The sudden cancelation of floundering comic titles isn’t by any means a new phenomenon. Yet there’s something to be said about the alarming frequency of titles being canceled under DC's New 52 initiative.
The monthly DC Comics solicitations. What were once a source of anticipation and excitement showcasing forthcoming stories in the DC universe have since degraded into a veritable obituary page for canceled titles. Though their respective plot summaries aren’t exactly generous when it comes to exact details or status quo-shattering reveals, there have, as of late, been two words appearing within these curtailed synopses that leave many of us shaking our heads in collective disappointment with their clear meaning: “final issue.”
The sudden cancelation of floundering comic titles isn’t by any means a new phenomenon. Since the early heyday of the comicbook publishing industry countless series have come and gone from the shelves of newsstands and drugstore magazine racks, making way for superior reading experiences that catered to the changing discernment of readers or simply compensated for a previous book’s lackluster sales. In essence, this is a widely accepted business practice, switching out an inferior product for one that will hopefully reconcile previous profit loss. Yet there’s something to be said about the alarming frequency of titles being canceled under DC’s New 52 initiative, with quite a few reaching an expedited, abrupt terminus almost as soon as they’re announced.
It’s disheartening to bear witness to the fact that we’re nearly two years in and the New 52 hasn’t quite lived up to its intended purpose when first spearheaded by DC Comics’ top editorial brass. What was meant as an audacious, albeit necessary, reboot of its entire legacy to broaden the appeal of their intellectual properties and comicbooks as a whole—a medium that, when compared to the consumer landscape of decades past, has been facing sturdy competition more so than ever from electronic media and other digital entertainment outlets—the publisher appears to be more preoccupied with maintaining the distinction of releasing fifty-two books a month. This is regrettably opposed to delivering the quality necessary to spark an interest in not only new readers but fans that have shown staunch support for DC time and again. You can call it a hackneyed expression, but the old economic chestnut “quantity over quality” is apparently the company mantra as evidenced by their playing spin doctor, labeling every group of new comic series designed to fill in the swaths left behind by egregious cancelations as “waves.”