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

May 21, 2014

Wish I’d Thought Of This Angle: Andrew Wheeler At CA On DC Nearing 52nd New 52 Cancellation

Over at ComicsAlliance, Andrew Wheeler notes that DC has canceled 47 titles since relaunching its entire line in Fall 2011 under the catchphrase "New 52." That's a very funny and trenchant take on the last few years of that company's publishing history; it communicates quickly and well. I also like the article as a basic primer on modern big-company publishing moves: for instance, Wheeler isolates the idea of "strategic" cancellations in contrast to those comics that are canceled for selling really crappy and that don't have an arguable other reason to exist in series form. It's a distinction that has be made because of the frequency of the strategy as employed.

I'm never sure how much the sales record actually supports my suspicion since the numbers came back big on most of those relaunched titles in 2011 that DC didn't have a strong enough talent base -- or a cohesive, proactive editorial strategy -- to sustain the opportunity presented by that initial spike in sales interest. I suppose the counter-argument at this point is to just blame the nature of the market in general for the recurrent and now ongoing decline. There's also little reason it can't be a bunch of factors, a potent cocktail of reversion to form. It's been a longstanding piece of conventional wisdom that the cultures at both DC and Marvel are such that sustaining anything positive past sudden spikes, including anything over the long-term other than a model of inexorable decline, becomes very difficult. What we may be seeing is another example of how over the last 20 years that cycle has developed institutional force.
posted 6:15 pm PST | Permalink

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