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Wednesday, May 21, 2014 

Birds of Prey is being cancelled

At least it seems that way. It's among several titles being terminated because of low sales. This also has something to dispute:
All-Star Western, a critical favorite co-written by Harley Quinn‘s Jimmy Palmiotti, leads the pack of cancelled titles, along with Superboy, Batwing, Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger and Trinity of Sin: Pandora in addition to the aforementioned Birds of Prey.
Oh, look what they say about All-Star Western; it's a critical favorite, only they forget that a lot of the major comics sites have a knack for predisposed praise. What about audience favorite? After the New52 began, this title featuring Jonah Hex went even more downhill, and recycled one of the biggest mistakes that came towards the end of the original run from the Bronze Age: the trip to a future timeline. Judging from the sales receipts, it's clear nobody was impressed the second time around either. As for Birds of Prey, it was destroyed a decade ago after Identity Crisis, and has never recovered, thanks to all the editorial interference that finally broke up Black Canary, Oracle, and Huntress (speaking of which, the Helena Bertinelli version seems to have been killed off post-Flashpoint).

But are all these series actually over? They go on to say that:
Batwing, Birds of Prey, The Phantom Stranger, Pandora and Superboy all have Futures End tie-in one-shots planned for September, which calls into question just how “cancelled” those books really are.

Recent cancellations like Teen Titans and Suicide Squad have been almost immediately resurrected with new #1 issues, a trick DC has apparently picked up from Marvel Comics’s Marvel NOW! initiative, where relaunched books that aren’t performing, or just have a pending creative change, can be relaunched yet again to bolster sales and visibility with another new #1 and give a new creative team the highest possible profile.
Yes, I believe they have sunk to imitating Marvel's frequent relaunches for the sake of misleading sales charts. But as always, they're just short-term gimmicks that see diminishing returns, so I just don't see the point of keeping this up.

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"A critical favorite." Unfortunately for DC, there are not enough professional critics to boost sales figures much. And publishers seem to be unwilling or unable to produce comics that might appeal to a general audience, i.e., paying customers.

And the endless reboots and relaunches are just another sign of desperation. It's also a sign of how the market has changed. In the Silver Age and earlier (when even moderately popular comic books routinely sold in the six figure range), publishers would actually try to avoid numbering a comic at #1 if they could. Supposedly, first issues of new titles did not sell well (relatively speaking), because they were an unknown quantity. The theory was that if a kid saw Flash #105 or Thor #126 on sale, he would assume that it must be a good comic, since it had evidently lasted over a hundred issues.

Today, of course, marketing strategy is the opposite. They even cancel and reboot a series just to publish a new #1. Which shows how today's comics are strictly for collectors and investors. Heaven forbid that anyone actually read the things.

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