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Is DC Comics canceling the First Wave line?

First Wave #1

The Beat and Bleeding Cool both reported today that DC Comics is canceling its pulp adventure comics line, First Wave, which includes the ongoing Doc Savage and Spirit titles. DC has not officially confirmed the cancellations, but hopefully we’ll have an update soon.

It’s probably not surprising, as both Doc Savage and The Spirit have been selling in the range of several other DC titles that have been canceled recently, such as Doom Patrol and R.E.B.E.L.S.

The First Wave line kicked off with a Batman/Doc Savage special by Brain Azzarello and Phil Noto in 2009. It was followed by the Doc Savage and Spirit ongoings, as well as the six-issue First Wave miniseries that wraps up next week. A First Wave special is scheduled for April.



I’ve genuinely enjoyed Hines and Moritat’s Spirit, and the First Wave mini is decent, but I knew this line wouldn’t last for too long.

Although good comics, they didn’t appeal to readers who weren’t already familiar with the characters.

I started buying them when the price dropped (wished Mighty Crusaders had lasted, too). Doc Savage was very easy on the eyes, but the Spirit comic wasn’t quite up to Eisner’s standards.

Even so, I would have kept buying them had they continued to be published. (I hope THUNDER AGENTS survives the crunch…)

DC tried well enough to make it work, but the initial $3.99 price killed any chance they had of a decent launch….

Christopher Walsh

February 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm

The fact that the mini-series seemed to ship so late and felt like the glue of the sries was terrible. The two off-shoot books felt isolated from each other. The back-ups were never much good and the $3.99 launch was the final nail. It’s a shame because it was a fresh take on characters like Batman, Savage, The Spirit, Blackhawk and Rima the Jungle Girl.

Much like the Red Circle line, there just wasn’t much demand for these books to start with. Never mind that I think DC would have been better off just doing one miniseries to test the waters.

Beyond that, the previous Spirit comic was brilliant, and never found a large audience either.

DC has two choices, either commit to esoteric books like these with lots of promotions, the way they do with Jonah Hex, or not bother. The approach they have taken with Red Citcle and with First Wave was basically to dump them on the stands and hope people find them.

Can’t say this bodes well for THUNDER Agents in the long run, though that seems to have the raves the other revivals lacked.

“Although good comics, they didn’t appeal to readers who weren’t already familiar with the characters.”

Except that most people familiar with the characters didn’t care for the major alterations in them. The Doc Savage strip was bad enough, but the Avenger strip was horrible. I don’t fault the artists, but the writing on Doc and the Avenger were just poor.

“Can’t say this bodes well for THUNDER Agents in the long run, though that seems to have the raves the other revivals lacked.”

I can’t imagine the raves will keep it going if the sales aren’t there. Issue #3 had pre-orders of 10,600 copies, fewer than JONAH HEX and about 2K more than issue #10 of Doc Savage and The Spirit. It’s feasible that THUNDER Agents could hit double digits, but wouldn’t expect more unless it finds its level VERY quickly.

This along with Freedom Fighters possibly cancelled doesn’t bode well for niche titles at DC.(or Marvel)The 3.99 price and the dropping of page count to twenty for some titles once the back stories were dropped was a major mistake at both ends.Adding to the First Wave problems as Chris Walsh stated that the mini series should have been the glue that held the titles together.Yet DC botched the release like they did with Flash Rebirth and Joe the Barbarian for whatever reasons.I disagree wholeheartedly with Chris and MB however that the backups were “horrible”. I don’t know what you guys were reading but I liked them. My only complaint is there doesn’t seem to be a consistent policy on how to rerelease them with the left over material.Why is the Jimmy Olsen Action Comics back up the only one to be collected with everything together?If it’s too much material then wait for the trade.I skipped over the Atom Giant because it didn’t collect the Adventure episodes.I wouldn’t have been duplicating anything if it was all under one roof.Who the heck is running the show at DC in this regard?Ultimately for me First Wave wasn’t pulp oriented enough in that Shadow,Green Hornet,and Phantom weren’t available and Batman Noir had to be shoehorned in along with Blackhawks and almost a Noir Black Canary.Still it is a shame this is gone.

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