Of course I was a Vertigo kid, I never had a fucking chance. I was 18 when it launched, hitting the exact right age for the imprint. But as an objective and rabid consumer of modern American comic books, I still think the market is missing something vital with its absence.
Vertigo shut up shop a few years ago, and the kind of things it delivered can still be found at companies like Image, but only a few of those series get the long-running promotion and support that Vertigo titles did.
With the might of DC behind them, even the most idiosyncratic visions of the world could get 75 issues, and a lot of them didn't hit with huge audiences, but they hit enough. They were, crucially, stories that could only really be told in a long-running medium like the monthly comic, and weren't nakedly desperate attempts to get a movie deal (and the real money.)
DC will always say it's serving the same audience with its endless Black Label titles, but that's a line that really isn't concerned with delivering any kind of sophisticated suspense, full of very pretty books about hard it is to be Batman, or how some random hero need to be woken up to save the a post-apocalyptic world; and it just ain't the same.
There are still some very nice comics with a Black Label logo on them - the devotion to producing album-sized comics should be absolutely lauded, because it really gives the often terrific art room to breathe. But there really isn't anything like the regular thrills of a Sandman, or a Preacher, of even a Shade the Changing Man. Just desperate searches for new IP, based on the same old shit.