Monday, June 23, 2008
Spider and his Amazing Friends
Dirk Deppey's Journalista is a great news source and links blog -- it's the first comics site I check in the morning. His breadth of interest and knowledge of indy and foreign comics is impressive. Unfortunately, when he speculates about DC and Marvel, he's usually writing as an outsider, and frequently misses the mark.
Today he has a longish editorial about systemic problems within DC Comics. Some of it is pretty spot-on and some of it is dead wrong; I'll be honest and say I have too many conflicting interests, and too many friends at both DC and Marvel, to wade into this in any detail, especially at a volatile time like this.
However, I can set the record straight on one historical matter. In discussing DC's reputation for competition within the organization, Dirk writes:
"The most striking (and admittedly anecdotal) example I’ve heard — from multiple sources — would be the way that Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan was moved from the company’s failed sci-fi line Helix over to its Vertigo division, where it was allegedly resented by editor Karen Berger for being 'imposed from outside' and thus treated like Vertigo’s Ugly Duckling ever after, regardless of its obvious sales potential."
I acquired TRANSMET for Helix and edited the title for a little over two years -- the first at Helix, the rest at Vertigo. While Karen Berger and I had our differences during that time, I can tell you there was absolutely no resistance on her part to bringing the book over to Vertigo. She was nothing but supportive of it. In fact, DC gave issue #13, the first under the Vertigo imprint, an extra promotional push -- I think it was an overship, but I can't swear to that. I do know that Warren worked with Karen and Vertigo consistently for several years after that, notably on the graphic novel ORBITER with Colleen Doran. And TRANSMET, like PREACHER, SANDMAN, and THE INVISIBLES, was consistently and regularly collected into trade paperbacks before that was the norm.
Warren or Darick, or Axel Alonso, could tell you if there were problems with TRANSMET after my time. But if this really is a prominent rumor -- that the book was resented by Vertigo or somehow foisted on the imprint -- then let me squash it right now. Nothing to it at all.