Northlanders to End at Issue #50

Writer and creator Brian Wood confirmed reports that his Viking series, Northlanders will be cancelled as of issue #50. Now, that's still 10 issues away, and there's certainly something to be said for a modest selling viking book from Vertigo lasting 50 issues. I actually dropped off early and returned to the series, which has been spectacular of late. As Wood says, the series will wrap up nicely, and conclude with a 9 part "Icelandic Trilogy" with art by Paul Azaceta.

Wood claims that this has nothing to do with his exclusive with DC recently ending. He won't be working on any of the new DC books, which isn't really a surprise, because Wood's never really been a superhero guy, only dabbling now and then.

If I were to speculate some, I think this, and today's announcements of several traditional Vertigo characters getting their own DC series (Swamp Thing, John Constantine, Shade the Changing Man, Animal Man) signals the beginning of a shift for Vertigo. Does that mean it will go away? I don't know, but I would predict that it will shrink. It's been pointed out that there haven't been any significant new Vertigo ongoing series for some time. Jack of Fables just wrapped up, now Northlanders. It's certainly a gradual process, but I feel like something's going to happen, and it should be interesting (and hopefully not heartbreaking) to watch. Also, I hope I'm way, way off.

In any case, do yourself a favor and read the last 10 issues of Northlanders. This book shouldn't have been as successful as it was, and Wood really pulled out all the stops and made it even better as it went along. There's no ongoing narrative you need to know, so you can come into this last run as fresh as anyone. It gets my highest recommendation.

I wonder if they'll send off the remaining issues in a burning ship?


  1. Dammit.

  2. Sad to see this go but glad it lasted as long as it did. With this and DMZ both wrapping up soon I wonder what Wood has in store next???

  3. Lame.  Makes me fear for Sweet Tooth…

  4. while I’m ok with this, because 50 seems like the right amount of a good thing, i do fear for other more vertigo books, like unwritten. I want that book to do all that it wants to do, and that feels like a story that would take another 3 years to end, I know there is a plan, i just hope the unwritten is in it.

  5. Boooooooooooo

  6. Pretty cool that it gets another ten issues.

    But that leaves only eight remaining Vertigo ongoings. And no new ongoings have been announced for two years now. And the OGN line has been scrapped.

    I hope Vertigo shows signs of life soon, because currently it seems to be on life support.

    The remaining eight titles:
    American Vampire
    I, Zombie
    Sweet Tooth
    House of Mystery

  7. Jack of Fables ended, DMZ is ending, Northlanders gets cancelled, Constantine and Swamp Thing get reintroduced to the DCU, and there hasn’t been a new Vertigo ongoing in 14 months.

    Uh oh… 

  8. over the past ten years, at any point, if you asked me what my favourite book was, it was likely a vertigo title. hopefully that doesn’t change.

  9. Sad, but 50 is a great run, fantastic series

  10. Finally picked up some of the Northlanders trades, they were amazing. Definently going to read the last few issues.

  11. It may have just been pillow talk but my LCS owner was on the phone with his DC rep when I went into the store next week.  I had him ask about Vertigo’s status.  According to the rep despite the relaunch Vertigo “was being left alone.”  If I had to guess – and it is just a guess – those characters that can be reintegrated into the DCU will be – but Vertigo will remain for books that cannot exist in the DCU proper.  They sell well enough in trade to make it worthwhile and I would bet they will try to use it as a way to attract new talent.  Hey Awesome creator, here is a platform for launching your indy book and while you’re here why don’t you write some Green Lantern.  We really need a 5th one.  The overall number of books will probably shrink though.  Just a guess.  Maybe a little hopeful.  But there’s nothing wrong with that. Incidentally I’m buying 6 of the 8 left standing.

  12. Sorry last week.  Der.

  13. I hope Vertigo can resurface or maybe roll into the DC with a tag on it. It doesn’t really matter what company’s tag on the cover as long as the same great content is inside. 

  14. 50 issues is a fine run and nothing is being cut short so that is always nice.  What sucks is when Vertigo needs to cancel a series with some long form storytelling and it gets truncated and suffers as a result.

    To be honest the series was hit and miss for me.  I enjoyed the first arc but the next few didn’t do much for me and I eventually dropped it.  I checked out the recent hunting one shot, that was pretty cool.

  15. I’ve been a trade-waiter on Northlanders, DMZ and Scalped and have been considering switching to trades for American Vampire. I know DMZ’s ending is assured and Scalped seems about as safe as anything, but now I’m wondering if dropping the singles in favor of the trades on AV is helpful to the longevity of the series?

    I wish I had a better understanding of which format Vertigo would rather see strong sales numbers (I know both, ideally, but I’m not a double-dipper).

  16. @KenOchalek  If I had to guess I would say that Scalped has about a year left in it.

  17. I wouldn’t worry about Vertigo going anywhere, as Spaceman by Azz and Risso is coming out (I assume this Fall?).  It might mean their catalogue is shrinking a bit, but I can’t see it going away.  The trades make too much money for them, especially since they have a longer shelf life than DC trades and usually go into multiple printings if they’re popular.

  18. Thats a little disappointing.  I just read the first trade and enjoyed it a good bit. 

    Aw well, heres to hoping the final chapter of the title ends with a bang.

  19. Doesn’t Northlanders do well in trades?  Am hoping this the author’s decision.  Hope Conor is wrong re: Scalped.  Love both in trade format.

  20. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    I honestly wish I did not know this so far in advance. It’s just a bummer. First Unknown Soldier, then Proof, and now this. Seriously, these were my three favorite reads.  

  21. If the shift away from Vertigo is true, I think this just means we’ll see new Vertigo-style creator owned books popping up at Image, Oni or elsewhere. I can also see the Vertigo imprint going away but creator owned books surviving as a DC imprint. It doesn’t matter at the end of the day who prints the book as long as the book is printed and it’s a fantastic story.

  22. Isn’t Wood a friend of ifanboy? Can you guys give us any ideas about his future plans?

  23. It’s been pointed out that there haven’t been any significant new Vertigo ongoing series for some time. “

    Isn’t American Vamire considered a big deal? Maybe I’m just projecting my own feelings onto it, but I thought it was.  

  24. @HailScott  That was well over a year ago.

  25. This sucks. I read Northlanders in trade, and I’ve really enjoyed the first… four volumes? I hope they release the rest.

    The move of Vertigo characters back into DC really doesn’t impact Vertigo much. Aside from Hellblazer and maybe the title of House of Mystery, it’s pretty much a creator-owned imprint. There hasn’t been a Shade, Swamp Thing or Animal Man book in the Vertigo line for a bit now, and Madame Xanadu was always kind of a book that straddled the line.

    So, Vertigo lives or dies now as a creator-owned imprint, which is where it’s been headed for quite some time. They could shutter it all together, but I could also see it just becoming a very small line, something like Icon for Marvel — a place for very special projects from their top creators.

    It’s too bad. Vertigo definitely struggled to find its identity as it pulled away from DC and grew, but there have been some awesome comics from the line. I liked the Vertigo Crime experiment, but obviously it hasn’t been very successful.

    I hope Vertigo can find success as a line of thought-provoking, creator-owned serials or graphic novels, but in this market… I just don’t know. I’ll miss it if it goes, but I don’t want to mourn it prematurely. Still some great books coming from them.

  26. On the micro level, I’m more then happy I got 50 issues out of a series that jumped around and had no overarching narrative.  On the macro, this and all the other stuff that has happened to Vertigo does set off my Spider sense…

  27. I think changes on creators contracts on new series over at Vertigo might also be a reason why there’s been a slowdown.

  28. @Malecema  

    My thoughts exactly.

  29. I can handle 10 more issues.  That’s more than I could ever ask for.

  30. Vertigo dissolving would be a major blow to the long term health of comics. Vertigo serves as a perfect bridge between indie comics Marvel/DC and traditional literture that gives substantial weight to the story content. It would be difficult for a new/different publisher to garner the quality of product and respect of the legcacy Vertigo has if the line ended.

    P.S. when i say quality i’m talking about creatively. The printing has always left me wanting, especially the quality of the trades. 

  31. Could we see Icon as the new Vertigo? It’s the one style of comic that Marvel don’t have much of.

  32. Hopefully Brian Wood has Eric Stephensons phone number.

  33. @harpothedope  Really?  I’ve always found the trades to be in equal quality to the comics themselves.  Which trades have been unhappy with?

  34. @davidtobin100  The only reason I don’t see that happening is how quickly Marvel dismisses new books that don’t sell.  DC will let a book have a small following for a good amount of time (say 8-12 issues to succeed) before letting it go. Marvel isn’t quite so forgiving.

  35. I fear for Vertigo, which is a great line. But what I read of Northlanders didn’t overwhelm me. The accuracy was great, but the stories by itself where mediocre sometimes.

  36. I’m beginning to think I might be the kiss of death for comics as I only just started reading this in trades yesterday.

  37. “This book shouldn’t have been as more successful”

    That’s better.

  38. I never picked up Northlanders I was always planned to pick it up in trade. I’d say Vertigo’s biggest books are Scalped and American Vampire. If those wrap up with no suitable replacements, I wouldn’t doubt if Vertigo folded back into DC.

  39. And there’s Fables to.

  40. I think 50 is a fine number for a book like Northlanders to reach. It’s also a nice number to end on. I’ve been reading the trades and started pulling the issues on the Girl In The Ice story (which was heart-breakingly fantastic!). I’ll definitely grab the Thor’s Daughter one-shot but I’m not sure about the last 9-part epic. They’ve already told us that it’s the end, so I’ll probably just wait for the trade and save money.

    I think Scalped has a bit more than a year left from what I’ve heard from Aaron and I REALLY(!) hope that Mike Carey and Scott Snyder get to tell their full stories with The Unwritten and American Vampire. Not too worried as they are selling wonderfully in trades and getting great reviews.

    I do hope to see more new series coming out though.

  41. @NawidA  – That list, and the fact that there are no new books on it, really does put things into perspective. Scary. If not for Vertigo, I would not have gotten back into comics. And they’re not doing OGNs any more either. I do hope they have a strategy in place, and aren’t just biding their time until the axe falls.

  42. Good series, I’m interested in what Wood has planned next.

  43. I’m with Josh and the others on here who are getting the vibe that even if Vertigo isn’t totally going away, it’s feeling like at least something is happening. Creator owned books seem to be ending more and more, and all the DC owned stuff is being folded back into DC proper. Not to mention all the Vertigo books being plastered with Green Lantern ads on their covers. Not quite sure how far it all will go. But it’s clear to me there is definitely a shift in the works. Hope it doesn’t mean less great creator owned titles.

    As many of us talked about in Josh’s first article, it would not be a good thing for comics. I’m sorry. I much rather Veritgo exist and be able to get new Sweet Tooth’s and Scalped’s than DC instead adding a bunch of dark mystical books to it’s main imprint.

  44. I’m getting a little anxious myself.  Scalped is way past the halfway mark, DMZ is within 6 months of ending, now Northlanders.  Sweet Tooth isn’t meant to be too lengthy anyway.  AND WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME THEY ANNOUNCED ANYTHING NEW?

  45. That’s really too bad. I liked this series, but have been reading it in trades.