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Comic Cancellations

By Courntey Dunn


Cancellations are a part of the comic book life cycle. A twist on a character or a new storyline will either be met with the rallied cries of fans or the sad sound of a cancellation announcement due to lack of sales. Marvel has been steadily cranking out titles of old, new, and rebooted characters. Though recently, they have been slowly reeling back the production of a lot of the popular titles that they’ve released. They haven’t even all been officially canceled, just not available in the July solicitations. Well, Mosaic, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat, Star-Lord, Power Man & Iron Fist, Rocket Raccoon, Kingpin, Thunderbolts, Silk, Nova, Black Panther: World of Wakanda, and Elektra have all been officially canceled.  

Now, we all know that sales are important to any business, especially this industry. That being said if about half of your goods are selling at a low, but consistent level, is it worth it to just scrap all the products that are low selling? That seems to be what Marvel is doing despite fan interest. It’s as if they forgot how readers work. Some people need time to warm up to a new character or a new iteration of one. Some people wait to see how well received a new title is before they hop on. Some people wait for the trade so they can get as much story at one time as possible! There’s a lot of reasons why the numbers for these titles hover around the cancellation line, but maybe the cancellation point should be adjusted.

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Another criticism that has been making its way around is that Marvel’s attempts to be inclusive and politically correct are killing their sales. I mean, what’s so crazy about expanding a possible reader base? I do admit that some bits of dialogue have been a bit ham-handed, but there’s nothing wrong with passing the torch of power onto someone different. I bet people lost their shit when Mar-vell accidentally shared his powers with Carol Danvers to make her into Ms. Marvel. Oh no, a woman with power! So what if there’s some brown people, women, or even brown women in the books we read? Are they not present in everyday life or is the superhero world supposed to be this magical all Anglo utopia? The idea that Marvel is alienating their “main” demographic is uninformed at best, and just plain bigoted at worst. Becoming inclusive is probably the reason they’ve been able to keep up the sales on certain titles.
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With that argument, it makes it especially surprising that the new run of Black Panther is being canceled. Especially in the wake of him joining the cinematic universe. Some readers say that the writer, David Liss, didn’t do the character justice, but does Marvel really care about anything but the numbers these days? Though he doesn’t have a whole lot under his belt comic-wise other than Mystery Men and The Spider, he is a highly acclaimed novelist. I also, personally, really enjoyed what I read of the series. At least a third of ongoing Marvel titles are selling below what they prefer, but hardly any of them have the rolling ball of building star power like Black Panther does.

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Honestly, if the only reason for these cancellations is sales, maybe Marvel should start listening to the fans more and less to the out of touch people at the head. Attempting to bump up sales with mega crossover events, tie-ins, and limited release series do not create long-term readership. If they actually let the books with excellent creative teams and a solid but small readership finish a story then they may have more luck keeping people interested. When I see a new event happening, I’m really just wondering what books to read that won’t be entirely based on ending up at this big showdown. Sometimes people just want to read a good story and maybe Marvel has forgotten that’s what it’s all about.

Hopefully, I will talk to guys again. But until then Cheers


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