Since DC Comics first started the Vertigo imprint 25 years ago, they wanted to put out more adult stories that didn’t have to be censored, which is why they started the imprint. Vertigo would publish both company- and creator-owned comics, giving creators the freedom to work in DC’s huge sandbox with a wide range of characters and stories.
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This made Vertigo a critical and financial hit in its early years. New takes on DC heroes led to some of the best creators in the industry writing their own stories for Vertigo. Today, we’re going to look at some of the best Vertigo books that have been published over the last 25 years, and see how they stack up against each other to see which are the 10 best Vertigo books ever.
First, Scalped came out in 2007. It was written by Jason Aaron and RM Guéra, and it was about Dashiell Bad Horse, who went back to the fictional Prairie Rose Indian Reservation in South Dakota and got caught up in an undercover FBI agent’s quest to bring down the corrupt Tribal Sheriff. During the 60 issues, Dash goes undercover in “The Rez” and tries to find out who killed his mother.
Guéra’s art is very realistic, and Aaron has a lot of violent scenes in his plots. But Scalped doesn’t make fun of the criminality that’s all over Prairie Rose. Instead, it shows the real costs of living in a town that’s on both sides of the law. Even though Scalped was not always political, it took its ideas from the real-life case of Native American rights activist Leonard Peltier.
2. Saga Of The Swamp Thing
Vertigo started out as a more adult DC Comics imprint for DC Comics to explore their own characters. This allowed creators to reach a more adult audience without having to deal with the Comics Code Authority. In the Saga of the Swamp Thing, one of the first comics from Vertigo’s new adult-themed line of comics, the Swamp Thing was reimagined in a new way.
When Wes Craven’s 1982 Swamp Thing movie came out, the series was released. It wasn’t until Alan Moore and Stephen Bissette took over the series with Stephen Bissette that it started to become popular. There were many other DC-based Vertigo comics that came out because of the Swamp Thing’s mystical elements in Saga of the Swamp Thing.
In the comics, John Constantine was first seen in the pages of Saga of the Swamp Thing. He then starred in Vertigo’s most popular series, John Constantine, Hellblazer, which ran for more than 50 years.
Writers like Garth Ennis and Warren Ellis used Hellblazer as a place to show off their work for Vertigo. Andy Diggle and Peter Milligan also used it to show off their work. Hellblazer started the incredibly popular occult detective genre, and the character of John Constantine has stayed the same through all of the Vertigo reboots.
dystopic cyberpunk book by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson Helix was a DC Comics short-lived science fiction imprint. After the other Helix titles were cancelled, Transmetropolitan was moved to Vertigo, which was DC Comics’ other science fiction imprint. Transmetropolitan is set in the near future and follows a retired journalist and his “assistants” as they try to bring down a corrupt President. The movie is set in the near future.
Even though the show is meant to be a satire of politics, fame, and the media, it also touches on a few too many real issues that some people are even calling prophetic because of the way the world is now. 60 issues of Transmetropolitan have been published, and there is even an Absolute edition. This gives fans a lot of ways to enjoy Ellis and Robertson’s favorite comic book series.
Fables was made by Bill Willingham and had art by Mark Buckingham, Lan Medina, and Steve Leialoha. It had over 150 issues, many spin-offs, and even a best-selling video game called The Wolf Among Us by Telltale Games.
For example, Fables is about the people who live in Fabletown, which is made up of characters from legends and folklore that are actually real. They are all survivors of an event that sent them to our world. For people who like Vertigo comics, Fables is a must-read because of the depth of the characters and the world Willingham built.
6. The Invisibles
Grant Morrison owns all of the rights to the comic book he wrote. The movie “The Invisibles” is about a secret resistance group that fights against the alien enslavement of a group of people who didn’t know about it. The Invisible College recruits a young man who they think could be the savior of humanity. They then set out to try to stop the apocalypse that is supposed to happen on Dec. 22, 2012.
A lot of people think Morrison’s mind-bending series sounds like The Matrix. There are a lot of similarities between the two. A lot of conspiracy theories, metaphysical experiences, time travel, and magical experiments are also in the mix. Morrison’s mind was full of these things in the 90s.
7. The Exterminators
At the same time as Six Feet Under, The Exterminators was written by Simon Oliver and drawn by Tony Moore. It is a dark comedy about a dark conspiracy. If you’re not a fan of gross things, this is a smart action-horror story that’s full of interesting characters and a rich world. One of the best Vertigo books isn’t well known.
This is the story: The Exterminators is about a group of bug killers who aren’t very good at what they do. They go around the barrios and bungalows of Los Angeles, which is the thinnest point on the line between civilization and the violent chaos of nature. In Henry James, the new exterminator, the job is a way for him to get rid of the sins from his dark past. He has a hard time getting his point across to his careerist girlfriend, sociopathic partner, and the rest of the people he works with. It’s not clear to the “bug brothers” of Bug-Bee-Gone Co. that humans might be the real pests, and bugs might be the real exterminators.
8. The Unwritten
This time, Mike Carey and Peter Gross worked together again to make The Unwritten. This was a great show, too! When you think of Fables, you might think of this idea. There is even a crossover between the two series. It looks at the relationship between fiction and human consciousness. It also talks about fame and celebrity. Because Carey has so much experience reading and writing, he adds weight to his story.
This is the story: As soon as Tom Taylor got into the car, everything went wrong. His father wrote the Tommy Taylor fantasy series, which are books about boy wizards that are as popular as Harry Potter. Dad based the story on Tom’s real life so closely that fans compare him to his fictional counterpart all the time, turning him into the lamest kind of Z-level celebrity. In the last book, it’s even hinted that the fictional Tommy will move into the real world, giving Tom more reasons to be harassed by Tom’s delusional fans. When a huge scandal comes out that Tom might be a boy wizard made real, Tom meets a group of people who have been keeping an eye on him all his life. Tom will now have to travel the world in order to protect himself and find out the truth about where he came from. He will end up at places on a map kept by a group of people who are very dangerous. This map shows places where fictions have had an impact on real life, from famous literary works to folktales to pop culture.
9. Human Target
People who read Peter Milligan’s comic “Human Target” thought of a new way to make the character that was made in 1972 by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino into something new. Milligan takes Christopher Chance on a psychological journey to make him think about who he is on his own. An espionage show that isn’t like any other.
This is the story: When Christopher Chance is a bodyguard for the stars, he uses makeup and mimicry to make himself look like the people he is there to protect. Chance is hired to impersonate an old movie star who has been killed by an extortionist. When the actor who is being threatened doesn’t pay, the killer goes after him. Then he finds out that Chance is both able and deadly. After that, Chance kills the extortioner in a fight. Then, or does he? It’s thought that the same extortioner took a child star, who’s parents hire Chance to find their son or daughter back. In the process of trying to locate the kidnapped teen, Chance takes on the identity of this killer (who turns out to be a nutty failed screenwriter), only to find his own sense of identity, and that of the killer’s, merging into one confusing multiple personalities.