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Spider-Woman’s Cancellation, or, I Would Have Rather Had Another Arc Than the Motion Comic

According to CBR, the “Spider-Woman” ongoing series is apparently over as of next week’s #7, with her story to be continued in the pages of the new ongoing “Avengers” title debuting in April. Writer Brian Michael Bendis says that the August 2009 motion comic took more work than expected, and as a result artist Alex Maleev is burnt out and needs a break before doing a creator-owned book with Bendis this summer.

In short: If there had not been the motion comic adaptation — which came out before the release of the comic — we’d be getting at least a second arc of a book people have been waiting for since 2005. It seems like a huge dropping of the ball on a project that’s been so heavily anticipated for so long, both on the part of the creators and the fans. I can’t imagine anyone involved is particularly happy that the book is ending so early after such a long lead time, but the fact remains that a gigantic amount of effort was expended on the book’s motion comic form, and at least in the public’s eyes, the profile of the actual comic was lowered as a result.

With the motion comic free to watch on Hulu, the comic performed below expectations — ICV2 estimations show it debuting at ~50k copies and dropping down to ~28 by #5. Bendis has attributed this to viewers of the motion comic skipping the book because they figured they’d already seen the story. And, by and large, they had; while there have been a few alterations, the two are largely the same scene for scene.

So while the motion comic may have been a hit on iTunes, it effectively killed the long-awaited “Spider-Woman” ongoing series. After doing two motion comics — “Spider-Woman” and Stephen King’s “N.” with Marc Guggenheim — I imagine Maleev wants a break, and according to Bendis he’ll be getting it before they launch into an upcoming Icon title. And Spider-Woman will continue to appear, written by Bendis, in the pages of “Avengers.” But it still seems like an incredibly inauspicious end to a hugely hyped title, and while the motion comic experiment was apparently financially successful, I really, really, really would have rather just had a functional “Spider-Woman” ongoing instead.

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