Marvel Comics Takes A Moment To Piss Me Off
Apparently, Marvel Comics has decided that it wanted to hurt me in some way and they couldn’t decide between kicking me directly in the narbles with a steel-toed shoe or cancelling one of my favorite books. I’m pretty sure they decided on cancellation based solely on the fact that they couldn’t find a shoe in the appropriate size at a reasonable cost.
And thus, S.W.O.R.D., a title that I have wholly enjoyed for all of three issues, is slated to get the axe at issue 5. Of course, the inevitable campaign to save the book has already begun, this time spear-headed by NerderyBlog, but very seldom do such programs work out, especially for books that have just launched and represent, for Marvel anyway, a miniscule investment with only marginal returns.
That having been said, Marvel seems to be on a path to cancel-happy wonderland. This is disheartening because, working in a comic shop as well as being a long time obsessive reader, I know how people react to new series in the first place.
“It’ll probably get cancelled, I’ll just get the trade.”
Do you know how many times I hear that when Marvel launches a new series? About as often as my brother heard me call him a worthless idiot during the course of our childhood. (That’s alot.) This mindset is not good for business in any way, shape or form, because now Marvel isn’t even letting the first trade hit stands to guage whether or not they should keep the book afloat. It’s not like over at DC where, and this is one of the few things they really got right, books like Jonah Hex continue monthly publication based off of the strength of the trades. Hell, from what I understand the entire Vertigo line is based off of this principle.
So why then does Marvel seem compelled to cut their losses at the earliest sign of reader slippage? I think that following the Disney merger, Marvel is trying to maintain a tight publishing organization that shows sizeable profits for everything they publish. This would explain why Super Hero Squad was recently relaunched for almost no discernable reason whatsoever, as well as the re-launch/re-branding of the Avengers titles coming after the end of SIEGE in April.
The problem with this strategum is that as readers, we will inevitably come to believe that Marvel as a publishing house has no fresh ideas, because in the end they will stop putting them on the stands. If they can’t make a profit off of them, why would they? This is just as much a call to arms for consumers as it is for the publisher. I know it’s asking a lot in this economy, but if you can stomach an extra 3 bucks a month, put it toward a title that you normally wouldn’t try. Just to show Marvel that we DO want creative and diverse titles on the rack. Yes, we will all still buy New Avengers and whatever event book they’ve put Bendis on at the moment, but we also want the books that are cut from a different cloth. And I would think Beast joining an agency that prevents extra-terrestrial warfare to be closer to his green-haired alien girlfriend would qualify as being cut from a different cloth.
R.I.P. S.W.O.R.D., I will certainly miss you. (Until the re-launch, or last minute un-cancelation, or return as a backup, or whatever they end up doing.)