone move across a fucking continent and then drop them, fuckheads.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:29 PM on April 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


And yet human garbage pile Dan didio persists.
posted by boo_radley at 7:41 PM on April 20, 2016 [14 favorites]


Yeah, it really seems like Way's Young Animal line is supposed to be the "next" Vertigo, which leaves the actual Vertigo in a questionable position at best.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:42 PM on April 20, 2016


I am of the opinion that the most Vertigoish thing out of Vertigo recently was rhe Mong Doyle run on Hellblazer, which managed to feel both very fresh and very like the characters first few appearances. It will be missed.
posted by Artw at 7:43 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Once they brought Constantine into the mainstream DCU, I kinda figured Vertigo was on it's way out. DC seems to have lost their way a few years ago and seem to determined to get more lost for the foreseeable future.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:43 PM on April 20, 2016




Also, seriously, WTF DC. That's TWO prominent women editors in a row that you pushed out the door.

Of course it is. Which is ironic because the cutting-edge work Vertigo did starting in 1993 is probably responsible for a lot of girls growing up as comics nerds.

Neil Gaiman once called The Sandman "the only sexually transmitted comic in the world," which seems a tad glib and dismissive of women who didn't need the boys as gatekeepers to weekly pull lists, but he does have a point about how Vertigo cultivated titles that lured in American women who would otherwise not be into comics.
posted by sobell at 9:00 PM on April 20, 2016 [10 favorites]


Right now Vertigo is publishing the only two DC comics I still get, so I hope they don't cancel any series.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:02 PM on April 20, 2016


Jesus, that is one unfortunate quote. Certainly, though, in the way back days before the Marvel movies were there to introduce everyone to comics, The Sandman brought in a lot of young women readers. This seems like a bigger deal to Big Two readers than it maybe is to the medium as a whole, since surely anime served as a gateway to a fantastically larger number of female comics readers -- they just weren't American comics.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:08 PM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


"the way back days". Ouch. You're not wrong, but as a woman brought to comics by DC a couple of years before they launched Vertigo, ouch.
posted by gingerest at 9:22 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why you fuck around with a label that works and have it report to two guys who are currently known for stumbling around and bumping into shit when it comes to the main label's direction. Makes no sense.

DC Restructures Vertigo, Fires Shelly Bond, Provokes Naming of "open Secret" Sexual Harasser in Upper Management

Jesus fucking Christ. I've worked for companies almost this badly run, and they're all toxic failures. I wonder how long the reputation of their biggest properties will keep propping the company up.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:22 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Shelley Bond was also responsible for Minx, which never really took off, and was probably a bit ahead of its time, but I look at it now and think that if they had stuck to their guns they would be making a mint right now.
posted by Artw at 9:36 PM on April 20, 2016 [8 favorites]


For some reason, I thought Vertigo had been killed off years ago.

And what is up with that press release, am I crazy to read between the lines that think that they're gleeful about eleminating Bond? It reads oddly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:42 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


DC seems to have lost their way a few years ago and seem to determined to get more lost for the foreseeable future.

They're thrashing around, constantly trying to rearrange characters and plots into something that's both coherent and lucrative, and not doing particularly well in either case. And their treatment of female characters and creators is just shameful. Gail Simone's The Movement got cancelled after twelve issues, and her new Secret Six (which looked to be turning into something as good as the old book, which was very good indeed) got cancelled at 14. Marvel isn't without its own mistakes--the recent Secret Wars retread seemed pointless and dumb--but there's very little at DC that even remotely interests me any more.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:55 PM on April 20, 2016


DC seems determined to bring back the nineties, even if no one demanded it.
posted by Eikonaut at 10:28 PM on April 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


But only all the worst things about 90s comics.
posted by EatTheWeek at 11:06 PM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


Vertigo was easily the best thing about '90s comics.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:13 PM on April 20, 2016 [11 favorites]


Comics Twitter is now full of creators praising Bind, I think because the Brits just woke up.
posted by Artw at 11:43 PM on April 20, 2016


To give maybe a very slightly more generous reading of the Gaiman quote, I only found out about Sandman through my (much cooler) girlfriend at the time. I was all "wow, Cable is XTREEEEEM" and she was all, "dude, chill. Check out this comic." And I still consider myself in her debt, because wow, Cable was not extreme, but Sandman (and a ton of other comics I picked up through Vertigo) were pretty damn awesome.

(Strangely, A Game of You was a pretty decent story to get started on.)
posted by Ghidorah at 12:44 AM on April 21, 2016 [5 favorites]


Once they brought Constantine into the mainstream DCU, I kinda figured Vertigo was on it's way out. DC seems to have lost their way a few years ago and seem to determined to get more lost for the foreseeable future.

Neither company has much of a creator-owned imprint anymore; I think comics publishing has opened up tremendously, and that a big corporate-sponsored creator/mature readers imprint is simply not fulfilling an especially necessary role anymore.

Much better to go with any of half a dozen indie publishers, from Image to Dark Horse to Avatar. They have TPB programs, and so much of the marketing for these things is word-of-mouth and critical acclaim. (It helps that the comics web has a lot of places where non-spandex, Big Two books are reviewed with care and attention.)

Now, if the Vertigo you want is the pseudo-shared universe of Britwave DC characters, then, yes, this is something specific that's being lost. And yes, Didio-era DC began awfully, is still awful, and will continue to be awful. DC Rebirth seems like a half-hearted effort to acknowledge that someone other than overgrown adolescent boys reads comics, but it's very little and very late, and I don't trust DC editorial not to fuck it up somehow.
posted by kewb at 2:20 AM on April 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


I used to love Vertigo's output in the 1990s. If you'd told me then that I'd one day drop their books entirely in favour of various Image titles, I'd have laughed in your face.
posted by Paul Slade at 2:52 AM on April 21, 2016 [9 favorites]


Halloween Jack": Marvel isn't without its own mistakes--the recent Secret Wars retread seemed pointless and dumb...

Wow.
You need to go back and (re)read Hickman's entire Marvel run. It's not perfect but it's 170-something degrees away from either pointless or dumb.

I kind of gave up on DC after the shine wore off the new 52 but the sense of slow-motion tragedy had been building for quite a while. It seems clear to me that they're going to continue to founder and watch sales slide as long as the people at the top are allowed to remain. They don't know what they're doing.

That's a crying shame to, I grew up a solid DC guy.
posted by djeo at 4:18 AM on April 21, 2016


I said on Twitter something to the effect that Vertigo was invaluable to me, as a teenage female, in the way of getting into comics. I suspect that if I were a teenager now, I'd be finding Image as my gateway into them. That Shelly Bond has been treated so poorly saddens me. At least the silver lining of Karen Berger at Image exists.
posted by Kitteh at 4:25 AM on April 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


You need to go back and (re)read Hickman's entire Marvel run.

That's not a super helpful suggestion, since he's done quite a lot of it, and what I've seen of his work leaves me utterly cold.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:42 AM on April 21, 2016


So DC comics is extending Grimdark™ to include its managerial style too?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:25 AM on April 21, 2016 [11 favorites]


yep - yet another person who only read comics because of Vertigo - it was my gateway. Though I do love that DC stalwart, Watchmen.
posted by jb at 5:26 AM on April 21, 2016


Looks up from reading webcomics

Oh, is DC still around? I thought it was all just Warner Brothers now.

Goes back to reading webcomics. Oh that Coyote, what a scamp!
posted by happyroach at 6:44 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I read comics as a boy, quit reading them as a young teen and started reading them again as an older teen because my then girlfriend made me read Sandman (and Stardust, the original one with all the illustrations, not the novel version). During Karen Berger's era, I read and bought everything I could from Vertigo. I can't honestly say that I've read much during Bond's tenure, but DC shuttering Vertigo just confirms that I have no reason to think about reading anything from the big 2.

If you told me that when I was spending my money on Sandman, Transmetropolitan, Lucifer and Preacher (look, we all make youthful mistakes, ok? At least it wasn't Mark Millar or Frank Miller), that I would be skipping the DC booth at NYCC and drooling at the Image and Valiant booths, I would have laughed.

Looks like Image is going to be getting more or my money. (Image, hire Shelly Bond while you're at it. Please, produce more content I automatically buy.) Hey look, new Rat Queens trade.
posted by Hactar at 7:04 AM on April 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


I can categorically say that if it weren't for 90's era DV/Vertigo I would not be reading comics today.

Vertigo titles and a few creator independent owned titles were the only ones I was reading then, and they led me to meet up with other geeks from other geeky spheres, and I owe quite a bit of my social connections to having (initially) a shared loved of Neil Gaiman's Sandman.

As far as the Gaiman quote goes (given with no other context as it is above) I prefer to charitably read it, as Gaiman referring to the (predominantly female) readers recommending Sandman to their romantic partners.

It was so good you recommended it to people you had a strong affinity for. People you cared about.

I discovered Sandman myself, but only because of a bigoted male shop owner who *literally* three issue 4 across the counter at me along with a Dark Horse Star Wars Leia one shot (which I have sadly lost and can't remember the name of), and a ratty creased oversized copy of Black Orchid because "That's what girls read, buy it then get out we're about to have a Magic tournament."

I didin't want to tell him to shove it, cementing his previous taunts of "Chick's don't buy comics". So I silently dropped the correct change on the floor, picked up the comics, and left.

I look back now, and think I that was ball-sy move for an introverted 14 year old.
posted by Faintdreams at 7:05 AM on April 21, 2016 [12 favorites]


I often tell people that indirectly Grant Morrison is responsible for my marriage. (Actually, it was Barbelith, but it started as a forum to talk about The Invisibles with such delightfully geeky depth that it still counts.) There was so much good stuff coming out of Vertigo in the 90s and early 00s. So many weird titles that may not have lasted but at least got a shot.
posted by Kitteh at 7:12 AM on April 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


god, I miss Barbelith
posted by the phlegmatic king at 7:39 AM on April 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ooof, I don't. That place got weird and nasty. Make mine MeFi, true believer!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:41 AM on April 21, 2016


It only got weird towards the end when two users made it their personal grudge match and everyone else got caught in the aftermath. I still hang out with the UK Barbelith contingent when in London and we rarely wax nostalgic except for some of the funnier bits. I loved it because it was my first online home(back when it was still The Nexus!) and it was a very warm insular community for a long period of time. But these things implode as they often do.
posted by Kitteh at 8:13 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I quite liked Secret Wars, particularly its weird Tumblresque quality, though I wouldn't argue that it dragged on a bit too long and was a momentum killer for a lot of titles. Crossovers, I guess.
posted by Artw at 8:27 AM on April 21, 2016


I had a good time on Barbelith early in the century, so it was sad to wander back a couple of years ago and find it a mostly abandoned wreck.
posted by tavella at 8:43 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


I said on Twitter something to the effect that Vertigo was invaluable to me, as a teenage female, in the way of getting into comics. I suspect that if I were a teenager now, I'd be finding Image as my gateway into them.

A bunch of my friends in the last few years, when I expressed an interest in comics, were recommending me older Vertigo stuff - Sandman, Transmetropolitan, Fables. I didn't get it. So I shrugged and figured the medium wasn't for me.

Last year, a different friend: "No, no, no. Read this," and put Saga and Sex Criminals on my lap. It worked? I read a lot of comics now, though I don't think a single one is Vertigo or DC.
posted by you could feel the sky at 9:33 AM on April 21, 2016


Vertigo has given DC more evergreen TPB titles than their regular line - I've always suspected that there's some envy involved in that.

There was a period in the 90's where I'd try anything from Vertigo sight unseen, and I've never, ever done that with any other publisher.

and I do believe that the strong female editorial vision had a lot to do with their success. If the NuDC folks are going to be in charge, this will most likely be a sharper, harder fall than Epic had back in the day.
posted by jkosmicki at 11:19 AM on April 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


Any kind of commercial success is most likely to come from using established DCU characters again -- which seems unlikely, at least as it was done in the '90s, since that's what Young Animal is doing -- or moving more aggressively into doing feature film adaptations and continuations. Vertigo had huge early successes with creator-owned books that still sell (e.g., Preacher, 100 Bullets), but that type of contract is apparently no longer something that DC offers, so books like that will logically not be pitched to DC/Vertigo. At that point, you focus on what you own and what you can license. If it were me and I wanted to sell comics in this scenario, I might propose "Vertigo versions" of DCU characters -- an R-rated Batman comic seems like an economically wise proposition. You could buy a really nice house with that money.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:38 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


(Strangely, A Game of You was a pretty decent story to get started on.)

I am so jealous of you getting to start with that! That entire storyline is amazing.

(I grew up in a fairly sheltered and conservative environment. I am not kidding when I say that the one-two punch of going to college and reading Sandman showed me that there was a whole, wide world full of amazing people and stories and experiences, open to anyone who wanted to try.)

Vertigo's 1990s catalog has some enduring, classic titles, some really interesting mistakes, and a point of view that is absolutely unique to the time, IMO. I am not at all surprised that Image has become a successor of sorts, or that Karen Berger's working for them. Like finds like.
posted by sobell at 12:17 PM on April 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


It's weird that something like Nameless isn't Vertigo. It's so obviously a title that would have a natural home there in the past, and that it doesn't now seems like a symptom of something being broken.
posted by Artw at 12:21 PM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Until I’m Done Or Until I Get Fired: Gerard Way On His Plans For Young Animal - bond gets mentioned a lot then there's a sad little note that the interview predates the firing.
posted by Artw at 12:39 PM on April 21, 2016


Vertigo was basically my gateway, too. (Technically my gateway was Jhonen Vasquez but I'm pretty sure I would have shrugged that off as "that one cool thing I read" if my friend hadn't followed up my return of it with "I'm glad you liked it, here's what's next" and sent me staggering home under the weight of a fuckton of Sandman.) I still reflexively have warm fuzzy thoughts about the line and then have to remember that it's really not what I remember it being, anymore.
posted by Stacey at 12:47 PM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Man, I have boxes of Mylar wrapped 90s vertigo titles. Most of them signed and authenticated. I know Shelly Bond, I've worked with her, and she is bar-none pure awesome. DC is dead to me now. That said, DC has been a crap studio for women except when you could get to Shelly, and with her gone, it's just going to devolve into a circle jerk of grimdark douchebros.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:38 PM on April 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


BTW, a reminder to look at the link Artw posted about the Serial Harasser at DC who still has a job. I actually came to MeFi to see if anyone had posted that as an FPP, even.

That strikes me as huge — or at least potentially so. And it's good to hear that people are letting the world know about that particular missing stair.

(It's Eddie Berganza according to Nick Hanover and Janelle Asselin; and given that he apparently did things in public with witnesses, a lot of other people too.)
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 6:50 PM on April 21, 2016




That said, DC has been a crap studio for women except when you could get to Shelly, and with her gone, it's just going to devolve into a circle jerk of grimdark douchebros.

Their creative decisions of late are certainly making a lot more sense right now.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:44 PM on April 21, 2016


@sxbond:

Overwhelmed by outpouring of solid props and well wishes. Thank you. 1/3

Vertigo is in good hands @jamieESrich @ElliePyle @Mollitude are taking the torch & will continue to set new standards for modern comics. 2/3

Vertigo is in good hands @jamieESrich @ElliePyle @Mollitude are taking the torch & will continue to set new standards for modern comics. 2/3

Honored to be a part of VERTIGO since inception thanks to Karen Berger's keen decision to hire & believe in me. 3/3

So proud of the books and creative teams that make me look so good. 4/4

There's no way to thank everyone who's expressed their support but just know it means the world to me.

Major thanks to editor extraordinaire Diana Schutz who gave me my first job in this incredible industry.

And art director Rick Taylor: color and design mentor and best first friend in comics.

posted by Artw at 7:22 AM on April 22, 2016


a circle jerk of grimdark douchebros
They'd better not touch the Bombshells! Still, that seems to be the majority of DC editor-think: "Violence makes money and we need fewer women in comics."
Image comics though... I've just noticed that the last 4 series I've bought are all Image - they're doing impressive stuff. Injection, Nowhere Men, Bitch Planet, and Rat Queens. Fun, smart, and really great art and writing styles. Recommended.
posted by Zack_Replica at 12:37 PM on April 22, 2016


Ray Queen is going on hiatus, which sucks. Very much enjoying it.
posted by Artw at 12:42 PM on April 22, 2016


Agh! Still 'hiatus' doesn't mean 'finished and done', so there's that to cling to...
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:22 PM on April 22, 2016




The new Killing Joke trailer, which looks Not Good, keeps rattling around in my kind as a symbol of this whole thing since it dropped.
posted by middleclasstool at 3:04 PM on April 27, 2016


That book really hasn't aged well, and they're somehow making worse.
posted by Artw at 3:13 PM on April 27, 2016




Ah, late Friday press releases. Trash day. Not a good signal for how seriously to take their internal investigation.
posted by middleclasstool at 1:40 PM on May 14, 2016


I'm trying not to read too much into it being simultaneous with the Darwyn Cooke news.
posted by Artw at 6:06 PM on May 14, 2016




Something strange is going on with the Rat Queens artist situation

Also, if your response to the Batman v. Superman debacle is a bigger role for Geoff "Grimdark McCutOffSomeArms" Johns, you're not helping.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:17 AM on May 18, 2016


That Rat Queens news is kind of ruining Rat Queens for me.
posted by middleclasstool at 11:59 AM on May 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


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