The early days of Vertigo Comics were heavily influenced by superheroes. After all, it was spun out of DC Comics, the home of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The initial six books featured superheroes or anti-heroes, such as Animal Man, Swamp Thing, and the Doom Patrol. These characters fought for good causes, but their stories were more mature and complex than traditional superhero comics.
Over time, Vertigo Comics evolved away from superheroes and became more focused on creator-owned material. This was partly due to the success of titles like Sandman and Preacher, which were not based on existing DC characters. By the time the character Hellblazer left Vertigo Comics and re-entered the mainstream DC Universe, he was the only superhero still being printed by the imprint.
Vertigo’s evolution to creator-owned comics may have been one of the reasons why DC Comics acquired Wildstorm Comics in the late 1990s. Wildstorm was known for its creator-owned titles, and DC saw an opportunity to expand its reach into the mature superhero comic market.
In the later years, DC would experiment with bringing back superheroes into its mature comics imprint, Black Label which was the successor of Vertigo Comics. This imprint has published a number of mature superhero comics, including The Batman Who Laughs and The Dreaming: Waking Hours. It remains to be seen whether Black Label will be successful in bringing superheroes back to the forefront of Vertigo Comics.