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.