What was Suggested for Mature Readers: the results

A few days ago, I asked if anyone could remember what the DC Mature Readers titles were that didn’t end up as part of the Vertigo line. Commenters nieljacoby, Aman Withastrangename and Richard responded, reminding me of a few and pointing me in the right direction to find others. My unscientific approach has been to remember stuff, look at the cover on Comicsvine and see if there’s a warning label.

So, here’s the list so far, divided into arbitrary categories:

SCIENCE FICTION

  • Haywire
  • Skreemer
  • Slash Maraud
  • Sonic Disruptors
  • V for Vendetta
  • Twilight
  • Tailgunner Jo
  • World Without End

SEX & VIOLENCE

  • The Shadow (mini-series and ongoing)
  • Justice Inc.
  • The Question (monthly series and quarterly)
  • Green Arrow (Longbow Hunters mini-series and ongoing up to #62)
  • Vigilante (on and off from #39 to #50)
  • Breathtaker
  • Blackhawk (mini-series)
  • Lobo (Paramilitary Christmas Special, Lobo’s Back mini-series, Infanticide mini-series)

HORROR

  • Wasteland
  • Deadman (mini-series x2)

An odd selection, then. A whole heap of forgotten sci-fi stories, a few ground-level vigilantes, the immensely popular and now all but forgotten Lobo, who gave the warning an adverb: Sternly Suggested for Mature Readers, or Lovingly Suggested, or Proudly Suggested. Howard Chaykin’s Shadow mini-series, another that was wildly popular and is now a history piece, was just straight up For Mature Readers because Howard Chaykin is fucking hardcore.

I asked with the idea in mind of covering them on the blog. But of all those above I’ve read but five and would maybe be interested in another three, and I’m guessing good scans would be tough to track down. But thanks to everyone who helped and if you can think of others, I’d be interested…

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9 Responses to “What was Suggested for Mature Readers: the results”
  1. Tam says:

    I’d only really bother with the titles in that lot by British creators and the stuff by Andy Helfer and Kyle Baker (Justice Inc and the later issues of the Shadow) if you want interesting stories although some of the others have some good art. I personally also have a soft spot for The Question but that’s mostly because there was a book of the month recommendation on the letters page which introduced my to books like the Tao of Physics and Ed McBain’s 87th precinct novels. The others were the sort of thing that read pretty well if you were a teeenager who’d grown up reading superhero comics but will probably seem a bit leaden if you come to them cold as an adult

    • Out of the ones I’ve read, I’d like to write about Skreemer, The Shadow, The Question, maybe Blackhawk, maybe Lobo. And I’m interested in reading World Without End, Twilight, perhaps the Deadman mini-series, though I’d have to get hold of them first.

      I’d wondered if there might be enough cohesion between the Mature Readers properties for them to be worth covering as a line, the way I’m going through Crisis. But looking at them together it was more a format thing than anything, IIRC most of those books being New Format and most of them being mini-series.

      I too have a soft spot for The Question, confused as it was. Very much a transitional comic between what had been acclaimed by adult comics readers of the past and the complete freedom that comics were beginning to enjoy and which seemed like their future. The Sienkiewicz covers, the Mature Readers label, the philosophy, the Recommended Reading list were all aimed at a mature audience, but then there were the links to DC books of the past, the fight-per-issue framework, the occasionally juvenile storylines. I will cover it one day because I want to write about Izzy the good cop, those great opening splashes, the acknowledgement that violence is an end in itself for a vigilante, the arc of a hero who fails and walks away…

      (And I was about to say I’d never checked out any of the Recommended Reading, but I too have read Ed McBain and I must have got the idea from somewhere.)

  2. Daniel K says:

    There was also the entire Piranha Press line, which debuted 1990-ish.

    • I can’t really remember how extensive that line was. I liked, and would like to write about, Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children, but have maybe a quarter of the issues. I have the reprinted Gregory stories and Why I Hate Saturn.

      Other than that, I only remember ads: ETC, Epicurus the Sage, The Sinners. What else was published by Piranha?

  3. Daniel K says:

    I don’t remember much beyond that either, though I do recall a string of non-piranha weird prestige format books written by Tom Veitch- My Name is Chaos, The Nazz…

    • I’d forgotten those two. Chaos wasn’t Mature Readers, The Nazz was, and something about them reminded me of another series, Gilgamesh II by Jim Starlin, which was also Mature Reader. The label wasn’t applied with any real rigour.

      Never knew Tom Veitch was Rick Veitch’s brother either. Any of his stuff any good? I only read a couple issues of The Light and Darkness War, with fantastic colour Cam Kennedy art, and maybe a couple of issues of his Animal Man.

      • Daniel K says:

        It’s been so long since I read Tom V. I have no idea. He emerged out of the underground scene, also wrote poetry. Hasn’t written a comic in years. Dark Horse trusted him to write their very first Star Wars series, though so back in the day some people thought he was good. Gilgamesh 2 was rank, however.

        I remember The Nazz as laughable hippy rubbish, but I was harsher as a lad than I am as an adult. I think he was trying to do the same “serious” exploration of super heroics as his brother did in Maximortal and that Jim Shooter did in the, er, Star Brand.

      • A further update: a minute’s cursory research browsing my own shelves, something I should really have done at the outset, reveals that Blackhawk isn’t for Mature Readers even though it’s full of violence, anti-Semitism and blowjobs. Black Orchid, which I would’ve assumed was Mature Readers if I’d remembered it, likewise bears no label. Dean Motter’s Prisoner series is unlabelled. But Kid Eternity, which doesn’t seem notably more mature than any of those, is Suggested for Mature Readers.

  4. Kate H says:

    Skreemer, V for Vendetta and Breathtaker all ended up being repackaged as Vertigo as did some of the more enduring Piranha/Paradox titles. I imagine if World Without End had ever been collected it would have been under the Vertigo label (Delano being one of the big five Brit/Irish writers around whom the range coalesced). Now that Vertigo seems to be turning into Fables + Wildstorm/ABC cast-offs I’m not so sure.

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