Shortly after their big bi-coastal restructuing announcement, DC Entertainment has also announced the ending of Wildstorm, the imprint Jim Lee created and that dates back to the founding of Image Comics, and Zuda, their beleaguered online comics imprint that shut down its website earlier in the year. The Wildstorm Universe titles are all canceled, and the characters are being folded into the mainstream DC Universe and will be reintroduced at a later date.

As Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee said on the Source blog:

After taking the comics scene by storm nearly 20 years ago, the WildStorm Universe titles will end this December. In this soft marketplace, these characters need a break to regroup and redefine what made them once unique and cutting edge. While these will be the final issues published under the WildStorm imprint, it will not be the last we will see of many of these heroes. We, along with Geoff Johns, have a lot of exciting plans for these amazing characters, so stay tuned. Going forward, WildStorm's licensed titles and kids comics will now be published under the DC banner.

After this week, we will cease to publish new material under the ZUDA banner. The material that was to have been published as part of ZUDA this year will now be published under the DC banner. The official closing of ZUDA ends one chapter of DC's digital history, but we will continue to find new ways to innovate with digital, incorporating much of the experience and knowledge that ZUDA brought into DC.

We'll be further expanding our digital initiative and making a lot more news in this space. As part of that transformation, the WildStorm editorial team will undergo a restructuring and be folded into the overall DC Comics Digital team, based in Burbank, which will be led by Jim Lee and John Rood. With nearly two million free downloads and hundreds of thousands of paid downloads, our digital foray is already reaching a new audience worldwide. We could not be more excited by the successful launch of our Digital Publishing products in June, which exceeded all sales forecasts and will be building on our early success with new applications for DC material on all major formats and hardware, partnering with Warner Bros Digital Distribution. It has extremely been rewarding to hear anecdotal stories of lapsed readers returning to the art form and of brick and mortar stores gaining new customers who sampled digital comics.

While the closure of Zuda is sad, the shuttering of Wildstorm is particularly depressing. Though the past, say, four years have been creatively uneven (to be extremely kind), there was a time when Wildstorm was the cutting edge of the comics industry, and this is something of an ignoble end.

You can view the full statement from DC Comics co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee on The Source. Lee and Didio express a desire to let the Wildstorm characters cool off for some time before reintroducing them to the comics-buying public, and even tease a possible revival courtesy of Geoff Johns down the line.

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