Liefeld Was Right: DC Cancels Blue Beetle, Legion Lost, Grifter, Frankenstein

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BLUE Cv13 198x300 Liefeld Was Right: DC Cancels Blue Beetle, Legion Lost, Grifter, FrankensteinIn the January solicits, DC has announced the final issues of Blue Beetle, Legion Lost, Grifter and Frankenstein.  On at least one occasion, there was a question about a fourth wave of New 52 titles and that question was ducked.  Presumably to avoid talking about the cancellations at the conventions and provoking any fans of the titles.  However, these are exactly the title Rob Liefeld called out:

And one suspects he’d know what was going on with Grifter.

Blue Beetle is a title DC’s given a lot of rope to.  They definitely see potential in the character and he’s moving over to the new Threshold tilte.

What’s coming in for backfill in February?  The Geoff Johns/David Finch Justice League of America.  There’s a Scott Synder/Jim Lee Superman title coming up, but it isn’t clear that’s for February.  So we’re looking at 2-3 unknown titles that will be announced in the next couple weeks, most likely.  If I were a betting man, I’d place a bet on another Batman Family title like Robin or Red Robin.

It’s clear that DC is regularly pruning the bottom of their line and when a book dips into the 18K-12K range, that’s where DC seems to be pulling the trigger (with the exception of Justice League International, which appears to have been removed to launch Justice League of America.).

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the bottom of DC’s “New 52″ sales estimates from September via The Comics Chronicles:

  • Captain Atom 13,934 – Cancelled
  • G.I. Combat 14,072 – Cancelled
  • Voodoo 14,223 – Cancelled
  • Grifter 15,751 – Cancelled
  • Resurrection Man 16,672 – Cancelled
  • Blue Beetle 16,888 – Cancelled
  • Fury of Firestorm 17,279 – Still Going
  • DC Universe Presents 17,528 – Still Going
  • I, Vampire 17,920 – Still Going
  • Frankenstein 18,122 – Cancelled
  • Savage Hawkman 18,750 – Still Going
  • Legion Lost 18,786 – Cancelled
  • Demon Knights 20,474 – Still Going
  • Deathstroke 20,796 – Still Going

It should be noted that DC had some success with the #0 issues in September and the retail orders were up across the board.  It’s a little early to know if these levels are a one-month only bump or if any of that bump is going to stick around.  That said, of the bottom 15 titles shipped in September, 8 of them are cancelled.  DC seems to have limited tolerance for sales under 18K.  It’s not an absolute number, but that’s where the trend is.  They’re also periodically pruning the low sellers and replacing them with new titles, which is a healthy thing to do from a sales perspective.

Fury of Firestorm, DC Universe Presents, I, Vampire, Savage Hawkman, Demon Knights and Deathstroke are the next 6 lowest sellers.  G.I. Combat tanked very quickly and wasn’t part of a wave.  That title aside, if DC is indeed following a pattern, it will probably be another 4-5 months before another cancellation wave.  All best are off if we start seeing more titles dipping down around the 12K estimate spot, though.

Comments

  1. JasonF says:

    Too bad about Frankenstein. That was a great book.

  2. Mesektet says:

    Hope Frank moves to another book, like JLD

  3. Well, that certainly puts the Demon Knights writer change into perspective.

  4. Al™ says:

    Let’s look at the bright side: There’s always A New 52!

  5. The lack of entertainment DC has provided in their offerings since the cut over has transferred nicely to these New 52: Deathwatch pieces.

    Why do I laugh when poor taste fails?

  6. Jesse says:

    I have an idea Bat-Beetle, Bat-Frankenstein and Grifter Agent of Batman. Problem solved, these cancellations put a smile on my face.

  7. Peter says:

    How long until DC relaunches every title as a Justice League book? Look!! It’s Justice League Titans!! It’s Justice League Tax Accountants!!

  8. Really? They canceling books? They aren’t selling you say, really after all the money they spend on advertising them on TV?… oh, they didn’t do any advertising, even though they own a network? But then how do they let new people who haven’t read comics that they are around? Look I know that it’s not easy to sell comics and there isn’t just one answer. But the “Big Two” has the power to make real changes to help out the industry, house ads only tells your readers what they already know and most likely will already buy. Awareness of the product itself, how many new cartoons and mini are popping up? The few I’ve seen are great and funny but nothing about the comics.

  9. I’m stunned anyone finds the New 52 compelling. i wasn’t opposed to the reboot on principle, I just feel that Didio wasn’t the man to do it. For me the New 52 has confirmed that. I mean something like 17 titles canceled and another handful well on their way. Not to mention the creative team/direction changes on a further bunch which were ill conceived to begin with and/or poorly executed. I’m reading Batman while Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing and Animal Man or all on life support

    I know everyone is down on Marvel at the moment which is fine, everyones mileage varies, but I find DC’s output risible at the moment.

  10. Zoomy says:

    It doesn’t really seem to be “when a book dips into the 18K – 12K range” so much as every few months they launch a new bunch of comics and cancel the lowest-selling ones. And that I Vampire isn’t cancelled yet, even though it’s a really awful, unreadable comic that nobody buys, suggests that DC still have some consideration for the idea of keeping different genres represented in the New 52.

    Look on the bright side – the last few years, it’s been almost impossible for any comic not featuring the flagship characters of DC or Marvel to last twelve issues – these latest cancellations have got up to seventeen. And look at the ones still going strong – All Star Western looks safe to carry on past the two year mark, and who would’ve thought that?

  11. Thank god, Legion Lost is cancelled. I felt embarassed to buy the title, only urged by completion. Before, this title brought back found memories of the best Legion story ever. Now, it’s gonna be tarnished by one of the most boring and inconstitent story ever written in Legion history.
    Who in their right mind ever thought their could surpass DnA maxi serie?
    Seems there is a lot of confidence in DC editorial staff right now, to dare take legendary storylines names and use it to sell modern crap.

  12. Steve says:

    Kudos to DC for trying to introduce new characters and to support some of the lower selling books and keep them going. But eventually, it comes down to the whole thing of – a creative endeavour vs business, and they’re not a charity. So of course they’re going to cut the lowest selling titles and try something new. And again, well done to them for trying new things and not just having 47 Batman related books, and the rest Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and JLA.

    For all of Liefeld’s bluster and horrendous behaviour, I still hold to one thing that he was spot on about. When DC first asked him to come on board and help out with certain books, he asked them, who is Hawkman? What is he about? What is his purpose? What is he there for? What is this book about? I hate elevator pitches, but sometimes it’s needed, so the seed can embed itself in the minds of everyone involved. Is Hawkman Gladiator in 21st century, or a pseudo-Indiana Jones style archaeologist, or an eco-warrior, or an SF book? I really have no idea. So in saying that, Firestorm and Deathstroke will be the next ones to go as I don’t think anyone knows what those books are about, despite sterling efforts be the creative teams.

    Liefeld asked the same of Deathstroke and Grifter too, and while the execution was poorly done, in my opinion, he had the right idea and his approach to getting to the core of each character was key. Some of these characters are not clearly defined in the mind of the writers who come onto them, and therefore the audience doesn’t know what they’re picking up. Of course that’s not the only reason books fail, I’m not saying it is, but when you pick up a Punisher book, you know what you’re getting. Same with Batman, same with Deadpool. In this new 52 universe, who is Grifter? Deathstroke? What kind of book is it? Who are these characters?

    I sincerely hope, and I say that with no irony as I am a big fan of DC comics and Marvel, that the next wave of books have been more clearly defined, so that if put on the spot, the writer/artist/editor can say, it’s X meets Y, or this is what we’re going for, so people know, from day one, what to expect. Saying it’s a new iteration of character Z, isn’t enough anymore, especially if they want to attract new readers.

  13. Torsten Adair says:

    See: DC 1,000,000
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DC_One_Million#The_Justice_Legions

    I’ll be first in line for Justice Legion Z. And whatever title Supergirl appears in.

  14. John Shableski says:

    Mr. Ramos, you have an excellent point. If you(company x) want to move more product, you have to advertise beyond your known world. Otherwise, you are relegated to very small sales numbers and a shrinking fan base.

  15. Rikk Odinson says:

    I wish more people would have bought Legion Lost. It was cool having a Legion book that wasn’t constantly shoving lame characters like Bouncing Boy and Duplicate Girl and all the other stupid boy/girl/lad/lass members at us.
    Down to just 2 DC books now.

  16. Jason says:

    Is GI Combat suppossed to be Men of War? Otherwise when did they cancel GI Combat?

  17. Todd Allen says:

    GI Combat was pronounced dead last month. The last issue hasn’t shipped yet, but they pulled the hook on that pretty quickly. IIRC, #7 will be the last.

  18. Synsidar says:

    GI Combat was pronounced dead last month.

    I wonder if GI COMBAT is an example of a publisher treating comics as a genre instead of a format. In the prose world, military fiction (MF) is a genre. Readers with genre preferences would no more pick up an MF book at random than they would a Western or a culinary mystery. A writer with no expertise in MF wouldn’t be expected to do well; the audience within the 300,000 comics fans for MF comics would be small.

    Did DC Editorial think that comics fans would read GI COMBAT simply because it was a comic book?

    SRS

  19. Joe S. Walker says:

    More an example of DC having a title and dragging it out decades after it died a natural death. What on earth was the point of reviving MY GREATEST ADVENTURE, as they did a couple of years ago?

  20. ron killingsworth says:

    The problem with the big two advertising is that are not enough outlets (ie QUALITY retail stores) across the country to take advantage of driving consumer demand. Advertising may make a person want an item, but then how do they know where to find it, and once they do find a store, does it look inviting enough to go into. A co-op situation, where stores could advertise locally and have comic publishers reimburse a portion either through cash or inventory credits is the best way to make this work in a fragmented industry.

  21. “What on earth was the point of reviving MY GREATEST ADVENTURE, as they did a couple of years ago?”

    Trademark extension.

  22. James says:

    Its a shame they cancelled Frankenstein, when a book like Firestorm is still going. Makes no sense to me. Firestorm from Blackest Night and Brightest Day was Amazing! And I loved Clark’s art on it. But his series sucks big time!

  23. Glenn Simpson says:

    Why did people buy war comics in the past?

  24. That’s a fair point, Ron, but the problem with your point is that it ignores the existence of entities like comiXology, which allow consumers to bypass brick and mortar outlets altogether. If DC wanted to expand, the lack of enough physical outlets shouldn’t be a barrier, since digital is not only an option, but a well-regarded one. Hell, comiXology even just hit the landmark one hundred million downloads mark.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 52 reboot, bringing the count of survivors from the reboot to 38 if I’m counting right. The best-selling of those books, Legion Lost, sold 18,786 copies in September, which isn’t exactly setting the [...]

  2. [...] Todd Allen from The Beat is betting on one of the new books to be either a Robin or Red Robin title. I’m all for that, you can read Todds’s full article here. [...]

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