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dogpoet

S2Hell hearts the DCU

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Current DCU output = mostly hackneyed old superhero stories with an occasional modern twist.

Seen it before, or not particularly interested in it. What would that bring to any of the books I read?

 

That'd be a perfectly fair assessment of DC's mainstream output back when Swamp Thing, Sandman, and Morrison's Animal Man were using DC characters to tell imaginative and interesting stories too, though. It's not as though the merest hint of a caped character automatically drags any title down to the level of the weakest superhero material out there at the time of publication.

 

Also, current Vertigo output = mostly hackneyed old non-superhero stories with an occasional (post-)modern twist. Seen it before, or not particularly interested in it. How would the (optional) presence of the occasional DCU character in titles where the writer felt he could make interesting use of them make things any worse?

 

You don't need the DCU to tell those stories.

 

Only to bring in DCU fans.

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Like I said, it may be rape, but it's rape in a superhero book. Actually I prefer Rick Veitch's take on that.

 

Perhaps it's down to not knowing what Rick Veitch's take on that is (care to elaborate? I'm curious), but I fail to see how your first sentence has anything to do with the (hardly controversial) point I was making.

 

The DCU books that are best are the child-friendly titles which did not exist when the decision was made.

 

On the whole, I probably agree with you (not necessarily right now - DC's specifically kid-friendly line isn't at its best at the moment, based on the issues I've sampled - but it's certainly true that, for most of the '90s, the animated-style Superman/Batman Adventures were far and away the best comic versions of those characters being published), but I still don't get what point you're making with this. It's not as though the child-friendly titles in question were published as a direct (or even an indirect) result of the separation of the DCU from Vertigo.

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Reading material.

Not exactly the same discussion, but somewhat connected.

 

And now Vertigo. We’ve covered this one already: horror and fantasy and horror/fantasy (not to mention horror/fantasy/humour), and the recasting of the superhero formulae to fit a genre not quite their own, where indeed those formulae are employed at all.

 

Fun stuff! Hip and edgy and able to take big artistic risks in the short term, and yet never quite Fantagraphics…and perhaps the difference is hard to put into words, but let’s try this: that Vertigo too is a sandbox, but a sandbox that’s actually contained inside another sandbox.

 

If you will, Vertigo is like a think-tank for the Big Two, as Image is a holding-tank for the stuff that’s already been thought of and didn’t quite fit, that’s better off living by itself somewhere on the continuum between The Authority and Megaton Man …but for Vertigo to publish Palestine, or Bannock And Black Tea, it’s obviously out of the question, right? Think-tank or not.

 

Well, but on the other hand, does Fantagraphics want “Y”? My guess is “no.” Nothing whatsoever wrong with Y! But it also is what it is, which is a twist on conventional science fiction comic stuff, a little horror and a little fantasy and something not entirely dissimilar to superheroes in terms of the presentation of character and protagonist and plot. Quotable in Rolling Stone, but probably not in the New Yorker, if you see what I mean.

 

Again: it’s a strand, and I imply no judgement. I’m still actually just getting to my point, and I rather thought I’d be there already, but I’m not…but oh well, Vertigo matters a great deal to the comics business, as a strand, and it means a lot to me as well, and that’s what I’m saying with Vertigo.

 

If Image is a multiplex in which all the screens are running variations on the same movie – in other words, a multiplex – then Vertigo represents a whole other kind of, uh, “limited multifareity” altogether. A themed film festival, perhaps: still boxed in by genre, but not so boxed in, because no one really expects sequels, no one really expects runaway hits anymore, but it’s a place for certain artists to express a vision, and it does sell a certain amount of popcorn. And we get Testament and Hard Time out of it, and I say “good.” And it ain’t Clyde Fans, that’s true…but where could I possibly get Testament and Hard Time, if not from Vertigo?

 

From nowhere, obviously. And I need those things, so thank you, Neil. Thank you, Alan. Thank you, Doug and Steve. Thank you, Vertigo.

 

Note Hard Time error.

There's more http://circumstantial.blogspot.com/2006/06...gold-watch.html

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Right. My opinion, for what it's worth, since it's inception Vertigo has been great for creator owned material but (with the possible exception of HB which has been decidedly hit or miss and Sandman which did actually tie into the DCU slightly during The Wake) the titles which have had ties to the DCU have floundered.

I'd like to see Vertigo as a creator owned only imprint and the titles with ties to the DCU shuffled back off there with the "Mature Readers" label intact. Now this does not mean that I want constant reminders the we're in the DCU or that there should be anymore mention of the DCU than there already is but if someone were to come up with a justifiable use of DCU continuity they could. I'm not proposing crossovers just judicious use of a shared history.

Personally, while I can see the advantages of having Hellblazer separate from the DCU, it completely hamstrung books like; Black Orchid, Kid Eternity and especially Books Of Magic. Hell, the coolest thing about the intial BOM mini was it's close ties to DC continuity and the promise of closer links in the future.

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Yeah, but that is what Vertigo has become.

One of the DC-tie-in books (although it would be better to call it a Vertigo tie-in book as it spun off of Gaiman's Sandman) was Lucifer, which is certainly one of the best books we've ever seen from Vertigo.

Besides that, we have a Deadman revamp, which has absolutely nothing at all (outside of name) to do with the DCU character.

 

The rest of Vertigo's line are creator owned titles, with no connection to any other books on the market.

 

I'd say it all comes down to the fact of what that article stated in the first blurb, "Vertigo is like Fantagraphics, but not quite Fantagraphics". Fantagraphics takes chances that only a few other comic publishers will (all indy, if you're wondering who), while Vertigo is a company that continues to play it safe, almost always (although there is that little "almost" before the always).

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Yeah, but that is what Vertigo has become.

 

Huh?

 

What's what Vertigo's become?

 

 

All I said was Vertigo= Great for creator owned stuff not so great for ex DCU stuff. How did you get anything about what Vertigo has become from that?

 

Do you mean that Vertigo has become great for creator owned stuff? Surely that's the point I was making?

 

What does Fantagraphics have to do with the current debate at all? Are they publishing "mature" versions of DCU properties too?

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Fantagraphics were mentioned as similar to Vertigo in the article I posted.

A debatable point, I'd say Top Shelf are closer.

 

So most people seem to crave for separate entities for the two strands of Vertigo.

Clearly the less DCU in a creator owned project the better.

 

I maintain that there is nothing (but nostalgia) in the need for superheroes in Vertigo books.

Even the ones that used to be in the DCU, although re-interpreting DCU characters with a vertigo slant can be a good playground (but often isn't).

 

A further discussion point, what is most important to you?

a) that Vertigo characters such as Swamp Thing, Black Orchid, Animal Man & Zatanna can appear in the DCU (they all have since the split)

or

b) that DCU characters can appear in Vertigo books (the only direct example I can think of is that Superman book, though lots of revamps have occurred).

 

(I'm leaving John Constantine out of this because if anyone thinks he should appear in DCU comics you are reading the wrong book. Seriously. Don't even try and debate this with me. Even with this thread title.)

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That is precisely the point. It's a nice juxtaposition.

 

Actually, I think John would actually quite like S-Man. But he'd think Batman was a stuck up [over-used word].

 

God, I nerded again didn't I?

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This could spring into a whole different debate, but I cannot believe you said that!

 

He'd have a laugh with Guy Gardiner and any friends of Zatanna, but the Big Blue Boy Scout? The All-American Hero? I'd say Superman is filed alongside Gabriel in John Constantine's shitlist.

 

Yes, he'd dislike Batman for other reasons.

 

And it is precisely the point that Constantine could not call anyone a [over-used word] in the DCU.

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And it is precisely the point that Constantine could not call anyone a [over-used word] in the DCU.

He couldn't on his last transit through there, but he might be able to now, so long as there's a mature readers tag on the cover.

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To address your proper point. I don't think the use of the word "[over-used word]", "fuck" or any other "adult" language are particularly essential to a good story.

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I'd say Superman is filed alongside Gabriel in John Constantine's shitlist.

 

Why? He hates Gabriel for being a snobby twat and never intervening. Superman's pretty much the exact opposite.

 

Constantine could be really good in a DCU book, if handled properly. I'd have liked to have seen him in Gotham Central, for example.

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I'd say Superman is filed alongside Gabriel in John Constantine's shitlist.

 

Why? He hates Gabriel for being a snobby twat and never intervening. Superman's pretty much the exact opposite.

 

 

 

 

I imagine that he wouldn't hate him, but he'd probably take the attitude of "Pretty easy to be a Boy Scout when you can't be hurt."

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I have my doubts about JC fitting into any DCU titles but I wouldnt go so far as to outright dismiss the idea of a couple appearances if done right - ie. something along the lines of him popping up in Gotham Central. However, it could never be a regular occurrence. He's just wrong for the DCU in general.

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(I'm leaving John Constantine out of this because if anyone thinks he should appear in DCU comics you are reading the wrong book. Seriously. Don't even try and debate this with me. Even with this thread title.)

 

 

You are the eponymous World's Wrongest, and I claim my £5.

 

<Insert smiley face here.>

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A further discussion point, what is most important to you?

a) that Vertigo characters such as Swamp Thing, Black Orchid, Animal Man & Zatanna can appear in the DCU (they all have since the split)

or

b) that DCU characters can appear in Vertigo books (the only direct example I can think of is that Superman book, though lots of revamps have occurred).

 

Discuss.

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No sense of fun anywhere is there.

 

retro active edit for Mark's next post.

 

I should close this thread because everyone attempted to argue with me about the Constantine DCU thing.

 

Give it a rest, Ade, ferfooxache. Tongue-in-cheek or not, it's getting boring.

 

Oh, then don't answer then.

 

Post #8 "(Trust me, I am just being provocative here.)"

 

Now forgive me my outburst while I get the thread back on subject.

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I should close this thread because everyone attempted to argue with me about the Constantine DCU thing.

 

Give it a rest, Ade, ferfooxache. Tongue-in-cheek or not, it's getting boring.

 

 

A further discussion point, what is most important to you?

a) that Vertigo characters such as Swamp Thing, Black Orchid, Animal Man & Zatanna can appear in the DCU (they all have since the split)

or

b) that DCU characters can appear in Vertigo books (the only direct example I can think of is that Superman book, though lots of revamps have occurred).

 

Both/either. I've enjoyed several of the Vertigo 'cameos' in DCU titles over the last decade or so (the post-Morpheus Sandman turning up in Morrison's JLA, Animal Man's current appearances in 52, Zatanna in Seven Soldiers), and would be happy to see further occasional 'crossovers' along those lines, while the handful of DCU appearances in Vertigo books (Sandman had loads, Zatanna popping up in the 40th birthday issue of Hellblazer, virtually all of the original Books Of Magic mini) have generally worked just fine for me, so I wouldn't object to a few more of 'em.

 

To be honest, the current situation is still as poorly-defined as ever - as you pointed out upthread, the Phantom Stranger turned up in Hellblazer a couple of years ago, and did the same thing in the resolutely DCU-based Seven Soldiers: Zatanna just last year, while both Zatanna and Animal Man seem to have been thoroughly reclaimed as DCU characters since their earlier appropriation by Vertigo (which is good, since that's quite clearly where both of them belong - Zatanna has generally been treated as a DCU character who made a few cameo appearances in Vertigo titles anyway, rather than the other way around). I'd far rather see a continuation of that casual bending of the rules/boundaries, rather than any sort of firm editorial edict such as the one which has apparently been applied to Lucifer, Hellblazer, Swamp Thing and the like - which strikes me as a far more fanboy-pandering, continuity-nerd option than the "just relax, stop worrying about it, and let writers do what they want (within reason)" attitude which I, James, Abhi, Tom and others are proposing.

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I imagine that he wouldn't hate him, but he'd probably take the attitude of "Pretty easy to be a Boy Scout when you can't be hurt."

 

Yeah, although that can be quickly countered with "it's even easier to be a tyrant."

 

while both Zatanna and Animal Man seem to have been thoroughly reclaimed as DCU characters since their earlier appropriation by Vertigo

 

Although they do make occasional forays back - Zatanna in the Everyday Magic mini from 2003-ish and Animal Man in that godawful Totems book in 1999.

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A further discussion point, what is most important to you?

a) that Vertigo characters such as Swamp Thing, Black Orchid, Animal Man & Zatanna can appear in the DCU (they all have since the split)

or

b) that DCU characters can appear in Vertigo books (the only direct example I can think of is that Superman book, though lots of revamps have occurred).

 

Discuss.

a) They're DCU characters, most of them never should have not been DCU characters.

 

b) I think Vertigo should be a creator owned line not a work for hire line.

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Both. Neither is actually important to me in the way that the enforcement of the division seems to be to you, but I've enjoyed several of the Vertigo 'cameos' in DCU titles over the last decade or so (the post-Morpheus Sandman turning up in Morrison's JLA, Animal Man's current appearances in 52, Zatanna in Seven Soldiers), and would be happy to see further occasional 'crossovers' along those lines, while the handful of DCU appearances in Vertigo books (Sandman had loads, Zatanna popping up in the 40th birthday issue of Hellblazer, virtually all of the original Books Of Magic mini) have generally worked just fine for me, so I wouldn't object to a few more of 'em.

 

To be honest, the current situation is still as poorly-defined as ever - as you pointed out upthread, the Phantom Stranger turned up in Hellblazer a couple of years ago, and did the same thing in the resolutely DCU-based Seven Soldiers: Zatanna just last year, while both Zatanna and Animal Man seem to have been thoroughly reclaimed as DCU characters since their earlier appropriation by Vertigo (which is good, since that's quite clearly where both of them belong - Zatanna has generally been treated as a DCU character who made a few cameo appearances in Vertigo titles anyway, rather than the other way around). I'd far rather see a continuation of that casual bending of the rules/boundaries, rather than any sort of firm editorial edict such as the one which has apparently been applied to Lucifer, Hellblazer, Swamp Thing and the like - which strikes me as a far more fanboy-pandering, continuity-nerd option than the "just relax, stop worrying about it, and let writers do what they want (within reason)" attitude which I, James, Abhi, Tom and others are proposing.

 

Thanks for addressing the points with some thought.

I think a lot of people are interpreting what I've said in interesting ways.

 

I'd take issue with the idea that an editorial edict that separates the DCU and Vertigo "universes" - which has been shown to be rather flexible - is continuity-nerd pleasing. This very debate throws up people's desire to have the characters in their DCU setting, solely because of a DCU continuity.

 

Once you become over-reliant on that you'll have Superman flying into Glasgow with a few of the magical members of the JLA. Otherwise holes start to appear in stories. There's no worry about all that "who is in charge of Hell" stuff because Vertigo eventually opted out of it. Hence we get Lucifer and Hellblazer able to tell stories independently.

 

What is the obsession with shared universes in comics?

Apart from the Stephen King method, it doesn't appear in other fiction.

 

What is it about those crossovers that you think is so worth holding on to?

 

People seem unable to follow what I've said here (several of you think I hate the DCU, others think I want to cut the crossovers completely, some even think that all I've done in this thread is the petulant off hand remarks) Other than the examples of decent crossover I've given, can anyone tell me what you are actually missing (or would miss) from no shared universe here ?

 

And "potential stories" doesn't cut any ice, because my answer would be "ah but we get potential other stories".

 

Finally. Apologies for causing too many of you to focus on "provocative chat show host" than the Koran he was reading from. It was a tiny part of what I was trying to do but seems to the part that was focussed on.

 

(Thanks to the Welsh Wizard for talking me down off the ledge of Vertigo.)

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What is the obsession with shared universes in comics?

Apart from the Stephen King method, it doesn't appear in other fiction.

Apart from Jerry Cornelius, all of the "future histories" in SF, the various overlaps in Kim Newman's fiction, HP Loivecraft and imitations thereoff (though arguably the Cthulhu mythos was more something fixed up by August Derleth after the fact than something Lovecraft did himself), Jack Vance, Michael Moorcock, Clive Barker, Poul Anderson and ridiculous amounts of sharecrops farmed out from fiction or RPGs by lazy editors in pursuit of a quick profit.

Apart from the sharecrops, these are mostly good things, as well. Or are you seriously going to try to argue that Sacrament is a better Clive Barker novel than Imajica because the latter ties into The Great And Secret Show and a few of his short stories and the former is isolated from all of his other fiction?

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