Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

Home > News Story and Obituary Archive

News: Wildstorm Names Everything Wildstorm
posted May 5, 2004

May 5 -- DC Comics imprint Wildstorm continued its recent adjustments by re-naming its sub-brands within its publishing umbrella and bringing its comics more into line with the tastes of the current comic book marketplace and the talent the company currently has working on books. Each imprint will carry the Wildstorm name: Wildstorm Universe (for "shared universe" titles, meaning those that take place in the same imagined setting, such as Sleeper and Planetary), Wildstorm Signature Series (creator-owned titles, like the various Astro City titles) and Wildstorm (for licensed properties, such as Thundercats: Enemy's Pride). The new names will replace the former Eye of the Storm, Homage and Cliffhanger designations.

The new breakdown came approximately three weeks after Wildstorm announced the surprise cancellation of the latest WildCATS series. Perhaps the best known of the early-'90s Wildstorm titles, WildCATS was a foundational property of interest leading to the 1998 npurchase of Jim Lee's studio and properties by DC Comics. Currently published as WildCATS 3.0, the last issue will be August's #24. The Joe Casey-written adventure title featured superheroes as corporate movers and shakers -- the sort of high-concept, lightly satirical take on a title that seems to be rapidly falling out of favor at mainstream comics companies. Casey had hoped to continue the series until at least issue #40.

Casey told the Journal that his experience with Wildstorm on WildCATS was a positive one, and he enjoyed a great deal of creative freedom. Despite the title's relative lack of sales, there was virtually no guidance from editorial or suggestions that anything be changed before the axe fell. "None whatsoever," Casey said. "My editors and even Jim Lee were as stymied by the sales figures as I was. And on the editorial guidance side, my artistic collaborators and I had nothing but complete creative freedom from my very first issue of Vol. 2 back in 2000. At least to my face, everyone seems to agree that this was not a creative failure, but a marketing one…"

Two days after the fate of WildCATS was made public knowledge, Wildstorm announced a second cancellation of a similarly struggling title. This time it was Micah Wright's military superhero comic Stormwatch: Team Achilles. The title's end signals another recognizable property with a sales pedigree ready for a future makeover at some future date.