Unfollow May End In April – What Does That Mean For Vertigo? #AskBC

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Bleeding Cool reader Thomas Holmes writes to ask us:

It looks as if UNFOLLOW will end at 18. That leaves less than a handful of regular Vertigo continuing titles. Is this imprint on the chopping block?

When DC announced that they’d be starting up what basically amounts to a second Vertigo, closer to Vertigo’s original vibe than Vertigo itself, in Gerard Way’s Young Animal imprint, a lot of fans wondered if there was still a need for the original Vertigo. Indeed, that same question could have been asked a few years earlier, when Image supplanted Vertigo as the go-to publisher for mature, creator-owned books. And when longtime editor Shelley Bond was unceremoniously released back in April as part of a Vertigo “restructuring” while alleged sexual harasser Eddie Berganza remained Superman group editor, a lot of people wondered whether it wouldn’t be better if DC as a whole just @#$%ed right off. But it didn’t, and neither has Vertigo, and it’s probably not going to anytime soon. And since Vertigo’s “restructuring” eliminated Bond’s Vice President position and put the imprint under the control of a group editor, Jamie S. Rich, keeping it running won’t be nearly as costly as running it in its heyday.

Now, it is true that a solicitation for the third trade paperback on Amazon does appear to imply Rob Williams and Michael Dowling’s Unfollow will end with April 2017’s 18th issue:

The mystery concludes here! And so does the battle…

A dying social media mogul leaves his billions to be split evenly between 140 random people–or however many of them are still alive at the moment of his death. Rob Williams (MARTIAN MANHUNTER, THE ROYALS: MASTERS OF WAR) and Michael Dowling (Death Sentence) assemble a cast of seemingly unrelated individuals in the world who are about to be connected in the most unexpected way.

Collects UNFOLLOW #13-18.

However, Unfollow was almost certainly intended to be a limited series. Writer Williams hinted last December in an interview that the book would have a planned ending, so its end needn’t be a sign that things don’t bode well for Vertigo, though we’ll dress Rich Johnston up as a potted plant and send him to infiltrate the Vertigo offices and find out.

From that CBR interview:

Despite the change to that core character, did you come in with a fairly concrete idea of where this story wraps up? Will there be a final issue where we learn who the winners and losers are? And does having a finite ending for a story limit you as a storyteller?

Williams: It’s a bit of both. I’ve got certain things which I know are going to happen in the future and others will, I’m sure, suggest themselves along the way, as long as people like the book. I think that’s usually the way with writing: You have to have an end in mind, you have to serve the premise and the theme, but you have to change things along the way. It annoys me when people say “They were making it up along the way” with TV shows. That’s how writing is. Nobody says “I have every aspect of this worked out,” and that’s part of the joy of it.

In issue #1, Rubenstein is one of the strongest characters — he’s wearing a witch doctor death mask — but he was one of the last to appear. He wasn’t in the initial pitch, and he’s one of the strongest aspects of the story, and that’s the magical side of writing — when things like this work. We have certain structural things down, we know where we are going with the major beats, and there is the ability to tell a bunch of different stories. The working title of the book was “140 Characters,” and we can tell stories with 140 different characters, all around the world. Creatively it’s a very rich world that we are going into.

In March, Vertigo will release issues of Clean Room, Astro City, Ever After, Lucifer, and The Lost Boys, and with the exception of The Lost Boys (which is a six issue mini-series), all of those titles will presumably continue in future months. More importantly, however, Vertigo is launching a new book, Savage Things, in March, from Justin Jordan and Ibrahim Mustafa, which is probably the biggest indicator that the imprint still has some life left in it.

So no, it doesn’t seem like Vertigo is going anywhere soon, even if the imprint has seen a lot of its relevance eroded by the departures of Bond and, earlier in 2012, Karen Berger, an increase in competition from other publishers, and the redundancy of the Young Animal imprint.

Got a question for BC, or even some hate mail we can make fun of you for? Send it to us, and we might answer it in a future column.

About Jude Terror

A prophecy says that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero will come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events.

Scourge of Rich Johnston, maker of puns, and seeker of the Snyder Cut, Jude Terror, sadly, is not the hero comics needs right now... but he's the one the industry deserves.

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