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Should Dial H Have Been a Vertigo Series?

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Should Dial H Have Been a Vertigo Series?

Postby LOLtron » Mon May 13, 2013 9:18 am

Should Dial H Have Been a Vertigo Series?

ThanosCopter looks at the impending demise of Dial H.




Tell me where you think this comic belongs.  It's a high concept horror-esque comic written by a popular novelist with cover art provided by Brian Bolland, edited by Karen Berger and has sales in the 13,000 range.  While all those are buzz words for a Vertigo series, Dial H was instead published as part of DC's New 52 superhero line.  The decision to group Dial H with more traditional superhero books was questioned when the book was first debuted last year.  Now that Berger has departed and the series is rumored to be cancelled, there seems to be no better time to ask whether the Mieville series would have benefitted from being published by the company's Vertigo imprint instead of as a DC comic book.

Dial H's debut issue was an uneven, rather messy affair, which put it on par with about 60% of DC's other series.  However, the book has steadily improved throughout its run, despite having to participate in two linewide gimmicks, last September's "zero issue" month and April's WTF gatefold covers which coincided with an unofficial crossover with The Flash.  While the latter gimmick gave the book a whopping sales increase of around 300 comics, the book is firmly in cancellation territory with April 2013 sales of around 13,000, making it the second lowest selling non-cancelled series after Demon Knights

Even two years ago, Dial H would have all the markings of a Vertigo imprint series. Vertigo executive editor Berger allegedly recruited Mieville hard, and the popular writer even had a Swamp Thing series in the pipeline before Dan Didio pulled all DC properties back to the mainstream line, save for the recently cancelled Hellblazer series. Since Mieville has stated numerous times that he's been looking to dabble in DC properties, it appears that Berger tried to make it work, editing her first mainstream DC series since the founding of Vertigo in 1993.  However, the book largely existing at arm's length from other DC series and the uneven early issues have significantly hurt sales, leading to a one year sales' drop of 67%. 

I'm not going to pretend that the Dial H's technical issues would have been magically fixed by putting Vertigo on its cover instead of DC.  However, the book probably would have benefitted from a more aggressive marketing push by Vertigo.  Vertigo is also in need of a hit series.  The imprint's new 2012 series all experienced painful deaths (although Saucer Country may well find a home at another imprint) and it recently lost American Vampire to an extended hiatus. Even with limited series Trillium, The Wake and an American Vampire anthology to be released in upcoming months, Vertigo's ongoing series are at its lowest point since the company was founded 20 years ago.  Also, while 13,000 is at the low end of DC's sales spectrum, those figures would make it a solid performer at Vertigo.

We'll see if Dial H will linger to this fall later today. However, when the book gets cancelled (either today or next month or the month after), DC needs to examine their "line in the sand" policy regarding its properties and its imprints.  Publishing Dial H as a DC comic didn't help it all.  Would it have experienced a better, more profitable fate at Vertigo?



Written or Contributed by ThanosCopter


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Re: Should Dial H Have Been a Vertigo Series?

Postby guitarsmashley » Mon May 13, 2013 10:04 am

I just don't understand the motivation behind publishing this series. I had to look it up but the last series ran 22 issues which surprises the hell out of me. But with mostly unknown talent it's just setting up the book to fail.
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Re: Should Dial H Have Been a Vertigo Series?

Postby Chesscub » Mon May 13, 2013 10:04 am

I can see the think of putting it in Vertigo. The last attempt H-E-R-O probably could've fit in Vertigo as well. Both have that tone to it.

But DC has been really trying to keep the "DC Universe" characters away from Vertigo lately. Which doesn't make that much sense. Fringe character should be able to slip in and out of both areas with no difficulty.

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Re: Should Dial H Have Been a Vertigo Series?

Postby IvCNuB4 » Mon May 13, 2013 10:09 am

China Miéville is hardly "unknown" .
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Re: Should Dial H Have Been a Vertigo Series?

Postby nietoperz » Mon May 13, 2013 10:10 am

guitarsmashley wrote:I just don't understand the motivation behind publishing this series. I had to look it up but the last series ran 22 issues which surprises the hell out of me. But with mostly unknown talent it's just setting up the book to fail.


'Mostly unknown talent' = bestselling author, plus Brian Bolland on covers. :lol:

The problem with this book was that it was dull. Mieville needed to find his feet within the medium before plunging into an ongoing, but DC was right to give it a shot.
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Re: Should Dial H Have Been a Vertigo Series?

Postby guitarsmashley » Mon May 13, 2013 10:14 am

nietoperz wrote:
'Mostly unknown talent' = bestselling author, plus Brian Bolland on covers. :lol:

The problem with this book was that it was dull. Mieville needed to find his feet within the medium before plunging into an ongoing, but DC was right to give it a shot.


Bolland covers are always good but obviously the "best selling" author didn't translate to sales, did it? Or a quality first issue. So I will amend to "questionable" talent.
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Re: Should Dial H Have Been a Vertigo Series?

Postby Mr. Log » Mon May 13, 2013 10:14 am

The feel of the current book would have worked pretty well under Vertigo, may it rest in peace.

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Re: Should Dial H Have Been a Vertigo Series?

Postby The Old Doctor » Mon May 13, 2013 11:48 am

Dial H or Ben 10?
"Why are you pointing your screwdrivers like that? They're scientific instruments, not water pistols."
"Oh, the pointing again! They're screwdrivers! What are you going to do? Assemble a cabinet at them?"
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Re: Should Dial H Have Been a Vertigo Series?

Postby Mr. Log » Mon May 13, 2013 12:14 pm

Cat-Scratch wrote:Dial H or Ben 10?


I'm ashamed to admit that I never really connected the two before. For some reason, Ben 10 made me think of Ultra Boy, or even Mario :oops:

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Re: Should Dial H Have Been a Vertigo Series?

Postby The Old Doctor » Mon May 13, 2013 1:22 pm

Log-Man wrote:
I'm ashamed to admit that I never really connected the two before. For some reason, Ben 10 made me think of Ultra Boy, or even Mario :oops:


When I first saw Ben 10, I thought of Dial H.

I'm amazed that they never thought of some sort of cross over.
"Why are you pointing your screwdrivers like that? They're scientific instruments, not water pistols."
"Oh, the pointing again! They're screwdrivers! What are you going to do? Assemble a cabinet at them?"
"Are you capable of speaking without flapping your hands about?"
""Timey" what? "Timey wimey"?"

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IvCNuB4 wrote:The Old Doctor is Cat-Scratch ?
Well that explains a lot :lol:

BubbaKanoosh wrote:Old Doctor is the NuDCU's Catscratch

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