That was my fiancé’s reaction when I told him that the Wildstorm imprint of DC comics was closing. It’s always sad to see things like this close, mostly because it will mean a lot of good people will be out of jobs.
I don’t read any of the Wildstorm universe titles (and never have), so I don’t feel personally wronged by any of this. The only thing I’m reading from Wildstorm come the December closing is Victorian Undead II, which is a self contained miniseries. I have to assume that it will continue as is, just with a new logo on it (EDIT: Finally found an interview that mentioned it specifically and it will continue with a new logo as I thought).
But I do feel for fans of this universe. It’s going away for “awhile” before these characters show up again under the DC logo. It’s still unclear as to if they will keep their own universe or if they will be folded in to the DCU. I’m really hoping for the former as fans of the Milestone and Red Circle characters seem to have been disappointed with those characters’s absorption into the DCU (and I really can’t blame them). And really (from my point of view at least), with their own universe storytelling is much easier. I think it would benefit the books and the characters to exist on their own. Of course a mandatory miniseries down the line will be required to cross over the two universes for whatever reason, but I think for the most part it will be better for everyone if they can keep to themselves. I honestly don’t think this is likely and assume they will just be added to the already overcrowded DCU, but I will remain hopefully that someone will see the light on this matter.
I will admit that before this announcement I didn’t really have a clear view of Wildstorm’s place. DC was the superhero place and Vertigo was the place for more mature comics and things that had nothing to do with superheroes. Wildstorm had all the licensed comics, but also its own universe and then some series that weren’t related to that universe. I couldn’t really get a hold on the thread that tied the line together that really said, “This title is a Wildstorm book.” With this closure it seems as though perhaps I wasn’t the only one. I don’t want to say that Wildstorm was doomed or anything, but I do feel like we’ve seen it decline in the past few years and as sad as the announcement was it wasn’t completely surprising.
I’ve seen some people fearing for the continuation of Vertigo after the cancelation of EVERY other DC imprint. But I have to disagree. Vertigo pulls a lot of weight at DC, especially in trade sales. Series like Fables and Sandman sell a lot of books so Vertigo has become pretty well known and brand recognition counts for something. It also makes a lot of sense to keep Vertigo around to have a place for creator owned properties outside the superhero genre. From the looks of things it appears that the focus will now be that DC = superheroes and Vertigo = everything else. If DC is dividing things the way I think they are going to then it would be really stupid to get rid of Vertigo. People who are looking for more “mature” comics in terms of content and subject matter know to go to Vertigo. If you suddenly grouped everything under the DC banner then people wouldn’t know where to look for things and thus you could lose sales. Some might argue that the darker more mature subject matter is creeping into our “fun” superhero comics and I would agree. But there is still a difference between a book that sometimes has dark plots and a mature book that revolves around dark plots. Most of the latter are to be found over at Vertigo. I personally feel like the Vertigo books have a sort of flavor to them that makes them distinct from the DC books. And this is what I feel Wildstorm was lacking.
It will be interesting to see how many of the Wildstorm books that were not in the Wildstorm universe find a home at Vertigo. Now that I think about it, the Wildstorm universe might be better served by continuing under the Vertigo imprint. This isn’t going to happen, but it would keep them separate from the DCU and would allow them to maintain their own universe and stories. It certainly is a situation I will be watching as it unfolds.