DC Comics has issued an official press release confirming the rumors that the publisher is not only shutting down the Vertigo imprint but all imprints encompassing the DC brand of stories. This is being done to better organize and market DC Comics to the average reader.

Instead of having Vertigo, Young Animal, Jinxworld, Wonder Comics, Black Label, and the regular set of DC comics, the whole comic book library of DC will be sorted into three categories.

DC Kids, which will be home to books for readers from the age 8-12.

DC, which will be home to books for readers 13 and up such as the main line of comics that make of the DC Universe such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman.

Finally, there’s DC Black Label which will be home to books for readers 17 and up such as Watchmen, Kingdom Come, and Batman: The White Knight.

Here is the official press release posted on the DC Comics official website.

DC announced today that beginning in 2020, all of its publishing content will be organized and marketed under the DC brand, creating three age-specific labels – DC Kids, DC and DC Black Label – that would absorb all of its existing imprints and focus DC’s publishing content around characters and stories that evolve and mature along with the awareness and sensibilities of DC’s readers. As a result of this new labeling strategy, DC will sunset the Vertigo publishing imprint at the end of the year.

The new segmentation, featuring the new age rating system, will launch in January 2020. Books currently being published under the recently launched DC Zoom and DC Ink imprints, which are focused on the middle grade and young adult segments, respectively, will be assigned to the DC Kids and DC labels depending on the content and intended audiences.

“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,” said DC Publisher Dan DiDio. “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.”

The three labels will be structured as follows:

  • DC Kids will focus on readers ages 8-12 and offer content created specifically for the middle-grade reader
  • DC, focusing on ages 13+, will primarily be the current DC universe of characters
  • DC Black Label will focus on content appropriate for readers 17 and older

“What we’ve done here is apply 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,” said DC Publisher and Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee. “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.”

DC Comics’ chief creative officer Jim Lee reaffirmed on Twitter that books aren’t being cancelled.

It’s unclear what will happen to MAD Magazine, a comedic/satirical pop culture magazine that is also published by DC, under this new system of publishing, this news does seem to help solve many of DC’s problems with its imprints.

For one, Black Label no longer is in a state of an identity crisis with the former imprint now being home to all mature stories from the publisher. However, it is a bit unclear if stories currently being published under the Vertigo or Young Animal or those that were published in the past under these imprints will be brought to Black Label as well.

DC Kids will also help the publisher organize its kid-friendly books such as those made under the Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera groups of stories. The DC category won’t seemingly change the regular set of DC books too much though this organization of stories could make it difficult to determine the current continuity of the universe.

While it is disappointing to see these imprints, especially that of Vertigo, disappear, there’s no doubt that DC will continue making fantastic, groundbreaking tales that will embody the spirits of these forever celebrated imprints. These changes to the publisher will come into effect in 2020 with Vertigo completely shutting down by the end of 2019.



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