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Karen Berger Steps Down as Vertigo SVP

Kelly Cassidy 12/03/2012 News, Reviews

In a story that surprised many today, Senior Vice-President and Executive Editor of Vertigo Comics, Karen Berger, as stepped down from her role at Vertigo. She was instrumental in launching the more mature-themed branch of DC Entertainment and has served in a leadership capacity since its inception in the early 1990s.

Vertigo was where more adult-themed books went that perhaps wouldn’t make it onto the shelves of the newsstand. Remember books such as V for Vendetta and Swamp Thing? They were Vertigo prints. As is SandmanPreacher, Fables (and its spin-off books Jack of Fables and Fairest), as well as some other lesser-known titles like The Vinyl Underground and Sweet Tooth (which is created by Jeff Lemire, who is reaching grander fame within the mainstream DCU).

Although books within the line would occasionally cross over into the mainstream DCU (most notable titles such as Swamp Thing and Hellblazer), the majority of the Vertigo titles were self-sufficient and existed within their own universe. This allowed the creators a huge amount of freedom in making these stories as strong as possible without worrying about interacting with DC’s hero universe, but also allowed for more mature stories and content to be told.

Karen Berger, Executive Editor & Senior Vice President of DC Entertainment’s Vertigo brand, has announced she is stepping down from her post after nearly 20 years at the helm of the award-winning literary imprint. She will remain on through March 2013 where she will be assisting in the transition to a new leadership team which includes veteran staffers whom she has mentored over the years.

Karen is responsible for shepherding critically-acclaimed and best-selling publishing titles including perennial favorites: THE SANDMAN, HELLBLAZER, V FOR VENDETTA. FABLES, PREACHER, THE INVISIBLES, 100 BULLETS, Y – THE LAST MAN and AMERICAN VAMPIRE. Vertigo has published nearly 300 new literary properties during the last 20 years. Berger notes she is ready for a professional change and is looking forward to pursuing exciting new opportunities.

“I’ve been incredibly proud to have provided a home where writers and artists could create progressive and provocative stories that broadened the scope of comics, attracting a new and diverse readership to graphic storytelling,” said Berger. “I’d like to thank all the many immensely talented creators who have helped make Vertigo into a daring and distinctive imprint and I’m grateful to everyone at DC Entertainment and the retail community for their support and commitment to Vertigo all these years. It’s been quite an honor.”

DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson stated, “We are extremely grateful for Karen’s commitment and dedication to Vertigo, its books and its incredibly talented team of staff and creators. In Vertigo she leaves a legacy to which we remain committed and on which we intend to build for the future. She will always be a deeply valued and respected member of the DC family.”

DC Entertainment is planning a celebration next year – to help salute Karen, her 33 years with the company and her many accomplishments, befitting her legendary status within DCE and across the publishing and comics industries.

Recently, announced that Vertigo’s longest running title, Hellblazer, will be ending in the near future to be replaced with Constantine, which would take place in the mainstream DCU. This would leave Fables, written by Bill Willingham, as the Vertigo title with the longest reach. Some may see this as the end of Vertigo, but new titles are coming up (including a return of Sandman) so it sounds like it’s just a change in direction.

What do you think? Does this news cause you some concern for the future of the Vertigo line? Let us know below!

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About The Author

Kelly Cassidy has been collecting comics for around 30 years and can actually list the first comic he bought with his own money. By day, he works as a technology manager and community leader in web technologies, presenting at web conferences around Canada. By night, he struggles to actually create the list of comics he owns as he keeps adding more to his collection. He also struggles with talking in third person.

  1. jeffhillwriter 12/03/2012 at 9:46 pm

    Seems like this might be the beginning of the end for Vertigo. But more importantly, I wish Karen Berger well. She was pretty instrumental in making comics "not just for kids" and keeping not just DC, but the entire industry, honest and original.

  2. Scorp_Moonopoly 12/04/2012 at 2:25 am

    Everything about this situation sounds sketchy.

    • kcassidy 12/04/2012 at 3:05 pm

      I could see it 2 ways: 1) DC wanted to take control of Vertigo and go in a different direction or close it, and she was blocking it. 2) She didn't like the direction DC was going (which many creators have said that as well) and decided to leave on her own terms. Frankly, I'm leaning towards the latter. But whomever takes over what is left of Vertigo… They have huge shoes to fill and if the brand tanks, we know who is getting fingers pointed at them.

  3. instrumentals 04/03/2013 at 10:14 am

    she's stepping down buy instrumentals instead of sticking to comics? Hmm.. something doesnt sound right

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