From Bleeding Cool: "After Twenty-Six Years, DC Comics Rumoured to Close Vertigo"

It seems some Warner Bros. suit questioned why more Vertigo properties aren't fodder for movies, and learned that's because most of them are creator-owned. The reaction was to change Vertigo's contracts with creators, which led a lot of them to go elsewhere. And the series that have come along since haven't set the world on fire. 

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Absolutely right! I've never given it much thought, but I've noticed the same thing in the individual Vertigo issues I've read. I think it was most pronounced in the early years, which would include Sandman Mystery Theatre. Of course there were also looser editorial strictures at the time. But they were not far from what is allowable in DC proper nowadays.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Just read “The Hourman,” the first story in Sandman Mystery Theatre that I don’t have in trade paperback. And reading it in single issues, something became apparent to me about Vertigo that I’d forgotten:

Vertigo gave DC a venue to sell a different class of ad. Look at the Vertigo books at the time, and there are so many music ads for grunge and hard rock groups, along with ads for things like Vampire: The Masquerade and horror movies and publishers. These ads would have been out of place next to the bright colors of The Flash or Wonder Woman, but in Vertigo, they were part of the package. And when ads dried up, so did a large reason for Vertigo’s existence as a separate entity. If all ads are house ads -- and they pretty much all are these days -- then there’s no real need to publish a separate class of books to offer as an easy package for the ad sales team.

It’s no wonder Vertigo was running on fumes for so long. The creative pedigree of a “Vertigo book” was a nice shorthand to market to fans, but it was essential to sell to advertisers. And without that ad-sales motivation, there’s no longer any reason not to fold Constantine and Swamp Thing into the main DCU.

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