As Executive Editor at DC Comics, Mark Doyle recently moved from being the Batman and Batbooks editor to editing the Vertigo and Young Animal lines and “select new projects”. That the latter includes an upcoming new DC imprint, a mature readers line telling complex stories featuring DC Comics superhero characters both in and out of DC Universe continuity.
This is the kind of thing that in years past would have been part of Vertigo. However, of late, DC Comics believes that the Vertigo brand has lost its lustre and acts as a drag on sales rather than a booster. What’s happening with Vertigo is probably worthy of a second article.
As to a new mature readers superhero imprint, this may have something to do with the new post-All-Star Batman book Scott Snyder is working on with Sean Gordon Murphy and more. And about how it may bring a new format to DC Comics.
Books like Sandman, Animal Man, Black Orchid, Doom Patrol and more came out of an earlier desire to revamp superhero properties — often forgotten ones — with new adult reader sensibilities, forming the DC Vertigo imprint alongside creator-owned titles. But more restrictive ownership rules and the dismissal of several prominent executives over the years (such as Karen Berger and Shelly Bond) have seen prominent creators seek their fortunes elsewhere.
Meanwhile, other de facto mature-reader superhero imprints from WildStorm, with comics such as The Authority, DV8, Planetary and the like, were first strangled by micro-management, and they suffered death-by-repeated-revamp.
But there seems a real demand for superhero comic book publishing that brought DC Comics the like of Arkham Asylum, Dark Knight Returns, The Killing Joke, and so much more. And that is what Mark Doyle is aiming for: a new, creatively attractive imprint in a format that suits and flatters the creators — and DC’s bank balances in the process.
I don’t know if we’ll get an announcement at San Diego Comic-Con, but I expect we’ll find out more later this year.