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6 Vertigo characters that could follow Constantine to the New 52

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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?

The Human Target

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

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.

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The first one to pop into my head : some iteration of Shade the Changing Man.

No Coagula?

OK, Tim Hunter of Books of Magic has appeared. But I’d like to see him have a more mainstream role in the DCU, rather than inhabiting some obscure backwater magical parallel dimension. He could easily be the central character in a “Mystic Youth” type teenage team, with some of DC’s younger mystical characters.

my first thought was cain and abel mostly because jla dark is using the house of mystery as their base was surprised they have not shown up in the new 52 since they are suppose to live and run the place. human target and prez both deserve a new look. prez maybe grown up and having to escape from bad guys who want payback. plus would not mine seeing if not jesse from preacher again maybe cassidy or tulip visiting jla dark.

hondobrode: Shade’s already shown up in the New 52.

Interesting choices, considering that Human Target was initially a mainline DC Universe character before they moved him over to Vertigo.

Prez, too. Forgot to mention that.

>> 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.>>

There wouldn’t need to be a deal worked out. DC owns Dream, and can use him wherever they like.

The reason they consult Gaiman isn’t contractual, it’s out of respect and consideration. Like what used to prevent them from doing a WATCHMEN sequel.

So it’d be easy, easy, easy for that to change…but does anyone want it to?

I’ve given up entire on the DC Comics line (though still buying Vertigo books), but I would incline a peek inside a re-worked DOOM PATROL title.

I’m pretty sure though it would be a spectacular disaster, appealing to no one who actually likes the Doom Patrol.

Actually, Destiny rejoined the DCU way before Constantine. In 2007, in a The Brave and the Bold story called The Book of Destiny, said item was stollen from him and a bunch of heroes went looking for it.

Stephen Conway

June 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm

I could see Prez having some involvement in the Green Team.

Well, Dave, DC already put out a excellent Giffen-scripted Doom Patrol series just pre-New 52, and I think I, along with about six other people, bought it. So there you go.

@Johnny B: I was one of those six! I remember enjoying that Metal Men back-up story more than the DP story proper, but that’s okay…I liked the book fine and was sad to see it go. But everything pre-New52 is a distant memory, at best. DP would be entirely re-booted with a sexy snarky Crazy Jane, a sexy snarky Elasti-Girl, and sexy snarky spandexed Niles Caulder and Cliff Steele. It would be completely unrecognizable and I can’t find any reason to believe anything New 52 reboots is considerate of the history of the characters.

Dream and Destiny could work if used right, and it wouldn’t be the first time with one of gaiman’s Endless: in one of the issues with Lex Luthor in the lead role of Action Comics, Death appeared and, since this was after Blackest Night, Lex chewed her out for sucking at her job. It was hilarious!

@ Chris Arrant : Where has Shade appeared ? I missed it. I’d love me either the Ditko or Milligan version.

Shade appeared in Peter Milligan’s tenure on Justice League Dark for the first 8 issues. When Milligan left the book, he had Shade vanish as well.

Prez was mentioned in Action Comics #9. He was a president on Earth-23 in the 1970s, and apparently quite the popular one. No hints yet on what he’s up to these days–and I don’t think Earth-23 has appeared at all since then, though it’ll be part of the Multiversity project. Maybe we’ll learn more then.

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