The 10 Best Adaptations Of Classic Legends And Literature From The Sandman

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In 1993, editor Karen Berger founded Vertigo, an imprint of DC Comics, with a disruptive mandate. Given the impunity of a “mature audience” label, the creators of Vertigo were free to explore darker subject matter and portray more sex and violence than mainstream American comics. Yet, unlike the underground comics movement, they were backed by one of the largest publishers in the industry.



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Vertigo was a defining force of the ’90s, and many of the comics he produced during this time left a lasting impression on the medium. Although the imprint initially focused on overhauling underutilized DC characters, by the end of the decade it became a home for several successful creator-owned titles.

ten Vertigo took Jonah Hex into supernatural territory

Jonah Hex is arguably DC’s most popular twist on the Old West bounty hunter archetype. The character has had several distinct takes, from roaming a nuclear wasteland to starring in Sergio Leone-style exploits.

During the ’90s, Vertigo released three Hex miniseries, which were collected as Jonah Hex: West of Shadows,written by Joe Lansdale with art by Tim Truman and Sam Glanzman. For the first time, a comic could actually depict the blood and gore that follows Jonah Hex. In addition, Western Shadows deftly mixes classic western tropes with supernatural horror.

9 Sandman: Mystery Theater was a revisionist Pulp Noir

From Neil Gaiman The sand man looked nothing like the Golden Age version of the character, it fell to co-writers Matt Wagner and Steven T. Seagle to reboot the original flavor. The resulting comic was Sandman: Mystery Theater, with Guy Davis as lead artist.

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Mystery Theater was set in the 1930s and offered a revisionist take on pulpy crime stories and film noir. The comic used Depression-era politics to comment on 90s issues, and it was full of progressive touches, including an exceptionally independent love interest.

8 The extremist explored alternate identities, violence and leather fetishes

The Extremist was based on a concept by Brendan McCarthy and written by Peter Milligan, who is one of the most acclaimed talents to come out of the “British Comic Invasion”. The comic’s homicidal protagonists explore alternate identities and sexual liberation, stimulated by the wearing of masks and tight-fitting clothing.

The miniseries has created some controversy for its graphic content and its arguably accurate implications about the sexual fetishes underlying everyone’s favorite costumed comic book characters. Meanwhile, Ted McKeever’s Lynchian artwork, characterized by expressionistic figures and thick lines, makes this one of Vertigo’s most distinctive comics.

seven Animal Man was a superhero comic book with a family at its heart

Grant Morrison’s Race animal man was one of many comics that established the market for subversive DC character stories under the radar, leading to the creation of Vertigo. The series was brought into the imprint in 1993 and became part of its founding lineup.

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Writers Tom Veitch and Jaime Delano have moved on animal man away from Morrison’s meta-narrative, favoring the more enduring approach of being a superhero horror comic. The series was a rich exploration of animal issues and belonging to a family. Artists like Steve Dillon and Steve Pugh made the little character moments and gory fantasy sequences just as epic.

6 Shade, The Changing Man had the most colorful jacket in comics and a series to match

Shade, the changing man was a short-lived series from the legendary Steve Ditko before being resurrected as Vertigo. Peter Milligan took the relatively unremarkable superhero persona of Ditko and turned him into a brooding poet from the other-dimensional world of Meta.

The series utilized Shade’s abilities to ask interesting questions about race and gender and explored counterculture politics, while centering on a radical love story. On the art side, Shade has received an über fashionable makeover, courtesy of Brandon McCarthy and a reliable roster of artists starting with Chris Bachalo.

5 Hellblazer was Vertigo’s flagship series

hellblazer, the comic book starring occult detective John Constantine, was Vertigo’s flagship title and ran for 300 issues. The 90s were marked by two of Constantine’s most iconic races, penned by writers Garth Ennis and Paul Jenkins. In fact, the Dangerous habits The screenplay is often called the best Constantine story ever published.

Meanwhile, other British creators like Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman contributed well-received but criminally short stints on the title. Constantine defined the Vertigo ethos, full of punk attitude and dark humor opposed to establishment perversions. Similarly, artists like Steve Dillon and Sean Phillips have ensured hellblazer was one of the finest horror comics on the bleachers.

4 Transmetropolitan Set Fear and Loathing… in the future

Transmetropolitan originally launched under the short-lived DC Helix footprint before it was folded into Vertigo, which it always belonged to. If Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s series could be summed up in three words, it would be “Cyberpunk Hunter S. Thompson”.

The comic, which ran until the early 2000s, chronicled the adventures of gonzo journalist, Spider Jerusalem, as he railed against corruption and delusion in a future metropolis. Ellis and Robertson have been concerned with the various possibilities of technological advancement and the human cost they may incur. And, in a black mirror somehow they turned out to be unsettling and prescient.

3 Preacher combined road trip, Western and religious satire

Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon are one of the most revered creative teams of their generation, but despite definitive runs on Judge Dredd and John Constantine, Preacher is undoubtedly their greatest collaboration. The success of the comic marked Vertigo’s transformation into a full-fledged imprint for creator-owned properties.

Preacher was a supernatural neo-western, laced with dark humor and conflicting religious themes, beautifully rendered by Dillon’s cinematic artistry. And despite all his cynical postures, Preacher was the result of two sardonic Brits genuinely celebrating America.

2 The Invisibles were the Magnum Opus of a comic book icon

During the 90s, Grant Morrison became one of the most disruptive forces in comics. They started the decade off producing esoteric superhero comics like animal man and Doom Patroland ended the 90s by bringing the Justice League back to high concept glory.

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The Invisibles, centering on five anarchists battling a vast global conspiracy, is widely considered the purest distillation of what Grant Morrison has to offer. It’s a sprawling exploration of conspiracy theories, chaos magic, gender identity, and anything else that caught their eye.

1 The Sandman is one of the most successful comics of all time

The Sandman, created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Keith, and Mike Dringenberg, was a rare American comic that broke out of the mainstream comic book market and gained mainstream literary esteem. The comic followed its protagonist, the personification of dreams, as he journeyed through the stories that define individuals and entire societies.

A comic book about storytelling, private and public, The sand man has won numerous awards in comics and literary circles. During its 75-issue run, it offered several revisionist versions of classic stories ranging from the works of Shakespeare to ancient Greece. At the heart of his emotions are the complex relationships between Dream and his large and powerful family, the Endless.

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