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The woman responsible for a majority of the quality product that has emerged out of DC Comics over the past 25 years is leaving the company. DC today announced that Karen Berger who once ruled over the most respected imprint in comics, Vertigo, and who brought Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Peter Milligan and many others into the DC fold, will leave as of March.
Sadly, it wasn’t a surprise. Over the past three years DC has slowly dismantled the much respected imprint. When DC Entertainment was announced, Berger, was left out of the senior ranks. Later when Bob Harras was named as editor-in-chief, a position many believed Berger should have had, she and Vertigo were reorganized to report into him. Long running books wrapped up. Slowly the Vertigo characters drifted back into DC proper. In March, cooincidentally when Berger leaves, will see a title starring John Constantine start in the new 52 replacing the long running title Hellblazer title with the same character.
The titles that emerged under Berger’s hand at Vertigo will stand the test of time as some of the best of comics - V for Vendetta, Sandman, 100 Bullets, Animal Man, Y: The Last Man, Fables, Scalped, DMZ and many others.
Berger got her start at DC working for Paul Levitz and soon moved on to editing Wonder Woman and later introduced Amethyst.
Berger stood out as one of the few women working in a male dominated field. And a woman who saw the potential that comics had to move from the habits it had fallen into to ignoring women. Here she is writing about bringing in more female readers in Wonder Woman #2 twenty-five years ago:
Certainly Berger did much to point to those encouraging things. She was responsible for The Sandman series which brought a whole new generation of women into comics. She would later oversee DC’s failed Minx initiative.
Berger also saw many female creators in her line, Jill Thompson, Amy Reeder, Pia Guerra and Becky Cloonan to name just a few.
DC will be lesser without her but I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Berger. One of the few women name to a Power List published last month, she holds a virtual rolodex of the world’s best comic writers most, I will guess, who will be happy to work for her again.
I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.