Vertigo Comics has been the more serious, adult oriented arm of DC Comics since 1993 and at the very start was Karen Berger. Getting Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman published was just one of this editor’s countless accomplishments at the company, you can also put Hellblazer and V for Vendetta in that group, so it’s with a great deal of disappointment we must report she’s leaving the DC Entertainment altogether.
DC issued a statement yesterday:
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.
Berger worked her way up at DC starting as an assistant in 1979. She later became the Editor of Wonder Woman and Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld which she also helped introduce. Besides Gaiman, she was also responsible for bringing other British creators like Peter Milligan, Grant Morrison, and Garth Ennis into the fold. Her tenure at Vertigo ushered in the hit series Fables, Y: The Last Man, Transmetropolitan, Preacher, The Invisibles, Scalped, iZombie, DMZ, and American Virgin.
Most of Vertigo’s staples have since ended (100 Bullets) or are on their way to a finale (Hellblazer) and although the ground at the imprint looks shaky, they’re still publishing Fables (and related spin-offs), The Unwritten, Saucer Country and American Vampire as well as a graphic novel adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Also, they just introduced a new sci-fi anthology called Time Warp with stories/art from names like Damon Lindelof, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Toby Litt, Mark Buckingham, Dan Abnett, Milligan, Ray Fawkes, Simon Spurrier, Gail Simone, Rafael Albuquerque, and Tom Fowler. Coincidentally, it will start the same month Berger leaves. And we can’t forget the recently announced Sandman prequel Gaiman is set to do with artist J.H. Williams III.
In something of a tribute to Berger’s impact on the industry, “Karen Berger” was trending on Twitter after news broke last night. Here are a few of the first reactions from industry folks:
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) December 3, 2012
Karen was the person who hired me as an intern at Vertigo when I was in college. Between that & the books she headed, she’s why I do this.
— Mariah Huehner (@TiredFairy) December 3, 2012
Very sad to hear about Karen Berger leaving Vertigo. A painful end to an era that shouldn’t have ended. I wish her the best.
— Steve Niles (@SteveNiles) December 3, 2012
Karen Berger gave me my first DC Comics job on WonderWoman. I’m happy to say I pencilled the first Vertigo issue of Sandman.
— Jill Thompson (@thejillthompson) December 3, 2012
Karen Berger leaving Vertigo/DC is the end of an era, indeed. An amazing era filled with mainstream books that pushed artistic boundaries.
— Matt Springer (@MattSpringer) December 3, 2012
Love Karen Berger, wish her nothing but happiness.Her effect on both my work and the whole industry is impossible to calculate.
— Brian Wood (@brianwood) December 3, 2012
Karen Berger was the editor I wanted to work with since I was old enough to know what an editor was. She launched my career. I <3 that woman
— G. Willow Wilson (@GWillowWilson) December 3, 2012
Karen Berger leaves behind an extraordinary editorial legacy behind her. Easily one of the best ever.
— Stephen Wacker (@StephenWacker) December 3, 2012
We only know Berger is leaving because she needs a “professional change” and don’t know where she’ll go next but we’d assume a person with her resume could have her pick.
“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.”
(via The Beat)