There was a time (one that I, sadly, was not a part of) when Vertigo was on the top of the comic book industry. We had them to thank for such books as Ex Machina, Y: The Last Man, 100 Bullets, and Fables (which is still around), to name but a few. Vertigo was releasing stellar comics, many of which are regarded as modern classics. New titles were popping up, and new creators, such as Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire, were finding an outlet for their projects. New books, like American Vampire and Sweet Tooth, from the aforementioned creators, were coming out of Vertigo, and people were loving them.
At the end of 2011, when I first started getting into comics, many of the series I was told were “must reads” we’re coming out of Vertigo. But then, the crashed, down to the state that they were in for the majority of 2012 and 2013. They’ve been stuck in a rut, with the only books truly worth reading being Fables and (on occasion) it’s spin off, Fairest. American Vampire was on hiatus. Sweet Tooth had wrapped up. Brian K Vaughan had jumped ship to write Saga for Image. The rest of the creators that had made their home at Vertigo had moved on to write books for DC in The New 52.
For a while, it was basically just “the publisher that does Fables”. Don’t get me wrong – Fables is a good comic, but not enough to sustain the company. But now, Vertigo has bounced back. This summer alone has see six #1’s from the publisher. It started with Scott Snyder’s The Wake, then Kurt Busiek’s revamped Astro City, followed by Brian Azzarello’s 100 Bullets: Brother Lono mini, Simon Oliver’s Collider, the new Tom Strong mini series, and now, Jeff Lemire’s Trillium. Plus, we had American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell, and the main series is set to return soon.
All of which, barring Tom Strong, I have read and loved. Sure, some of them are mini series, but at least Vertigo is getting stellar books out again. All of them have received positive reviews, both from critics and from the comic book community, and rightly so. Every single book they’ve put out this summer has been great, and there really is something for everyone at Vertigo now. You want a horror book? The Wake or American Vampire are for you. Sci-fi fan? Check out Trillium. Superheroes? Astro City and (I guess) Tim Strong are available for you.
There’s a lot of variety, and a lot of great books, with some great creative teams on them. And honestly, I can only see Vertigo going up from this point, both in terms of the amount of books they publish, and in the quality of those books. If they play their cards right, they could be serious competition for Image, in terms of more indie (and I use that term VERY loosely) books. And that’s saying something, because Image has been wiping the floor with them for a good two or three years. Great creators = great books, and Vertigo has both sides of that down.