John Rogers, screenwriter, blogger, and author of a fan favorite run on BLUE BEETLE, usually speaks his mind. His comments regarding the recent cancellation of the book have been quoted everywhere; we don’t want to miss out on the fun:
Wow. It’s almost as if basing your entire business model around a series of must-buy big event crossovers in a market with limited purchasing resources hurts your midlist.
Although I’ve gotten some outraged e-mails from fans, I have to say this isn’t unexpected. Both DC and Marvel are in a weird place right now — are they publishing companies in a dying market or IP companies in a growing one? The answers to these questions demand different strategies, neither of which are necessarily the best circumstances for the creative participants.
Time to go creator-owned, and digitally distributed. Because that’s the only solution that makes sense for our side of the equation.
Rogers, a content production veteran, makes his stand on the idea that digital delivery and further specialization of content may make it work:
Will you get even the paltry tens of thousands of paying customers that comics now get? I don’t know. But without the publishing overhead, you may not need that many. Let’s put it this way — stripping out distribution costs and our share of the rent for those nice DC offices in Mahattan, Blue Beetle could have cost fifty cents an issue at its worst sales level, and still paid Rafael and myself more than we made on the run of the book.
The comments section devolves into a lot of the same questions everyone has been asking since this Internet whangdoodle showed up, however.
Digital delivery…comics monetizing themselves…the end of the pamphlet…a new business model…haven’t these been the threads running through almost everything we’ve posted here over the past week or so?
Sorta related counterpoint: The Supervillain blog points out that BLUE BEETLE’s 36 issues wasn’t quite a tragically short run:
You know what never made it to 36 issues? Nextwave. Automatic Kafka. Dozens of other series that were about pushing comics forward, doing something different or fun or interesting. Not a third rate Spiderman-ripoff superhero book that hasn’t even had it’s original creative team in at least a year. The book obviously sold well enough to sustain it for 3+ years, and the only reason it’s being cancelled is because you couldn’t get more readers to buy yet another middling superhero comic. There’s nothing else to it. There was no genius there, nothing that was being overlooked. Nothing that will be missed in three months when everyone forgets about it. King City 2 may never come out. Marvel Boy 2 will never come out. So Blue Beetle was cancelled, huh? Shove it up your ass.