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Saturday, December 23, 2017 

4 of the worst Marvel series have been canceled, and one of DC's botch jobs was too

Inside Pulse looked through solicitations for March, and found at least 4 of the worst written books Marvel was publishing have been terminated, and 4 others don't turn up on the lists. The definitely canceled are:
The Unbelievable Gwenpool
Generation X
Hawkeye
Ice Man
On the Gwenpool series, it sure is interesting how, after all these years, they suddenly decided to do variations on the girl who died as a result of the Green Goblin in Spider-Man back in 1973. But which obviously didn't make for a particularly entertaining series, judging from its discontinuation. A new series using the title of the mid-90s series starring another younger gathering of X-Men certainly didn't come at a good time, nor did the new Hawkeye series. As for Iceman, I think the obsession with turning characters, established or otherwise, into homosexual and other such ideas they weren't years before should explain perfectly why that series wasn't long for this world. Such tactics didn't help DC either when they changed Alan Scott to homosexual in the Earth 2 series at least 4 years ago, and the book was canceled by 2015.

The titles missing from Marvel's solicitations include Captain Marvel and America Chavez. What makes the cancellation of America Chavez amusing in a sense is that Entertainment Weekly, not exactly known for their objectivity to comics, named it one of their best of the year, appearing as the 11th entry on their slideshow list. And now, it hopefully goes to the dustbin, along with the CM series that was rightly panned by purists for turning Carol Danvers into what some described as "Carl Manvers". Because they became obsessed with making women look like men and vice versa as part of their social justice/transgendering routine, that's why even the ladies evidently weren't reading; it obviously turned off many looking for an inspiring figure, and stripping the true Ms. Marvel of all the best qualities clearly had a negative effect.

Comicbook also spoke about the cancellation of the Luke Cage solo, and quoted its writer, David F. Walker, stating:
Walker went on to get pretty candid about the reason that Luke Cage was canceled and the state of the comic book industry as a whole.

“Time to get real...Luke Cage was cancelled because it sold poorly. VERY poorly. There are various factors that contributed to those poor sales, but they all add up to the same conclusion.

“The success of superheroes in film, television and video games ONLY carries over to comics when people actually buy the comics. Truth is not many people buy comics. Of the top 10 best selling comics in November, only four sold more than 100,000 units. That's sad.”
But it doesn't occur to him that his vicious leanings, political or otherwise, played some part in the modern decline of comics sales? That's not also sad? At least he's willing to call a spade a spade, and admit bad sales numbers led to the title's demise. For now, I would like to argue that turning Cage into the modern cliche of a black guy with a bald head (and even a beard?) is ludicrous, and I don't see it as a good example. I don't have a Netflix subscription, and don't think they're available overseas anyway, but this and one of the producers' fawning comments over Brian Bendis' writing, which contains quite a few of these ridiculous SJW ideas, is enough to discourage me from bothering about the TV show. What I want to read is the Bronze Age comics written by people like Jo Duffy and Chris Claremont, which is decidedly superior to the dismaying PC-ness of this modern era.

And Marvel's cancellations aren't all there is in focus. Even DC's recent Cyborg solo book is being canceled, and CBR, of all places, admits they blew it. Their commentary is as follows:
In January, DC Comics’ ongoing Cyborg series concludes with issue #20. This will seemingly end the publisher’s longstanding attempt to elevate Victor Stone’s DC Universe status. DC has been trying to push the character to the forefront of its comic book universe for over a decade now, and what has the character to show for it all? Two failed ongoing series, and a lukewarm reception in Justice League. Now, after years of trying to make Cyborg happen, it’s clear DC blew the whole thing.
As somebody with a sizable Teen Titans collection, this strikes me as silly. Since when wasn't Cyborg a prominent member of the DCU? Oh, I get it, because he wasn't a Justice League member before, he never was at the forefront? Please. As a leading member of the New Titans in better days, he was plenty prominent, including his friendship with Changeling, and not just some token member at all. Granted, maybe they wanted to try and give Vic Stone a comeback, since the Titans franchise was screwed up years ago (in hindsight, I really dislike Geoff Johns' take on the Teen Titans, ditto that of the writers who succeeded him), but retconning away his origins with the Titans was not the way to do it, and shoehorning him into the League to fill a diversity quota doesn't work either. Certainly not if it's done at the expense of alien members like Martian Manhunter. You could argue that we've reached a point where suddenly, otherworldly aliens are not considered worthy quotas in their own right, and only folks of different racial background from the planet Earth seem to count.
From the very beginning, DC put Cyborg at a disadvantage. In order to make a person of color a founding member of the Justice League — a team historically comprised of five white dudes, a white woman, and their green friend — DC needed to prove to the audience why he belonged. Unfortunately, the publisher couldn’t really do that in a New 52 continuity that was completely devoid of all history.

Casual comic book readers know the members of the Justice League, but they were far less familiar with Cyborg. The character’s longstanding status as a Teen Titan — a junior team, by definition — was all he had to lean on to prove his worthiness on the team. Unfortunately, DC’s New 52 reboot left him with no history to speak of, and no experience to pull from. He essentially joined the big leagues with a blank resume.

It also hurt his chances of acceptance that he actually had to replace a member of the Justice League in order to be considered a founding member. While Martian Manhunter was the easy victim, fans of the character were not happy. This same method worked with John Stewart taking Hal Jordan’s spot in the Justice League cartoon because his status as a Green Lantern put him in the big leagues, but Cyborg wasn’t really anyone of note.
It's not that Cyborg wasn't of note, but that they thought it was such a big deal to have a diversity quota instead of talented writing to encourage readers to show up. Of course, DC blew it because they just had to reboot their universe - otherwise, if diversity quotas are really such a big deal, which they're not, they could've added John Stewart as they did in the early 2000s. But again, they screwed up, because Dan DiDio and Johns are simply some of the most awful, pretentious managers to litter the company since the turn of the century. Since we're on the subject of Green Lantern, interesting no character who took the mantle is part of the movie's main cast (rather, as Movie Pilot notes, just a minor cameo). Are they really so embarrassed by the 2011 GL movie's failure they couldn't be bothered to include one of the most notable members of the Silver/Bronze Age team?

Furthermore, if they wanted to elevate Cyborg to a major status, what they should've done was emphasize the Titans, in wider medium and such (though with DiDio and Johns around, it wouldn't work out well at all). There was a time when the Titans were a notable brand, but again, it all went to pot in the mid-90s when crossovers flooded the market along with declines in writing quality, and that's why once notable brands went sour. Likewise, expelling J'onn J'onzz from the League was another serious mistake; the green-skinned guy does have his fans too, after all.

Unfortunately for the article, its writer then turns to making the audience sound like they're against casting Cyborg as a Leaguer out of hostility to inclusivity:
Couple DC’s poor setup for the character with the unfortunate reality of resistance to inclusivity in entertainment, and it’s almost like the publisher never gave him a chance to succeed. He was considered the undeserving usurper from the start, and never managed to recover. In the end, we ended up with the Justice League… and Cyborg.
Sigh. The entertainment industry's long had many black, Asian and Latino contributors, and nobody's had any issue with that for decades by now. What hurts entertainment is when they rely far too heavily on demographics instead of overall audience numbers, acting as if, should they fail entirely to include POC, nobody of a different background will show up. Which is nonsense.

And guess who wrote one of the solo books. Somebody who was already mentioned above:
In 2015, Cyborg finally received his first ongoing solo series. Unfortunately, DC Comics had no idea how to handle its most prominent black character, thus, he failed to capture an audience. Writer David F. Walker, a black man who has become noted for writing black characters in The Supernals, Shaft, Nighthawk and Occupy Avengers, came aboard to write the title, but was met with resistance from the beginning.

As Walker himself discussed in an interview with CBR back in April 2017, DC didn’t exactly know what they were doing with the character. He left the title just nine issues in, due in part to DC editorial’s inability to acknowledge who Cyborg really is: A black man.
Oh for heaven's sake. I doubt they failed to acknowledge his background, because they're little different from Marvel in terms of SJW-pandering, though if that's really the case, it's rather funny they wouldn't, after all the harm they caused to their properties' integrity. I'm sure there were some creative differences though, and maybe that's why he left. But anybody who thinks they've abandoned their SJW approach that easily would do well to be a realist and look more carefully, because there's still examples running around in their output if you know where to look, not the least being their continued position of throwing Ray Palmer under the bus for the sake of putting a POC in the Atom's costume.
According to Walker, he told DC. “it’s not the story about, ‘Is he more man or is he more machine?’” Walker felt distinctly that, “He is more man,” and, “If he was 99% machine, he’s still gonna be more man.” Rather than allowing a Cyborg comic to focus on Vic Stone as a man, and as a black man, DC preferred to go with the man vs. machine storyline that seems to control every aspect of Cyborg’s existence.

We get it, he’s half-human and half-machine, so his search for humanity is always going to play some part. But as Walker puts it, “Black characters meant more to me than they probably should have, because there were so few of them.” DC went out of its way to add a black man to Justice League (a title written by a white man). But when it was time to actually discuss that blackness, editorial bristled at the idea. It seemed like Walker had an actual vision for the character, but DC was unable to see or understand it.
Since when wasn't Cyborg as much man as machine, if not more? In NTT, he certainly was man as much as machine. Not invulnerable to damage, of course, but he always managed to overcome the dangers he faced, and co-creator Marv Wolfman wrote his human side very well. I think Walker's resorting to the same kind of propaganda standings he's employed when writing for Marvel, and again, let's not forget his bad political conduct on Twitter.

Interesting they allude to JL's being written by a white man whose name is largely left out of this mess: Johns. Because he's not the talented writer they obviously want everybody to think, and despite the suggestion of a complaint, there can be no doubt CBR's still on Johns' side, and he's certainly got the leftist politics to curry their favor.
All the changes that were made to Cyborg’s origin — from his inclusion in the Justice League to the fact that he is now a walking, talking Mother Box — were seemingly implemented for the sole purpose of one day integrating him seamlessly into a live-action Justice League movie. One where it “made sense” for him to actually be there in the first place. We saw the results, and fans voted with their wallets. It’s not good.
At this point, very obvious indeed the whole retcon was solely for the sake of providing a basis for a movie, as if the screenwriters couldn't think of it themselves. Can we be clear here? If anybody really wanted to make a League movie with the specific characters cast, that's all they had to do. They didn't have to rely on a comic crafted almost entirely to serve the purpose. Whatever happened to creative liberties? Superhero comics have been the biggest victims of editorial decisions based on how adaptations are done, with Batman and Wonder Woman being some of the earliest examples based on certain steps taken in the wake of the live action TV shows of the 60s/70s. They sadly lack confidence any audience turning to the comics will accept the comics as is, and that is troubling.

Towards the end, the article does make good sense about something: Cyborg should be reunited with the Titans:
Instead of trying to, once again, to turn him into something he is not, maybe it’s time to return him to his roots as a member of the Titans. Before the New 52, Cyborg was the heart and soul of the Teen Titans. As a man trapped in the body of a machine, Vic was considered the “monster” of the group, much like The Thing in the Fantastic Four. Despite his outward appearance, his humanity made him a trusted teammate and friend in The New Teen Titans.
And if he's restored, he could always be appointed an official leader, if that matters. I'm all for it. CBR says his Titans continuity is restored, and if so, that's one step in the right direction. But the other would have to be ridding themselves of DiDio from the staff; he's part of the problem, after all.

If they want to make a movie with DCU members of the screenwriters' choices, that's all fine and dandy. But changing the makeup of the DCU proper, allegedly to appeal to an audience who may not even be asking it be done, or crafting a direction just to give the screenwriters a platform on which to base their film's direction, is a textbook example of how not to build a successful film adaptation at all, let alone a successful comic series.

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The Gwenpool series actually has nothing to do with Gwen Stacy. It is a common mistake, though, for people who have never read the book. But why would someone who has never even read the book declare it one of the worst Marvel publishes? It is clever storytelling, with good characterization; head and shoulders above the convoluted and meaningless X-Men and Avengers stories they have going.

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