I wanted to include the Vertigo characters in it, since I was going for as many of those universes as I could cram into the book. The Vertigo imprint/"universe" is really just an R-rated corner of the "regular" DC Universe, the black sheep of the Universe that proper action figure-collecting folks don't speak about in polite company. Former "regular" universe characters like Swamp Thing and the Doom Patrol could smoke, swear, drink, kill and ball in the mid-list slums of Vertigo, while their former allies in the Brave and the Bold and Showcase could only shake their heads in condemnation at such base activity before flying off to fight the Royal Flush Gang. The basic joke of the sequence: nothing really happens, because at least at the time, it felt like, well, nothing ever goddamned happened in a Vertigo comic. Instead you got a lot of pithy, smart, self-conscious yapping by writers who came off like they would rather be working in prose. So, no action, just some conversation, cliched Britishisms, and a nod to Vera Lynn and Dr. Strangelove. Even if the joke fell flat, it would have provided a nice beat, giving the book a breather from all the mayhem.
Anyway, Vertigo head honcho Karen Berger okayed the sequence, but DC proper gave it the thumbs down. I was told there was a "separation of church and state" between DC and Vertigo, and never the twain shall meet. Apparently there were concerns that kids buying the comic might get all lit up by the Vertigo characters and attempt to purchase the adult, mature Vertigo books, risking parental outcries. And presumably after that cats and dogs would start living together, there'd be masturbating in the streets, and the end of society as we know it. Yes, kids impulse-buying an in-joke filled $7 comic book about 70-year old characters like Batman and Superman would be so intrigued with two or three pages of British people and a swamp monster sitting around talking that they'd rush off to buy illicit copies of Sandman and Hellblazer. And comic shop owners would just sell it to them, even though they're not supposed to and the books are clearly labeled -- for good or bad -- "mature readers only" (well, then again, many shops probably would, but is it really DC's job to police stores?). Anyway, Vertigo was out. Even though the day I was informed Vertigo was out, the first Vertoigo action figure toys were released to comic shops. Kids don't find toys cool and attractive, no, not at all, mate.
Okay, sure, this was no great loss to art, the medium or even the comic, just irritating and silly, like most editorial decisions. (DC originally nixed the inclusion of Uncle Sam in the Freedom Fighters/Earth X section, because supposedly kiddies would all go pick up the Vertigo Uncle Sam $20 hardcover. Sheesh.). The funny thing is, only a few years later, the DC Universe is filled with cape rape, murder and explicit gore. Thank god the kids are safe.
So here's the Vertigo sequence. It's very rough, I never polished this material, so what you have here is a dashed out set of raw script and dialogue notes. Hope it makes sense:
LIS - VERTIGO SEQUENCE
(Artist - Steve Dillon?)
Takes place directly after/is the second part of the "Modern Age" sequence.
Constantine smokes a cigarette, drinking a pint outside a smashed up bar with other Vertigo characters, all watching the Modern Age superheroes get trashed by the imps in the distance. Panicked crowd runs past them in the streets.
C- Bloody hell/strewth/some British crap. Who'da thought it would all end like this, eh?
(Two wee fairies kicking the living crap out of the long underwear set -- and it won't end there, I'm afraid, Not until we're all done for.(Death - small/bg) I would --
C - Strewth. Strikes me as both a bang and a whimper, don't you think?
Swamp Thing forms from a crack in the sidewalk.
C is brought another pint by someone.
C - Cheers, mate.
Reactions from cast to something off panel.
- Ah, look at that, ah, the poor devil.
What happened, I missed it.
Ahh, it was the Spectre...the balding leprechaun pantsed him and then ran the (empire state building -- daily planet?) through his midsection. Bloody shame, not very/not at all (what's the word - not a classy thing to have happen).
Asks Death if she shouldn't be somewhere else, looks like she's got her work cut out for her tonight. Shouldn't you be getting to work? Looks like a full schedule for you, luv.
Death: No point, really/what's the point. This is bigger than you think, beyond this realm/ whatever -- all reality is doomed, even non-reality is doomed.
Even Death is doomed. Might as well sit here and watch the fireworks.
C - Well, there's a real death sentence if I ever heard one.
It's the apocalypse, spare us the lousy puns.
Someone: Hey -- How about a song, everyone?
Constantine starts - "We'll meet again..."
Everyone joins in with: "don't know where"
Universe is destroyed
CAPTION: "...don't know when -- "
Continue to "Crisis" sequence.