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The Rise of the American Comics ArtistCreators and Contexts$
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Paul Williams and James Lyons

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781604737929

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604737929.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

“Is this a book?” DC Vertigo and the Redefini-tion of Comics in the 1990s

“Is this a book?” DC Vertigo and the Redefini-tion of Comics in the 1990s

(p.14) Chapter Two “Is this a book?” DC Vertigo and the Redefini-tion of Comics in the 1990s
The Rise of the American Comics Artist

Julia Round

University Press of Mississippi

In 1993, DC Comics launched its Vertigo imprint using six popular series from the 1980s as a conscious move away from superheroics. All six series were reworkings of older DC supernatural or horror characters: The Sandman, The Saga of the Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, Animal Man, Shade: The Changing Man, and Doom Patrol. This chapter examines the technological changes and marketing innovations that helped redefine comics at the end of the twentieth century, focusing on the role of DC Vertigo and the emergence of graphic novels and trade paperbacks in the 1990s. It looks at how factors such as digital production and computerized printing, distribution via bookshops, expensive and permanent binding, pricing, and franchising have shaped the medium by bringing the graphic novel closer to the aesthetic of the literary text, while maintaining the status quo of the comics market in some respects. Finally, the chapter discusses other aspects that have affected the ways in which comics are created, produced, and received, including the redefinition of the audience and emergent intellectual property and copyright laws.

Keywords:   comics, DC Comics, Vertigo, marketing, graphic novels, trade paperbacks, computerized printing, bookshops, intellectual property, copyright

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