Hey guys, I’m sorry for putting this before the rest of the quotes, but I’m on the computer at work and for some reason it doesn’t let me write after the quotes here.
Anyway, yeah, it’s a real shame that two of the books starring characters of color were cancelled. And we definitely have too many Batman books, though I’ll mention that pretty much all of them besides “Batman: The Dark Knight” (which needs to go) are pretty high quality right now. If it’s any consolation on the Batman front, I can’t imagine Batman: Incorporated sticking around once Morrison’s story is over, so I’m thinking of it more as a somewhat open-ended mini-series than an actual, permanent ongoing. It’ll be around, what, three years at the very most?
But I’ll be honest: “Mr. Terrific” and “Static Shock” weren’t very good. How many of you have actually been reading them? I’ve been buying every issue of both. Mr. Terrific’s writing varies greatly from issue to issue. Sometimes it was good, sometimes it was mediocre, sometimes it was straight-up bad; but it’s never been better than “decent”. And the art was hideous. His mask is never consistent from panel to panel. And Static Shock started out fantastic. I loved the first issue, it was my favorite issue of that week. But then each issue consistently got worse. The story became muddled, the villains confusing. Honestly, I read issue five twice and I still have no idea what happened or why. The characterization of Static in that book is strong, but everything else about it fell apart so fast it’s mind-boggling. The fact that Static went sour is my biggest disappointment of the New 52; I honestly can’t even be that sad that it was cancelled, because it just kinda stopped being good.
I hope Mr. Terrific is folded back into the Justice Society; I was excited by him having a solo book, and I still think it could’ve worked if executed properly, but that said, I also think he works better in a team setting. I imagine we’ll see Static around as well, but I’m even more disappointed that they didn’t try to overhaul his book before cancelling it. Static’s a popular character with a lot of built-in name recognition, and I think the book could’ve done better with clearer writing and a less polarizing artist.
There are books that, based on writing, I think deserved to be cancelled first (Suicide Squad, Hawkman, and the weak and redundant Batman: The Dark Knight immediately come to mind.) But the one thing I always keep in mind is that DC is a business. DC can and has fought to keep alive books that are critical darlings but are low on sales: Gotham Central, Blue Beetle (both before the reboot and now, as the current volume has sales just as low as many of the books currently being cancelled.), etc. But with the exception of OMAC, all of the books DC just cancelled not only had low sales, but were largely disliked by critics as well. If nothing else, as I’ve said, I feel like DC should have at least taken measures to keep Static around, both because of his name recognition and for diversity’s sake, but I also can’t blame them for bailing out of the sinking ship.
Meanwhile, the argument about keeping around/adding more Batman books is completely true and I agree with it completely. But that’s not DC’s fault. You know who you should blame? Comic book readers. The people who buy every single Batman book that comes out, no matter what the quality. Batman books sell, always. DC makes money on them, and honestly? Those extra Batman books bringing in guaranteed money may be the only things keeping alive some of the smaller books that are excellent but can’t always hold an audience.
It reminds me of TV shows like Two and a Half Men and Jersey Shore. Are they absolute garbage? Obviously. But people watch them, people watch them like crazy. They bring in so much money for their stations it’s not funny. You can’t get mad at CBS or MTV for keeping them on the air. Getting rid of a show like that, no matter how pathetically bad, would be financial suicide. And it’s the same for Batman books.
Also, look at the books we’re getting in exchange. The long awaited JSA book with art by the super-talented Nicola Scott and the Huntress/Power Girl team up book alone are awesome, and Paul Levitz has proven with the Huntress mini that a Huntress book under his pen will be awesome. Ravagers and Dial H for Hero intrigue me even if they’re not necessarily guaranteed to be good books. The only real downside I can see with the new books compared to the old is the loss of POC lead books. The new books are a little too white for my taste. Fortunately, G.I. Combat, Ravagers and H for Hero all have the opportunity to add in many POC, and I hope they take advantage of it. It doesn’t make up for losing POC lead books, but it is opportunity there.
So basically, I can’t blame any of you for being angry at losing POC books, or books that meant a lot to you. You have every right to complain about that. But DC Executives weren’t sitting around in their floating fortress twirling their mustaches saying “Let’s cancel minority-lead books and replace them with Batman books in an effort to piss off our readership!” They cancelled low-selling books that were also poorly reviewed. Honestly, at this point, the only thing Terrific and Static had going for them was the fact that they were minority led.
And I admit, I’m white. I might be bringing some unintended privelege to this discussion, or I might be missing something I might not have missed otherwise. But I do hope I helped shine a bit of a different perspective on the discussion.
DC today announced they will be cancelling six of the new 52 - OMAC, Men of War, Mr. Terrific, Static Shock, Black Hawks and Hawk and Dove with their eighth issues.
Earlier today they announced the six series that will replace those books, which were some of the lowest selling books of the new 52. The cancelled half dozen also include two of the books starring men of color.
Among the new teams announced:
World’s Finest - written by Paul Levitz with art by George Perez and Kevin Maguire. Can’t argue with that art team, but I’m sad To won’t get a shot at an ongoing.
The Ravagers - written by Howard Mackie and illustrated by Ian Churchill. This will spin out of the current Team Titans. I was hoping this would be the rumored Gail Simone title with “benched” characters. But nope.
G.I. Combat - written by J.T. Krul and artist Ariel Olivetti, with rotating backup stories by writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and artist Dan Panosian and John Arcudi and artist Scott Kolins.
Dial H for Hero - Brian Bolland will be the artist on Dial H for Hero along with writer China Miévill
Interesting line-up. How many female creators is that? I’ll be back with thoughts later.
To hell with it. I’m done with DC. We can’t let diversity get in the way of the inevitable Batbooks right guys?
Well thank goodness they got rid of some of their only books starring people of color instead of, say, Suicide Squad or one of the 800 books with Batman in them. I sure wish I was still reading any DCnU titles instead of pretending the reboot never happened.