Today DC Comics announced that Karen Berger is leaving Vertigo. Her final day won’t be until March, but it feels like the end of an era. In fact it is.
I don’t really know the Vertigo history, but I know Berger was crucial to the founding of the imprint. And since its founding she has been Vertigo’s strongest editorial voice and leader.
Editorial voice is a weird term. Vertigo is known as being a place for distinctive creator owned work. Works as varied as Sandman, Fables, Preacher, The Losers and The Invisibles. Berger didn’t even edit all the books I just listed, but she did oversee the line. Vertigo was about creators, experiments, and a strong commitment to the work.
Berger is also known for editing many of the British creators: Moore, Morrison, Delano, Gaiman, Ennis. Bringing that new viewpoint into the comics is surely notable. Not all the British titles were Vertigo launch. Some had completed before. But most were retroactively rolled into the imprint for later printings.
And printings – before it was guaranteed for all titles, Vertigo led the charge in having titles collected and reissued in trade paperbacks which were kept in print nearly perpetually.
Strong editorial insight, vision, leadership, a new publishing paradigm, strong recruiting and a dedication to providing creators with new voices a place to express them. That is a lot.
Vertigo isn’t done when Berger leaves. But it won’t be the same anymore.
Unless Berger decides to retire, her unique talents will surely be in demand. I hope to see more projects emerge under her stewardship. Something new and exciting. That would be the best results of this news.