Funnybook Babylon

July 21, 2010

Number Crunching: Looking at Vertigo Cancellations

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 2:23 am

Vertigo has recently announced the end of three titles: Air, Unknown Soldier, and most recently Greek Street. While comic fans have become inured to superhero cancellations — Agents of Atlas just got canned for what I believe is the nineteenth time in five years — many people feel special pain for the premature end of more personal creator-owned books like those at Vertigo. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise: the majority of Vertigo titles end within about two years, well before their creators’ projected endpoints:

vertigo-graph-series-lengths

I don’t wish to suggest people cannot lament their favorite underdogs: at least some of us at FBB are outspoken fans of Air and Young Liars, and while none of us cared much for Greek Street, I don’t wish to make light of its fans. But people — and I am focusing on the most prominent mourner, Rich Johnston — need to be realistic about their love of spectacularly unsuccessful projects.
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December 7, 2008

This Blog is Cancelled!

Torches? Check. Pitchforks? Check. Two-gallon drum of Haterade? Check. Looks like it’s time for Internet rage about comics getting cancelled again.

What’s up on the chopping block this time? One Marvel book (She-Hulk) and a whole lotta DC books (Nightwing, Robin, Birds of Prey, Manhunter and Blue Beetle). Why are they cancelled? Well, that’s a bit more complicated.

Conventional wisdom might tell you that these cancellations are due to today’s harsh economic realities. Other sectors might tell you that it’s about sexism, or subtle racism against minority characters, or a general unwillingness on the part of the publishers to give these books a shot. I’ve seen blame passed around, from the nature of the periodical medium to the willingness of the reader base to accept new characters, a lot of arguments from people who either weren’t reading the books or admitted they didn’t like them. What’s up with that?

Blue Beetle had an astounding 25-issue run that was a slow-starter and is forever kind of hurt by the fact that the opening stages are greatly affected by, and have to refer to, the events of Infinite Crisis where Jaime made his first appearance. As much as I hate to say it, this’ll always hurt its ability to sell in trades. Once you hit issue seven (which is, ironically enough, the most Infinite Crisis-linked of all the issues), it really kicks off, though, and Rogers turned it into what was probably one of DC’s strongest books during the time it was coming out. I’m sure somebody will comment about how that’s damning with faint praise, but this was during 52 and the start of Morrison’s Batman and back when Busiek/Pacheco Superman was cool and it looked like DC might actually keep its momentum.
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November 22, 2008

FBBP #80 – I Don’t Need Your Civil War

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , , , — Joseph Mastantuono @ 2:19 am

This week, the gang pours one out for the late, lamented Blue Beetle and takes a look at Marvel’s Civil War in the context of a big hardcover artifact. Both conversations pinwheel into the predictable larger “issues” like transmedia synergy and the marriage of James Carville and Mary Matalin

No podcast recording this weekend, but we hope to reconvene after Thanksgiving to kick off the Holiday Podcasting Season! Why not take this brief interlude to consider all that we have done right and wrong this year, and offer constructive criticism?

Do you prefer:
Longer or shorter shows?
Epic digressions or concision?
More Reviews? Fewer Reviews? Different Types of Reviews?

Should we try to have guests? What do YOU think? Let us know!

September 13, 2007

Sales Figures: Threat or Menace?

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , — Jamaal Thomas @ 9:33 am

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Numbers make everything appear more concrete. We can all have positions on subjects or opinions about issues, but with data that could be interpreted to confirm our conclusions, our complaints as fans magically transform into sober critiques by objective analysts. This behavior is most prevalent in our cultural industries, where fans are constantly struggling to find tools to assess the quality of and understand the product in an objective manner. We all want to say more than “I don’t like that movie/book/comic because it didn’t appeal to me.” We want to be able to judge the product in a manner that is superficially fair and disinterested, especially if the facts just happen to correlate with our deeply held beliefs.
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