Dec 6, 2012

What's Next, Karen Berger?

Dear Ms. Berger,

Just a couple of days before it was announced that you will be stepping down from Vertigo in March, I was discussing with some friends the factors that went into the creation of Vertigo—the success of Alan Moore, the British Invasion, the natural evolution of a mature readers market in comics—and while it seemed that absolutely no one was on the same page about the whole issue, the one thing everyone agreed on was that you, Karen Berger, did not and do not get enough credit for the creation of Vertigo and the shepherding of a mature readers line into mainstream comics. This is, if anything, I think, a testament to your abilities as an editor and as a manager: making sure things went smoothly, drafting the right talent for the right books, and stepping back, never taking the publicity, and always putting the stories first. But it did bother me enough that I had started a Reclaiming History draft, making sure that in the near future and after a lot of research, I would write a piece to make sure that the readers I have (a paltry percentage of the comics-reading public, but still something) would know, without any doubts, how important you are to the history of comics.

And then word came out that you were stepping down, and all of a sudden the testimonials came out, on Facebook, on Twitter, on various blogs and websites, and I realized, though I may still write the piece, that no one had to reclaim history for you. People know how important you are, with Chris Roberson even pointing out that in the hierarchy of important editors, you would rank third, behind only William Gaines and Stan Lee, which, if I may understate, isn't bad company at all. In short, you're a living legend, and my generation is all proud to have grown up in the Karen Berger era, and we thank you for that.

Much has been made about what this means for DC Entertainment, and specifically what it means for Vertigo and impending projects like the new Sandman. To those of us outside, it certainly seems that Vertigo is shutting down sometime soon and that the writing is on the wall. But I'm actually more interested, Ms. Berger, in what it is you're going to do next. Where are you going to go? Are you taking any of the talent you're working with, with you, and if so, who? Will the new place, wherever it is, give you the resources and the creative control that you need?

Because—and I know I'm not alone in this—wherever you go, given anything that even resembles the right conditions (which just means that you wouldn't be stifled), you would make an impact. Whether it's at Image or Fantagraphics or Archaia (my personal preference) or, heck, even Marvel, you could take a group of talent and diversify, and push the medium, again and again. Maybe it's a book publisher that's deigning to start up their own comic book line, and with a book publisher's resources, such a line would get wider distribution. Wherever you go, no one loses in this scenario. Least of all the fans.

So please keep us updated, Ms. Berger. What are you going to do, once you leave Vertigo behind? Who are you taking with you? What projects have you got planned?

Where will Karen Berger make history next?

I can't wait to find out.


The Comics Cube!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Marvel under Joe Q has always craved a mature oriented comics line. Ms. Berger could find a home there.

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