1st Edition

Vertigo Comics British Creators, US Editors, and the Making of a Transformational Imprint

By Isabelle Licari-Guillaume Copyright 2023
    174 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the so-called "British Invasion" of DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, which played an important role in redefining the mainstream comics industry in the US during the early 1990s.

    Focusing on British creators within Vertigo, this study traces the evolution of the line from its creation in 1993 to its demise in 2019. Through an approach grounded in cultural history, the book disentangles the imprint’s complex roots, showing how editors channelled the potential of its British writers at a time of deep-seated economic and cultural change within the comics industry, and promoted a sense of cohesion across titles that defied categories. The author also delves into lesser-known aspects of the Invasion, exploring less-canonical periods and creators that are often eclipsed by Vertigo’s early star writers.

    An innovative contribution on a key element of comic book history, this volume will appeal both to researchers of Vertigo scholarship and to fans of the imprint. It will also be an essential read for those interested in transatlantic collaborations and exchanges in the entertainment industry, processes of cultural legitimation and cultural hierarchies, and to anyone working on the representation of national and social identities.

    1. Introduction: British Writers and the Vertigo Imprint;  2. DC, the British Invasion, and the Pre-Vertigo years (1976-1993);  3. The Birth and Growth of Vertigo (1993-2019);  4. Building the Imprint’s Identity;  5. Imagining Nations;  6. Masks, Monsters, and Magic Words;  7. Conclusion: Beyond Vertigo


    Isabelle Licari-Guillaume is Lecturer in Anglophone Studies at Université Côte d'Azur, France. She specialises in the study of popular culture and graphic narratives.

    Isabelle Licari-Guillaume's Vertigo Comics succeeds in charting the messy contours of that influential publishing project. Reframing long-held myths about its Britishness and its themes, she brings into sharp focus that cornerstone of recent comic book history.
    Dr. Nicolas Labarre, Université Bordeaux Montaigne, France, author of Understanding Genres in Comics and Heavy Metal, l’autre Métal Hurlant

    Licari-Guillaume has done the seemingly impossible: she has gotten the reader interested in British comics creators other than Gaiman, Moore, and Morrison. Part history, part interpretation, her work here is a fascinating look at the rise and fall of the Vertigo imprint and is a must read for comics scholars.
    Dr. Christopher Bell, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, USA

    This is the first full-length study of a phenomenon that changed the history of comics. Licari-Guillaume documents the history, styles and development of Vertigo with aplomb, proving a work that is as readable as the comics themselves, whilst relating to broader issues and significances. A must-read for comics fans and scholars alike.
    Dr. Laurence Grove, University of Glasgow, UK