Michael Davis: Karen Berger
I met Karen Berger around 20 years ago when Vertigo first became a DC Comics imprint. I was 5… heh. At the time I was doing work for Piranha Press, another DC imprint, which started around the same time as Vertigo.
From her start at DC, Karen was a no nonsense yet kind editor. What that means is if she did not hire you she let you down with the knowledge that you could come back. Soon after Karen began her reign at Vertigo it became clear that you may have been welcomed back but if you sucked going back would just be a waste of everybody’s time especially Karen’s because if you sucked you would never ever work for Vertigo.
Now that did that mean just because you were a brilliant artist or writer your project would get a green light at Vertigo. Talent was just one of the factors Karen used to chose project. I pitched a project to Vertigo and Karen passed.
Hopefully it was because the project lacked something not because I sucked. Although when I saw Karen after the rejection she pretended to faint. The next time I saw her she pretended to have a heart attack and after that amnesia and so forth and on.
Karen, in my opinion is the last of the great comic book editors. That’s not to say there are not great comic book editors but Karen had a vision that was unique and her books wore that stamp.
Karen leaving Vertigo is one of the dumbest moves DC could allow. If she decided she wanted a change and I ran DC I would have told her to do whatever she wanted but just do it at DC. I like and respect Diane Nelson and I don’t know the particulars of why Karen is leaving so maybe dumb is the wrong word so I’ll say in my opinion it’s dumb to me.
Letting one of the most talented and original voices in the history of comics go is to me is just plain dumb. But for all I know Diane tried to talk Karen into staying but Karen faked a heart attack in the middle of the meeting.
Well, DC’s lost is someone else’s huge gain.
I can’t wait to see where she ends up. The moment I do I’m calling her using a fake name so she won’t have to fake amnesia. J
WEDNESDAY: Mike Gold