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Wednesday, October 11, 2006 

Will DC's OYL backfire on them?

I looked at this rundown of one of the DC sales charts on The Beat blog, and some, if not all, of the results in sales lead me to wonder if it's possible that all the changes made in the wake of One Year Later will eventually wear thin. Or, put another way, it does look like some of the more needless steps are beginning to backfire. For example, as they say about the Flash:
Sales are leveling out, remaining 30,000 units ahead of the previous Flash series.
Yep, after an almost auspicious start for this third volume, they began to go down steadily. Some audience members have said that, with the moving of Bart Allen to the role of the main speedster, which is very rushed (first he's a new Kid Flash in Teen Titans, then just 3 years afterwards, he's the main man? Too quick, I'm afraid), they've made even less appealing than when he was Impulse. In fact, when I found that in the 3rd or 4th issue, one of the villains uses the female B-word describing him (it's supposed to be slang for "irritating"), I could only sit there amazed at how um...colorful the language has gotten. One more reason why TV writers just aren't suited to deal with this kind of stuff.

On Wonder Woman, with Donna Troy in the lead:
Similar to Flash: The Fastest Man Alive in July, the second issue of Allan Heinberg and Terry Dodson’s Wonder Woman relaunch takes a nose-dive, ending up more than a third below the debut issue’s sales. It’s a very harsh drop, even accounting for the variant cover edition of issue #1.

Of course, sales are still ahead of the previous volume’s by a comfortable 40K.
Even so, there's a potential reason why this too has taken a dive for now: Heinberg, who's Hollywood material, has been balancing his time between this and his Tinseltown job, which does seem to have hurt sales. But there's also the question of if readers are really that willing to accept Donna in Diana's role, and the fact that the notable cast members like Prof. Kapatelis and her daughter Vanessa are being all but dropped.

An interesting aside, I might add that I discovered that Heinberg won't be on the book long, and after 6 issues will be replaced by another writer whom I'll try to find out about later.

On the Outsiders:
The numbers keep declining. Given that Outsiders has been one of DC’s most solid performers since its launch, they’ve got to be worried by the fact that it’s shredded 5,000 units in the last three months.
The thing that was really appalling was that the only reason why it did as well as it did in the past 3 years was because of Judd Winick, one of DC's own "hot writers". Like at Marvel, DC too needs to cut it out with selling a book solely because of the writer assigned and change to doing it according to how well written the story is, which is certainly possible to do.

On Nightwing:
The decline is accelerating. Of course, Nightwing sales are still about 5K ahead of the book’s pre-”One Year Later” numbers and a new creative team is set to take over with issue #125, so there’s no immediate reason to be worried here.
Marv Wolfman is already here, and I'm going to try and look around to see if anyone declares this an improvement over the mess it became when Dixon was shafted.

On the All-New Atom:
This isn’t a disastrous second-issue drop for an ongoing title, but it’s not particularly encouraging, either. Artist John Byrne’s departure after #3 probably won’t help matters much.
I can't say I'm that surprised, partly due to the fact that they intro'd a new Atom at the expense of Silver Age Ray Palmer, tarnishing his background and that of Jean Loring, to say nothing of soiling a lot of what made the Silver Age the great day it was to begin with. Of course, the whole idea of having Giganta running around naked in All-New Atom, when in Wonder Woman #2 by contrast she's far from baring everything, probably didn't endear that many people to this series so far.

On Robin, and this too is something important worth noting:
The numbers are leveling out again, remaining at a perfectly acceptable level in the wake of the “One Year Later” gimmick.
Yes, I do know that the sales have been dropping lately, and it would come as no surprise if it had what to do with DC's ruining Cassie Cain and slaying of Spoiler two years ago. The title's been in freefall storywise for quite awhile now, and does not seem to be recovering that easily.

On Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters:
Another title spinning out of “Infinite Crisis” and promoted in DCU: Brave New World which displays a less than enthusiastic second-issue drop.
On Chuck Dixon's board, they panned it, because it's apparently got some anti-patriotic slant to it. I don't know if that's what leads to this drop in sales, but I do know that, if there's any Chomskyism in this one, I won't be there.

On the Checkmate series:
Yet another post-”Infinite Crisis” title rapidly disappearing off the radar without any sign of sales bottoming out.
Of course, there's also the problem with it being too much of a title featuring superheroes, supervillains, and other characters well within that range, certainly more so than the New Format series seen in 1988. That's the problem with some of the most recent items - that they're too entrenched in the superhero genre to really work, whereas the Secret Six, when it appeared in Action Comics Weekly, was far from being that way and was more self-contained. And that's why for me, when I read it in ACW, it worked.

On Hawkgirl, and this actually saddens me:
Sales are now below pre-”One Year Later” levels. Evidently, the book’s revamp isn’t going over well with the audience.
Admittedly, I'm not happy, yet I can understand why it may have ended up like this.

On Jonah Hex:
Sales keep declining.
And Dan DiDio was highly supportive of this guy, wasn't he? Could be a good way for DC fans to tell DiDio what they think of what he and the staff did this past year!
On Firestorm, which I still can't seem to find any trades of:
Briskly declining. A new creative team is set to take over next year. Apart from Manhunter, which is still around because it’s been granted a reprieve, this is now the lowest-selling DC Universe title which hasn’t been canceled yet.
Putting in a totally new character the way they did and sending Ronnie Raymond off in defeat (at the hands of Shadow Thief, no less), may have eventually doomed it.

And, on a few more notes, Manhunter may have one more story line to go, but it's getting so low that I wouldn't be surprised if it gets cancelled soon. Swamp Thing was axed, and the revival of The Warlord has been too. It does not look like DC's publicity stunts are holding up as well as they thought.

But if things are to be repaired for any characters who were slighted over the past two years, fan action will still be needed. And that's why it's good to have the blogosphere around as one of the ways to try and help out.

Open trackbacks: Mark My Words, Outside the Beltway, Pirate's Cove.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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