In March, DC Comics debuted Constantine, a new series focusing on the hard-living occult detective John Constantine. No big deal, right? Not so. For more more than two decades, the character was one of the pillars of the the publisher’s “mature readers” Vertigo imprint, starring in the long-running Hellblazer.
Following brief minor dalliances in some event titles in 2010 and 2011, Constantine was made a key figure in the New 52 title Justice League Dark. The aforementioned Hellblazer ended earlier this year with its 300th issue, paving the way for a full-fledged transition of the Liverpudlian warlock into the realm of superheroes. Readers greeted the new Constantine series with both hope and trepidation, and although the first issues are out — so is the jury.
With that in mind, it’s interesting to look at other characters that have called Vertigo home, and how they might fare in the DC Universe of the New 52. Some, like Constantine, crossed over with a bang, while others like Lucifer Morningstar and Kid Eternity, not so much. For this installment of “Six by 6,” I pinpoint six characters or teams that could possibly make the transition well. Please note than many of Vertigo’s best-remembered series aren’t wholly owned by DC but rather in creator-participation deals like Preacher, Transmetropolitan and 100 Bullets; so while the idea of Spider Jerusalem reporting on the state of things in Gotham City might be amusing, I’ve left those off the table for reality’s sake.
Destiny from The Sandman
Oh, you thought Destiny was an exclusive part of the Vertigo Sandman titles? Destiny was actually introduced a decade before Neil Gaiman made his DC debut. Created by Marv Wolfman and Bernie Wrighston for Weird Mystery Tales, Destiny was the Cryptkeeper-like host of the anthology series for about a year, and later popped up in an unlikely face-off with the Man of Steel in 1982’s Superman #352 as well as with the Teen Titans on several occasions. Gaiman looped Destiny into the Endless family for The Sandman, in which he made his best-known appearances, but imagine if Destiny rejoined the DCU as part of various Pandora-related events — perhaps in a Watcher-type role. I wonder, what he would think of the Trinity War?
Christopher Chance from Human Target
Human Target is a killer concept, and one Vertigo has tried on several occasions as a comic book series (it’s also been adapted for television twice). It’s a private-eye story with a man who disguises himself as his clients in order to ferret out the truth. While it lacks any capes-and-cowls effects, a Human Target series — or as a guest star in another series — could be some great fiction.
Cain & Abel from The Sandman, The Dreaming and House of Mystery
Two more luminaries from The Sandman that were actually created decades earlier, Cain and Abel were storytellers in some of DC’s horror anthology titles of the ’70s and became fan-favorite bickering brothers at Vertigo. I could easily envision them popping up in Justice League Dark, but if you open your imagination up they would be interesting characters to show up virtually anywhere in the DCU.
Prez Rickard from Prez
Smells like Teen President. This ’70s creation of Joe Simon and Jerry Grandenetti popped up on several occasions at Vertigo, both in The Sandman and in a great one-shot by Ed Brubaker and Eric Shanower. His last appearance in the Batman: Brave and the Bold animated series, but imagine if DC editorial could get its head around an arc (or arcs) where a teenage boy runs for President and is the target of supervillains.
Let me put it to you simply… the Losers stage a heist in Gotham City.
Dream from The Sandman
Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III are already working on a prequel series for Vertigo, due later this year, but imagine if Gaiman borrowed a page from the playbook over at Marvel with Angela and worked out a deal in which Dream could be used substantially in the mainstream New 52 universe. He’s already popped up here and there in pre-New 52 comics (such as in Grant Morrison’s JLA), but imagine something epic that mixes superheroics with the unique themes and styles of The Sandman comic.