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Entertainment & Arts

DC Comics shuts down Vertigo imprint a year after relaunch

la-et-st-tom-ellis-lucifer-netflix
The Netflix show “Lucifer,” starring Tom Ellis, was inspired by a Vertigo comic.
(John P. Fleenor / Netflix)

DC Comics announced Friday that it will shutter its Vertigo imprint by the end of this year as it moves to an “ages and stages” labeling philosophy that emphasizes the DC brand.

Vertigo, which was relaunched a year ago to “celebrate” its 25th anniversary, has been DC’s vehicle for more mature work — edgier stories, told for readers unafraid of experimentation (including nudity and profanity).

“The Sandman,” “Hellblazer,” “Swamp Thing,” “Fables” and “Y: The Last Man” are among Vertigo’s popular titles. Other Vertigo comics such as “Preacher,” “iZombie” and “Lucifer” have been made into TV shows. (“Lucifer” recently dropped a fourth season on Netflix after being canceled last year by Fox.)

“Constantine” and “V for Vendetta” are just a couple of the movies adapted from Vertigo books, and “The Kitchen” opens in August starring Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elisabeth Moss.

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“We’re really focusing on new voices and modern takes on comics storytelling,” then-newly appointed Vertigo executive editor Mark Doyle told The Times in June 2018, during the relaunch.

As Vertigo sunsets, three age-specific labels will appear starting in 2020: DC Kids for readers ages 8-12; DC for ages 13+; and DC Black Label, for those 17 and older. Characters from the DC Universe will reside under the “DC” label.

“We’re returning to a singular presentation of the DC brand that was present throughout most of our history until 1993 when we launched Vertigo to provide an outlet for edgier material,” DC publisher Dan DiDio said Friday in a statement. “That kind of material is now mainstream across all genres, so we thought it was the right time to bring greater clarity to the DC brand.”

The more recently launched DC Zoom and DC Ink imprints, aimed at middle-grade and young-adult audiences, will also see their books migrated to the new labeling system.

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“What we’ve done here is apply an ages and stages organizing philosophy that will strengthen what we’re already doing well, whether that is our move into the young adult and middle grade audience or our long track record of success with creator-driven pop-up lines,” said Jim Lee, DC publisher and chief creative officer, in a statement.

“We will also continue to publish creator-owned projects, and will evaluate and assign to the appropriate label to help our fans find the best books for their interests.”

cdz@latimes.com

@theCDZ on Twitter and Instagram


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