Once again DC Comics is playing games with the New 52 lineup. While announcing some new titles at New York Comic-Con, they also announced what they’ll be taking the place of. And it’s this new “wave” of changes that has me somewhat confused.
First, there’s a comment by VP of Sales Bob Wayne (no relation to Bruce) that explains the fundamental flaw in the New 52 project.
Asked earlier this month by CBR whether titles would fall as the New 52 expanded, DC VP of Sales Bob Wayne said that cancellations came first and foremost at the feet of the ideas on the table rather than the sales. “There’s always going to be some pressure on whether or not the new idea being pitched is maybe more exciting than another series we have that may have already told its story,” he said. “That might mean it’s maybe time to put that title on the shelf for a while or have the characters migrate into some other title. So there’s not really a hard and fast rule where there’s a line in the sand where if it falls below this point on the Diamond chart or doesn’t make this percentage of X, it’s gone. It’s really very story driven.”
I come from the writer’s point of view and all, and maybe if it were their stories and not the editorial mandates that really were in charge that would make at least some sense. However, does that mean that a title which is doing well didn’t get a good enough pitch it would end? What if fans really like the series (hard with these people in charge, but humor me)? Would they really give up a cash cow because someone pitched a really good General Glory tale? Anybody even remember who that is? I didn’t even know there were two of them until just now. Anyway, this is how you run an anthology, not an entire company line-up.
[Side Note: Is this the reason for the game of revolving authors? That they pitched their story and were taken off so the next pitch and writer could "have a shot"? Because that seems like a really stupid idea. This isn't how you share the toys, guys.]
So which comics apparently didn’t get a good pitch put in?
- Blue Beetle: This is the saddest one on the list because the pre-52 version had so much praise from those in my circles (never had the chance to really read them myself, being dead broke at the time) and the New 52 pretty much the opposite. From what I gather, what made it work was how fun the story was, even when we learn the origins of the scarab, and the fact that Jaime actually tells his family that he’s Blue Beetle. I love the idea of a superhero having a “support network” that he can discuss superhero stuff not only with other heroes but with folks “on the outside” who can remind him (or her) what they’re fighting for. Also they can help at least maintain his secret identity and he doesn’t have to come up with lame excuses as to why he disappeared for a week because he was actually on another planet in a fight for his life. Blue Beetle 52 had none of this and fans pretty much hated it for that.
- Grifter: I don’t think this book would have been more hated if they put Rob Liefeld on it…oh wait, they did. Like a lot of people I just didn’t care. What gets me is that some WildC.A.T.S. characters popped up, and Voodoo had her own series for a spell, when all of these characters work best as a team, at least in a regular series. Are Spartan and Maul’s comics coming soon?
- Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.: According to ICv2′s numbers, the #0 issue was #126 on the charts, a little over 18,000 readers. Any comic making that number with the number of humans just in this country (not to mention Canada and abroad) is absolutely pathetic. And yet it’s one of the highest praised New 52 titles in my Twitter feed. I wonder what would happen if DC put half the effort into promoting individual titles as they did the project as a whole (and the same for the all-ages/kids titles). Would they have more readers? Not with what they’re coming up with, but that’s another argument. Also, I’m sure there were more stories that could have come from this. Was a third Superman comic really pitched better?
- Legion Lost: Legion Lost. Legion Lost…oh, right. That was the one where they rehashed the time-displaced Legion of Superheroes idea, right? That’s still being published?
- GI Combat: I didn’t know that one was still going, either. See how poorly these are marketed? I look over the new arrivals every week for reading and reviewing fodder.
So all we have in replacement news last I heard is the aforementioned third Superman title by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee and some unnamed project with Man of Steel scribe David S. Goyer (because that was a hit writer for them last time). A Justice League of America title (which brings up more questions) and a project called Threshold, which I think is some trek through the non-Green Lantern adventures in DC’s outer space or something, round out the list, and frankly nothing here gives me any hope for DC’s future under the leash of the New 52. This just doesn’t stop being a waste of potential.