DC has announced that, starting in January 2020, it will close the DC Vertigo, DC Zoom and DC Ink imprints in favor of a new publishing strategy to release all published content under the DC brand. At the same time, a new age-specific labeling system will be introduced for DC content, identifying content aimed at pre-teen readers, general audiences and material aimed at readers 17 and older.
The three labels will be named DC Kids, focusing on readers aged 8-12; DC, for readers 13 and older; and DC Black Label, for content appropriate for readers 17 and above. The latter label repurposes the name created last year for DC’s out-of-continuity boutique line, and will include material already announced for that line. Material already announced with a 2020 or later date for DC Zoom and DC Ink will be assigned to the new appropriate labels, with ongoing series currently under the DC Vertigo imprint being assigned the DC Black Label rating.
“We’re returning to a singular presentation of the DC brand that was present throughout most of our history until 1993, when we launched Vertigo to provide an outlet for edgier material,” DC publisher Dan DiDio said in a statement about the change. “That kind of material is now mainstream across all genres, so we thought it was the right time to bring greater clarity to the DC brand and reinforce our commitment to storytelling for all of our fans in every age group. This new system will replace the age ratings we currently use on our material.”
DC publisher and chief creative officer Jim Lee added, “What we’ve done here is apply an ages and stages organizing philosophy that will strengthen what we’re already doing well, whether that is our move into the young adult and middle grade audience or our long track record of success with creator-driven pop-up lines. We will also continue to publish creator-owned projects, and will evaluate and assign to the appropriate label to help our fans find the best books for their interests. These new labels not only bring greater consistency and focus to our characters, but they also open up a wealth of new opportunities for the talent working on our books.”
The DC Vertigo imprint launched in 1993 under the auspices of executive editor Karen Berger and was the home of such series as Sandman, Preacher, Y The Last Man and Scalped, publishing early work from a number of creators including Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison, Peter Milligan, Jason Aaron and Brian K. Vaughan. DC Zoom and DC Ink both launched earlier this year, after an early 2018 announcement.
Although the new announcement means that DC’s permanent imprints will close at the end of 2019, Heat Vision has been told that the publisher’s “pop-up imprints” — small lines of miniseries, curated by an individual creator, such as Gerard Way’s Young Animal and Warren Ellis’ The Wild Storm — will continue.