Three quarters of an hour ago I informed DC Comics that I was planning to run a story about rumours of impending redundancies/resignations at the publisher.
Coincidentally or not, they immediately issued a press release announcing that Karen Berger, Executive Editor of DC Vertigo and Senior VP at DC Comics, was stepping down after twenty years at the company.
Karen Berger leaving DC has been a repeated rumour I’ve heard, and mentioned, since the summer. Arguably responsible for many of DC’s biggest successes, working with Alan Moore on Swamp Thing, recruiting the likes of Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Garth Ennis, Jamie Delano, Mark Buckingham, Peter Milligan, Mike Carey, China Mieville and so many more DC Comics, with successes such as Sandman, Preacher, Invisibles, Fables and Hellblazer on her watch, since the big changes at DC that have happened in the last few years, has seen the Vertigo line shrunk, its contracts curtailed, its graphic novel line pulled back, its major characters passed to the DCU editorial team, her husband made redundant and herself effectively demoted, reporting to Editor In Chief Bob Harras rather than directly to the President and Publisher.
It is likely that any such departure will have involved a very large payoff indeed. Some have speculated that if Karen Berger did leave DC Comics, she has so much warmth owed to her by so many that she could with very little effort, set up a New York based publishing boutique of her very own, filled with very bankable writers and artists.
But that’s for another day. Karen Berger changed the perception of what mainstream comics could be, developed work that found a truly mainstream audience and deserved the respect she gained in the comics industry. She leaves a rather large gap at DC Comics, both in terms of the work published and in the very creative soul of the publisher.