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Vertigo Revival – By The Numbers

Vertigo Revival

Back in April 2016, while DC was preparing their Rebirth line up to win back a large part of the comic book readership, Vertigo was having it’s own growth structure.

In the previous year of 2015, 12 new titles were announced as a way to reinvigorate the line up with plenty of different tone books with plenty of horror with Survivor’s Club and Clean Room to even some quirky light books with New Romancers.

The sales of these titles wasn’t exactly what DC was hoping for as such titles as Art Op and Survivor’s Club became stealth mini series, most of them being cancelled in the end as at the time of writing this article – only two remain as ongoing series with Unfollow by Rob Williams, Mike Dowling and Clean Room by Gail Simone, Jon Davis-Hunt.

It should be noted however that Vertigo was transparent with the length of certain titles as Sheriff of Baghdad was planned for 8 (extended to 12), Jacked was going to be 6 while titles such as Red Thorn, Survivors’ Club and Slash & Burn had no planned end date.

Let’s break down the first four shipped titles for each series – Keep in mind that the general rule of thumb for Marvel/DC is that a title that ships under 14k usually gets cancelled while the same amount shipped for Image book is considered a success.

Four issues is a decent gauge as there will always be a high debut (due to variants and general freshness) as a steady audience remains after getting a chance to see how they feel about the title.


Twilight Children 

Oct Twilight Children 1 $4.99 DC 16,896
Nov Twilight Children 2 $4.99 DC 12,063
Dec Twilight Children 3 $4.99 DC 10,892
Jan Twilight Children 4 $4.99 DC 10,301

TPB Twilight Children $14.99 DC 2,586

Twilight Children was one of the flag titles for Vertigo Rebrand and with the late Darwyn Cooke for the art along with Love & Rockets writer Gilbert Hernandez, I would have assumed an average of 14 for the entire series as the wait to buy in trade isn’t as great due to being a mere four issues in length

Survivor’s Club

Oct Survivors Club 1 $3.99 DC 13,194
Nov Survivors Club 2 $3.99 DC 7,846
Dec Survivors Club 3 $3.99 DC 6,668
Jan Survivors Club 4 $3.99 DC 5,731

TPB Survivors Club $19.99 DC 1,235

This was one of the ill fated titles for Vertigo as it had strong concept with riffing from horror legends. This would be the second project under DC that Lauren Beukes worked on, making a debut with Fairest. As sales started to decline, the series stopped at issue 9 and the trade is the complete series.

Clean Room 

Oct Clean Room 1 $3.99 DC 14,304
Nov Clean Room 2 $3.99 DC 9,351
Dec Clean Room 3 $3.99 DC 8,073
Jan Clean Room 4 $3.99 DC 7,572

Oct Clean Room 12 $3.99 DC 5,807
TPB Clean Room Vol. 1 Immaculate Conception $14.99 DC 2,122

One of the surviving titles of the Vertigo rebrand as the talent of Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt has to be a factor. The concept for the series is a bit of a slow burn but the weird body horror parts are executed brilliantly by Davis-Hunt, the numbers keeping steady at the nearly 6k even a year later from it’s debut

                                                Art Ops 

Oct Art Ops 1 $3.99 DC 12,211
Nov Art Ops 2 $3.99 DC 7,982
Dec Art Ops 3 $3.99 DC 6,771
Jan Art Ops 4 $3.99 DC 5,772

TPB Art Ops Vol. 1 $14.99 DC 1,591

An average preforming title for Vertigo as Mike Allred is no stranger to the Vertigo lineup, having been part of the art side for iZombie for Vertigo as well. It should be noted that Allred is also going to work on a title for Young Animals imprint as Bug! will be the latest addition to the line up.


Nov Unfollow 1 $3.99 DC 10,740
Dec Unfollow 2 $3.99 DC 7,082
Jan Unfollow 3 $3.99 DC 6,510
Feb Unfollow 4 $3.99 DC 5,667

TPB Unfollow Vol. 1 $14.99 DC 1,766

One of the few outlasting titles as the series manages to keep up with Clean Room in terms of amount shipped but that margin of 2k keeps it at being an average shipper for Vertigo. It’s a bit puzzling as to why this one of outlasting titles to make the cut as the title ships just around the average with the Clean Room having 2k lead per month.

Slash & Burn

Nov Slash & Burn 1 $3.99 DC 9,623
Dec *No Info*
Jan Slash & Burn 3 $3.99 DC 4,403
Feb *No Info*

TPB Slash & Burn $14.99 DC 949

The one of the worst performing title for Vertigo as the fame of Si Spencer has no effect on the title. The reason for missing sales for Dec/Feb are mostly due to not appearing in the top 300 for each month as an estimation for 4k for each missing period would be a logical conclusion.

Red Thorn 

Nov Red Thorn 1 $3.99 DC 11,335
Dec Red Thorn 2 $3.99 DC 6,799
Jan Red Thorn 3 $3.99 DC 5,802
Feb Red Thorn 4 $3.99 DC 4,867

TPB Red Thorn Vol. 1 Glasgow Kiss $14.99 DC 1,049

A dark fantasy title that fell short of hitting the usual 5k, the build up of the talent with David Ballie and Meghan Hetrick not being as well known compared to other Vertigo titles. Despite not meeting the standard 5k, it managed to get 13 issues out before wrapping up.


Nov Jacked 1 $3.99 DC 11,056
Dec Jacked 2 $3.99 DC 7,078
Jan Jacked 3 $3.99 DC 5,787
Feb Jacked 4 $3.99 DC 5,449

TPB Jacked $14.99 DC 1,316

From Eric Kripke, the showrunner for Supernatural, this series is a gritty tongue in cheek take on superheroes that felt a little bit like getting into The Boys in terms of crude humour and being marketed as six issue run probably lead to trade wait.

Sheriff of Baghdad 

Dec Sheriff of Babylon 1 $3.99 DC 10,234
Jan Sheriff of Babylon 2 $3.99 DC 7,063
Feb Sheriff of Babylon 3 $3.99 DC 6,385
Mar Sheriff of Babylon 4 $3.99 DC 6,007

TPB Sheriff of Babylon Vol. 1 Bang Bang Bang $14.99 DC 2,556

At this point, Tom King was no stranger to working for DC as in terms of sales, it was a bit rough for the first time around with Omega Men on the chopping block before outcry from fans managed to keep the series going. What should be taken into account is that while Omega struggled to finish 12 issue run, this title got an addition of four issues as the series was planned out to be 8 at the start. In Batman, Mitch worked with Tom again for Rooftops arc featuring Catwoman, perhaps a full story arc could be in the works at future date.

 New Romancer 

Dec New Romancer 1 $3.99 DC 8,639
Jan New Romancer 2 $3.99 DC 5,655
Feb New Romancer 3 $3.99 DC 3,999
Mar *No Info*

TPB New Romancer $14.99 DC 986

A light hearted quirky romance theme book from Vertigo that as the typical title from this launch period was overly dark in tone, making this one feel a bit fresh. Despite that, the series couldn’t keep up in sales as it managed to ship even less than Slash & Burn, getting dropped at sixth issue.


Dec Lucifer 1 $3.99 DC 17,306
Jan Lucifer 2 $3.99 DC 12,497
Feb Lucifer 3 $3.99 DC 11,614
Mar Lucifer 4 $3.99 DC 11,450

TPB Lucifer Vol. 1 Cold Heaven $14.99 DC 2,555

A new direction for an older Vertigo title that had the talent of Neil Gaiman/Mike Carey and a TV adaption based very loosely on this series has managed to perform better than the average as the numbers didn’t dip that sharp from 10k. This also marks the debut of Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles) into working on comic books as the trend of picking up novelist as been done with Marvel with Coates on Black Panther and Hope Larson for Batgirl Rebirth

Last Gang in Town 

Dec Last Gang In Town 1 $3.99 DC 8,396
Jan Last Gang In Town 2 $3.99 DC 4,750
Feb Last Gang In Town 3 $3.99 DC 3,772
Mar *no info*

TPB Last Gang In Town $14.99 DC 805

A quirky outlaw theme book with some well known talent Simon Oliver (The Exterminators) that didn’t manage to catch on. Sharing the same fate as New Romancer/Slash & Burn, another title that barely shipped as it struggled to crack the top 300 on ComicChron, the trade having a similar rough fate.

The Dark & Bloody

Feb Dark and Bloody 1 $3.99 DC 8,622
Mar Dark and Bloody 2 $3.99 DC 5,679
Apr Dark and Bloody 3 $3.99 DC 4,757
May *no info*

TPB *no info*

A late coming horror title that had uphill battle from the start. While the talent of written by Shawn Aldridge (Welcome Back), with art from Scott Godlewski (Copperhead) and some great cover art by Tyler Crook (Harrow County), the reputation of Vertigo 2015 had to be factor as the hype wasn’t there and the series quietly wrapped up a six issue arc.



Some final figures can be found from Comics Beat with this graph that overall represents the entire standing for each Vertigo title for 2015/2016 period. With the average being set at 6k, even the low performing titles managed to survive for awhile as Clean Room/Unfollow managed to rise above the average, securing their place as ongoing series.

The performance for Sheriff probably helped with pushing Tom King’s rise of fame to DC main line up as while Omega Men struggled to maintain sales, Sheriff managed to maintain the projected average that Vertigo wanted.

Interesting to note that despite mixed reviews in terms of character and plot wise, Lucifier still managed to do better than average in the first few months as in terms of shipping titles, it was the top title for entire rebranding for Vertigo.

Here’s a chart put together by Comics Beat laying out the average shipped title for Vertigo

Vertigo: Average: 6,832**. Median: 5,802**. No.: 15. Total: 102,476**

1.8 – Lucifer
1.5 – Astro City
1.5 – Twilight Children
1.1 – Clean Room
1.0 – Sheriff of Babylon
1.0 – Unfollow
0.9 – Fables the Wolf Among Us (debut as digital mini, collected as floppies)
0.8 – Red Thorn
0.8 – Jacked
0.8 – Art Ops
0.8 – Survivors’ Club
0.8 – New Romancer
0.7 – Last Gang in Town
0.6 – Slash & Burn
0.6 – Vertigo Quarterly SFX (single issue)
0.5 – Dark and Bloody (my own estimation for overall performance)

For some further insight into comparing the revival of the brand in 2015 to the classic titles such as Scalped and Y the Last Man, you can check out this link to Comik’s Debris for their excellent insight into the subject manner.

All titles listed are based on shipped to retailer as depending on the title, some have adjusted numbers based on ability of being able to send back unsold copies. For further insight to monthly/yearly breakdown of shipped titles, you can check out the numbers at comicchron for a complete list.