Quietly revealed by Kathryn Immonen on her Tumblr, Marvel’s series Journey Into Mystery has been cancelled. First re-established by Kieron Gillen as a cosplayer-delighting waterfall of fantasy and Tumblr mischief starring a young version of Loki, Immonen jumped on after his thirty-one issues and redefined the series with artist Valeria Schiti and colourist Jordie Bellaire as a madcap monster-slaying romp, the funniest title Marvel had to offer. Coming out at a time when every other series was rebranded as MARVEL NOW, the series quietly fell down the sales charts. It’ll end in August with issue #655.
More than the obvious voices saying this is a sign that female characters don’t sell, this is really more of a branding issue than anything else. Journey Into Mystery, for whatever reason, wasn’t relaunched for Immonen’s run, thus losing most of the power of the Marvel Now branding. A series of Marvel titles have been cancelled over the past month, including Gambit, Red She-Hulk, and X-Factor – leaving many to wonder if this will lead us to a ‘second wave’ of titles being announced shortly.
What you’ll notice there is that all the books which are ending – and X-Factor is debatable here – are light-hearted series, heavy on humour and character but light on ‘importance’ and disconnected from other books. Marvel have been relying rather heavily on their three major franchises recently (Avengers, X-Men, and Steve Wacker) above all else, and only one of those three franchises seems able to sell a comic which isn’t dark and important.
Journey Into Mystery was a rare series from the start, but became an even rarer thing once Immonen brought her freewheeling style and charisma to the book: a funny book. Those don’t seem to sell anymore, which is why we should take this cancellation as a notice to hug books like Skullkickers or Quantum & Woody even more tightly to our chests. We’re in danger of becoming overwhelmingly serious, and that would be the single worst thing to ever happen! Lighten up!
But anyway – the most important part of an cancellation like this. Kathryn Immonen has two new projects coming up, including Snipe in August. This will be a self-published series made available solely at the Fan Expo this year – so get down there quick! She’ll also be on another book called Russian Olive, which appears to still be wrapped in (journeyable?) mystery.
Valerio Schiti will hopefully be getting more work VERY soon, because his work was fantastic. No news on this front yet, but you can keep track on Tumblr.
Letterer Clayton Cowles keeps inventing incredible new ways of designing a page over on Young Avengers, and is working on a heap of other titles currently.
And Jordie Bellaire is, of course, busy colouring half the industry. You can find her on Captain Marvel and Half Past Danger and Zero and all kinds of great titles.
If you enjoyed the book, then follow the creators!