The Complete Vertigo Timeline


What really drove the starting of Vertigology was our long-standing love of and commitment to the Vertigo imprint.  Coming out of a flood of literary and adult themed titles coming to DC comics int he 1980s, editor Karen Berger eventually made the Vertigo imprint to give a life to this new area of comics.  This really created the kind of comics we have today, often genre focused, with vision and creativity that rivals most forms of modern literature.

Vertigo itself had a lot of crossover with the DC universe at first as most of its flagship titles were started as DC books.  This eventually broke away, but the key Vertigo books maintained their own Vertigo continuity among themselves.  This included books like Sandman, Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, and many others, but excluded comics like Fables, which had their own continuity.

What we have brought over here is the timeline that the Centre Cannot Hold created for Vertigo, which puts all the Vertigo continuity books in their chronological story order.  Some of these include the order in which they were published, and some include their place back in history.  There will be some crossover with DC, but only once in a while, and will start with the wonderful pre-Vertigo titles that led up to the later Vertigo universe.

The Vertigo Universe, part 1: The Pre-Vertigo Years

For the most part, this timeline includes only books that are set in the Vertigo Universe. Occasional references to other DC titles may be made for the sake of clarity or curiosity value, but generally only where an established Vertigo character appears in a DC Universe title. (Notably, this timeline does not track appearances of Zatanna, Etrigan the Demon, or the Phantom Stranger.) Such volumes are marked with a * preceding the title.

Part 1 of this timeline covers only those books released by DC prior to the beginning of the Vertigo Imprint, with the addition of those that were published later, but set earlier in the continuity.

The Time of Myth:

Books of Faerie: Auberon’s Tale
The Books of Faerie
The Books of Faerie volumes occur outside any reference to human history, but clearly predating any other appearances by these characters.
Sandman: The Dream Hunters
Although the exact dating of this story is never made clear, it is certain that it predates the first Sandman volume.

Historical Times:

Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold
Although set in what now appears to be an alternate 2009, the greater part of this book is taken up in flashbacks to recorded historical events, hence its placement here.
Madame Xanadu: Disenchanted
This book includes events from the Arthurian era through to the 1920s.
Chiaroscuro: The Private Lives of Leonardo da Vinci
Although Chiaroscuro has no direct connection to any other DC or Vertigo title, it also poses no contradictions to place it here. Also, Leonardo da Vinci is an ancestor of sometime Vertigo character Zatanna. This title also appears in the 

The Twentieth Century:

Sandman Mystery Theatre: The Tarantula
Sandman Mystery Theatre: The Face & the Brute
Sandman Mystery Theatre: The Vamp
Sandman Mystery Theatre: The Scorpion
Sandman Mystery Theatre: Dr. Death and the Night of the Butcher
Sandman Mystery Theatre: The Hourman and the Python
Madame Xanadu, vol. 2: Exodus Noir
Unlike the Sandman Mystery Theatre volumes, which provide detailed dates, this Madame Xanadu story is harder to place. This placement is tentative pending further information, but works well enough.
Sandman Mystery Theatre: The Mist & the Phantom of the Fair
Swamp Thing: Roots
Madame Xanadu, vol. 3: Broken House of Cards
This story takes place in 1957.
Madame Xanadu, vol. 4: Extra Sensory
This story takes place in 1963.
Swamp Thing: Dark Genesis
This story begins in 1972, but Swampy’s encounter with Batman towards the end of this volume must take place later – presumably, there are longer gaps between individual stories than is apparent.
Swamp Thing: Saga of the Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing: Love and Death
The Mystery Play
Despite being published in 1994, The Mystery Play is actually set ten years earlier, and generally makes more sense if it occurs during the Thatcher years.
Swamp Thing: The Curse
* Crisis on Infinite Earths
Swamp Thing and John Constantine both appear in the Crisis.
Swamp Thing: A Murder of Crows
Includes the issues of Swamp Thing that feature crossovers with Crisis on Infinite Earths
Swamp Thing: Earth to Earth
Swamp Thing: Reunion
Swamp Thing: Regenesis
* Millennium
The first few issues of Regenesis cross over with Millennium.
Swamp Thing: Spontaneous Generation
Hellblazer: Original Sins
Spontaneous Generation and Original Sins crossover with other, but can be read more or less in any order
* Invasion!
Swamp Thing: Infernal Triangles
Animal Man
Infernal Triangles and Animal Man both feature stories connected to Invasion!.
Doom Patrol: Crawling From the Wreckage
This story starts in the aftermath of Invasion!.
The Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes
Hellblazer: The Devil You Know
Preludes and Nocturnes and The Devil You Know cross over with each other.
Doom Patrol: The Painting That Ate Paris
Hellblazer: The Fear Machine
Animal Man: Origin of the Species
Doom Patrol: Down Paradise Way
Hellblazer: Family Man
Sandman: The Doll’s House
Doll’s House specifically occurs after Family Man.
Sandman: Dream Country
The Books of Magic
Animal Man: Deus Ex Machina
Doom Patrol: Musclebound
Doom Patrol: Magic Bus
Sandman: Season of Mists
Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery
Sandman: A Game of You
The Sandman: Fables and Reflections
Doom Patrol: Planet Love
The final issue of the regular series to be reprinted in this volume was also the last issue before the series became a Vertigo title.
Sandman: Brief Lives
Reprints the first issues of Sandman to bear the Vertigo logo.
Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits
Hellblazer: Bloodlines
Hellblazer: Fear and Loathing
Reprints the first issues of Hellblazer to bear the Vertigo logo.

The Vertigo Universe, part 2: Imprinted

For the most part, this timeline includes only books that are set in the Vertigo Universe. Occasional references to other DC titles may be made for the sake of clarity or curiosity value, but generally only where an established Vertigo character appears in a DC Universe title. (Notably, this timeline does not track appearances of Zatanna, Etrigan the Demon, or the Phantom Stranger.) Such volumes are marked with a * preceding the title.

Sandman: Brief Lives
Sandman: Worlds’ End
Sandman: The Kindly Ones
Sandman: The Wake
The Dreaming: Beyond the Shores of Night
The Dreaming: Through the Gates of Horn & Ivory
The Sandman: Endless Nights
The Sandman Presents: The Furies
The Sandman Presents: Thessaly – Witch for Hire
Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits
Hellblazer: Bloodlines
Hellblazer: Fear and Loathing
Hellblazer: Tainted Love
Hellblazer: Damnation’s Flame
Hellblazer: Rake at the Gates of Hell
Hellblazer: Son of Man
Hellblazer: Haunted
Hellblazer: Setting Sun
Lucifer: Devil in the Gateway
Hellblazer: Hard Time
Lucifer: Children and Monsters
John Constantine appears in this book, and mentions the events of Hard Time, placing it after that collection.
Lucifer: A Dalliance with the Damned
Lucifer: The Divine Comedy
Lucifer: Inferno
Lucifer: Mansions of the Silence
Lucifer: Exodus
Lucifer: The Wolf Beneath the Tree
Lucifer: Crux
Lucifer: Morningstar
Lucifer: Evensong
Hellblazer: Good Intentions
Hellblazer: Freezes Over
Hellblazer: Highwater
Sandman Mystery Theater: Sleep of Reason
Haunted Tank
Published in 2009, but set in 2003.
* JLA: Strength in Numbers
This JLA collection includes a Gaiman-approved and Morrison-written tale in which the JLA meets the Sandman.
Hellblazer: Red Sepulchre
Hellblazer: Black Flowers
Hellblazer: Papa Midnite
Pape Midnite occurs during Black Flowers, but is best read after.
Hellblazer: Staring at the Wall
John Constantine, Hellblazer: War Lord
Original prose novel by John Shirley.
Takes place about a year after Red Sepulchre.
Hellblazer: All His Engines
Although released later, All His Engines fits in best here so as to not disrupt the ongoing storyline.
Hellblazer: Stations of the Cross
Hellblazer: Reasons to Be Cheerful
Hellblazer: The Gift
Swamp Thing: Bad Seed
Spins out of Staring at the Wall, but is best read here to avoid interrupting Carey’s run.
Hellblazer: Empathy is the Enemy
Hellblazer: The Red Right Hand
Hellblazer: Joyride
Hellblazer: The Laughing Magician
Hellblazer: Roots of Coincidence
John Constantine, Hellblazer: Pandemonium
Hellblazer: Scab
* JSA: Lost
* JSA: Mixed Signals
These two volumes include appearances by Dream and other Sandman characters.
* The Brave and the Bold: Lords of Luck
* The Brave & the Bold: The Book of Destiny
These two volumes include appearances by Destiny and his book.
House of Mystery: Room and Boredom
House of Mystery: Love Stories for Dead People
John Constantine: Hellblazer – City of Demons
John Constantine: Hellblazer – Bloody Carnations
John Constantine, Hellblazer – The Devil’s Trenchcoat

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