Learning that DC was cancelling five superhero titles reminded me immediately of the “Saturday Night Massacre,” when President Nixon’s firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox led directly to the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckleshaus. But, you know, that’s just me. I may be one of the few superhero-comics bloggers who went through a Watergate phase in college. Got two term papers out of it, at any rate.
But I digress. As we all know, the May solicitations are out, and DC will still be publishing a significant number of superhero comics — so let’s get to ‘em, shall we?
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YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD THERE IS A GREEN LANTERN MOVIE
Seems like the last time DC did a multiple-issue “prequel series” to one of its big movies was 2006, with four lead-ins to Superman Returns. I liked Superman Returns, but those related comics weren’t too memorable. However, I do like the creative teams on these one-shots — Geoff Johns (a no-brainer for GL), Marc Guggenheim, Jerry Ordway, Joe Bennett, Karl Kerschl, Fernando Dagnino, and Cliff Richards, plus the screenwriters — so they may be more worthwhile.
The solicitations for DC’s May titles hit earlier today, bringing official word that five DC series have been canceled. Doom Patrol, JSA All-Stars, Freedom Fighters and R.E.B.E.L.S. join The Outsiders on the chopping block. They follow Azrael, Batman: Streets Of Gotham and Batman Confidential, which met their ends in March.
Looking at the most recent month-to-month sales figures for DC that Mark-Oliver Frisch analyzes on The Beat, it’s not surprising to see any of these titles ending. Probably the biggest surprise, if you were looking just at the numbers, is JSA All-Stars, which looks to be selling better than other monthly series not getting the axe, like Booster Gold and Power Girl. I bet many of the characters in it will find their way back to the flagship JSA title.
Freedom Fighters co-writer Jimmy Palmiotti commented on the cancellation of the book on Twitter, noting, “If a book doesn’t break even or make a profit, it gets cancelled and opens up the door for another title,” he said. “Wait for the big picture. things get cancelled and others get green lit. the nature of publishing.”
Doom Patrol, Freedom Fighters, Outsiders and L.E.G.I.O.N./R.E.B.E.L.S. have all ended before — despite their name, Doom Patrol has been resurrected four times since the original series ended — and no doubt they’ll all be back again somewhere down the road.
Careful readers may have noticed that in past months I have been a little lukewarm towards DC’s solicitations.
Well, not this time.
Although we’ve already heard about many of these new titles, the fact that they all hit in the same month helps make the November solicits pretty eventful. So let’s see how DC’s loaded the pre-holiday season, shall we?
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The biggest new title is Batman, Inc., Grant Morrison’s new standardbearer for the Batman line. Essentially Morrison is transferring his flag from Batman and Robin to this book, and thereby shifting focus from a Dynamic Duo to a caped CEO.
Last week, in my Tony Bedard/R.E.B.E.L.S. interview, we discussed that industry veteran Claude St. Aubin would be providing artist Andy Clarke with some relief on the DC ongoing monthly. I’m a long-time fan of St. Aubin’s work, in fact I interviewed him several years ago about Penny-Farthing Press’ The Victorian (and remember first noticing his work on Captain Canuck many years ago). So when Bedard said St. Aubin was “turning in the best work of his career”, I was eager to see a few pages.
Tony Bedard is a writer I’ve interviewed several times regarding various projects over the years. I greatly enjoyed his work years ago with CrossGen and since then I’ve often viewed a project more favorably if I found his name was attached. So when I heard he had a new ongoing series for DC, R.E.B.E.L.S. (core concept: Vril Dox [Brainiac 2] recruits a team to regain control of his L.E.G.I.O.N. police force), I contacted him for an email interview. This Wednesday, April 15, marks the release of the third issue in the series. (A preview of the first issue is available from DC here.)
Tim O’Shea: The first issue opens with a reference from the Encyclopedia Galactica, a nod to past incarnations of Legion books (as well as the works of Isaac Asimov and Douglas Adams). When launching a new series that references the past but wants to make its own mark in the present (while telling tales from the future) how careful does a writer need to be in referencing the past with certain aspects while giving readers a fresh twist?
Tony Bedard: I want R.E.B.E.L.S. to be completely accessible to a new reader, and yet I want it to be loaded with references and “Easter eggs” for readers who are familiar with Legion lore. I guess the trick is not to make those bits essential to understanding the story. They’re in there as a bonus (and, yeah, the encyclopedia caption is a total homage to LSH stories of the past) but they’re not the point of the book. We’re just telling a fast and furious space saga, and everyone’s invited to join us.