Thursday, July 19, 2007

Q&A Part Twelve

Steve asks: What is a book that you think could have been saved from the chopping block had the hype machine gotten behind it, if only it had gotten a bit more notice?

I've loved a lot of comics that have been cancelled, but, honestly, most of them wouldn't have been saved by marketing. Fans love to think that if only their favourite neglected title got a bigger push that it wouldn't have died a slow, painful death. Except did they not notice that most of the books that wind up cancelled get that way after a slow decent down the sales charts? Now, I'd understand if the book began really low and held the same numbers, but most books start out at a semi-decent position and then just keep shedding readers, suggesting that in most of these cases, something is "wrong" with the book itself that the people reading it stop--something that marketing can't save. And, honestly, name a series that's been cancelled in the past five years worth saving that didn't get a pile of good reviews, proving that those are just as meaningless.

Now, in some cases like Automatic Kafka, it's easy to see why some people would stop reading (while I disagree with those reasons, I can see why someone would find the book to be a pile of garbage). In others, not so much.

The only book that pops into my head that may have been saved is Mr. Majestic. I don't remember a BIG PUSH behind that title, but it seems like the perfect book for all those people who wanted a proper Superman book. Self-contained issues, big heroic adventures, fun but also tragic at times . . . it had everything the average fanboy CLAIMS to want. The final three issues break from this, but that was because the book was on the way out, so why not do something interesting, you know?

I'm not convinced that marketing could have saved this title, though, if only because, well, it wasn't Superman. It was the Superman book everyone wanted, but, you know, it wasn't actually Superman, so fuck that shit. The book failed more because it didn't have decades of continuity and built-in appeal than anything else. That's why a lot of books die, really. Most of the cult hits have the good reviews, the companies doing some pushes and . . . they still die. Some books just aren't meant to survive, I guess.

Wow, I'm just a bundle of joy tonight, ain't I?

Steve: Has there been a book that teetered on the edge of cancellation that eventually turned to crap and made you wish it HAD been cancelled earlier?