DC Comics announced via its August solicitations the cancellation of six of its lowest-selling New 52 titles: All-Star Western, Batwing, Birds of Prey, Superboy, Trinity of Sin: Pandora, and Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger. The books' final issues ship in August, one month shy of the third anniversary of the New 52 initiative which rebooted the entire DC superhero line with fifty-two new or relaunched series.
The total number of New 52 titles cancelled or discontinued in that three year period now stands at 47, which means just five more cancellations will tip the company over into a new New 52; fifty-two books that didn't work out. Is that level of turnover unusual, and if so, what does it tell us about DC's strategy?
Besides the obvious one, it’s hard to think of a writer more connected to an X-book than Peter Davidand X-Factor. (Chris Claremont and Uncanny X-Men being the obvious one, obviously.) After a two-year stint in the early nineties that remains a fan favorite, David relaunched X-Factor in 2005 and made it the most consistent X-book on the racks for his entire run. For eight years, X-Factor was routinely funny, inventive, filled with convincingly human characters, well-delivered messages, and twists that could knock you flat on your ass. The title wrapped in September of last year, shortly after David suffered a well-publicized stroke, and just a few weeks later, it was announced that the title would relaunch again as All-New X-Factor, which dropped this week. With Carmine Di Giandomenico on art, Peter David is again writing one of his most popular titles, but even with David at the controls, the new book has a lot to live up to. Does it?
Relaunches. They're the worst. A sign of desperation from an industry obsessed with gimmicks and stunts. A transparent attempt to drive up sales with no respect for the audience, no regard for the author, no consideration for the history of the title.
Or, they're the opposite of that. New #1s might actually be the smartest way to tell ongoing stories, and the best way forward for the genre comic industry. More relaunches and more #1s could be exactly what comics needs.
I was pleasantly surprised by just how much pure comics news came out of New York Comic Con this year. It really felt like a show that seemed to revolve around comics (I say as an online observer who didn't attend). Even the panels about non-comics stuff, for example, the Batman: Arkham Origins panel, included moments like readings from The Killing Joke.
As for the comics news itself, well, it was more of a mixed bag. On the one hand, a ton of new series with tons of potential got announced. On the other, we had announcements like the one about Captain Marvel, a book that's only been coming out for about 15 months, restarting with a new number one issue. I'm more than pleased that Captain Marvel will continue. But that odd announcement--and the fact that nearly every other announcement was about a new first issue of a series--got me thinking about what a number-one issue of a comic even means anymore.
This morning via USA Today, Marvel unveiled its next wave of new titles. Following last year's successful Marvel NOW initiative, this second wave is titled "All-New Marvel NOW" and will feature the previously announcedInhuman by Matt Fraction and Joe Madureira, and the newly revealed All-New Invaders by James Robinson and Steve Pugh.
The final chunk of 2013 should be a boon to Thunderbolts fans and, um, Undeadheads? who dig Minimates. Diamond Select Toys and Art Asylum will release a special Marvel Minimates Zombie Villains Box Set in October, followed by a Marvel Now! Thunderbolts Box Set in January of 2014.
When I say that Deadpool -- which just wrapped up a six-issue arc in which a hideous, indestructible and relentlessly jocular assassin re-kills the supernaturally re-animated, bent-on-destruction corpses of long deceased U.S. Presidents -- is possibly the most cleverly defined, consistently executed
If the measure of success of the Marvel NOW relaunch campaign is truly how accessible these many decades-old superhero sagas can be made for fresh eyes, then the publisher and its roster of creators deserve whatever praise is coming to them. Some very recent runs notwithstanding,
Hardcore Marvel fans may want to clear their schedules through Tuesday, because as announced today at SXSW 2013, the publisher is posting more than 700 of its #1 issues to read for free on the Marvel Comics app and through the Marvel Webstore (a.k.a. Marvel Unlimited) for a limited time. Set to run from today, March 10 through 11 p.m. EST on March 12, "Marvel #1" is designed to give fans maximum comics context for th
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