It’s a bleak week before X-Mas for Marvel Comics as writers and editors confirm on social media that many titles will indeed be ending in the months to come.

https://twitter.com/79SemiFinalist/status/943267669834215424

- Advertisement-

Update: Mariko Tamaki, writer of She-Hulk, confirmed on Twitter that the title will be ending as well in March.

https://twitter.com/marikotamaki/status/945794041425227776

For those keeping score, here are the ongoing titles that were part of the Marvel Legacy publishing initiative that will be facing the chopping block:

  • Generation X
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Hawkeye
  • Iceman
  • Jean Grey
  • Luke Cage
  • Royals
  • Secret Warriors
  • She-Hulk
  • The Unbelievable Gwenpool
  • U.S. Avengers
  • Uncanny Avengers

Marvel Legacy promised to change the comics industry and it looks like it may have indeed though not necessarily for the better.

Still unaccounted for are America and Defenders. It is assumed that writer Brian Michael Bendis’ recent health issues are the reason the book is simply skipping March to allow him time to properly end his run before he moves over to DC Comics. However, whether Defenders will continue on with a new creative team has yet to be announced.

If I was a betting man, I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more Marvel books getting the axe before the summer. If I had to guess, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw the end of the following titles:

  • Ben Reilly: Scarlet Spider
  • Black Bolt
  • Falcon
  • Monsters Unleashed
  • She-Hulk

Certain titles like Guardians of the Galaxy I think it’s a safe assumption will be getting relaunched sooner rather than later. Captain Marvel writer Margaret Stohl confirmed on Twitter that the title is not ending so the Carol Corps should take some solace in that.

As necessary as it is for Marvel to clean house as it were, unfortunately I think cancelling the titles featuring its prominent diverse characters will have the unintended consequence of empowering the anti-diversity trolls best exemplified by “Bigoted Santa Clause” at this year’s NYCC Marvel retailer panel. I’m certain there are those in the industry will continue to blame consumers for “turning their noses up at diversity” rather than realizing perhaps it’s the comics industry’s obsolete inside-out marketing strategies that have caused books to fail.

41 COMMENTS

  1. Have the DC and Marvel Sales articles been discontinued? I didn’t see any announcement to this effect, The use of the Beat’s own search bar didn’t reveal any further info. Thanks!

  2. Darn. I was waiting for something like this to happen (i.e., Marvel cancelling some of their quirkier, fun titles), but this batch ends about two thirds of the Marvel titles I’m reading, I think. Let’s hope Squirrel Girl isn’t next on the chopping block…

  3. But just look at that list of titles, individual quality aside (poor Al Ewing), that could easily be a list of titles from between ’93-’95, fodder to fill the racks, and pick the pockets of whatever fans are left. The days of the Marvel fan are gone. You’re an Avengers fan or X-Men fan or a Spidey fan or a whatever fan now and all of those have suffered little erosions of quality. Now all the little erosions have become a massive trauma. Or whatever metaphor you want to use for Marvel being bad at publishing comics.

  4. Knowing Marvel, they may just be cancelling these so they can relaunch them. They’re addicted to the short-term sales boost of a No. 1 issue. But then the sales drop even lower than they were before the cancellation/relaunch, and they have to do it again …

  5. “The days of the Marvel fan are gone.”

    There are still Marvel fans, but they’re spending their money on Marvel movies, not Marvel comics.

  6. Legacy aside, most of these titles were novelties to begin with. By cutting the fat, hopefully Marvel can focus these writers and artists on more palatable superhero series. I’m a fan of fringe books, but unfortunately they must always come to an end.

  7. They are just too expensive to buy and the quality and the characters aren’t that likable anymore. I’m not going to spend 3.99 to see Carol Danvers be a fascist or be rewarded, congratulated and applauded for being a fascist. She Hulks going through a trauma that feels false to me. even if I were able to spend the money and the stories were interesting and the characters likeable it’s only a short time before the next big cross over event changes everything anyway and that event will feature comics at 4.99 to 6.99. It’s simply not worth it anymore.

  8. Really not surprised by any of these at all sales are just not there on this titles. That’s with sales of variants lenticular covers ETC ETC to bump up sales on every marvel book.
    With a lot of these titles just a flood of titles. Look at Luke Cage in Defenders,,Jessica Jones, own title ETC ETC Marvel flooded the Market with all the Defenders Solo books and team books to try and get new readers from Netflix TV Show in bookstore Market. Marvel has enough back catalog to make enough trades to take advantage of sales bumps from newer readers rather than flood new book market

  9. A comic book news site worrying about “anti-diversity trolls” in the wake of a mass cancellation of titles kind of sums up the problem with online comic journalism. There’s too much fanboyism and too little professionalism.

    Mike

  10. The Diveristy Trolls than complain about a title like America getting canceled you may like the book, but every article about the character mentions that minority and sexuality every single damn time maybe if the character had some CHARACTER behind her might work but when you have to reply on Sex and Minority as SOLE selling points the book will fail. Loved what marvel has done with luck Cage over last decade but current book just wasn’t that great more of a chore to read. Luke Cage was written better in Jessica Jones and Defenders titles than his own title which is messed up

  11. It’s funny how the industry’s “obsolete inside-out marketing strategies” haven’t caused all books to fail, just apparently the ones you like.

  12. Titles like these should launch as limited series. If sales warrant a second mini, then that’s what can happen. It saves everyone the angst of :”why did it end?”
    Only certain flagship titles really deserve ongoing status. There’s no need to toy around with anything else.
    What’s flagship? Basically the classics — Avengers, FF, Thor, Cap, X-Men, Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man. Everything else revolves around that core.

  13. I do think folks on both sides are reading too much into this. Unless you’re Cap, Thor, Wolverine, Spidey, etc. solo books and niche titles tend to have a shelf life of 10-12 issues. This has business as usual for the last few years. Most of these books launched within a couple of months of each other, and they’re wrapping in about the same time frame. It’s unfortunate that the timing means we’re losing a lot of neat books at once, but it’s not proof that Marvel is failing or that there aren’t going to be more experimental books coming up. Let’s wait until the inevitable round of new books is announced and see what’s on offer.

  14. Maybe ongoing series of minis is the way of the future? Creators wouldn’t be limited to a set number of issues and could avoid padding story lines. It would also, hopefully, give consumers product from some higher end talent that can’t or don’t want to maintain a monthly schedule.

  15. The problem is the glut of titles more than anything. Launching fringier stuff is always harder to build an audience with. If Marvel paced these titles out and gave their lineup more room to breathe then customers might be more willing to try something new. But the last two years they have dumped dozens of no-name character books (and not all diversity-related … remember all those Mercs for Money solo books that came and went?) one on top of another. Honestly much of it felt like the strategy was either “let’s throw all of them against the wall and see if one becomes Ms. Marvel” or a desperate attempt to generate quick current content for the online app. None of which has the direct market in mind.

    If Marvel released half of these titles and spread them out more over the year they’d have a better chance of any of it sticking. There are way too many comics being published at all levels considering the size of the market, This includes Big Two and indie, and it’s causing a tremendous flattening of the market.

  16. I always love this kind of books, but they being cancelled is nothing new or a fade. There’s a reason why so many X-titles in the 90’s and 00’s with solo leads the Thing or Human Torch series failed, the fans collecting are not creatures of habit like the ones collecting Amazing Spider-Man for 40 years, also, there’s not many of us that buy single issues when a trade or two can contain the entire run.

    I hope Marvel finds a way to market them, because I love the small world they build in the past years around She-Hulk and Hellcat and grow into an all-female group in a way A-Force should be.

    And I kind of hate the monthly sale analysis here, because most of the comics I loved and supported were received with “Whose idea was to print an “X” character serie dommed to fail?”

  17. so marvel dropped a whole mess of books. really? so what else is new. books of various second and third tier characters for decades have come and gone (hell, even top shelf characters have had their books disappear for a year or two). if anything, all these cancellations will pave the way for a whole new slew of books coming down the pike in the new year (with which characters, who knows?).this ain’t the first time this has ever happened and it won’t be the last. so what else is new.

  18. What if writers re-learn how to tell a proper story in 20 pages like they used to. Why don’t artists re-learn that storytelling is more than just pretty pictures. Fight decompression and books will last longer.

  19. These are the books I am losing in this current cancellation round;

    Generation X
    Guardians of the Galaxy
    Luke Cage
    Secret Warriors
    U.S. Avengers
    Uncanny Avengers

    I like all these books and am sad that they are going away.
    I buy America for my daughter and will be sad if that one is also cancelled. Black Bolt is also excellent and I would miss it.

  20. I think the price is also a problem for this smaller titles. Most people can’t afford to keep buying all these titles at $3.99. If they were less expensive more people might sample them and stick around longer.

  21. Royals was a planned 12 issue story leading to Judgment day, and from there the next Inhuman stories so not seeing any news on them might be to avoid spoilers, as Rosenberg has not confirmed or denied Secret Warriors cancellation, infact the only bit of news anyone has received is that it was part of one out of 3 questions that is happening. Royals writer Ewing did say something Inhuman was to be starting in March but wasn’t seen on the months viewing.

  22. “Why don’t artists re-learn that storytelling is more than just pretty pictures.”

    Sad thing is that the vast majority of Marvel comics are not pretty to look at these days.

  23. “There are still Marvel fans, but they’re spending their money on Marvel movies, not Marvel comics.”

    In my neck of the woods it seems there are still many fans of Marvel comic books but they have been alienated by the current Marvel direction (unfamiliar writers, no name artists with sub-par artwork, “legacy” characters being replaced with boring younger characters, heavy handed “diversity” and political agendas). They really want to come back but not until things change.

  24. Captain Marvel is my favourite superhero but I kind of wish her current book would get cancelled. The writing is very, very bad in it and I want to see it replaced with something else. (She has a movie coming so you know she’ll have an ongoing series no matter what happens.)

  25. ” … heavy handed “diversity” and political agendas”

    I wonder how these readers would have reacted to the VERY left-leaning comics published by Marvel in the early ’70s. They would probably have thrown tantrums when the Falcon and Luke Cage were introduced.

    They’d also better not read George Lucas’ comments that Star Wars was a Vietnam allegory, with the rebels as the Viet Cong, the Evil Empire as America, Darth Vader as Kissinger, and the Emperor as Nixon.

  26. If Marvel’s readers really are upset because they can’t stand to see young, female or minority characters in heroic roles, Marvel should publish an open letter telling these readers to get lost and go to hell.

    Looks like the Gamergate trolls have moved from videogames to comics.

  27. One question that Taimur fails to ask is not “Why were these books cancelled” but “Why were these books greenlit in the first place?”

    In the last thirty years, there has NEVER been any interest in a Luke Cage solo series. Same for Carol Danvers, outside of the 5,000 or so members of the “Carol Corps.” on social media.

    It doesn’t have anything to do with Iceman being gay, there has never been much interest in the character. Simply making him gay and then tossing him out there in a solo series when no one was asking for a solo series for Bobby makes no sense.

    I could maybe see Gwenpool continuing if they hired Terry Dodson or Alan Hughes to do the art, with a heavier emphasis on fan service and cheese cake shots, but in its current form, there’s little use for a one-off gag like Gwen.

  28. I expect to see GotG and the latest round of the Avengers to launch this summer out of Avengers: Infinity War (while the current single Avengers title continues through the spring before whatever Marvel has planned for the property when next folks have eyes on it). Otherwise, I think mostly this boils down to simple economics: someone amidst all the reshuffling of offices (Disney buying Fox and reclaiming the licenses, the new EiC coming in, etc) looked over the numbers and realized they needed to cut down the extended line (especially as Marvel seems loath to cut prices on books) to move more titles, since it looks more and more the case that they’ve overextended and cannibalized their own sales with new properties and titles (partly a matter of expecting more comic purchases among demographics seemingly excited for characters but not conditioned by history to buy comics in a digital-screen era).

  29. @George,
    “There are still Marvel fans, but they’re spending their money on Marvel movies, not Marvel comics.”

    No George, i’m spending more money on DC, Valiant, Image and others because they offer better stories than what Marvel currently publishes.

  30. “I wonder how these readers would have reacted to the VERY left-leaning comics published by Marvel in the early ’70s.” and the deleted response from a frequent and annoying anti-“PC” poster raise an interesting question.
    Is the data available on the political/social/ethnic demographics of comic buyers in the 1970s through to today? It seems important to discussing why Diversity/”Liberal” Comics are having such a hard time staying afloat at The Big Two these days.
    Did Marvel and DC have a more Liberal/diverse customerbase in the 70s? Who did buy the above-mentioned comics? Are angry self-protective White Males a bigger force in the market now or are they just louder on the internet after the one-two of a Black President and a White(Power) President? If there is a large contingent of the (assumed) “target audiences” for these books, why are they not spending their money on them?
    Also, how did the above-mentioned books actually sell in the 70s? I’m thinking of Steve Gerber’s days at Marvel. While the Howard The Duck franchise made quite a splash it was over in a few years and I believe he almost drove Daredevil into cancellation… On the other hand, I believe Claremont’s work falls in the above category and there’s pretty much nothing bigger than X-Men…

  31. Most of these title I picked up to see if they were interesting, All-new Guardians of the Galaxy I loved as well as Royals it had a beautiful art style and I loved Al-Ewings story. Uncanny Avengers started strong with Remender back in 2012 when Duggan started writing I had mixed feelings about his series, but Uncanny Avengers Sh*t the bed once Secret Empire hit. Gwenpool was fun but should have been a mini series. Luke Cage was alright. I liked She-hulk because of the way it blended her personal life with that of being a hulk but I can see why it didn’t do well. Hawkeye I never picked up and the rest I dropped after an issue or two. Though I will say I am getting to that point of over saturation where marvel is putting out to much and I have limited time, space, and money so it does help to have a few series shed from my pull list even if I miss one or 2. Also well it is probably only temporary I have hated Captain Marvels comics since Secret Wars, I think the whole Alpha Flight thing takes away from her character and is not interesting. It should be called Alpha flight featuring Captain Marvel, further more her whole thing punishing people for thought crime in Civil War II was just shrugged off which seams a little messed up.

  32. “I wonder how these readers would have reacted to the VERY left-leaning comics published by Marvel in the early ’70s.”

    As a life long comic-book reader/collector who began reading comics in the mid 1960’s and one who is VERY conservative, I might be able to “speak to that question” … that is if anyone is actually willing to listen without a knee-jerk hyperbolic ad hominid attack because I “outed myself” at the beginning of my response.

    I can’t speak for all readers with a conservative political alignment, but i can speak for myself. I THOROUGHLY enjoyed most of those comics. YES, I often disagreed with the writers political sympathies (to the extent that they were discernible) but that did not then, nor does it now, prevent me from enjoying a well crafted story with quality art and RELATABLE characters. I don’t NEED to agree with your political position in order to enjoy your story. To assume otherwise is to reduce readers with my political persuasion to a cliche.

    Yes, I was a young white male that read and enjoyed comics featuring what passed for “diversity” at the time. Black panther, Brother VooDoo, Luke Cage, The Cat, Shanna The She-Devil all found their way into my collection and, even when I felt writers like Don McGregor were being a bit heavy handed with the messaging, I read and enjoyed the stories. Claremont’s X-men and Gerber’s Man-Thing and Howard The Duck were also among my favorites; and they contained a lot of political satire that was not necessarily aligned with “the right”. How can this be? How can a guy that voted for Reagan twice and only once by accident for Bill Clinton buy, read and enjoy such “left leaning” literature? Because you don’t have to completely agree with a writer’s premise to enjoy a story. Or has “the tolerant left” forgotten that? (just so we’re clear, this is sarcasm folks).

    If you can relate to the characters, the plot is well constructed and the story entertaining, you don’t need to be in agreement with it’s final thesis to enjoy it. At least, you shouldn’t have to be. And therein lies the rub with today’s comics …

    From my own personal experience, I believe that for readers like me, the stories FEEL as though they exist STRICTLY to defy convention, to EXPLOIT a cause or political movement. Often, the characters are so altered from their original and well established personas as to be “unrelatable”. Stir it all together and you simply can’t enjoy the story, so you move on. And god forbid you state as much. The wrath of the “diversity police” is upon you. You’re a bigot, a hater, a knuckle dragging troglodyte, not sufficiently evolved, etc., etc.

    Now I am more than willing to admit that a 60 something white guy is clearly not the intended audience of today’s comic-books, but I don’t believe the publishers do themselves any favors by focusing so much energy on a ‘target audience” of a “certain type of reader”. It’s too limiting. I’ll wager it doesn’t just drive away “conservative readers” like me, but some of the “liberal” folks as well that might, juuuuust might, feel the stories are a bit “exploitative”. Why not simply try to attract readers with the tried and true approach of quality story telling, engaging artwork and characters with universal appeal?

    You want diversity AND successful sales … maybe even market growth? Stop trying to artificially create it by FOCUSING on race, gender and politics and let it evolve logically and organically from well crafted stories and appealing characters that include those elements, but as SUPPORTING structures … not clarion calls to political action.

    Just my nickles worth … not that anybody asked.

  33. Hawkeye and USAvengers were two of the smartest and most satisfying books Marvel was publishing and could only be considered “forced diversity” if you think that a superhero comic starring a woman or a team with some non-white people is ipso facto “forced diversity”.

    The fact that I’m the first person in this comment thread to mention USAvengers and only the second to mention Hawkeye makes it clear why they were cancellation-bait, though. (I’d say that there were too many Avengers titles, but I suspect that Marvel will be back up to 4 Avengers titles by the end of the summer.)

  34. If by “diversity” you mean “one-note caricatures who spend at least 75% of each issue discussing their race or sexuality” then yes, people are rejecting it in droves as the plummeting sales numbers and resulting wave of shuttered comic book stores have consistently demonstrated.

  35. As someone who read a number of these titles, I’m sad to lose a number of them. I do think that the customer who might be interested in some of these titles isn’t a typical comic store customer. Marketing is quite truthfully appalling for most of the comic industry. I bought comics for years, then stopped, and only recently started again a couple of years ago because of the Supergirl TV series (shut up – I like it). I’m truly sad to see Hawkeye and She-Hulk go as they were great character studies in my mind. I also loved what they were doing with Jean Grey. America, on the other hand … as much as it pains me to say it, it really felt like it ONLY existed to be a “diverse” offering. I tried and tried to like it, but ultimately found the writing juvenile and the storylines one-dimensional and tedious.

    Truthfully, though, I look forward to what Kelly Thompson and Mariko Tamaki are doing next. I’m glad they at least allowed the storylines to finish, and to be honest, I sometimes think that a one to one and a half year run is actually a good length for someone who like to complete a story. So long as the creators I enjoy can find an outlet for their craft, I’ll follow them wherever they find themselves.

  36. There is nothing wrong with Diversity or diverse characters, but they has to be some substance behind the diversity and some talent behind them.

    Saladin Ahmed is a bad writer, Max Bemis is a bad writer, Aubery Sitterson is a bad writer, Mark Waid is a bad writer,Chip Zdarsky is a bad writer, Sina Grace is a bad writer, Mags Visaggio is a bad writer, Gabby Rivera is a bad writer and Axel Alonzo was the worst Editor in Marvel history. Their books were offal and nobody wanted to read them. Why is that so difficult to understand?

    Employ decent writers that create interesting characters in interesting situations and 9/10 comic fans couldn’t care less what gender,race or sexuality they are.
    When Marvel employ hacks and milkshake girls to write cliched 1 dimensional characters in boring stories that replace legacy characters why are you surprised that nobody wants to read them?

Comments are closed.