DC Candidates For Cancellation (i.e. Trimming to 52)

By Todd Allen

Will Captain Atom #12 be the final issue?

Dan DiDio has frequently said that he wants to keep shaking up the “New 52.”  Cancel books that aren’t working/selling.  Add new ones.  Keep the number of “New 52″ titles at 52.  If Dan hasn’t changed his mind on that, announcing four new titles means four current titles have to go.  We already know about Justice League International going away.  Which other books might be going away?

Popping over The Comics Chronicles and their April estimates, let’s take a look at the 10 lowest sellers (that aren’t part of the issue #8 cancellations) for the “New  52″:

114 Savage Hawkman 8* $2.99 DC 16,470
117 Legion Lost 8* $2.99 DC 16,186
118 Frankenstein Agent of Shade 8* $2.99 DC 16,158
123 Fury of Firestorm The Nuclear Men 8* $2.99 DC 15,368
125 Resurrection Man 8* $2.99 DC 14,998
126 Dc Universe Presents 8* $2.99 DC 14,909
130 Grifter 8* $2.99 DC 14,117
134 Blue Beetle 8* $2.99 DC 13,662
138 Voodoo 8* $2.99 DC 13,130
153 Captain Atom 8* $2.99 DC 11,701

Rob Liefeld has given us a few clues over on Twitter:

Hawkman #0, Deathstroke #0 and Grifter #0 on the way in September! DC ZERO month has great revelations for all our titles!‪#keepmomentumgoin

Team 7 appears in Deathstroke #0 RT @raylytle @robertliefeld how does it work? Do you get say in Any Of Slade’s actions in the team book?

Did I forget to mention I wrote Hawk and Dove #0 as well? Featured in DCUniverse #0!! September is going to be full of new twists and turns!

let’s do this @bleedingcool Hawkman # 1-4 lost 32,000 copies, prior to my being hired. Hawk and Dove lost 20,000 in same frame….

And @bleedingcool Hawkman lost over 40,000 sales from 1-8 giving us quite a hole to climb out from. So put your focus somewhere else..

I would not have accepted assignments on books I didn’t believe we couldn’t stem and turn around. DC Zero month will be key!!

Rob’s mad about his books’ names getting thrown out, but… when DiDio’s spoken so many times about 52 titles and 4 new ones are announced, it’s open season for speculation on what’s getting cancelled.  If nothing’s getting cancelled that amounts to a policy change and should be said up front.

So taking Rob’s input, we can remove four books from that 10 lowest seller list.  If DC is giving new writers time to turn things around and the “0 month” is key, then perhaps Legion Lost and Frankenstein can come off the watch list.  Possibly Firestorm, too, since that one’s seen a lot of line-up changes.  That’s for changes made around the issue #8 purge.

That leaves us with the likely suspect list of Captain Atom, Voodoo, Blue Beetle and Resurrection Man.  Voodoo did have a writer change, but that predates the #8 purge.  They’re adding another Wildstorm title in Team Seven, so I suspect Voodoo is getting cycled out.  Captain Atom is just not selling very well.  Blue Beetle seems to be a title DC has mainstream media designs on, so it might get a pass.  I just don’t hear a lot about Resurrection Man, in general so it would be a suspect.

Excluding Deathstroke and going up the list a little exposes I, Vampire (which appears to be reinventing its format after the Justice League Dark crossover), Batwing and Demon Knights. I really don’t see Batwing or Demon Knights getting cancelled and I, Vampire has the appearance of being in a format turnaround, like Rob was describing.

Those would appear to be your likely suspects… but nobody saw Justice League International‘s cancellation coming, so it could be higher up the totem pole.

Comments

  1. It’s a little scary that of the four New 52 books I’m still reading (Demon Knights, Frankenstein, Resurrection Man, Flash), three of them are mentioned here.

    Didio says he’s happy that Demon Knights has “been able to take a hold” in today’s CBR interview, which is a good sign.

    It’s probably wishful thinking, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dark books have a lower threshold for success because they’re catering to a smaller audience within DC readers. The funny part of that, of course, is that outside of comics, horror & fantasy are much bigger genres than super-heroics.

  2. I wonder if — maybe not in this purge, but possibly the next — a higher-selling book that’s the lowest of its group might get the ax, in favor of a replacement. For example, I think DC wants Batwing out there in the DCU… but how long will they countenance a Batbook at 18K, when a replacement Batbook (possibly a Batman Global anthology that could include Batwing) would probably do better?

  3. Frankenstein is very deserving of a wider audience; a cool mix of science fiction, espionage, super-heroes, and horror.

  4. Dennis V. says:

    I’m not a Liefeld hater and I gave his Deathstroke and Savage Hawkman titles a try but they were not very good (the previous creative team on Deathstoke was pretty good (IMHO) so Liefeld’s Deathstroke was a bigger disapointment).

  5. Wonderer says:

    Uhh, baseless speculation o/

    Aside from JLI I’ll ponder:

    I’d say Legion Lost going is my main guess. The main Legion book cant break 20K anymore, so the market clearly cant support 2 legion books. The book is built around the team traveling to the past, and the solicits up to issue 12 reads like they make it back to the future before issue 12.

    Batwing already has a place in Batman Inc (even if it’s pre-reboot) and is selling poorly. Add to that whatever JL book will eventually follow JLI will probably also have him in it, so I see his solo book going too.

    I’m gonna go with I, Vampire too. It’s selling horribly (April numbers were 16.845 and that was during a crossover with JL-Dark, a much higher selling book.)
    Andrew Bennett has already joined the Justice League Dark cast.

  6. DC has confirmed that they will be publishing more than 52 ongoing titles after September. Most of the articles mentioned this.

  7. Most articles mentioned they’ll be publishing more than 52 titles *in* September; it remains to be seen which will be published in October.

  8. I know for a fact that I,Vampire is safe, as the artist on the book, Andrea Sorrentino, has made it clear via twitter. Here’s proof: https://twitter.com/And_Sorrentino/status/211096826529587201

    I have a strong hunch on Captain Atom and Frankenstein (though it’s a shame because I absolutely love Matt Kindt.) based on what I have heard from different creators at conventions over the past month or so.

  9. See, I’ve also read Didio interviews where he has said that “52″ wasn’t a hard and fast rule, in regards to amount of titles. Sure, we call it the “New 52″, but keep in mind that DC’s parent company, Warner Bros marketed their Buffy-led programming block as “The New Tuesday Night” for TEN YEARS…

  10. James says:

    The only title from that list I don’t want to see cancelled is Frankenstein Agent of Shade. Even though Lemire is off, I want to give the new guy a try. Although I might have a different opinion in a month or 2!! We’ll see!! :)

    Hawkman should be rebooted! I WANT to buy a hawkman book. Loved the last series. 2 different creative teams in 50 issues (main ones), and they were both great! 2 creative teams in the first 12 issues of this new series and they both stink! Daniel writing was an automatic pass, and then Liefeld is not my cup of tea. Bennett drawing is great, but #0 was their chance for a great new writer! Then give it a new #1 to draw attention again!!

  11. @ Rob S: “Most articles mentioned they’ll be publishing more than 52 titles *in* September; it remains to be seen which will be published in October.”

    That’s actually not the preposition they use. They said they’ll be publishing more than 52 titles *come* September. That makes a difference.

  12. CagedLeo730 says:

    They are already publishing more than 52 titles right now. How many are ongoing is still 52. We’ll just have to wait til solicits come out next week. All this speculation seems useless

  13. Liefeld saying otherwise presents no guarantee though.

  14. saipaman says:

    I’m a huge Legion fan and the Legion books are among the few that I’m buying in the ‘new 52′ but I have to agree with Wonderer, Legion Lost is a book that should be cancelled. This storyline could easily have been run as a back-up feature in the main title.

  15. Captain Atom is already selling less than one of the cancelled titles, so I really can’t imagine it making it to issue 13.

  16. Skyhawk says:

    Resurrection Man again? Crap.

  17. GaryArmstrong says:

    i would bet on resurrection man, voodoo, captain atom and then justice league int’l being the four….

    have we seen numbers for legion lost during the culling crossover?

  18. Regardless of Rob Liefeld’s comments, Grifter seems like an obvious choice. His book is a low seller, and he’ll be appearing in the new Team 7. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

    My money is on Captain Atom and Resurrection Man for sure. And cancelling Batwing in favor of Talon has some merit, though I think it will keep going.

    I’d also take a hard look at DC Comics Presents. With the new “Sword of Sorcery” anthology, and the new “National Comics”, seems that DC Comics Presents just became redundant.

    The Irredeemable Shag

  19. The JLI cancellation means they cancel half they’re titles as of now and it is unrealistic to think this is the new threshold.

    JLI’s cutting is obviously a politically motivated decision based on the current EIC and co-publishers.

  20. @RJT: You’re right — they do say “come September,” not “in September.” But while that allows for publishing more in October, it falls conspicuously short of an announcement that they *will* do so.

    And other statements — like yesterday’s Newsarama interview with Rood & Wayne (that their awful site design makes impossible to find right now, dammit!) implied that they’d be sticking with 52 regular titles, both for marketing purposes and because it’s how they manage to keep the publications on time. It’s a schedule they have a grip on, and they’re not willing to tinker with that yet.

  21. John Warren says:

    @Rob S–DC consistently publishes more than 52 titles every month. For example, THE SHADE is an ongoing series that was not part of the “New 52.”

  22. CagedLeo730 says:

    Gritted will continue if the plot demands it. The Daemonite War is what’s keeping it afloat. Grifter’s role in Team 7 isn’t a factor since we know he’ll eventually leave the group before present day. Captain Atom and Resurrection Man look like good candidates. Legion Lost is also likely as well

  23. Torsten Adair says:

    Okay, I read every “52″ book (and most of everything DC publishes every month).

    Captain Atom is quite interesting right now, with more time travel, religion, CA variants… but it looks like it’s wrapping up.

    I suspect they’ll toss him into the hypertimestream where he’ll run into Mister Terrific, Earth-2, and other variations that DC might want to launch.

    Voodoo, Grifter, Resurrection Man… I can’t recall what the storylines are right now…

    Firestorm has added international variants of the heroes, and there was a recent crossover with Justice League…

    Legion Lost… the original plot seems to have been lost, no one’s talking about the virus being spread… tie up the loose ends and bring it back to the 31st Century.

    Batwing… hasn’t been in Africa for a few issues, currently appears in the recent Night of Owls event. He could be featured in Batman Inc.

    Blue Beetle… does DC have any other solo teen heroes? Oh, Supergirl. He is DC’s Peter Parker. The series has potential, especially as a cartoon. Is a live-action version still being developed?

    DCU Presents… it’s a “feature” title, which allows DC to test short features without being hampered by the “mini-series” sales stigma. The story arc can then be collected into a trade, and if that sells, then DC can produce more stories.

    It’s also a great place to introduce “new” characters recreated from the post-Crisis period, like Challengers of the Unknown.

    It is also somewhat immune to production delays… the creators can put the issues in the can before DC prints the series. It’s also a great place to push titles which might make good graphic novels, but might not be good enough to be marketed as an original graphic novel.

    Frankenstein… I’d wait and see how the graphic novel collection sells. It’s a pretty cool set-up, and might become popular via word-of-mouth.

    Hawkman… I can’t remember what’s going on in this series. DC might want to end this series, and then revitalize the character over in Earth-2, as part of the ensemble cast, which appears to be turning into “JSA”…

  24. True, John. Nonetheless, that’s what Rood & Wayne said about scheduling. If it ever shows up again on Newsarama, that is.

  25. Torsten Adair says:

    Is there a “death watch” pool being run by anyone?

  26. Found it!

    NRAMA: One thing Dan DiDio said in our interview earlier today is and interesting comment about the development of new series. He said, “We might be developing eight books, and you might have only four slots”, meaning editorially sticking to the hard 52 figure.

    Pardon us if this question has been asked and answered over the last year or so, but can you address what the New 52 means from a marketing perspective? Why the hard-line cut-off of 52 titles?

    WAYNE: I don’t really know if people have ever asked that in that point of fashion. I think this is one of those topics where success has lead us towards several theories that made us reach that point.

    I think the pivot point for us in prior years was the weekly series 52, which was a very successful project for us for a number of reasons. One of those was that it elevates characters from a mid-tier status into a place where they would be able to carry a story on their own and gave us a deeper bench of characters. So the number 52 has some resonance for us because of that.

    And at a certain level, the number 52 just worked out in order to maintain a nice production flow on a strictly nuts-and-bolts side of things. If we had a solid number of titles year-in and year-out, then we could plan out our schedule both in the short-term and in the long-term. With that 52 title framework in place, we were able to work really diligently to get our shipping schedule on track, because if fans come to expect a certain title to ship on a certain week of the month every month then we want that to be there for them and not disappointed. The fans would be elated it would be there, and they’d be able to give the nice person behind the counter their money and then read it and enjoy their experience.

    ***

    So again, they’re not explicitly saying there’ll be more cancellations, but at the same time, they are talking about the importance of the 52/month schedule.

    Ultimately, we’ll probably know in a couple of weeks, if not sooner.

  27. @The Irredeemable Shag “Regardless of Rob Liefeld’s comments, Grifter seems like an obvious choice. His book is a low seller, and he’ll be appearing in the new Team 7. Seems like a no-brainer to me.”

    I agree. Kind of like how in the second wave, DC replaced Blackhawks with GI Combat.

    I’d be kind of sad to see DCU Presents go (not that I read anything past Deadman), but an ongoing anthology series just never seems to do well. Bless DC for keep trying them. Perhaps National Comics with their single stories will do better.

  28. Any title not selling well, make it go digital and have it where you can order a hard copy thru a print on demand feature DC exclusive.

  29. 52 Pick-up says:

    For me, the sad thing is I’d read a lot of those books if they weren’t in a shared universe. Easiest way to avoid me buying your comics is to launch 52 new ones and tell me they are all connected. Thank you for saving me that money because I’d love to read a book like I, Vampire, and you talked me out of it before it even came out. Bless you, DC Comics.

  30. Batwing would’ve been safe if it weren’t for the character’s now-inclusion in Batman Inc. DC can cancel the book now and divert the readership to Inc to keep up with their character.

  31. Bill K. says:

    “Resurrection Man again? Crap.”

    Don’t worry. He’ll come back.

  32. Al™ says:

    I don’t see any real reason for DC to keep to 52 titles, unless they are drawing (ha) a line in the sand. 42, 22 whatever.

  33. CagedLeo730 says:

    @ Shags GI Combat replaced Men of War not necessarily Blackhawks

    @Torsten Adair It seems that according to Legion Lost #9, the hypertaxis virus was gonna evolve naturally until the point where it no longer caused mutations. It seems that Tellus knew it all along. They also find a time bubble in the NOWHERE base.

  34. @WhiteZombieSimonRage
    “Any title not selling well, make it go digital and have it where you can order a hard copy thru a print on demand feature DC exclusive.”

    I bet good money that we’ll hear that exact plan from either Marvel or DC before this year is up.

  35. Todd Allen says:

    Color POD is prohibitively expensive right now. Should that expense come down, as has been promised for ~3 years, the entire landscape will change.

  36. @CagedLeo730 “@ Shags GI Combat replaced Men of War not necessarily Blackhawks”

    D’oh. That’s what I meant. :)

  37. Eric Oliphant says:

    My canadates for cancelled titles are those I do not read. Comics I would not for free.
    Grifter, Deathstroke, Voodoo, Capt Atom, and Legion Lost.

    I did I read right, that there will be a Hawk And Dove #0. if so great. That comic gets to be cancelled twice.

  38. @ToddAllen
    I think the orders would still be bulk enough it’d level out. Obviously, even one of the lower tier big two books would sell more copies than much of what’s offered by the larger POD services like comixpress or indyplanet, so the pricing could be more manageable. And keeping in mind, there is already evidence that Marvel’s pricing is a sizable amount more than cost. I don’t think there would be much difference, and I really see this happening soon. Maybe someone like Dark Horse or Image might dip their toes in the water first, but the big two could do much more with it. And then, as ever, everyone else tries to follow the big two.

  39. Eric:

    The Hawk & Dove story will be one of 4 in the #0 issue of DC Comics Presents.

  40. GaryArmstrong says:

    GaryArmstrong
    06/09/2012 AT 7:23 AM
    i would bet on resurrection man, voodoo, captain atom and then justice league int’l being the four….

    According the Justice League solicits, Captain Atom is gone as of the Zero issue…lets see how my other predictions fare…

  41. Torsten Adair says:

    Ka-Blam prices one copy of a 32-page color comic (no KB ad) at $3.63.

    http://ka-blam.com/printing/index.php?page=Calculator&op=1

    24 pages costs $3.24. B&W, $2.19 !

    I’ll mention it again, until someone actually offers the service:

    Imagine that every single comics page of DC or Marvel is digitized. Employees and fan tag the heck out of every panel. The word balloons are indexed, characters, creators, ads…

    Then you, as a fan, decide that you want a bound collection of every appearance of Color Kid.

    So you do a search, and DC returns a series of issues and pages as thumbnails. You edit the pages into a book, design the cover, and select the binding (comics, perfect, Showcase, Chronicles, Deluxe, Absolute). DC prints out a copy, and ships it to you within the week.

    Meanwhile, you’ve gone to the DC message boards and posted a link to your Color Kid collection, probably even blogging about the stories. Other people order it, and you get a finder’s fee applied to your next purchase.

    Warner Entertainment is already doing this with their Warner Archive DVD service. Most of those titles are made-to-order, never to be seen as mass-market titles. Some of it, like the DC motion comics, are strictly digital.

    (No social aspect aside from reviews on the product page, although it’s easy to link to a product, like so:
    http://www.wbshop.com/product/batgirl+year+one++batman+adventures+mad+love+motion+comics+1000179913.do?sortby=ourPicks&from=Search

    Me? I’d make a collection of all the Hostess ads.

  42. @John Warren, actually DC does only publish 52 ONGOING titles. They also have minis, one-shots, etc. that they admit don’t get counted into that number.

    And The Shade is only a 12 issue mini, not an ongoing (and the sales were so bad on it for a while, they thought about cutting that number down, but I think it’ll make it to 12.)

  43. Eric Oliphant says:

    @ Evan
    I like anthologies in thirry. Hawk and Dove are two characters I never could like. Thier inclusion in the last Birds of Prey series really dragged it down.

  44. I wanted to like the Deathstroke series. I love the character and I loved the last time he had his own book. But this was pretty terrible from issue one. Liefeld inherited an already broken ship.

  45. I guess I’m the only one out there who is really enjoying Voodoo…the story is interesting and the art is drop dead GORGEOUS! I think it’s only lasted this long based on the fact that Voodoo has never carried a book before, and she’s only one of a handful of Jim Lee (aka DC co-publisher!) characters who have transitioned from WildStorm thus far.

    If her book gets canned, I at least hope she gets transplanted somewhere else.

  46. Liefeld’s a death knell for anything he touches, I’m guessing his books will get the chop, #0′s be damned. Apart from the fact that he’s using two inkers on anything he draws to correct his laughable pencil scratching’s I feel sincerely sorry for Mark Poulton having to try and turn 90′s style dialogue and story telling (how many of Hawkman’s personal issues are turning into unsolved mysteries because Liefeld doesn’t know what to do with him?) into something bearable and…oh man I have to get off this soapbox. If his three books stay around I will be gobsmacked let’s put it that way.

  47. #2-

    CAPTAIN ATOM #0

    On sale SEPTEMBER 19 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T • FINAL ISSUE

  48. Bleeding Cool is reporting that Resurrection Man is also canceled.

  49. Glenn Simpson says:

    What will #4 be? I’m thinking Firestorm, despite the lack of “FINAL ISSUE” in the solicit.

  50. I’m thinking Voodoo, since Team Seven will be an Edge title.

  51. And yes, it’s Voodoo.

    VOODOO #0
    Written by JOSH WILLIAMSON
    Art by SAMI BASRI
    Cover by PAULO SIQUEIRA
    On sale SEPTEMBER 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T+ • FINAL ISSUE
    • The truth about Pris is revealed at last as she sets off on a mission for vengeance that can only end in genocide!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Comics | If DC Comics is keeping the New 52 at 52, as Co-Publisher Dan DiDio has said, and there are four new #0 comics coming out in September, which four of the current 52 will be coming off to make room for them? Todd Allen runs the numbers and adds some educated guesswork to come up with one possible list, and the readers take over in comments. [The Beat] [...]

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