Three quarters of an hour ago I informed DC Comics that I was planning to run a story about rumours of impending redundancies/resignations at the publisher.
Coincidentally or not, they immediately issued a press release announcing that Karen Berger, Executive Editor of DC Vertigo and Senior VP at DC Comics, was stepping down after twenty years at the company.
Karen Berger leaving DC has been a repeated rumour I've heard, and mentioned, since the summer. Arguably responsible for many of DC's biggest successes, working with Alan Moore on Swamp Thing, recruiting the likes of Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Jamie Delano, Mark Buckingham, Peter Milligan, Mike Carey, China Mieville and so many more DC Comics, with successes such as Sandman, Preacher, Invisibles, Fables and Hellblazer on her watch, since the big changes at DC that have happened in the last few years, has seen the Vertigo line shrunk, its contracts curtailed, its graphic novel line pulled back, its major characters passed to the DCU editorial team, her husband made redundant and herself effectively demoted, reporting to Editor In Chief Bob Harras rather than directly to the President and Publisher.
It is likely that any such departure will have involved a very large payoff indeed. Some have speculated that if Karen Berger did leave DC Comics, she has so much warmth owed to her by so many that she could with very little effort, set up a New York based publishing boutique of her very own, filled with very bankable writers and artists.
But that's for another day. Karen Berger changed the perception of what mainstream comics could be, developed work that found a truly mainstream audience and deserved the respect she gained in the comics industry. She leaves a rather large gap at DC Comics, both in terms of the work published and in the very creative soul of the publisher.
1. I've been expecting this since the shake up following Levitz stepping down and the creation of the five heads. Especially considering that Berger wasn't one of the five and most especially considering she should have been named to Didio's position given her tenure and positive reputation among the professional community. The only surprise is it took this long.
2. "Position redundancies" generally occur in December as CFOs make sure the companies look as good as possible for the fourth quarter (re: end of year) reports.
For example, "We lost X amount on initiative Y, but in the fourth quarter Z number of positions were either eliminated or left unfilled, which will offset that loss going into the first quarter of 2013."
Very sorry to hear this - but on the other hand, with what DC's done to Vertigo (arguably what Warners did to Vertigo once they realized they couldn't exploit the majority of Vertigo's output without the creators' input), I'm sure she is a bit relieved as well as frustrated.
New opportunities, Ms. Berger, new opportunities! You will have a lot of people wanting to work with you moving forward. It's DC's loss, for sure.
Plus I always had a secret crush on her. I like brainy types.
This probably comes down to not enough new books to justify her benefits. I wonder if Image could pay her enough to join. Would they need her at this point?
The bigger question is probably whether she needs them. We're talking here about one of a very few people who could leave to start their own comics imprint and get a-list talent to follow her. Look at the list of creators singing her praises on Twitter. If I recall she even still gets along with Alan Moore.
Last edited by Snowspinner; 12-03-2012 at 03:41 PM.