The birthing process for the new Vertigo has been long and laborious. It is clear given the new projects announced and those resulting in cancellation that the company will soon be reborn as the offspring of Wildstorm and the Vertigo of years past. Hopefully, it will be stronger and more lucrative than its predecessors, while maintaining the qualities that made them great.
I believe a mission statement is beginning to develop under the watchful eye of Hank Kanalz. Vertigo will publish quality work from popular creators featuring established comic properties that do not fall within the realm of the DC universe—Astro City, Fairest, Tom Strong, Sandman. In addition, Vertigo will also provide adaptations of popular, envelope-pushing works from other mediums such as film and television—Django Unchained, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. With properties chosen carefully, Vertigo can maintain its unusual “edgy” brand while reaping the benefits of crass commercialism.
For the moment, however, Vertigo has been hit with a wave of bad press. Dismal sales and the loss of Berger and books such as Hellblazer make it appear as if the imprint has lost its way. The imprint desperately requires some positive attention and good will prior to its upcoming releases hitting the stands.
Two words: digital initiative. Take a collection of Vertigo works no longer in print (and likely never to be reprinted) and release the first issue of each series for free for a limited amount of time. Remaining issues could then be sold for a very low price. For example, fans could download the first issue of Millennium Fever for free and purchase the remaining issues at a later date for merely a few bucks. It would allow fans to once again acquaint themselves with Vertigo and reestablish the brand as well.
Minimal effort for what could be a lucrative and popular project? Why not?