Vertigo Comics

Vertigo is an imprint of the American comic-book publisher DC Comics. Its books are marketed to a sophisticated audience, and may contain graphic violence, substance abuse, frank (but not explicit) depictions of sexuality, profanity, and controversial subjects. Although many of its releases are in the horror and fantasy genres, it also publishes works dealing with crime, social satire, speculative fiction, and biography. Each issue's cover carries the advisory label "Suggested for mature readers" (regardless of a specific issue's content). As of 2010, Karen Berger is the executive editor of the imprint, and has overseen it since its inception in 1993.

Vertigo comics series have won the comics industry's Eisner Award, including the Best Continuing Series of various years (The Sandman, Preacher, 100 Bullets and Fables). Several of its publications have been adapted to film, including Hellblazer,[1] A History of Violence,[2] Stardust, and V for Vendetta.[3]

In 2010, it was announced that Vertigo would become a strictly creator-owned imprint, with all titles that originated in the DC Universe, with the exception of flagship title Hellblazer, returning to the DC imprint. This includes characters related to Swamp Thing, The Sandman, Madame Xanadu, Black Orchid, The Books of Magic, House of Mystery, Sandman Mystery Theatre, The Haunted Tank, The Unknown Soldier, and Shade, the Changing Man. This had already been done with Animal Man, Doom Patrol, and The Human Target.

General Informations

Official Name: Vertigo
Founded: 1993 (launch)
Key People: Karen Berger
Country of origin: 
Headquarters location: 
Publication types: Adult comic books 
Fiction genres: 
Parent: DC Comics



Vertigo originated in 1993 under the stewardship of Karen Berger, a Brooklyn College graduate[5] with a degree in English Literature and a minor in Art History,[6] who had joined DC Comics in 1979 as an assistant to editor Paul Levitz, debuting with House of Mystery #292 after a Sgt. Rock reprint collection. In the final issue of House of Mystery, #323, she was depicted in the comics as personally evicting Cain from the House. Ironically, as condescending as she was portrayed treating him, she was instrumental in the character's continued development at DC. By the mid-1980s, Berger, then editor of such DC titles as Wonder Woman and Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, began assigning writers from the U.K. These included Neil Gaiman, whom she met in 1987 on a talent-scouting trip,[5] as well as Peter Milligan and Grant Morrison.[5] She "found their sensibility and point of view to be refreshingly different, edgier and smarter" than those of most American comics writers,[5] and worked with them and others on the superhero/science fiction series Animal Man, Doom Patrol vol. 2, and Shade, the Changing Man vol. 2; the Black Orchid miniseries (Neil Gaiman's first work for DC),[7] the fantasy series The Sandman vol. 2, and the horror titles Hellblazer and The Saga of the Swamp Thing,[8] that last written by Alan Moore, a British writer inherited from previous editor Len Wein.
These seven titles, all of which carried a "Suggested for Mature Readers" label on their covers,[9] and shared a sophistication-driven sensibility the fan press dubbed "the Bergerverse,[6] would form the initial basis of Vertigo. In a 1993 editorial meeting with Berger, Levitz, DC publisher Jenette Kahn and managing editor Dick Giordano, Berger was given the mandate to place these titles under an imprint that, as Berger described, would "do something different in comics and help the medium 'grow up'".[6] Several DC titles bearing the label, such as Green Arrow, which had it from vol. 2, #1 (February 1988)-#63 (Late June 1992), were not allowed to make the leap to the new imprint.[10] The Question had borne the label from issue #8 (September 1987) to its cancellation in Spring 1992, and also never became a Vertigo title. Other "suggested for mature readers" titles to pre-date Vertigo include Vigilante, Haywire, and Skreemer, and miniseries and one-shots such as Gilgamesh II, Tailgunner Jo, World Without End, Mister E, and Batman: The Killing Joke. These mature readers comics, both those that became Vertigo and those that did not, often had the DC bullet printed in a smaller than usual size.

Touchmark Comics

Several of the earliest new Vertigo series derived from Disney Comics' aborted Touchmark Comics imprint, a line announced before the so-called "Disney Implosion" of 1991, and subsequently abandoned. Touchmark was to be helmed at Disney by ex-DC editor Art Young, but when it was jettisoned, both Young and the properties were acquired by DC forming part of the debut Vertigo line. Berger notes that "when Art Young became available with the Touchmark properties... that helped facilitate the line," and the influx of projects allowed Berger to "double [her] proposed publishing plan."[11] Quite how much of a part Disney's decision to scrap Touchmark played in the creation of Vertigo is open for debate. Touchmark titles included Enigma, Sebastian O, Mercy, and Shadows Fall.


  • Yorik Brown
  • John Constantine
  • Ampersand
  • Bigby Wolf
  • Snow White
  • Bast
  • Epiphany Greaves