This has been the best year for Vertigo Comics of this decade. Coming out of a slow decline in the number of titles, as well as only a few popular, Vertigo really nailed 2015 with both the titles they came into it with as well as their massive relaunch in the final quarter of the year. What Vertigo really needed to do was adapt to a world where they were not the only game in mainstream comics doing what they did, and with that they recalibrated and set forth. They may prove to have to much connection with the DC-adaptation-machine, but that has yet to really affect what they have been working with.
Vertigo’s line-up changed dramatically over this year, and so it was hard to actually narrow things down for this list. You will notice that there is only slightly more new titles than older ones, and we want to note that it is not because these new titles are not landing. Quite the opposite, in fact, they have proven to be a stellar line-up. The issue here is simply that we are still getting to know them, and some of the older titles really came with a bang.
The final issue of Fables, which was also its last trade paperback, was 160 pages, and the perfect way to end a book that was read in both monthly issues and trades. This was a huge end to the Fables universe(which is actually still going a bit with Wolf Among Us), and they brought in all the guns for this beautiful and fitting close to the series.
6. Astro City
This was one of the best year for Kurt Busiek’s anthology celebration of the super hero concept. Single and dual-issue storylines, like a drumming Antartic gorilla, helped bring this long-running alt-cape series back into the popular imagination. This is the kind of anchor book that rightly belongs at Vertigo and will just continue to churn out immense quality month to month.
This was actually a surprise for us because we were prepared to really dislike this Lucifer revamp after seeing what Fox is doing with the television adaptation. Though the book is certainly a twist from the more fantasy oriented earlier Lucifer book, it was incredibly well paced and actually draws on the now-deceased Vertigo-verse openly(references old Hellblazer comic). There is still a lot to see since it was only the opening issue, but we have a great deal of hope for this book.
Another great offering to the Vertigo line-up that is immediately going to network television as a weekly adaptation. The comic looks at a billionaire using social media to give millions of dollars to 140 people. The level of intertwining character mysteries is enough to keep you glued to each issue, and right now we are still waiting to see what is at the heart of this incredible story developing.
3. Mad Max: Fury Road
There are four individual issues that tie together with Mad Max Fury Road, a two-part miniseries and two one-shots that outline the backstories of the movie’s main characters. On top of this was an art book where the top artists in comics do spreads inspired by their love of the Mad Max universe. All of this is done with George Miller’s expertship to make sure that quality is maintained in a way that you never expect from licensed properties.
In a way, this is the easiest choice of the year. Though it doesn’t have the sprawling vision of a Sandman, or the deep dialogue of a Preacher, Jacked drives directly at daytime fantasies and the very real feeling that many people have in suburban commercial culture. Easily told: a man has become impotent in his life, sees a commercial for a power drug, takes it and gains basically super powers, but what problems will it cause? This may be the most mobilizing miniseries of the year, and you jump into right at the first couple pages.
1. The Twilight Children
This miniseries brings Darwyn Cook and Gilbert Hernandez back to Vertigo and really are their best foot forward for the relaunch quarter. The book is a perfect take on Hernandez’s Latin American magical realism, as an orb shows up and is descending an unknown force on a town of friends, neighbors, and lovers. Each issue has been a huge leap from the last, with possibly the best art of the year. There is only one issue left in this four-issue mini, and hopefully we see this team returning to Vertigo Comics in the future.