Monday, October 18, 2010

Not So Uber Allies

Last week, Marvel announced they were cancelling Young Allies. Not only cancelling it, but stopping the publication of the book at issue 6 even though they had solicited sales for issue 7. (Not something that happens very often.)

I was not reading Young Allies, but it had its champions - chief among them being Chris Sims. And yet, I don't think the books cancellation comes as any surprise as it seems just another in a long list of comics that were launched with little to no buzz and then allowed to flounder (unless you count putting it under the umbrella of the Heroic Age as promotion.)

Young Allies 1

The reason I wasn't reading Young Allies was it sort of looked like exactly what it turned out to be - a fun comic with absolutely no chance of surviving in the marketplace. With no real idea of how long it would be published, who wants to put down money on what could end up being a rush or unfinished storyline? This is the same thing that's kept me away from Doom Patrol, Gorilla Man and Atlas.

I don't think the problem is new comics can't be successful. I think the problem is a new ongoing superhero comic has less appeal than a mini-series with a clearly defined beginning and end. Of the recent comics I've started following, one that stands out as an example of this is The Return of Bruce Wayne.

I don't normally follow the Batman titles, but the premise of this Grant Morrison mini-series sounded promising, so I picked up the first issue. Even though it had its roots firmly implanted in recent DC continuity (Final Crisis) the story turned out to be exceptionally accessible and incredibly fun. It's Morrison having fun with an assorted odd lot of old DC characters and time periods, and so far, it has lived up to my expectations with amazing gusto.

In all honesty, I sort of think the RoBW should become the template for all comics from now on. Instead of trying to foist another ongoing Flash or Green Arrow series on us, why not feature those heroes in mini-series built around high-concept ideas? Here's an example off the top of my head:

The Flash - A Million Miles to Run

The Flash finds himself transported to the other end of the galaxy by an unknown foe. Using his superspeed and knowledge of alien cultures acquired from his adventures with the JLA, The Flash trades out superspeed services in exchange for rides from one planet to the next on his long journey home. Guest starring Captain Comet, Adam Strange, Ultra the Multi-Alien, Space Cabbie and a host of other Silver Age space characters.

Now, doesn't that sound a little more enticing than the unsure promise yet another directionless Flash ongoing?

Anyway, enjoy two comics from a time when the idea of ongoing superhero comics was in its infancy. America's Best Comics!

[ America's Best Comics 01 ]

[ America's Best Comics 02 ]

- Enjoy!


Trey said...

The mini-series over on-going is something I've said for a long time. Not only does it allow the publication of characters that could never support an ongoing, but it makes stories (potentially) better because they have something every good story needs--an ending.

Unfortunately, I don't think publishers fill this is a smart marketting decision--whether that's true or just received wisdom, I don't think anybody knows.

Britt Reid said...

Considering the fact that almost EVERY series (mini or ongoing) is now plotted with trade paperback compiling/reprinting in mind, it seems only logical that "branded" (Batman: the Return of Bruce Wayne, Batman: Year One, etc.) mini-series become the rule rather than the exception.
Of course, there have been mini-series that never finished...Daredevil/Bullseye for example?

Dynamite Entertainment has released nothing but mini-series, and apparently has been quite successful.
Dark Horse's output is now only minis and one-shots, and they're doing quite well.
A sign of things to come for the industry overall?

Jim Shelley said...

@Trey - yeah, I wonder why the big two don't do more of this sort of thing. I wonder if perhaps they have bad memories of the sort of internal mini-series overload that occurred in the 90's. (Remember Spider-Man Planet of the Symbiotes?) Or maybe one Venom mini-series too many left a bad taste in their mouth.

Jim Shelley said...

@BrittReid - Man! I'm glad you mentioned Dynamite, because while writing today's post I made a mental note to mention Dynamite and totally forgot! Thank you!

GACN said...

There was a second printing of Young Allie #1 -- I wondered who that was pulled off considering that the title had "I will be canceled" written all over it from the beginning.


Jim Shelley said...

@GACN - you know, you are right! I remember that second printing announcement, and I remember at the time being sort of surprised at the second printing myself, because like you, I didn't think the title would last very long (because new titles just seem to fail nowdays...)

Guest said...

To me this is a bad new, so now that they have cancelled the young allies what happens to the dream that started it, I like to check in ones in a while with the as to how things are going. I didn’t read but I knew a number of people who really enjoy young allies I hope the dream get to be turned into something else.


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