Marvel has recently cancelled several titles including Dr. StrangeGhost Rider, and Strikeforce. The interesting part is that they happened publicly.

SOMETIMES THEY JUST FADE AWAY

Dr. StrangeThe sad thing about comics being cancelled is that fans don’t always know that has happened.

The most recent one that caught my attention was Friendly Neighborhood SpiderMan, the most current incarnation that was written by Tom Taylor. It focused more on Peter Parker’s neighborhood instead of the entire Marvel universe. I really enjoyed the fact that there were some interesting things going on around Spidey that he hadn’t even been aware of, including another New York City underground. Fascinating characters were found as well as the return of Mary Jane Watson before she embarked on her own title.

Honestly, it was the only Spidey title I bought. I enjoyed it each month and liked issue #14. Then, I wondered where it went to when I didn’t see it in my pull box for several months.

Turns out it had actually been extended two months beyond what was supposed to only be a 12-issue run.

I wish I had known that. Maybe I just missed all that news, but the lady who runs the store I frequent told me it had ended when I wondered out loud where it had gone.

Rats. I still miss that book. I mean, I try very hard to read this website each day to keep current with this kind of thing. But I can’t read everything every day!

THIS DRIVES ME CRAZY!

Ghost RiderLike many TV shows I’ve enjoyed, many comics have simply faded away without any fanfare. Often that means that even the comics press hasn’t said anything about it or found out it has been cancelled.

After all, we’re so preoccupied with the new books coming out that we just move on. They are the stuff of most press releases and interviews, seems like. And most companies seem to think admitting a comic has been cancelled is an admission of failure. Hey, you did your best, and I believe you should honor the fans you have already gathered together for that title by letting them know it has ended!

We’re lucky on occasion when the creators say it’s happening on social media. There was a Black Knight comic I was buying faithfully not very long ago until I read a Tweet from the writer saying the fifth issue was the last. I grieved, but at least I knew it was happening. I wouldn’t be wondering where it went.

SHOULD THAT BE CHANGED?

Strikeforce, MarvelI realize that every “jumping on” point is also a “jumping off” point, and comic companies want as many customers frequenting local comics shops as much as possible. If they don’t see Dr. Strange, maybe they’ll pick up Strange Academy instead. Or something else that has come out that week or recently.

I truly feel deceived when I find out a comic I like has ended without my knowing about it. Granted, I won’t stop buying comics when I find that out, but it does make me wonder what else I don’t know about that I should be aware of.

My brother was poking through the most recent Marvel Previews when he noticed he didn’t see Dr. Strange in it. Since I had heard about it’s cancellation, I told him that had happened. He voiced this same concern, that comics often just fade away and fans just don’t know about it.

Maybe a website that makes lists of what is coming out each week should also consider including books that have all-too-quietly ended if they know this has happened for sure. I know I would appreciate it. My brother, too! I’m sure we’re not alone in this!

What do you think? How can fans know when comics have ended if they don’t follow its creators on social media? Should companies do a better job of letting fans know the status of comics they have been publishing? Whatever your opinion, please share it in the space below!


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About Author

Wayne Hall creates the Wayne's Comics Podcast. He’s interviewed Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, John Layman, Kyle Higgins, Phil Hester, Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, David Petersen, Christos Gage, Mike Grell, and Matt Kindt. On this site each week, he writes his "Comics Portal" column (general comics comments and previews) and reviews comics.

4 Comments

  1. The way I see it, launching new titles has become way too easy and involves far too little ceremony. The flip side is that so is cancelling them. The significant element in both perspectives is that the books don’t really mean much these days.

    For most of the so-called mainstream titles, no one has any reason to expect any book to last without a reboot for even a year in the future anymore. How many books exist long enough to reach or surpass #50 these days?

    I am not sure that Marvel and DC even announce which of their books are supposed to be miniseries or ongoings anymore, and it would mean very little if they did. Readers may want to commit to an ongoing, but that is strangely pointless. The commitment is encouraged and even expected, but should / must be directed to the line, not the book. And I guess that these days we _are_ expected to complement what is published on the books with what we read and listen online, even if it is only in the digital stores used by the publishers.

    All in all, it is a significantly new and different structure of publishing and support, and sometimes it is confused and even hindered by some artifacts left over from the previous ones. I don’t know that the idea of ongoing books even makes sense anymore.

    • I agree. There’s so much entertainment, including so many comics coming and going that nothing feels special anymore. In this kind of environment everything is disposable on a whim. Cheap digital storage space and high speed internet made it this way. Only way to deal with it is to support and follow companies and people who still do make long running stories and commit to making them.

    • I might also want to add that in many ways, this is the return to original style comics were published. Nobody expected these characters to last 80 years and for every Superman & Batman there’s a thousand capes and tights characters nobody remembers anymore. Medium has changed, funny enough, closer to the way it was. But this only applies to comic publishing, not to the properties themselves, which have become huge corporate money printers in entirely different industries.

  2. Marvel subscriber don’t receive warning that their comics have stopped anymore. They used to in-close a note about what you’d like to do about it. Or automatically switch you to the hero’s new title.
    Then they started switching people to titles they just wanted to sell. Like switching Dr Strange to Black Window. (?) Why would i want a spy book?
    Then they’d just stop a series. They stopped Darth Vader. But didn’t move your remaining issues to THe NEW darth vader. Also got screwed on 3 different Xmen books.
    It’s tiring.

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