DC Yanks The Boys

Via Newsarama comes the news that WildStorm title The Boys is canceled as of right this minute. The collection and issues #7-10, previously solicited, will not be released.

DC declined to comment on the series or even confirm that the series has indeed been canceled.

The Boys #6 cover
The Boys #6 cover

That’s really abrupt, and it makes me wonder (because I have a naturally suspicious mind) what the cause was. It’s likely not the usual reason (sales) because of the sudden chop.

The most recent issue includes a scene where a hamster (shown on the cover wrapped in duct tape) crawls out of a dead superhero’s butt. I suspect this may have contributed to the decision.

If the book was canceled because of content like this (called “tasteless” in online fora) then it’s nice to know that DC still is capable of drawing some line. I wasn’t sure, after their recent big events turned on rape and murder, complete with commemorative action figures.

Also a good lesson: if you’re going to do storylines like this and hope not to attract the attention of high-placed decision-makers, don’t feature it on the cover.

Since it’s a creator-owned property, the loudly angry fans protesting this decision may have hope that another publisher will pick up the book.

Update: Heidi has writer Garth Ennis’ statement.

And more reflection on my part: Another publisher won’t get as high sales from this title as DC did, since there’s still a bonus for being part of either DC or Marvel (look at the Dabel Bros. for an example). However, the faster another publisher can get the title back on the shelves, the better chance of keeping the sales dropoff minimal. Comic readers are fickle, remember, with short attention spans.

Several commenters have brought up the issue of this series selling better for DC than many of their other releases, assuming that sales numbers should settle the argument. But it’s refreshing to consider that decisions can be made for other reasons than pure profit, even if one might disagree with the decision itself.

And last, consider the Streisand Effect — by taking action to separate themselves from something they found inappropriate (we’re presuming), DC has brought more attention to this title than it had before. That can’t be the reaction they hoped for.


23 Responses to “DC Yanks The Boys”

  1. Greg Morrow Says:

    I am delighted that this juvenile, misogynistic rape and revenge fantasy has been cancelled. I think less of Ennis for wanting to continue it.

    My original thoughts here: The Boys Will Be Boys.

  2. Vic Vega Says:

    “I suspect this may have contributed to the decision.”

    HA! You have a very British knack for understatement, Johanna. I’m frankly surprised that D.C. is drawing the line here. I’d thought they’d erased the line lone ago.

  3. caleb Says:

    I dropped this book quicker than most Garth Ennis books. It was very, very, very slowly paced, so I’m not terribly disappointed or anything. I think Ennis is spreading himself too thin, and kinda wish he’d refocus on quality over quantity (not that I can blame him for pumping out Punisher and Midnighter scripts if that’s where the money is…which it is)

  4. Bruce Meyer Says:

    Hi Johanna.
    About half a year ago, I was browsing the Indy shelf and found what looked like a continuing story. The main character was a tribal princess, and she kept sneaking out at night to find boys to fool around with. Her mother, I guess the queen, had a little talk with her, and explained that the punishment for sex sin was intrinsic, from the inside, not mainly from the tribe punishing her.
    That was pretty heavy. I can’t remember what the comic was, and I don’t frequent the indies. Any leads?

  5. Johanna Says:

    I’m afraid that’s not ringing any bells. MAYBE part of Finder: Five Crazy Women?

  6. markus Says:

    If the book was canceled because of content like this (called “tasteless” in online fora) then it’s nice to know that DC still is capable of drawing some line. I wasn’t sure, after their recent big events turned on rape and murder, complete with commemorative action figures.
    The thing is, that’s pretty hypocritical. The Boys was always honest about it’s nihilism and sold mostly on the creators involved, so it’s probable that most buyers expected what they got. That may not be your kink/kind of fun/preferred form of entertainment or that of DC decision makers, but it’s a niche product for a niche audience. Unlike the other titles you allude to, The Boys made no pretense to telling a good, fun story which – if not all-ages – is still presumed to be generally entertaining and inclusive. E.g. in a non-rape-y way.
    By analogy, DC superiors put the axe to the late-night horror slot while increasing up the bodycount during prime time.
    This _is_ the policy of the lowest common denominator because it invests just enough token effort to avoid unwanted (as opposed to calculated) controversy while at the same time serving basest desires wherever that is possible without getting caught/punished.

    That said, it isn’t/wasn’t that good, but getting better.

  7. Johanna Says:

    You make a good point. I still don’t understand why no outside groups raised a ruckus about a rape story involving Superman and Wonder Woman as a murderer.

  8. scott h Says:

    Thanks Greg Morrow! I also take pleasure when a book I dont like gets cancelled as well! Especially one I am not reading but others are. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside that they will be denied a pleasure that I have already deemed as lame. Rock on my Brother in Arms!

  9. James Schee Says:

    Wow, I’d never heard of the series but that sounds really weird.

    Kind of sounds like an episode of South Park where they followed a hamster as it made its way from a guy’s butt to out the other end. (checking) Eww… they even made an online game of it at the comedy central website.

  10. Greg Morrow Says:

    Hi, Scott. Nice sarcasm. Let me know when your mom lets you take off the training wheels.

    Johanna, I won’t burden your comments section with a reiteration, which would do Scott or anyone else no good anyway.

    I will, however, add that the creators of the The Boys are capable of much better work, which its cancellation may free them up for, and that the nature of the work was such that the people who were reading and enjoying it were probably the kind of people who deserve unhappiness. So, yeah. I’m happier when the world contains fewer juvenile misogynistic rape and revenge fantasies. I’m funny that way.

    Not that I have a strong opinion or anything.

  11. scott h Says:

    Hey, I wasnt being sarcastic. We should get all the copies we can find and burn them.

  12. Evan Waters Says:

    Not Lemmywinks! Noooooo!

  13. pedro Says:

    ahhhhh…the moral majority!! it’s good to be part of the mm, now i can have my fun f***ing other peoples life and still be considered a righteous person!

    hooray for MM!

    (garth ennis was building somthing there that was starting to be good)

    [JDC: edited to mask language]

  14. Nat Gertler Says:

    The “cancellation” doesn’t free the creators up for anything, as they are going to continue the series at another publisher.

  15. Comics Worth Reading » The Boys at Dynamite Says:

    [...] Two weeks ago, the news broke that The Boys was cancelled by then-current publisher DC Comics. Now, Heidi has the news: their new publisher will be Dynamite [...]

  16. Drew Says:

    The book may have offended many and caused some up-roar with it’s depictions. But how is is any different than the television we watch daily, the books that we read, and the news that we are exposed to? To me it was a refreshing view, albeit graphic, look at the world we live in. Give the Boys a break, it was developing nicely.

  17. Charles RB Says:

    Looking back, some of the comments here confuse me – _what_ “rape fantasy” was in The Boys? Are there pages missing from my issues?

  18. Suprise Boys Alternate Cover » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] tasteless superhero series The Boys, cancelled by DC in January only to relaunch at Dynamite, released issue #7 and the collection of #1-6 [...]

  19. Fascination Place » This Week’s Haul Says:

    [...] Boys didn’t really registered on my consciousness until the controversial decision by DC to cancel it from its Wildstorm line, resulting in the book moving to Dynamite. While I’ve enjoyed Darick [...]

  20. Will Says:

    It’s a great comic book, getting better with each issue. Very glad it’s still being published.

  21. Kathrine Says:

    Sya what you like, I kind of liked the series. Yes, there were allot of…tasteless bits but I think it was meant to be like that, showing that supes could be worse than normal people.

    Let us all face some facts here, if people were given superpowers a good number of them would turn like this. No one could safely say that they would be completely good.

    Yes, I know this is a late comment but I;m hoping someone will read it and get the point.

  22. James Moar Says:

    Kathrine, you do know Dynamite picked the series up and it’s still going strong, right? I ask because you’re talking about it in the past tense.

  23. Superf*ckers » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] comics come up with this idea? Being offensive for its own sake is no longer outragous, not after The Boys, which has the advantage of coming out with a similar look, format, and publisher to what it claims [...]




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