Once and Future Queen Serialization Cancelled
The Once and Future Queen is a five-issue miniseries by Adam P. Knave, D.J. Kirkbride, and Nickolas Brokenshire published by Dark Horse. Two issues have come out so far, but Knave has announced that there won’t be any more, although the collection will still be published in November.
It’s the story of a nineteen-year-old who goes to England for a chess tournament, gets distracted by her feelings for another girl and loses, then draws Excalibur. She has to assemble a team to fight faeries in order to fulfill her role as queen.
The series was an attempt to meet the growing appetite for women and non-traditional heroes, with marketing points that included
King Arthur is reimagined as a 21st century multi-ethnic teen girl
Featuring a diverse team of characters with East-Asian, African, and British heritage, as well as diverse sexual orientation
The writers, Knave and Kirkbride, were quoted as saying, “We each seem to gravitate toward stories that reflect the world in terms of diversity and structure, while still loving old myth and finding new ways to bring it forward.”
However, in my opinion, that approach was hampered by having an all-male creative team. The audience seeking out these new heroes and stories are as concerned with who’s presenting the material as they are with the checkpoints the stories meet. I’m not saying guys can’t write great diverse characters, but there are so many choices out there that those who are most interested in supporting diversity often want to direct their limited resources to authors who haven’t previously had access to the traditional comic market production methods.
(Personally, I don’t care much for Arthurian fantasy stories, which meant the book for me was just ok, nothing to get excited about.)
I understand how, particularly if your work is aimed outside the traditional young white male comic shop market, it might not make sense to continue throwing money into comic issues when there’s no profit. The flip side, though, is that this teaches people that they shouldn’t buy Dark Horse miniseries, that they should just wait for the collection.
When this happened to some other series two years ago, Dark Horse continued the serialization digital-only. This time, they aren’t even bothering with continuing to put out the issues online. Which makes me wonder why wait until November, more than six months after the last published issue, to release the book. What little attention the series has gotten so far will be forgotten by then, although if you’re selling to the book market, you have to plan a lot further in advance, so it may not be possible to accelerate the release.