- Posted by Johanna on November 17, 2011 at 5:49 pm
- Category: Comic News
The past couple of weeks have featured continuing reports of Marvel comics being cut, including some abruptly cancelled on a cliffhanger. Today, Robot 6 reports two more Marvel books are ending: Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive with #529 and Ghost Rider, which was Marvel’s only female-led book after yesterday’s news that X-23 was done as well.
So Marvel has no books with a solo female title character any more, and more to the point, the only things that seem to be surviving are the big movie franchises and already-known properties — your X-Men, your Avengers, your Spider-Man, the brands that have lots of toy and cartoon and tie-in potential. DC’s sudden and newfound sales dominance seems to have their traditional rival running scared. Or perhaps the idea that a rising tide lifts all boats, that the DC effort was bringing in new customers and not damaging sales of other company titles, may not be as widespread as hoped. Especially when it comes to the publisher whose products are most similar to theirs.
Graeme McMillan speculates that we’re going to see new Marvel titles introduced to replace those that they’ve cancelled. That’s an optimistic take, and if it happens, I’d be curious to see what those books might be. My jaded side thinks that it’s unlikely we’ll see many new launches, and the ones we see will be more of the same, not the slightly quirky, unusual books that attract readers like me.
Update: Kiel Phegley has a good analysis of what this might mean in the bigger picture for Marvel’s direction in publishing.
For the most part, titles that remain untouched are those built off of properties and franchises that have proven to have long runs in the market, be they spin-offs of popular titles or series that have lasted for hundreds of issues, even through market fluctuations and creative changes. Even the lowest selling comics that remain, such as X-Factor, have shown a level of sales consistency from month-to-month, pointing toward a dependable place in the market….
Marvel’s new strategy of shipping more than 12 issues a year for its top sellers has wide-ranging implications. This coming February, no less than 13 monthly comics are shipping two issues in the five-Wednesday month … a comparison between February 2011 and February 2012 shows that the types of comic series that fall outside the core “tied to the spine of the modern Marvel U” construction has been noticeably cut. The number of kid-centric offerings from the publisher have been halved in the past year from four titles to two. The mature readers MAX line will soon have only one book standing in the DeadpoolMAX limited series. And a previous string of non-continuity or stand-alone miniseries (some tied to the release of Marvel’s popular films, others strictly Direct Market fare) has dwindled in the face of twice as many Avengers ongoing issues, a resurgence of Spider-Man-related product, and the steady growth of the X-Men line to include nearly a dozen ongoing comics.