By Todd Allen
OK, I admit it. That cover graphic of all the super heroes going straight down the toilet cracks me up. It’s also symbolic of The Boys. As the title ends in November, it is worth noting its strange journey.
The Boys is an off-color, if not outright profane, piss-take on super heroes, corporate America and the industrial-military complex’s incursions into politics. Sometimes it’s more serious than others, but Garth Ennis shows off his dark sense of humor. Regular readers may recall some amorous green monkeys, a beard made of blood and the phrase “if it has a hole…”
I probably can’t get much further than that without going far into NSFW territory. That’s just the kind of comic it’s been.
The Boys started out at Wildstorm. It was selling well for Wildstorm, but DC’s Publisher at the time, Paul Levitz, didn’t care for having that kind of raunchy material directed towards super heroes under DC’s banner (Wildstorm being a sub-imprint). DC was surprisingly cool about letting The Boys switch publishers. It landed at Dynamite and it quickly became apparent that Ennis had been toning it down a little at Wildstorm. You wouldn’t have realized it until your started the Dynamite issues, though.
The Boys was arguably the highest profile creator-owned comic for a while, especially in it’s early years, when it was selling over 30K for awhile. The sales have drifted down, with some of the inevitable shift to tpbs that long-running serials have, but as Ennis notes below, if you add in the varies companion mini’s, The Boys ran 90 issues, which is a good long run for an independent comic. Actually, that’s a pretty decent run for a corporate comic, too.
Official PR follows:
THE BOYS CONCLUDES WITH ISSUE #72 THIS NOVEMBER!!!
THE END OF AN ERA!!!
August 16, 2012, Runnemede, NJ – It’s an end of an era this coming November, as The Boys conclude their historic run with issue #72! The Boys has been one of the most critically acclaimed books on the shelves, but writer Garth Ennis always intended for the series to be finite and issue #72 is his final statement on The Boys! Look for it this November!!!
In The Boys #72, the long day closes on the Brooklyn Bridge, as our hero finally meets his destiny. There’s one last deal to be done, As Stillwell finds out the real cost of doing business, and one last surprise for Rayner too- as she begins her long-dreamed of political career. The Boys’ story comes to an end in this final issue containing 24 pages of story, 5 pin-up pages of brand-new art as well as a complete cover gallery!!!
“Seventy-two issues plus three minis adds up to ninety issues, making this a very busy six years – more than six years, of course, because we very nearly didn’t make it,” says writer Garth Ennis. “But all’s well that ends well. I finished #72 well over a year before it’s due to see print, and I’ve been missing Butcher and Hughie ever since. Goodbye, Boys. I doubt we’ll see your like again.”
“The end of The Boys with this issue ends a chapter in my career I will always look back upon as a significant challenge,” adds artist Darick Robertson. “I am proud of the work I’ve done on the book and will miss it.”
“Endings are always bittersweet, but this book has always been just that, bittersweet,” says Dynamite Editor Joe Rybandt. “There’s not much left to say except thanks to Garth, Darick, Russ, Tony and Simon for all of their incredible work month in and month out. Cheers, all.”
“The Boys will be missed. The good news is it’s a great ending with a complete story, and is going out on top.”, states Dynamite President and Publisher Nick Barrucci. “Garth and Darick created the series with characters and stories that can never be replicated. I want to thank Garth and Darick for their faith in us, and look forward to future series with both creators. This is a series whose legacy will live on as trade paperbacks. I also want to thank DC Entertainment, especially Paul (Levitz), Jim (Lee), Dan (Di Dio) and Hank (Kanalz), and many more – who helped make the transition as smooth as possible and allowed fans to continue to enjoy one of the best comics in the market. And, most importantly, thank you to the fans and the retailers who supported the series throughout. The Boys has been a fun ride.”
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.