I promise you, Red Lanterns isn’t a bad comic.

§ December 18th, 2014 § Filed under dc comics § 6 Comments

Yup, they’ve canned the latest iteration of Swamp Thing. Okay, they cancelled some others, too…some surprisingly, some less so.

Swamp Thing actually sold relatively well, both at my previous place of employment and at my current headquarters (which would be Sterling Silver Comics, conveniently located just off the 101 Freeway in lovely Camarillo, CA!), for reasons that had nothing to do with me forcing everyone who walked in the door to buy a copy, honest. No, really, it seemed like it was a pretty good mid-range seller for us…er, me, outselling most of the comics with “X-Men” in the title in fact, which may be a more damning statement about the X-Men than a positive statement about Swamp Thing, come to think of it. My suspicion is that Swamp Thing will return in a new, relaunched title, like New Swamp Thing or Swamp Thing Adventures or Swamp Thing A-Go-Go or, you know, like that. Even if not, at least we’ll have him in Justice League Dark or he can join one of the Lantern Corps or something.

Speaking of Lanterns, it wasn’t really much of a surprise that they’re scaling back the Green Lantern-and-related books. As I noted at the end of this post, DC making a big deal out of Geoff Johns leaving the GL franchise and publishing an extra-sized conclusion to all his plotlines and such essentially gave readers full permission to abandon the franchise as well. I don’t have the numbers right in front of me, since those numbers technically belong to a store I don’t work at any more, but my memory is that sales dropped by around half. The main GL title wasn’t hit as hard as the others, but there was still a big dip in the number of copies we were moving. The constant crossover events helped for a while, but eventually even the effectiveness of those wore off, judging by how not-well this current New Gods storyline is affecting the secondary GL titles. The big loss is Red Lanterns, which was far better than it had any reason to be.

Batwoman was sort of another surprise, since that seemed to have been improving slightly in sales, both at my old shop and at the new one, but it was the poorest selling Bat-title, so I guess it was only a matter of time. Others aren’t too shocking: they might as well have been titled Infinity Man and the Forever People’s Soon-to-Be-Cancelled Series and Star Spangled Cancelled Stories. I don’t say that snarkily in the slightest: these really did not seem like titles that were going to find sufficient audiences to survive from the get-go, an assumption almost immediately borne out by sales. I mean, good on ’em for trying, and I really enjoy Infinity Man, but, yeah, no surprise here.

Secret Origins was a $4.99 anthology title…the first issue sold well, as did the Harley Quinn issue, but that was pretty much all she wrote on that. Klarion just did not attract readers, and…I hate to say this, but I tried reading it and it just didn’t do anything for me, and I was one of the folks looking forward to a Klarion series. Trinity of Sin I’m surprised they even attempted…I liked it, anyway, since I’m always up for more Phantom Stranger comics. And Worlds’ Finest I had thought was already cancelled and kept getting surprised by its continued presence in the order forms, so that probably says something.

Aquaman and the Others…well, that we got one Aquaman comic doing reasonably well on the stands is surprising enough. A second Aquaman title was DC pushing its luck. I don’t really have much to say about Arkham Manor‘s loss aside from maybe there were one too many ancillary Batman titles launched at about the same time, perhaps?

I’m sure some of these concepts will pop up again, either in relaunches or, more likely folded into other titles. Justice League Dark could probably accommodate Klarion, Phantom Stranger and…hell, G.I. Zombie from Star Spangled, too. So long as they don’t crowd out Swamp Thing.

My idea of rotating intentional mini-series for DC’s New 52 program is one I wish could be implemented. Concepts could be tested in short runs, which could improve sales if readers know that they’re getting a beginning, middle and end on the comics they’re reading. Plus, a series ending as scheduled is probably better P.R. than “here’s our latest dozen or so titles cancelled for low sales.” If sales warrant, a mini could lead into a regular ongoing series. There are probably logistical reasons preventing this from happening, but something’s got to be better than constantly throwing titles at the wall and seeing nothing sticking.

6 Responses to “I promise you, Red Lanterns isn’t a bad comic.”

  • Corey says:

    I would imagine all those Green Lantern books are just going to get relaunched with slightly reworked concepts. No way is DC going forward with just one GL title.

    And I think Arkham Manor getting cancelled might be because Gerry Duggan is now exclusive to Marvel.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    “Swamp Thing will return in a new, relaunched title”

    Please, please let it be Swamp Thing Team-Up. Although I’ll also take Young Romance Starring Swamp Thing.

  • Bill S, says:

    Wouldn’t rotating intentional mini-series also be better for the creators, as well? Instead of having to set everything up with an eye on a possibly long run that probably won’t happen, only to have all those threads unresolved when it ends, you could tell a single, coherent story. Make it a five or six-issue story, and it’s easy to collect it in trade, where it may have a better opportunity to be read. And if I’m a creator, it’s a limited commitment that I’m AWARE is a limited commitment; they can conceivably plan what they do after the series concludes.

    Limited series seemed to be the default for lesser known characters when I was a kid in the 80s; what changed since then to make that less attractive? To my thinking, I am more likely to commit to reading a limited series, because I know that a year down the road the story or art won’t fall apart, the series won’t be hijacked by a crossover, the creative team won’t change dramatically, and I don’t have to awkwardly tell my LCS to remove it from my pull list.

  • swamp mark says:

    sorry, mike, I gotta do it.
    swamp thing is cancelled with issue 40.
    and then…..Korea!!!

  • Brian says:

    @Thelonius_Nick: “Bog Romance: Starring Swamp Thing” Can Swamp Thing save the love of threatened young couples whose dates go terribly awry when girls keep complaining about their boyfriends’ terrible ideas of trying to have romantic picnics in a smelly, mucky swamp?

  • David Alexander McDonald says:

    The rotating series of miniseries was tried with DC Universe Presents. We know how that experiment worked out….

    World’s Finest pretty much died when they decided to throw PG and Huntress back into the meat grinder of Earth 2. Futures End hasn’t helped either — talk about depressing!