In his article on Karen Berger’s legacy at Vertigo, Sequart’s Julian Darius cites the imprint’s role as a “proving ground” for talent. Many well-known comics writers made their mark with a magnum opus at Vertigo — Grant Morrison with The Invisibles for instance, or Brian Azzarello’s 100 Bullets — and have gone on to mainstream success at DC and Marvel.
But isn’t that backwards?
I mean, that’s like J.K. Rowling following up Harry Potter with a long career writing Forgotten Realms novels. Or Steven Spielberg following up Jaws and E.T. by directing episodes of shows like Cheers, M*A*S*H and L.A. Law for the next two decades.
If that’s what someone wants to do, that’s great. R.A. Salvatore has carved out such a niche in Forgotten Realms that his name is a bigger draw than the universe’s brand. I’d bet Geoff Johns feels like he has the best job in the world.
But it seems…broken somehow that even when an author makes a splash telling their own stories, the main measure of success is a career working on pre-existing character concepts controlled by Warner Bros. and Disney.