Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

May 30, 2013

New York Times Profiles Karen Berger, Vertigo Comics

imageThis New York Times profile of Karen Berger fascinated me, and I'm not all the way sure why. I don't always read these kinds of profiles on a regular basis, so maybe its construction got to me in a way that wouldn't faze the average Times reader. It's also admittedly a certain kind of writing that isn't exactly concerned with depth or nailing down analysis, so it could also be that it's just a bad mix with my sensibilities.

I initially wrote like five graphs about this piece, but that seemed a little over the top. So let me say it just seemed to me very right-now comics. The "Mother" in the headline struck me as an odd way to describe a publishing executive that happens to be female, particularly in that one of the points of the piece is that she was a same-age peer of many of the line's most important creators. I would imagine that it's there to facilitate the material where she talks about her sons' reading habits, but I really don't know. The piece also seemed light on nailing down her specific contributions, which I always think a shame. Grant Morrison's analysis of Vertigo hit me as odd. One, contrasting a 2013 comic book to a 1993 comic book is like comparing a modern cable mini-series to Roots: different times, different worlds, different sales expectations. Two, it seems to me a writer that just did a very Vertigo-seeming project with Image could speak more directly to why that happens than talking in vague terms like "tricks." For his part, Dan DiDio comes across as slightly ungenerous with others' accomplishments and kind of a crass, big-picture guy -- then again, his strength as a publishing figure is that he doesn't seem to care much how he's perceived.

I hope that Karen Berger is enjoying her time between major gigs. She's stuck by describing the move away from Vertigo as a positive designed to bring her new opportunities; what those opportunities end up being should generate a lot of interest. I know I'm eager to see what they are.
posted 8:20 am PST | Permalink

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