Gandolfo, Amadeo: "Relaunching in the age of the author. The Dreaming and Doom Patrol." In: Leaves 11 (2021), <https://climas.u-bordea ... -patrol-amadeo-gandolfo> (14. Jan. 2021)
Added by: joachim (01/15/2021 12:03:00 AM)
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BibTeX citation key: Gandolfo2021
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Keywords: "Doom Patrol", "The Dreaming", "The Sandman", Authorship, DC, Gaiman. Neil, Morrison. Grant, Seriality, Superhero, United Kingdom, USA, Vertigo
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The Sandman by Neil Gaiman (1989-1996, drawn by numerous artists) and Doom Patrol by Grant Morrison (1989-1993, drawn primarily by Richard Case) are cornerstones of Vertigo comics. They illustrate the modus operandi that served as the basis for the early days of the imprint: taking third stringers from the DC Comics catalogue and getting a highly idiosyncratic writer to breathe new life into them by coupling them with his obsessions and interests.
This type of relaunching process highlights a difficulty said titles would have moving forward, as those characters remained a DC Comics property, while at the same time having been indelibly marked by Gaiman and Morrison. What happens when a particular vision, distorted by the publishing needs of corporate comics, becomes the template every subsequent creator seeks to emulate? Subsequent uses of both groups of characters and their fictional milieu have had to deal with the towering example of Gaiman and Morrison, usually in a reverential tone.
The latest relaunch happened between 2016 and 2018, when DC got Gerard Way to take over Doom Patrol, and launched the Sandman Universe imprint, with Neil Gaiman’s blessing and supervision, based around flagship title The Dreaming, written by Simon Spurrier. What interests me here is how reboots and relaunches work in a shared superhero universe when they have to pay homage not only (or not mainly) to the continuity of the universe but also to a specific creative vision. What consequences does the original Vertigo model of rebooting engender when faced with continuations? How do writers navigate this middle space? How do these new series differ in graphic presentation from their models? How do they fit a discourse that is meant, at the same time, to pay homage to Vertigo and to move on from said brand? And how does a superhero universe highlight and integrate not only important narrative moments in continuity but also the stylistic preferences of certain noteworthy creators? These are some of the questions I will be tackling in this essay.
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