Earlier today, DC Comics issued a press release stating that long time Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger will be leaving the publisher in March of next year. Berger commented:“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.”
Berger has worked at DC Comics for 33 years, starting out as an editor. Her first job was editing DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #7, “Sgt. Rock’s Prize Battle Tales”. She later went on to edit Wonder Woman, and then, the turning point of her career—as well as the turning point for all mainstream comics—hiring Alan Moore to write Swamp Thing and Neil Gaiman to write The Sandman. Both revolutionary titles led to the formation of the Vertigo imprint, of which she has been Executive Editor from the beginning.
Vertigo comics were my gateway into the comics medium, and I always felt a spark of joy seeing her name on every comic. Karen Berger and Vertigo are synonymous in my mind, and both are synonymous with “good comics”. Her departure is not entirely surprising, as the Vertigo imprint has been on the decline in recent years, but it is still with great sorrow I see her depart. She almost single-handedly caused the British Invasion of comics in the ’80s and ’90s with Moore, Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis, and later Warren Ellis, all of whom have written comics I love. She brought into the forefront such female creators as G. Willow Wilson, Amy Reeder, and Becky Cloonan. She oversaw the criminally short-lived young adult imprint Minx, which aimed to get more teenage girls reading comics. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.
It is my fervent, possibly selfish, hope that her next move is to take her Rolodex and open up her own publishing company and start another revolution.
I second that hope! Karen is one of my all time heroes and when I was younger, that’s who I wanted to be when I grew up. (In fact, I think I STILL want to be Karen Berger when I grow up…)