I’m not the kind of person who religiously follows any particular comic book franchise. I essentially keep an eye out for characters that look interesting, reading mainly trades, and perform a kind of window shopping whenever I’m at a library in order to see if anything interesting is in. Such is how I stumbled across Marvel’s Daken and also X-23. Why haven’t I read much to do with them before even though I like Wolverine? ‘Cause I haven’t read much Wolverine as I mainly read DC stuff as opposed to Marvel. Having only just read my second Daken trade this week, some quick checking up on the character online revealed to me that his series is ending in March 2012. The news was announced in November, along with X-23 getting the chop and a host of other characters. Axel Alonso – Marvel editor head honcho – explained that:
[…] there comes a point where that title has to earn, usually sooner than later.
This is something I can understand, but personally I think part of the issue is the failure of Marvel to switch to an alternative publishing formula/platform before cancelling a series. If I was in charge of a series, because printing costs so much, and I was having to consider cancelling it, I’d see if it could continue selling digital only as opposed to worrying about the physical side of things. Digital publishing seriously brings down the costs.
Of course, in order to satisfy the interests of those who collect comics you’d have to put out some very special limited edition trades with a few extra bells and whistles once a series has sold enough. Marvel will probably not do this though, as it wouldn’t satisfy the large slice of fandom that happen to be obsessed with collecting comics.
What is perhaps most annoying about the cancellations is that they’re following what’s happening with the film adaptations i.e. Avengers related stuff is being promoted more due to next year’s film. I’ve never heard or seen newcomers to franchises going after individual comics. Rather they will hunt down trades instead.