“Why should I buy this series, it’ll probably be canceled by issue six anyways!”
If you’ve been around other comic book fans, whether in person at a shop or convention or online through the various forums and social media platforms, no doubt at some point you’ve heard someone utter the above words or something similar about a comic book series. Easily 90% of the time it’s about a series that isn’t necessarily one of the big selling franchises at Marvel or DC, the rest of the time it’s a spinoff series from one of the bigger series with lesser known characters or a different premise from the first book.
In fact when news came down last week that Marvel is cancelling Black Panther and the Crew after just two issues, the series wrapping up with issue #6 later this year, this very sentiment was all over the internet.
This sentiment is stupid.
Why you say? Because it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that kills any books that aren’t already long-running or super popular books.
While there are many different factors that go into why books are ended, sometimes on the creative side and other times on the business/publisher side, simple economic factors are one of the key ones that fans can impact.
It’s no secret that when Marvel or DC puts out a series like Black Panther and The Crew, they are taking a chance to give spotlight to characters or concepts that are not normally the big best selling titles. They’re giving us a chance to try something new and maybe elevate that new thing to the same levels that are already reserved for the likes of the Avengers, X-Men, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and others.
But if fans dismiss those titles right from the start, how can they ever reach those levels? By proclaiming a title dead before it even reaches stores is utterly stupid.
Fans tend to claim they want new things, but when those new things are presented not enough fans buy them to justify a company continuing to put the money into it.
When fans declare that a title will be dead by issue #6 or #12 or some other number and then choose not to pre-order or buy the title they are making their own prediction come true. Once that title comes out to low orders and sales eventually it will likely be cancelled.
To defend this position many of those fans will then claim it’s on the company to market better, to pull marketing from the bigger books to the smaller ones. While this could be true in some cases, that’s generally not how marketing works.
There are reasons there are tons of products that you see in the store are ones that you never see a commercial for. They are products that don’t bring in enough money to really justify spending the amounts of money that come with marketing costs.
Marvel or DC putting out marketing for their latest event works because they will easily recoup their money if the event sells like most do. Same for their big tier books.
A book that is already declared dead by the fans, who then don’t bother to buy it or pre-order it, is one that in the end could end up costing them big time if they see no profit from that book. In turn if they bring in less money, companies are less likely to bother trying to put out these types of titles.
Why would Marvel put out another title like Black Panther and The Crew if they spent tons on it and ended up losing tons of money on it? Luckily Marvel and DC are both in positions that they will continue to try these secondary/different types of titles, but fans have to do their part as well.
While this tends to be said about Marvel or DC titles for the most part, the same factors go for the other publishers. In order to make the series that may not be their big ticket money makers fans have to take a chance and pre-order & buy the titles.
Another ridiculous argument that tends to appear is this idea that if a fan subscribes to a title that ends up ending with only 6 or 12 issues somehow it ruins the reading experience.
Again this is a stupid argument.
There are plenty of storylines that are only 6 or 12 or 5 or however many issues that are fantastic reads. A title isn’t only worth reading if it lasts for years and has issue numbers high up in the double or triple digits. Those titles can be good but sometimes the titles that have a confirmed ending are a lot more fun because it’s a complete story.
It’s a shame that Black Panther and The Crew, among many other titles recently, wont’ get the type of run for years like other titles but that does not diminish the story that the creative team was telling. It also doesn’t diminish the impact of Marvel allowing that type of story to be told, taking a chance to let the creators tell a story they wanted to put out there for the masses.
So before you prematurely declare a title dead, do your part and buy those titles if they are the ones that you want to see more of from a publisher.
In the long run, when these titles die you might have no one to blame but yourself and your fellow fans.