October 24, 2013
What It Means When Seemingly Healthy, Well-Regarded Mainstream Comic Book Titles Are Cancelled
Actually, I have no real idea what it means when something happens like Marvel's announcement of the cancellation of a Daredevil series that seems to be selling okay and is certainly a well-liked, well-regarded title
. There are all sorts of pressures and inside mechanisms to which the vast majority of us aren't privy.
If this is what some people suspect, that it's basically a sales ploy by which more attention is paid to the title when it relaunches as a #1 than when it continues forward as a #37, I think it's worth noting as a sign of the shape of the marketplace. We have a marketplace of hobby and comics shops that rewards the constant renumbering and relaunching of serial comic book titles. Whether that's no big deal, or just the way things are, or a recurring blow against the idea of a market anchored by long-running series, again: couldn't really tell you. The news of the cancellation certainly hit the mainstream focused web sites -- heck, it hit this one, in a way -- and judging from initial reactions to the tweeted-out news there are people that will take this kind of announcement at its face value.
So if that's what's going on, you can pair this kind of thing up with the massive shortages of DC's Villains Month 3-D covers and resulting scarcity-driven demand as an indication that a big way this particular comics market works is very much ensconced in a collectibles mindset. What one hopes, of course, if you're invested in the success of this market over time, is that there isn't long-term fallout: that you're not taking short-term gains at the expense of a lengthy fraying over time, that you're not tiring out certain consumers or giving them a chance to move away from certain books or making them feel pulled and yanked around. It's difficult to figure out if this is a real concern. Those betting against the destruction of this comics market have come out ahead, sometimes improbably, for more than three decades now. In the end, it may be worth noting that this sort of thing might work because it's not just the makers and sellers that are cynical, but that the audiences are properly inured to this kind of thing because they either know what's up or have yet to admit it to themselves.
posted 8:10 am PST
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