Welcome to the Couch Club, our recurring column devoted to all things #DCTV! This week, Rosie Knight discusses how Dead Boy Detectives is perfect for fans of Vertigo…and the DCU.

There is a certain amount of freedom that comes with taking a lesser-known property and bringing it to the screen. But in Netflix's new series, Dead Boy Detectives, the show decides to instead lean into the deep-cut comic book origins of not only DC's former mature readers imprint Vertigo, but also the earliest days of DC Comics. It's quite a feat that makes the queer YA show something to be treasured by fans of all ages.

Loosely adapting the characters who first appeared in The Sandman #25, Dead Boy Detectives follows two ghostly young men, Charles Rowland (Jayden Revri) and Edwin Payne (George Rexstrew), who have spent decades together solving strange mysteries. Soon they're joined by fellow outsiders Crystal Palace (Kassius Nelson), an amnesiac psychic with a literal evil ex, parasitically infected anime-lover Niko Sasaki (Yuyu Kitamura) and the cynical Jenny the Butcher (Briana Cuoco), a mother hen who lets the unruly crew crash under her roof. It's a delightful found family yarn that ties together the darker tone expected from Vertigo with the detective stories that DC was literally built on—it's a fantastical melding of two tones that can be hard to get right.

In case you didn't know, the “D” in DC comics stands for Detective, thanks to the success of the Golden Age title Detective Comics, which most famously introduced Batman to the world. In those early days, Bruce Wayne's adventures were more akin to the brutal storytelling that Vertigo would become known for decades later. Wielding a gun, the noir-drenched anti-hero rampaged through the criminals of Gotham, hoping to find vengeance for his parents, balancing his quest for revenge with his passion for detective work. The success of Detective Comics saw National Allied Publications consolidate and change names several times over the decades that ensued, eventually branding the entire business after its most successful title and making DC Comics the official corporate name in 1977.

Vertigo Comics was the brainchild of Karen Berger. Launched in 1993, it sought to harness the success of weirder comics like Animal Man, The Sandman and Doom Patrol, putting them under the Vertigo banner and allowing some creators to pitch new original and occasionally creator-owned series. It soon became known for critically acclaimed artist-forward books like Preacher and Y: The Last Man (both of which have been adapted into their own live-action shows) and titles it adopted from DC's mainline such as Shade the Changing Man, V For Vendetta, Swamp Thing and Hellblazer.

The Dead Boy Detectives came from Sandman, which had been running for four years before Vertigo existed but stands today as one of its most famous titles. Netflix’s Dead Boy Detectives never shies away from that dark past and tone that made the imprint so popular, nor does it ignore the Sandman connection, but it also embraces its younger audience by leaning into the sweetness of DC's mainline books and the all-ages appeal of the various mystery comics the publisher has released over the years.

In Dead Boy Detectives, both legacies are celebrated with two young sleuths who aren't afraid to battle their own demons alongside the ones that cause the mysteries they must solve. For Charles, that manifests in a struggle to deal with the trauma that came from his abusive upbringing and tragic death, and for Edwin, it's a quest to never again return to Hell, where he was sent after being accidentally sacrificed by his fellow students in an occult ritual gone wrong. That's all as dark and gritty as you'd expect from a Vertigo series, but it's balanced with a sweet found family story that leans into the best of DC’s many superhero families.

Ever since Batman took on his first Robin in 1940's Detective Comics #38, found families have been a big part of DC’s shared universe and continuing narrative. While there is much to be said about whether this is a smart parenting choice—and I have said much about it myself—it has become a major part of superhero lore. From DC’s classic Silver Age comics to the Webtoon smash hit Batman: Wayne Family Adventures, having people come together and craft an unexpected family unit has become synonymous with the genre and the DC Universe. And it's something that Dead Boy Detectives does beautifully. There are even echoes of Batman and his cranky parental role to his many Robins in the cynical and often furious Jenny the Butcher. You can align the other members of Dead Boy Detectives to whichever Bat-Family member you like, but you can't deny the influence.

So, if you've yet to check out Dead Boy Detectives on Netflix, here's your call to action to do just that. Whether you’re a fan of the Vertigo series that inspired it, or consider yourself more of a superhero reader, you should feel right at home with this supernatural new series, which has one foot in both worlds—much like its heroes.

Dead Boy Detectives is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.

Rosie Knight is an award-winning journalist and author who loves Swamp Thing, the DC Cosmic and writing the monthly gossip column here at DC.com. You can also listen to her waxing lyrical about comics, movies and more each week as she co-hosts Crooked Media's pop-culture podcast, X-Ray Vision.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Rosie Knight and do not necessarily reflect those of DC or Warner Bros. Discovery, nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.