This is in response to a forum thread over at Comic Book Resources, in which user Hotrodimus asked about “Vertigo’s” Sandman (dream) in relation to mainstream DC books. There’s a lot of good discussion there, but I wanted to bring this bit here as well:
The major point is that Vertigo Universe and Vertigo Imprint are two separate concepts.
It’s just like how some books are published with the DC logo, but aren’t part of the DC Universe. DC is just the publisher.
So a lot of books are under the Vertigo banner, but don’t have the same shared universe. The ones you mention fall under that – Preacher, Transmet and so on. Those are self contained. (In addition to being creator owned – there are some creator owned characters or concepts that are still part of various continuities)
However, there is most definitely a Vertigo Universe (though my list is still kinda unsorted for that one). The definitions can be sketchy at times, just like the DC Universe, but this is what I’ve been devoting the past couple years to charting and it’s definitely there. It’s a strange one, because it’s kinda a subsection of the DC Universe (I think someone on this forum called it the shady underbelly, which works. I have a lot of the books on both lists.)
Another Imprint/Universe is Wildstorm. There are some books that take place in the Wildstorm Universe (like The Authority, Planetary, Stormwatch) and others that are just printed under the Wildstorm Imprint (Ex Machina – which is awesome btw, Fringe, etc)
Fables is a series under Vertigo that has its own shared universe between two or three ongoing related titles.
There are even some shared universes that don’t belong to any one publisher, because they are mainly creator driven. The Buffyverse is an example of that – since it’s split between Dark Horse and IDW, both publishing titles that share some of the same characters from the original Fox/Joss Whedon shows.
Hopefully that clears up a little confusion! Right now, there are a lot of self contained books in this database, just sitting in Unplaced Books (because they will be tagged with creator tags that put them on various writer/artist lists) but I’m not sure exactly what to call their eventual home. It might just be “Self Contained,” actually. It would be an alphabetically sorted list.
As always let me know if you have any questions – this kinda thing is my passion!