Friday, January 18, 2013

DC Comics: Latest Cancellations

DC Comics has been wielding its Axe of Cancellation once again, with a slew of titles getting dropped. First up, announced a couple months ago, will be the sixteenth and final issues this month from Blue Beetle, Grifter, Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E., and Legion Lost.


According to CBR, it’s not surprising that Blue Beetle and Grifter have been dropped, given that they “are definitely the lowest-selling books in the New 52”. It is a pity, however, as I rather enjoyed Grifter. Blue Beetle is a series I’ve been meaning to read, but I’ve decided to wait for the second and final collected edition to be released, and then I’ll maybe do a double review or something. I’ll probably do the same for Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E.

Of the latest four cancellations to be announced, I really like two and have mixed feelings about another (the fourth I haven’t read and have no interest in doing so): I, Vampire and Paul Cornell’s Saucer Country (actually published through Vertigo) are the two I will be sad to see go. Both of them are superb, I thought, and I don’t understand why they haven’t been garnering enough interest to keep them alive. The former is a dark, beautifully illustrated horror comic, and the latter is an innovative, gripping mash-up of alien abduction lore and American presidential politics. Who wouldn’t like those?


DC Universe Present is a bit of a mixed bag: I enjoyed the first story-line from this variety series (featuring Deadman), but really didn’t enjoy the second story-line (Challengers of the Unknown). I’ve been keeping an eye on the recent story-lines and featured characters, and it actually looks quite good. I’ll pick up the final volume. The all-ages series Superman Family Adventures will also come to an end, but I don’t have any interest in reading that. These series will cease with their April 2013 issues.


  1. Haven't caught up to date on any of these titles, but it's a shame to see that I, Vampire & Frankenstien, Agent of SHADE were cancelled, I really liked the first issues of both of those series. It'll be interesting to see what they replace them with. Probably Katana and Justice Society of America will be two of them.

    1. I never tried Frankenstein. No clue why... Only caught him for his cameo in O.M.A.C. (which was even shorter-lived).

      I'm quite intrigued by Justice Society of America... And Katana and Vibe(?). So many to catch up on!

  2. Some of these really didn't as a surprise. Grifter started in one direction, then Liefeld was brought on to focus it and give it a new direction, but in my opinion it was badly executed. By which time people had just had enough with 51 other DC titles so they dropped it. Blue Beetle, he's popular in other media, particularly Young Justice where he appears now. I can see the reason behind the title, a new superhero with new powers, but for whatever reason it just didn't gel with the audience. Legion, well as a long time DC fan, I tried to read it and had no clue what was going on, so I'm not surprised by that. SHADE was a good book, again, there doesn't seem to be any particular reason as one of DC's top 2 writers (Lemire) was on it for a while, before he was moved to other titles.

    DC Presents is an interesting one. It gives people a chance to dip in and out, try different stories and characters. The problem is, it also gives people an easy place to jump off. I read the 3 issues about Savage and didn't bother with the rest as they were less interesting to me. Despite liking Fialkov as a writer, I just couldn't get behind I,Vampire, especially with it being set in the main DC universe. It just didn't make any kind of sense to me. If it had been off in a different world of its own (Vertigo) then perhaps, but they've moved a lot of characters the other way, so there was no way this was going to be on a limb. When most people think of DC comics, they think of Superhero comics, right or wrong. Vertigo is more well known for the darker stuff. Yes there are darker DCU titles now, Edge books as they call them, but they're small in number and a bit shinier, and still have people in costumes of a sort, with obvious ties to other books, e.g. JLA Dark. I like darker books, but in general I worry about their longevity. If the recipe is right, then you get Animal, which is a mainstream horror comic. If it is wrong, you get Voodoo!

    Definitely interested to see what comes next, but both DC and Marvel have really raised their game in the last 2 years with the New 52 and Marvel Now titles.

    1. Raised their game, sure, but also gone a bit bananas with new titles... :s

      The New 52 single-handedly got me back into comics - the darker titles, and the Batman-family of series are all good, and I recently became hooked on the various Green Lantern-family of titles.

      Marvel NOW does seem to be a pretty good jumping on point for new readers, or those who have been adrift pre-AvX (which I would still like to finish at some point). Indestructible Hulk was very good, and I'd like to try the new Deadpool because it looks bonkers.

      I see what you mean about I Vampire and JL Dark (those were two of my favourites when I was still getting them as individual, monthly issues) - they would definitely work better outside of the main DC continuity. I did like their cross-over, though. I'm quite intrigued by the DCU Presents Savage story, and also Black Lightning...

    2. Also, to be honest, I really want to read more widely outside of DC & Marvel. Image have some interesting new series, and I'm about to start SIXTH GUN (Oni) and SKULLKICKERS (Image), Brian Wood's new STAR WARS (Dark Horse), as well as catch up with THE SPIDER (Dynamite). Must keep my eyes open for more titles to give a try.

      Happy for recommendations, if anyone has any.

    3. We've already talked about Saga :-) And I do recommend IDW's new TMNT comics from Mateus Santolouco. The first issue was so, so good! Have you checked out Planetoid yet? That's another Image title that I'm following at the moment.

      For Dynamite, I'm currently in the middle of their Dejah Thoris series and have read the first couple arcs of the main title Warlord of Mars series. The first arcs I definitely recommend.

    4. I got the first couple of issues of IDW's TMNT series. Will take a look. Reviews are embargoed for a week(?), I think.
      Never read the various John Carter series of novels, so never developed huge interest in the comics. Maybe one day. I'm looking forward to Peter V. Brett's next Red Sonja mini-series, though.

  3. I cannot believe they got rid of I, Vampire. That series is without question one of the best on the stands. I can understand the rest, even Frankenstein which is pretty good, but I, Vampire? The added travesty is that it only lasted as long as terrible Legion Lost.

    1. Agreed. At least I'm lucky in that my other favourites are highly unlikely to be cancelled: Batman, Batgirl, Green Lantern, etc. Just hope they don't cancel Justice League Dark! Apparently, Fury of Firestorm doesn't sell much more (if at all) than I, Vampire - so why cancel this fan-favourite, rather than that one?

      I found a site that listed estimated sales figures, and it's a little easier to see how/why some of these were cut. Saucer Country, for example, lost 32% of sales between #1-8. Grifter has dropped 69.9% in one year. Blue Beetle lost 66.6% of sales. Fury of Firestorm apparently lost 69.4% in one year. I Vampire dropped 58.8% in one year. DCU Presents -65.4%. Those are pretty big numbers... But I really don't know much more beyond those figures (which may be slightly or very off), and haven't had a look at overall sales numbers. (Which the same site does have, actually:

    2. If they brought back Gail Simone on Fury, then that might help, given the controversy and buzz from December. /shrug

      You might find this article, from a comics store owner, on Marvel NOW to be quite informative.

      It's from a limited perspective of course, but I think it highlights the situation rather well!

  4. Firestorm will be next for the chop. It's an odd character, and despite being a lifelong DC comics fan, I'm not even really sure what the character is about. I know the background and some of the history, but it all comes back to the same question I ask over and over 'so what is it about?' You can sum most books up in one or two sentences, or even one word. I don't know what Firestorm is, or who it is aimed at. Sometimes to hook new readers and bring back older readers, you need the elevator pitch.

    Other titles I'm reading that are not Marvel or DC you might want to try.

    Chew - Image
    The Sixth Gun - Oni - great horror western
    Saga - mentioned all over the internet
    The Manhattan Projects - Image - crazy scientists and alternate history changing the world with their experiments
    Elephantmen - Image comics - blade runner-eque distopian SF, with human/animal hybrids

    There are many more, those are just off the top of my head.