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Chris Allen On The NYT Profile Of Karen Berger
posted May 30, 2013
You always have such a gentle way of saying something is a piece of crap
. I don’t think the profile got anywhere close to capturing what Berger did in shepherding so many great books into being. You got a little of her mentorship and a vague sense that Vertigo was this division where people could go and do "weird" stuff without worrying about it finding an audience, and that wasn’t all that accurate. I can give Morrison and maybe DiDio some slack, as who knows how heavily edited the piece was (although where space is such a premium, any mention of Sebastian O is due for criticism). For its brevity, it had to try to be not just a profile of her but a history of Vertigo and the changing DC.
What interested me about Vertigo is how it had fallen so much even before DC changed management and focus. Look at the people interviewed for this profile: Morrison and Gaiman helped create the template for Vertigo but their Vertigo days were largely behind them, and Willow Wilson never caught on. Where was Bill Willingham or Peter Milligan, writers who managed to keep titles afloat for long periods of time even as Vertigo was becoming a ghost town? When I think of Vertigo the last several years, I think of past stars like Morrison and Milligan navigating between superheroes and the occasional Vertigo effort, a misguided crime graphic novel imprint, and bestselling authors like Bourdain or Ian Rankin doing stuff their normal audience didn’t know or care about.
As far as DiDio, I agree he comes off (whether edited unfairly or not) as not meeting even minimum professional standards of appreciation for Berger’s accomplishment and service. And while he’s got more writing credits than her, he comes off as uncreative, a guy chasing the moving target of what the masses are into this week. I don’t care if lots of people like Green Lantern, just like I don’t care if they like Transformers or Fast & Furious movies, but part of being an entertainment company is putting SOME of your effort into diverse projects, trying to find that new thing that enriches the culture and stirs the imagination. Standing behind a couple not-super-profitable projects just because they’re interesting is good for a company’s credibility.