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DC Comics shutters Vertigo imprint

Vertigo is knocking on death's door.

DC Comics announced on Friday, June 21 that its Vertigo imprint will cease production in January 2020. 

This news comes just a few weeks after Bleeding Cool reported that DC was indeed planning to shutter Vertigo.

First launched in 1993 with the intention of appealing to older readers, Vertigo is one of three imprints that will end their operations at the start of next year. DC Ink and DC Zoom are also shuttering in January — all as part of DC Comics' "rebranding and restructuring of its imprint divisions."

Now, the shuttering of Vertigo, DC Ink, and DC Zoom doesn't mean that DC isn't making comics aimed at adults, young adults, and middle-grade readers any longer. The imprints are simply being replaced by three new labels that more cohesively encompass the content DC publishes in print. These labels are DC Kids, meant for readers between the ages of 8 and 12, to replace DC Zoom; DC, aimed at comic fans aged 13 and older, to replace DC Ink; and DC Black Label, targeted at readers 17 and above, much like Vertigo was. 

The series currently running at Vertigo — like the Sandman Universe issues — are slated to either conclude before the imprint dies out in January, or will shift to DC's new Black Label line. 

DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio delved into the rebranding in an official statement, assuring fans of Vertigo comics that the imprint's spirit will remain in DC Black Label even after it's shuttered.

"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. 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 and reinforce our commitment to storytelling for all of our fans in every age group," he said. "This new system will replace the age ratings we currently use on our material."

Added DC Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee, "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. 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. These new labels not only bring greater consistency and focus to our characters, but they also open up a wealth of new opportunities for the talent working on our books."

Longtime DC Comics editor Karen Berger got Vertigo off the ground 26 years ago, a few years after she met with editor Paul Levitz, managing editor Dick Giordano, and publisher Jenette Kahn about bringing the titles published with a "Suggested for Mature Readers" under one imprint to "do something different in comics and help the medium 'grow up.'" These included The Saga of the Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, Doom Patrol, Animal Man, The Sandman, and Shade, the Changing Man

Since its launch, Vertigo has continued publishing thrilling content not constricted by the rules of the Comics Code Authority. Fans have fallen in love with horror series, fantasy runs, and gritty stories like Preacher, Y: The Last Man, Fables, Constantine, V for Vendetta, Stardust, Lucifer, iZombieThe Kitchen, and more.

2018 saw a shakeup at Vertigo, with the imprint getting rebranded as DC Vertigo and DC Entertainment announcing 11 planned titles to release throughout the year. 

It's sad to see Vertigo come to an end, particularly because the imprint made, well, an imprint on the lives of many comic book fans. The work that its writers, editors, and artists did over the past two and a half decades was truly remarkable, and definitely won't be forgotten. 

Before Vertigo ends, fans can look forward to seeing one last big-screen adaptation of a Vertigo comic series later this year. A feature film take on The Kitchen, created by Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle, is hitting theaters on August 9.