Is there a "risk" to picking up a series that's cancelled quickly?

Looking at all these forthcoming DC cancellations got me wondering, is there any sort of "risk" to picking up a series that's likely to get cancelled quickly?  Are we owed anything by publishers that break their marketing rhetoric or their "implied solicits"?  Should the big 2 publisher's output be treated differently in this regard than other publishers?

My knee jerk reaction has always been that the idea's ridiculous, if you enjoy the comic, just be happy you got what you got, but I'm wondering if maybe times have changed and it would be better to not even try something from the big 2 if they're not likely to last?  

Lets take Omega Men for an example.  DC promised that this run would receive 12 issues... it's going to get 7.  For starters, this is yet another item that shakes one's confidence in DC's implied contract to deliver what they solicit.  In this particular instance, the interviews led one to believe the writer had structured a 12 issue story, if that's the case, we're definitely not getting the spirit of what was solicited and we may not even get a complete story.  Further, twitter feeds referenced in this Beat article suggest the decision was likely made around the third issue mark, meaning prior to readers having any influence on product sales whatsoever, (unless you subscribe to the idea that the first month digital numbers contribute a lot).  So a different story than what we were expecting, essentially changed before consumers even got a chance to read it.

On another tack, Captain Carrot: and the Final Ark, (yeah, I know it's old, but it still irks me), Trinity War, and the Future and World's End series' all were solicited as finite series.  Finite in my mind implies they should have a beginning and an end.  Does anyone feel these series' had proper endings?  This again shakes my confidence in DC's "implied solicits".  (And though my examples are DC products, I don't think Marvel is any better.)

I understand being at the mercy of economics, but I wonder if, in today's world, (where the prices are high, the stories are longer. and the solicits are suspect), is a big 2 book, (where the creators are well down the decision making food chain), worth the "risk" of a tryout before you know what you're going to get?  

I'm not completely risk averse yet, but I'm more wary than I used to be.  What does everyone else think?

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making promises you have no intention of keeping is not the way to do it.

You don't know that.  As far as we know, DC had every intention of keeping their promise but had to change their plans based on circumstances.  The best laid plans of mice and men, etc.  It sucks when a title is canceled but that doesn't make it malfeasance.

You don't know that.  As far as we know, DC had every intention of keeping their promise but had to change their plans based on circumstances.  The best laid plans of mice and men, etc.  It sucks when a title is canceled but that doesn't make it malfeasance.

Well then, I'd be very concerned about the American economy if a company like Time Warner can't pony up the cash to eat a short term product line loss of those proportions.  Otherwise, you're talking a corporate decision and that can't be absolved based on "circumstances", it speaks directly to management strategies.

It's not malfeasance, but it is short-term thinking.

I'm trying to think of a series/mini/maxi that was actually good and got canceled before completion. I can't think of any.

Yeah, coprorate realities being what they are, DC can't just run to Time Warner and say "we need more money for these series." They have a budget, and they have profit projections they need to reach. And apparently they've fallen below them, and having more red on their ledger isn't going to help anything.

But they should definitely be careful about the promises they may. They could have promised six issues. They could have promised "a complete story" without specifying issue number. Twelve was a bold move, and I knew when I heard it that they'd be taking a loss on some titles in order to float them for that long. It was what made the promise stand out. And when they reneged on their promise, well... that stands out, too. 

But DC does have a lot more red on its books than expected, so I can see some people there thinking taking the PR/consumer confidence hit is worth it to stop the bleeding. (It also frees up talent for projects that have a better chance of succeeding than what's out there.) I'm not sure I agree, but I can see the counterargument.

I suppose that depends on how you define "actually good".  There's a lot of stuff that gets published that really makes you wonder how anyone thought there could be a big enough audience to support it, and probably never should have gotten past the first pitch stage.  Then there's stuff that seems like it could be interesting, like Marvel's All-Winners Squad: Band of Heroes, which got cancelled with three of its promised  eight issues to go, and the central mystery of the story just heating up.  I'm not saying that was a great series, since it focused on the fate of a never before seen "Golden Age" character, and the rest of the cast was made up of a military unit comprised of the various one-shot & C or D List actual Golden Age Marvel/Timely characters (OK, so we should have known better than to buy a series where the biggest "name" hero was the Whizzer's old sidekick, Slow-Motion Jones), and the story probably could have been tightened up to run in only 3 or 4 issues instead of supposedly eight.  However, the mystery had some potential, but for all we know, the whole thing could have fallen apart in the final act.  Of course, in a case like this, they might have been better off skipping the mini-series concept completely, and with some minor re-working, run it as a flashback story arc in Captain America.

Detective 445 said:

I'm trying to think of a series/mini/maxi that was actually good and got canceled before completion. I can't think of any.

Rob Staegar said:

Yeah, coprorate realities being what they are, DC can't just run to Time Warner and say "we need more money for these series." They have a budget, and they have profit projections they need to reach. And apparently they've fallen below them, and having more red on their ledger isn't going to help anything.

But they should definitely be careful about the promises they may. They could have promised six issues. They could have promised "a complete story" without specifying issue number. Twelve was a bold move, and I knew when I heard it that they'd be taking a loss on some titles in order to float them for that long. It was what made the promise stand out. And when they reneged on their promise, well... that stands out, too. 

But DC does have a lot more red on its books than expected, so I can see some people there thinking taking the PR/consumer confidence hit is worth it to stop the bleeding. (It also frees up talent for projects that have a better chance of succeeding than what's out there.) I'm not sure I agree, but I can see the counterargument.

As you say, it was obvious they would need to take a loss on some titles when they promised the 12 issue commitment, therefore, they had to have that factored in.  So, either they went in not planning to honor the commitment or someone in the hierarchy changed their mind.  Perhaps it was a decision handed down from one of the DC parent divisions, nonetheless, it was a decision that was made, not an economic reality that was forced.  The logical conclusion would be that they would take a PR/consumer confidence hit, someone must have decided this was reasonable; it was a management decision not an economic reality.  I agree, I can see the counter arguments, but IMO, given current market conditions it was a foolish decision.  

Then again, maybe they just have extreme confidence in their ability to spin.  So far, they've announced they're going to honor their commitment to Omega Men, but they haven't said word one about Doomed or Lost Army.  Perhaps they decided if they backtracked and appeased one group of fans, they'd be able to cancel other titles early without taking much of a hit for it.  Of course, this is all conspiracy nut speculation, but they might think they can have their cake and eat it too.  Regardless, whether they thought they could spin it or they didn't consider the backlash important, I don't think they did themselves any favors, but hey, I have a sneaky suspicion they don't care what I think. ;)

Perhaps Warner and Disney just want their comic book publishers to tread water, concentrating on the movie and TV productions, since most of their customers obviously don't read comics.



Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Of the other cancelled titles (...Batman 66...)...

Batman '66 is being cancelled, too? Drat! Oh, well... it had a good run. I read Secret Identities #1-7 over the weekend, too. This is exactly the kind of new superhero titles I have been waiting for. It's a shame it didn't find an audience (or wasn't given a chance to, depending on your POV).

I think Batman 66 might just be converting to a series of miniseries. Even as the cancellation was announced, so was the six-part mini teaming Batman ‘66 and the Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Alternate thread title: 'Why we trade-wait"

True, but there's a risk to that, too -- a series you would have liked might get canceled early, simply because people are holding back for the trades. (And there are plenty of trades that don't offer satisfying conclusions to their story arcs, too -- leading to the same risk, but with more money attached.)

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