DC Universe Infinite Ultra To Include Vertigo and Black Label Titles

by Steven Lee Sharpe
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While our universe may or may not be infinite, it is expanding. It turns out that both are also true of the DCU.  DC Universe Infinite is DC’s digital comic subscription service and it’s expanding. Subscribers who upgrade to the DC Universe Infinite Ultra tier service, which launched in October, can now get access to over 32,000 books, a free hardcopy of The Death of Superman: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, plus access to new titles only one month after their initial store release.

Under the normal plan, DC Universe Infinite subscribers have access to some 27,000 titles and wait for six months to read new releases. The reason for that jump in titles is that the Ultra tier membership includes access to DC’s library of Vertigo and Black Label titles – that’s over 5,000 issues from some of the greatest comic stories ever told, ranging from Watchmen to Batman: Three Jokers.

DC launched the Vertigo imprint in 1993, overseen by editor Karen Berger. As well as editing some regular DC titles, Berger was also involved with series such as Swamp Thing, Animal Man, and Hellblazer which carried a “Suggested for mature readers” warning. The idea was to move these more adult titles to their own imprint where new, similarly adventurous series could be nurtured. The result was a game changer.

Vertigo provided a home for so many different comic readers, from those who felt like they needed to move on to something other than regular superhero stories, to those who had never been interested in superhero stories but had a love for the comic medium. It was a place where writers and artists could be adventurous with the medium and tell stories that wouldn’t need to be approved by the Comics Code Authority without upsetting the more family-friendly reputation of the DC brand.

The brand drew the likes Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Garth Ennis and more, many of whom got their break into mainstream comics with titles such as Watchmen, Sandman, Lucifer, Preacher, Fables, Y The Last Man, 100 Bullets, Sweet Tooth – titles that still sell well, and frequently make lists of some of the greatest graphic novels of all time.

Vertigo represented the cutting edge of adult, genre storytelling the likes of which publishers like Image Comics and Boom Studios have sought to imitate.

A shift in publishing strategy saw a slow wind-down of titles and DC eventually ceased publishing titles under the Vertigo banner in 2020 but, of course, as with all good things, it wasn’t the end, just an evolution. DC launched the Black Label brand to distinguish between titles that are safe for all readers, and those that feature content which may be graphically or thematically more adult. This time there would be more of a crossover of titles. John Constantine, for example would join the regular DCU whilst still featuring in his more adult horror title Hellblazer. The first DCU character to find himself published under the banner was, of course, Batman, and his associated characters. How dark do you like your Batman?

It’s difficult to overestimate the impact that the Vertigo line had on the American comic industry. Their releases represented the classics of adult genre fiction in comics.

With the success of the likes of Batman: Three Jokers and Batman: Damned, plus more recent releases Nice House On The Lake, and Human Target, DC’s Black Label imprint continues to be an important presence in comic publishing. Now, thanks to DC Universe Infinite Ultra, it’s a banquet of titles that that you could live off for the rest of your life. My advice is to tuck in.

Full range of titles added to the DC Universe Infinite Ultra tier:

Shade, The Changing Man (1990-1996)
The Books of Magic (1990-1991)
Kid Eternity (1991)
Death: The High Cost of Living (1993)
Blood & Shadows (1996)
Kill Your Boyfriend (1995)
Vertigo Voices: Tainted (1994)
Sandman Mystery Theatre (1993-1999)
Kid Eternity (1993-1994)
Sebastian O (1993)
Vertigo Visions: The Geek (1993)
Skin Graft: The Adventures of a Tattooed Man (1993)
Black Orchid (1993-1995)
The Children’s Crusade (1993-1994)
Scarab (1993-1994)
Ghostdancing (1995)
Goddess (1995-1996)
Mobfire (1994-1995)
Vamps (1994)
Witchcraft (1994)
Doom Patrol Annual (1988-) #2
Animal Man Annual (1993)
American Freak: A Tale of the Un-Men (1994)
Vertigo Visions – Doctor Occult (1994)
The Invisibles (1994-1996)
Vertigo Voices: The Eaters (1995)
Egypt (1995-1996)
Industrial Gothic (1995-1996)
Death: The Time of Your Life (1996)
Dog Moon (1996)
The Dreaming (1996-2001)
Fault Lines (1997)
Mythos: The Final Tour (1996-1997)
Tattered Banners (1998)
Vertigo Verite: Girl (1996)
The Horrorist (1995)
Vertigo Visions – Prez (1995)
Vamps: Hollywood and Vein (1995-1996)
Vertigo Verite: The Unseen Hand (1996)
The Invisibles Volume 2 (1996-1998)
Junk Culture (1997)
Weird War Tales (1997)
Vertigo Visions – Dr. Thirteen (1998)
Vertigo Visions – Tomahawk (1998)
Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold (1997)
Transmetropolitan (1997-2002)
Witchcraft: La Terreur (1998)
Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess’ Stardust (1997-1998)
Vertigo: Winter’s Edge (1997-1999)
Vertigo Verite: Hell Eternal (1998)
Gangland (1998)
The Minx (1998-1999)
The Human Target (1999)
The Sandman Presents: Love Street (1999)
Heart Throbs (1998-1999)
Vamps: Pumpkin Time (1998)
Welcome Back to the House of Mystery (1998)
Gifts of the Night (1998-1999)
Jonny Double (1998)
The Girl Who Would Be Death (1998-1999)
Finals (1999)
The Trenchcoat Brigrade (1999)
Flinch (1999-2000)
Sandman Presents: Petrefax (2000)
100 Bullets (1999-2009)
Invisibles Vol. 3 (1999-2000)
Weird War Tales Special (2000)
Midnight, Mass (2002)
Transmetropolitan: I Hate It Here (2000)
El Diablo (2001)
Weird Western Tales (2001)
Codename: Knockout (2001-2003)
The Names of Magic (2000-2001)
Sandman Presents: Dead Boy Detectives (2001)
The Sandman Presents: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Dream (2001)
Sandman Presents: The Thessaliad (2002)
Sandman Presents: The Corinthian (2001)
Transmetropolitan: Filth of the City (2001)
Zatanna: Everyday Magic (2003) #0
Fight For Tomorrow (2002-2003)
The Filth (2002-2003)
Sandman Presents: Bast (2003)
Beware the Creeper (2003)
Fables: The Last Castle (2003)
Human Target (2003-2005)
Sandman Presents: Thessaly: Witch for Hire (2004)
We3 (2004-2005)
Vimanarama (2005)
The Books of Magick: Life During Wartime (2004-2005)
Seaguy (2004)
The Witching (2004)
Trigger (2004-2005)
Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere (2005-2006)
Loveless (2005-2008)
The Other Side (2006-2007)
Deadman (2006-2007)
Scalped (2007-2012)
Jack of Fables (2006-2011)
Crossing Midnight (2006-2008)
Un-Men (2007-2008)
Northlanders (2007-2012)
Unknown Soldier (2008-2009)
Demo – Volume II (2010)
Daytripper (2009-2010)
Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye (2009)
The Unwritten (2009-2013)
Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love (2009-2010)
Joe the Barbarian (2010-2011)
The Literals (2009)
Wolf Moon (2014-2015)
American Vampire (2010-2013)
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril (2013-2014)
Cinderella: Fables are Forever (2011)
American Splendor Vol. 1 (2006)
American Splendor Volume 2 (2008)
Punk Rock Jesus (2012-2013)
American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest (2011)
New Deadwardians (2012)
Dominique Laveau: Voodoo Child (2012)
FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics (2013-2015)
Hinterkind (2013-2015)
Fairest (2012-2015)
The Unwritten 1/2 (2009-2013)
Ghosts (2012)
The Sandman: Overture (2013-2015)
American Vampire: Lord of Nightmares (2012)
100 Bullets: Brother Lono (2013-2014)
The Wake (2013-2014)
Trillium (2013-2014)
Time Warp (2013)
The Witching Hour (2013)
American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell (2013)
American Vampire: Anthology
Suiciders (2015)
Coffin Hill (2013-2015)
The Wake Director’s Cut (2013)
The Dead Boy Detectives (2014)
American Vampire: Second Cycle (2014-2015)
The Sandman: Overture Special Edition (2013-2015)
Arcana Annual (1994)
The Sandman:The Dream Hunters (2009)
The Unwritten: Apocalypse (2014-2015)
Vertigo Quarterly CMYK
Art Ops (2015-2016)
Clean Room (2015-2017)
Strange Sports Stories (2015)
Red Thorn (2015-2016)
Constantine/Hellblazer Special Edition (2014)
Effigy (2015)
Last Gang in Town (2015-2016)
Survivors’ Club (2015-2016)
Unfollow (2015-2017)
Fables: The Wolf Among Us (2014-2015)
Sheriff of Babylon (2015-2016)
Slash & Burn (2015-2016)
Vertigo Quarterly SFX (2015-2016)
The Twilight Children (2015-2016)
Jacked (2015-2016)
Mad Max: Fury Road: Nux & Immortan Joe (2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road: Furiosa (2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road: Max (2015)
New Romancer (2015-2016)
Suiciders: Kings of HelL.A. (2016)
The Dark and Bloody (2016)
Everafter: From the Pages of Fables (2016-2017)
Frostbite (2016-2017)
Savage Things (2017)
The Lost Boys (2016-2017)
Black Death in America (2016)
Doom Patrol Director’s Cut (2017)
Deathbed (2018)
The American Way: Those Above and Those Below (2017-2018)
American Carnage (2018-2019)
Imaginary Fiends (2017-2018)
Motherlands (2018)
Books of Magic (2018-2020)
House of Whispers (2018-2020)
Lucifer (2018-2020)
The Dreaming (2018-2020)
Hex Wives (2018-2019)
Goddess Mode (2018-2019)
The Sandman Universe (2018)
High Level (2019)
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity (2019-)
Joker: Killer Smile (2019-)
Wonder Woman: Dead Earth (2019-)
Batman: The Smile Killer (2020)
Batman: Three Jokers (2020)
Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child (2019)
Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity-Secret Files (2020)
The Sandman Universe Presents Hellblazer (2019)

Images and press release courtesy of DC Entertainment

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