This morning ICv2 posted a short piece about DC decision to cancel several titles:
DC Cancels Four
Published: 05/14/2013 01:22am
DC will cancel four New 52 titles after the release of their August issues: Demon Knights, Dial H, Legion of Super-Heroes, and Threshold. All four sold between 12,500 and 16,500 in North American sales, according to ICv2 estimates (see “Top 300 Comics–April 2013“). Perhaps most surprising of the four was Legion of Superheroes, which sold over 2500 more than the next highest title.
Sales on the April issues of the canceled titles were:
16,015 Legion of Super-Heroes (#128 of top 300)
13,355 Dial H
12,941 Demon Knights
12,811 Threshold #8
* and as side note to the ICv2 piece, there are 20 titles that performed worse than Threshold in April
This prompted me to send out one of my though provoking emails to all the crazies that write for you guys here at What’cha Reading. Unlike previous emails this elicited a strong response from multiple parties.
Email was as follows:
Is anyone surprised by the choices? Can you think of better ones to cancel? http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/25723.html (born writer, don’tcha think?)
Legion of Super-Heroes surprises me; the other titles, I’m not familiar enough with.
Having said that, I wonder what numbers they’re expecting. Not every single title can be a blockbuster; are they going to cancel those that aren’t and focus solely on those? Not much room for diversity there; you’ll have a stable of Bat-titles.
Look at BPRD Vampire. Image (she corrects this oversight don’t fret) has had success with all things BPRD/Hellboy, yet #2 sold 10,419. Would that put the book on DC’s hit list if it were at DC title?
To each their own, I guess. The numbers are just surprising.
That’s an astonishing amount of text from me on half a cup of coffee, by the way.
I don’t read any of these titles plus I hate Batman and Superman so oh well. DC is now making the mistakes that other companies made in the 80s/90s. Plus DC keeps its track record of not trusting its titles enough to help them grow. I still hate Ron Marz and the whole Green Lantern issue. I do feel it has its roots in Warner Brothers, Marvel has had the same heat since Disney bought them. These companies don’t see Comics as a viable market but they need its mythos to rape for screen.
While I agree with Roe, to each his own, Dark Horse is going to settle for lower numbers even on its best titles. But is it realistic of “the big two” to expect blockbuster numbers on every title. There are only so many people buying comics. How many do they really expect each of us to buy?
This is why I say Image will be the third in the future big three. It’s always kind of been Dark Horse’s spot. But the sheer amount of steady selling books Image is churning out seem to be overshadowing DH. On the topic of the 4 cancellations. “Dial H” was good but it felt like a weak premise for an ongoing monthly. “Legion of Super-Heros” was again, good nothing stellar. My take on Legion? It’ll be back. As soon as they decide to lock down a movie script.
I just realized I attributed BPRD to Image when I meant Dark Horse. See what I meant about that whole half a coffee thing?
That aside, what you said, Chuck, is what I was trying to get at: how many comics are we expected to buy (at $3.99 a pop on the average, too)? And what, am I supposed to buy multiple copies of titles I don’t want canceled, to help keep numbers up?
Related, I agree with Rob: the “big two” need to respect titles enough to let them grow. We all have stories of television shows that we really liked (Journeyman) That were canceled after the first season because they didn’t return blockbuster numbers. Networks don’t allow time for a show to build an audience anymore, and it appears to be turning that way with comics – which are owned by the same companies that own the television channels, so there we have it.
Sadly, it all seems to be boiling down less to quality, more to quantity. Which is a real shame. But at least with the comic book world, there will be independent publishers that will take a chance and build their audience. Independent television channels? Much harder to build.
I’m not really surprised by any of them. Dial H for Hero and Legion always seem to end up canceled no matter who writes them or how good they are. Demon Knights I tried but couldn’t get into myself. I only read the first one and Threshold never even crossed my radar. Often I think books like these can only last through one inspired writer,if they’re lucky enough to get one. Any creative team changes and it’s over for them. It’s a shame that there isn’t more room in the market for titles that sell fewer and feature less mainstream teams or characters but its the nature of the beast. Only the strong survive.
That’s the aggravating part for me Nancy. DC makes this crazy, annoying New 52 move launching a plethora of titles that I, and I’m not alone in this, knew wouldn’t last. Why bother. They’ve got the ability to put money behind a soft release of a title, see how (or if) it grows and maybe just maybe launch a new good long running title.
Instead we get the shotgun New 52, with more chaff than wheat.
Nature of the beast? Maybe we need to slay the beast. Hopefully people will realize more and more that companies like Image treat their readers better and deserve more of the pie. Hopefully. (Gosh, that was a bit of a rant. LOL)
As a New 52 Junkie I collected all those title ( just dropped DIAL H and LOS) I too am surprised with the Legion as I always assumed that was one of those titles that DC will always print despite flagging sales.
I’m not surprised as lack of sales and buzz on the others would lead them to their demise. I really enjoyed Demon Knights myself but that’s just me.
If DC has some internal standard for canceling a title , it’s going to happen regularly… Unless they reach a plateau of selling all 52 books at a number there happy.. And then what .. No more books because of the 52 rule..
In a way I appreciate their policy. Make room for new books,creative teams and characters. I rather see a book cancelled and replaced then marched on to a slow messy death.
I’m sure LOS will be back at some point, re-titled and with a new creative team.
And Chuck…We all know Valiant is going to be the ” big third” ; )
Bob makes an excellent point, does DC have an internal standard? And does that mean they’ll keep canceling and filling the line with junk to stay at the seemingly arbitrary 52 mark?
Neither of the big 2 do miniseries (unless it’s an “event”) so every title comes out as ongoing. Stores don’t take chances on minis from them any more, probably thanks to the crap load of useless ones they put out to into events: Dark Reign as an example and the Run Dance Jump or whatever minis that came out with Final Crisis.
They should run it on a yearly basis. If you book sucks at issue 8 you have until 12 to do something or your out and the book is canceled or your replaced. If it starts to fizzle at 17 you have til 24 to punch it up , etc. This will give the creators involved a chance to save there own book or at least wrap up what they were doing.
I always thought a mini was a good primer for an ongoing, or consistent miniseries of the same character. Say Ghostrider. I’m sure every writer in the biz has a good GR story in them. But how many of them can sustain an ongoing monthly title for say 3 years? So would you rather have a bland ongoing that started with a bang or a series of fresh good minis by different creative teams (and yes it would be up to the editors to keep the character progression continuous, but that’s their job).
Here’s what I hoped we’d discuss, my version of the holy grail. Can the “big two” get it through their collective meat-heads that if they float a series as a mini, or introduce a “new” character, and it gets traction don’t jump the shark. Just run a few minis.
Think I’m off base? Take a look at what Skybound (Image) has done with Seifert and Ketner’s “Mal Practice” as well as the Image title “Five Ghosts”. I love “Mal Practice” and cringe when a mini comes to an end, but at least I know that it was planned, the loose ends left are left on purpose. And I always have the hope that another mini is in the works. Dynamite has been having no small success with Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who series’ that are mini and maxi series respectively.
What’s the answer? Do we complain to DC and on the message boards (or on comic review sites whoops) that we’re tired as hell of being beaten over the head by series that have no longevity? Tired as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore?
Or do we move towards the companies that support a more realistic publishing regimen, one that goes for short bursts of great books, only continuing if the series and the sales allow?