Ant-Man Cancelled. Will DC Follow Suit With Some Of Their Titles?

Well, the sad news has finally gotten to me that The Irredeemable Ant-Man will be cancelled as of issue #12. I can’t say that I’m surprised. I have loved this title since the beginning. However, I knew that it was simply too off-beat and funky for your average comic book reader that demands the title to have an “X” in it.

So, I figured we would be lucky to get a year of The Irredeemable Ant-Man and that is about what we are getting. I know the fans of this title are all up at arms just like the Manhunter fans were when DC said they were canceling that title.

Yeah, I’m bummed that Marvel is canceling such a unique and different title as compared to the million X-titles that they crank out each month. But, I’m not going to complain. This is business. Marvel is here to make money and not create “art” or cater to a small number of fans.

Sure it’s disturbing that a well written and unique title like Ant-Man gets poor sales numbers while titles that are utter garbage like Wolverine Origins #14 and Ghost Rider #11 get sales numbers of 68,953 and 43,626 respectively. That rather average titles like X-Men #199 gets a sales number of 75,996? Yeah, it’s annoying. But, it is totally to be expected.

The big sales numbers of horrid titles like Wolverine Origins and Ghost Rider and just average titles like X-Men are a real testament to the massive selling power of Marvel Comics. It just shows what marketing forces the X-Men franchise and Wolverine truly are. We all know that Marvel can crank out garbage and put the X-Men or Wolverine on the cover and they will still post nice sales numbers. Even more minor Marvel characters like Ghost Rider sell well because Marvel has incredible popularity with the comic book masses.

Just because a comic book is a sales monster means absolutely nothing when it comes to the actual quality of the writing on that comic book. Sales number simply indicate what title is popular, not what title is well done. After all, Titanic far outsold a movie like Lost in Translation. Of course, Lost in Translation is a far superior movie in terms of writing and acting. However, the masses enjoy movies like Titanic more.

So, I never am surprised when a quality title gets small sales numbers and gets cancelled. It is cool that Marvel took a risk on something different like Ant-Man. It is unfortunate that not enough fans jumped aboard this title. But, you knew that was what was going to happen with Ant-Man. So, I’m not going to complain about the cancellation of Ant-Man. It was fun while it lasted.

Now, the fact that Marvel is canceling a title with sales numbers around 15,500 makes me wonder about how long DC is going to let several of their titles languish before canceling them. The May, 2007 sales chart show Ant-Man #8 selling 15,592 copies. The May, 2007 sales chart also have Atom #11 at 16,193 copies, Hawkgirl #64 at 16,497 copies, Warlord, I mean, Aquaman Sword of Atlantis #52 at 16,778 copies and Blue Beetle #52 at 16,778 copies. Firestorm was getting sales numbers around 14,500 when it got cancelled.

I wouldn’t think that DC would have a different standard for what it considers good sales numbers from what Marvel uses. If DC actually wants to challenge Marvel for dominance of the sales charts then they have to view what are acceptable sales numbers similarly to how Marvel views them.

If Marvel is canceling Ant-Man at almost 15,600 copies sold, then you would think that Atom, Hawkgirl, Aquaman and Blue Beetle are all in danger of getting cancelled. However, there is a huge difference between how Marvel views Ant-Man and how DC views the aforementioned titles. Marvel didn’t make a big deal about the new Ant-Man. This title came across as a mere afterthought. Just a gamble by Marvel to see how a totally off-beat title would sell.

On the other hand, Dan Didio really made a big deal blowing his own horn about how DC was making a huge effort to increase diversity in the DCU by creating more minority heroes, female heroes and gay heroes. In that effort, DC replaced several established white heroes in the process. DC even decided to “freshen” up older characters by turning Orin into a squid and replacing him with a weaker Aquaman who looks just like the original Aquaman. Follow that logic.

At any rate, DC has made such a huge deal about these new characters and how important it was that they make these changes that it would be a huge loss of face if they had to cancel all these titles. It would be partly an admission of defeat and that DC made an error in their rush to trash establish characters and replace them with new ones. People can talk all they want about these new versions of older established characters, but the numbers don’t lie. Firestorm got cancelled and Hawkgirl, Aquaman Sword of Atlantis, Blue Beetle and The Atom are all getting terrible sales numbers that certainly put them in the danger area of where titles get cancelled.

9 Comments

  1. DC’s generally a bit less hasty to sign the death warrant for a terminally low-selling title (and they’ve got a lot of them! Ba-zing!); however, Hawkgirl has already been cancelled with issue 66. The others, I imagine, will follow suit shortly; Blue Beetle is strongly rumoured to be joining McKeever’s Teen Titans lineup (he’s on the cover of issue 50), so he’ll survive for a while longer regardless.

    I’m one of the offenders who didn’t read Ant-Man, and buys four X-titles a month (okay, three X-titles a month, and Astonishing whenever it comes out); my tastes don’t run to comedic books, but the 90s X-Men animated series has a powerful hold on my imagination (and I think all those books are quite good).

  2. With Exiles, X-Factor and the Exacablire under the X-Men umbrella, what qualifies as an X-book these days?

  3. Marvel Comics’ X-office oversees:

    Astonishing X-Men
    Cable and Deadpool
    Exiles
    New Excalibur
    New X-Men
    Uncanny X-Men
    Wolverine
    Wolverine: Origins
    X-Factor
    X-Men

    They’re all formally X-books, although Exiles and New Excalibur are fairly disassociated with the line, and Wolverine is really more of a separate brand; Cable and Deadpool is usually loosely associated, although the recent story with Cable’s death is obviously closely connected with X-Men. The four books with “X-Men” in the title and X-Factor are what I consider the core X-books.

  4. good post here. I do agree that it is a shame that a book like Ant-Man gets the ax when crappy subpar titles like “Ghost Rider” and “Wolverine Origins” remain.
    However, at least we can take heart in the fact there are alternatives to Marvel’s myriad xbooks and there are independent beauties such as Kirkman’s own The Walking Dead (though even that is becoming more mainstream) Ex-Machina, The Goon, and a few other gems

  5. The problem with this whole situation is the saturation of characters available by both of the “big two.” We literally have too many options.

    Comic book fans are just like every other type of fan: they want dumb entertainment. Is this true of the whole? Absolutely not but it is true of the vast majority.

    As my name indicates, I am a fan of The Matrix. Now, that does not just include the first movie, but the final two plus the Animatrix. The series as a whole is brilliant and DEEP, something that does not suit most movie goers. They didn’t want to go see something with depth and meaning, they wanted dumb entertainment. Again, is this true of everybody? Absolutely not but it is true of the vast majority.

    I’ve never been a big fan of Superman but he’s got a following like the Yankees or the Lakers. If you are a casual “fan,” you pick the big name because it’s easy. I’m a huge fan of Captain Marvel because I like the character, the back story, and the potential.

    I am excited about what is happening with the entire Marvel Family because after 40 years of being static characters, they are growing into something new. While I like the original premise of the characters, the change had to come. Most comic fans don’t want drastic change like this, so they flock to places that don’t offer a lot of change.

    Superman, while he has some twists and turns now and then, doesn’t offer much change. The X-Men, while they change their team lineup now and then, don’t offer much change. As a general rule, DC and Marvel don’t offer much change. That is why they they’ll keep on going strong into the future.

    I didn’t read Ant-Man. Personally, I don’t care much for the character but the fact he had his own title gave me hope that other “B list” characters would get their shots to succeed.

    That hope is looking bleak.

  6. Aquaman’s been cancelled as well, IIRC.

  7. @Rokk: Every month you give low marks to Wolverine Origins and Ghost Rider, and yet you keep buying them. I guess we all make exceptions for favorite characters.

    But how about when you write your weekly post and mention the title you are least looking forward to reading that you then not buy it?!

    (You should consider keeping your current reading list in a sidebar box.)

    @islandliberal: I assume X-Men: First Class is an X-book.

  8. Ah, yes, X-Men: First Class; I was using the somewhat outdated list on Marvel’s website (which still has X-Men Unlimited, which was cancelled about a year a go). I’d place that in the loosely associated group (it’s really a Marvel Adventures title that wandered into mainstream continuity); a pleasant little book, although not really my speed either.

  9. I’m just a little late commenting here, and therefore this comment will float on into comment oblivious.

    Regardless, your post here should be hung up in the walls of every office in everything to do with comics.

    Now, of course I’m something of an enormous Atom fan (of course), so I have some dislike for this Ant-man, but your post speaks for all the B-listers of the world.
    For all these people gobbling up the garbage being churned out by Marvel and DC. And they’ll just keep churning as long as people keep buying.
    You brought one, single tear to my eye. A tear for this Ant-man, whom you’ve almost made me a fan of.

    Almost.

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