Cancelled Comics Commentary
Nothing was cancelled this month, what a relief!
Angel #16 (Dark Horse): Was
it actually put to rest, this title that was based on the spinoff
from TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Not exactly. What happened is
that Joss Whedon had it discontinued so that then, he could write
miniseries instead of an ongoing one.
Fine with me. I’ve never been a really big viewer of either series
on TV, and I don’t watch enough television today to get the urge to
try it out now. All I can say is: big deal.
Besides, the idea was already thought of the year before with J.
Scott Campbell’s Danger Girl,
since he himself couldn’t keep up with a monthly schedule, which for
artists like him was a great idea, I must certainly say.
When we’re talking about things like that, it makes sense. When
we’re talking about things like Buffy and Angel, it just doesn’t
mean much to me.
Crimson #24 (DC/Wildstorm):
A vampire tale written and drawn by Humberto Ramos. I won’t be sorry
to see this go, since it was a pretty distastefully bloody item,
made all the more so thanks to Ramos’ cartoony drawing style. After
this concluded, what did he work on next? Another series almost like
it called Out There, and
it’s a good thing it may have only been a miniseries.
Hitman #60 (DC): I don’t
know, how many series starring professional killers can be thought
of? But this was one of them, and it starred a character named Tommy
Monoghan, who, I might note, was introduced in the incredibly dumb
and distasteful Bloodlines
crossover, whose only reason for existence seemed to be in order to
introduce a whole crowd of forgettable supporting characters, which
include Argus, Anima, and Gunfire. (It also seemed to exist only for
the purpose of showing all these large-sized alien invaders, who
could even do things like disguise themselves as humans, either suck
the spinal fluid out of their victims, or gore them to death. Yuck.)
It’s also very hard for me to buy into the notion that Tommy
could’ve made guest appearances in the JLA, as he did in the 5th issue of JLA in 1997, without getting
busted, and certainly not living in Gotham City alongside Batman
without getting one – or both – of his trigger fingers broken. But
when you look at what a sorry influence Marvel’s success with the Punisher had on the industry,
you know that something like was bound to happen here too, not just
in the independent division.
It seems that when this ended, it was planned that way by Ennis,
since he’d concluded all of the plotlines he’d written, and, he’d
killed off just about all the supporting characters!
Which is very similar to the Punisher, of course.
Hourman #25 (DC): It’s a
shame this series was cancelled, since the “android searching for
humanity” storyline is one that’s well worth telling, as it had been
with the Vision-2, Red Tornado-2, and Star Trek’s Data. Tom Peyer did wonders with the
character, employing plenty of humanity and humor. The writer
obviously enjoyed what he was doing, something great to see in
comics, just like Marv Wolfman and George Perez on The New Teen Titans during the
Plus, they managed to do it without resorting to rewriting the
character’s Golden Age history. It’s just a shame the JSA series,
which he later appeared in, doesn't age well.
The Atomics #15 (AAA Pop):
Frankly, I have no idea what this series was all about. Was it
supposed to be a satire? Could be, given that Mike Allred was at the
helm of this book.
The only thing I really know about it that the ending was
deliberate, originally with the 16th issue, but combined together
with this one as a double-sized finale.
The Dreaming #60
(DC/Vertigo): Writer Neil Gaiman was said to have written this as a
continuation for the Sandman, albeit this time as something like The
Sandman Presents. Or, like Dark
Horse Presents, seeing that what was apparently being aimed
for was something like an anthology containing even work by writers
like Bill Willingham, Ed Brubaker, and Bryan Talbot. Alas, anthology
series these days don’t seem to be working, which is a shame.
Geeksville #6 (Image): You
know what this was meant to be about? Fanpeople! Us! Amazing, isn’t
it? It got some Eisner nominations in its time, but sadly, it’s gone
now. I really wish I could’ve gotten to know more about it.
Generation X #75 (Marvel):
As is apparent by now, this was but one of a few mistakes made under
the “Nu-Marvel” regime. In fact, it became apparent as to what was
going to go wrong when in the final issues, they started drawing the
characters wearing black outfits to resemble the X-Men movie’s
uniforms, and I’ve already dismissed that movie as awkward, and I
might as well point out that black leather of the sort featured in
the movie are almost akin to what facists wore.
But let’s leave that aside for now and deal with the series itself.
What made it work out in general was that unlike the now washed up
direction of the other books, such as the flagship ones, this one
took a more optimistic viewpoint, and it was by far also one of
Scott Lobdell’s better efforts as a writer, even though by now, it’s
unlikely that he’ll ever get to write these sort of books again. The
kids acted like kids, and Emma Frost and Banshee’s relationship was
handled well, and at first anyway, she wasn’t written in the
ludicrously slutty manner she was when Grant Morrison took up
writing the X-Men. Plus, the series had a good balance of going
between the action and the character relations. It was nowhere near
Marv Wolfman’s work on the Titans over at DC, but it was still
Which is just why the PC advocates at Marvel sought to turn it into
just another angst-ridden, teeth-gnashing affair, with Warren Ellis
becoming the writer (with the “Counter-X” storyline), to make
matters worse, considering how he’s gone badly off the rails with
anti-Americanist (and even anti-Israelist) viewpoints with books
he’s been writing for Vertigo, such as Global Frequency. Oh, now don’t get me wrong, he
did do some good – or just okay – work a decade ago, but now, as far
as I’m concerned, he’s lost it, in both talent and opinion.
With Ellis’ method of scripting, I’ll have to admit, it’s almost a
good thing it got axed…except for the fact that Marvel’s royal hack
extraodinaire Chuck Austen took to abusing the characters even more.
The really devastating thing about the X-Men is how it appears that
they are Marvel’s most astonishingly abused franchise, neglected by
its editors, and it makes little difference who’s writing, they can
write as poorly – not to mention contemptuously – as they want,
regardless of whether the readers accept it or not.
And as long as anyone continues to buy it no matter how bad they
are, the expectation of fixing them remains little.
X-Man #75 (Marvel): After
all this time, I’ve come to the conclusion that cancelling this
series wasn’t such a bad thing after all, even though I once thought
to myself that it was better than such a series as Cable, now also
cancelled, more or less. More on which anon.
Nate Grey, the hero of this tepid X-book, if I’ve got this accurate
enough, was the son – or the alternate timeline version of Cable
from the Age of Apocalypse storyline – who survived that tepid story
to live in our own regular world, and I think he may have de-facto
been the son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor, but who’s paying enough
attention now? And his worst archnemesis was said to become Stryfe,
who’s a genetic clone of Cable, just like Nate himself is. And a
whole bunch of other mumbo-jumbo that would be too complicated to
Simply put, that’s why X-Man was cancelled, and frankly, as of now,
I don't care.
(DC/Vertigo): One of those “dystopic future” titles, this was a
product of Ed Brubaker, one that most people didn’t seem to
comprehend, and so, it dropped in sales and ended.
Legends of the DC Universe #41
(DC): The last issue of the anthology series starring characters
past and present. And given that, other than such a product as
Japan’s Shonen Jump and France/Belgium's Spirou, anthology titles
don’t do so well in today’s market, that’s what led to the downfall
of this series.
‘Tis a pity, since this enabled Denny O’Neil to establish more of a
foundation for the Green Lantern/Green Arrow run he wrote so well
when he took over Hal Jordan’s title during the 1970’s, in a special
3-part story he did for issues #7-9 of this series. And there was
even a Crisis on Infinite Earths
flashback story here that featured a “rainbow coalition” Justice
League that’ll probably never be seen again (and providing second
Flash Barry Allen one last run across the finish line). And there
was even a 4-part story for the Spectre, #33-36, that enabled the
series with Hal Jordan taking over the role to be set up and
launched (but even that got cancelled, just like every other Spectre
series to date).
It’s something that I’ll miss, since now, a potentially great place
to write stories for Ray Palmer/The Atom, in example, could’ve been
right in this very book! (And I have a two-part story from this
series with him in my possesions.) Then again, aren't we lucky to
have miniseries? So fortunately, they can do such things over there!
Mutant X #32 (Marvel): Well
here’s a series I certainly won’t be missing, and its axing couldn’t
have been more welcome.
Yet another convoluted alternate world series, this being in which
the X-Men – and even some of the other Marvel superheroes – were
mostly villains, and Magneto ran the team, and Havok/Alex Summers,
the brother of Cyclops, when he flew into the space/timecraft that a
banal character named Greystone was piloting, got accidentally
blasted into this dimension, where, if my info is correct, he
assumed the body/existance of Cyclops’ alternate dimension
counterpart. Or did he?
And for a series where they said there would some surprises, it was
anything but that. Maybe if it hadn’t been for all the time-based
stories already done with the X-books, then it might’ve been that,
but it wouldn’t have been any more interesting.
They should’ve found another dead horse to kick. This book is one,
if any, that I can garuntee will be forgotten in the future eons to
come, and by the time of DC One
Million, I can assure everyone that it won’t have survived
the test of time or memory by then.
Rumble Girls: Silkie Warrior
Tansie #7 (Image): I’m not sure, was this a satirical
title? I’m not sure, but I know that writer/artist Lea Hernandez
went on after it ended to work with the great Gail Simone on Killer Princesses at Oni Press.
And that one is certainly a satirical title, and I’m pleased that
she got that great job there.
Catwoman #94 (DC): Oh, it was only
temporary, that Selena Kyle’s own series was cancelled, and then
relaunched, with Ed Brubaker taking over the writing, and making it
into a more detective-like series, not unlike the series the Feline
Fatale first began in, Batman’s Detective Comics and also the
Catwoman’s been various things in her now 60-plus year history, but,
if anything, she’s been one of those “walk the fence between good
and evil” kind of characters, and if there’s anyone who can do it
the best it’s her, thanks to her skills. And yes, she’s been a “bad
girl” kind of character. One who could steal but who avoided
killing, mostly due to her own hellish childhood when growing up,
and who could help out innocent people being targeted by the more
scummy criminals of Gotham City, both common and costumed, mainly
the women of the city.
The thing that did this first volume in was when they had Selena
coming out of prison in one of the stories a short time before its
cancellation with a persona that was willing to carry a gun. And
that’s what angered me too, like various other Catwoman fans, that
they were trying to turn her into yet another one of those kind of
characters you’d see at Image in the early 90’s. So DC put an end to
this book, and started it anew, this time as more of noir-ish
series, and with Selena as more of a Robin Hood-ish character than
before, and as more of a heroine for the castaways of Gotham that
Well anyway, it’s a good direction they’ve taken up, and successful
too, so I’m glad that Selena got out of that jam from the previous
volume little the worse for wear in her own personality.
Starman #80 (DC): This
series ended, because writer James Robinson said that he’d wrapped
up the storylines for Jack Knight’s character had been completed.
Truth be told, I'd say it hadn't. When I think about this book in
retrospect today, I think it was one of the most overrated books of
its time (by the mid-2000s, it mostly went out of print, suggesting
I'm not the only one thinks that).
Following this Starman would make appearances in the JSA for a short time, but IMHO,
it was hardly worth the effort.
X-Men: The Hidden Years #22
(Marvel): They claimed it was because of low sales that this was
being put to an end, but from what I can gather by now, it appears
that Nu-Marvel’s regime with Bill Jemas, now off the main board of
directors, may have been hiding behind sales deficits to justify
their cancellation of it, because it didn’t suit their PC
The series was meant to fill in the years between late 1970 to 1975,
when the X-Men series had been all but cancelled (there’s almost
never anything as a cancelled series, if you know what I mean when
it comes to things like this), and what was refreshing about this
was that it took on a fun filled atmosphere, unlike the bleakness
that became commonplace in the X-books during the 80’s and even
today. And John Byrne did a surprisingly good job at connecting with
some of the parts of Marvel history that relate to what was written
about here, including storylines from Fantastic Four, Captain America, Incredible Hulk
and Avengers from around
that time, and it could be said that this was politcally incorrect,
one more clue to its cancellation.
And just how does anyone know that this didn’t appeal to anyone
other than older readers who were already familiar with the X-world?
That’s right, inquiring minds would very much like to know. Instead,
we get a train wreck with New
X-Men, written by Grant Morrison, and a plane crash with Uncanny X-Men, written by Chuck
Austen, the industry’s newest hack. Isn’t it wonderful how the PC
crowd ends up taking over these once great titles? Go figure.
The Darkness #40 vol. 1
(Image/Top Cow): the premise: a primal force that's been around
since before humanity, with the other being the Angulus, which had
its own titles published infrequently. It first appeared in a
Witchblade story, and was created by Marc Silvestri and Garth Ennis,
the latter whose presence honestly discourages me from reading this
today. Most peculiar was how this was cancelled only to be
relaunched soon after.
Marvel Knights #15 (Marvel): Frankly, this
is a line, as it became, that as of now, doesn't really amount to
much. Marvel, desperate as they were to launch a line that could
serve as the perfect place for them to tell stories that were more
adult in nature, but alas, also more juvenile in tone, put Daredevil under the MK label
starting in 1998, and Elektra
and the Punisher 3 years
later, but other than that, most of the books to have gone under
this line, to say nothing of this now cancelled anthology, are
nothing to write home about.
Probably the best of this line would have to have been Chuck Dixon's
series here, which served to tell stories involving a couple of
Marvel's "street smart" characters, as I like to call them myself,
which include DD, Black Widow, Punisher, Power Man and Iron Fist,
and also Cloak and Dagger.
But that was at a time when respect for continuity at Marvel was
more stable, and now, under editor Axel Alonso, who's in charge of
this line, it's mostly pretty tame, and, as he puts it, it
supposedly appeals to those who think "outside the box", and, if so,
are supposedly "more progressive", according to him.
Not only do I not accept this absurd notion of Alonso's, I must also
point out the disrespect it shows for Marvel's devoted fans. And
now, sadly, he and Marvel have pretty much snubbed fandom by shoving
the Hulk into this very iffy line, in their sorry quest to avoid the
would-be burden of continuity.
That was probably also one of the reasons why the Marvel Knights anthology series
got axed, even though anthology titles haven't done well in today's
market. True, it did get relaunched(!) a couple months later, only
to be axed again, but that's something I'll have to attend to in the
next installment I make of this section of my website.
Until then, let me point out that the MK line, as far as I have
discerned, is iffy at best, if not worthless, and most of it is not
worth the bother, especially not the MK version of Captain America, which became
unreadable very quickly. And I'm not going to be looking forward to
seeing the Incredible Hulk
in this line either, nor Iron Man
if that too is headed for this line.
Nothing for this month either. Grumble grumble.
Martian Manhunter #36 (DC): Ranking right
next to Green Lantern as one of DC's most shabbily treated
superheroes, we have J'onn J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter. And just
one more testimony to how it's not easy being green in comics, or in
real life for that matter (yep, even I don't find life so easy
Martian Manhunter first debuted at the end of what's called the
Shadow Age of comics (1950-55), in a backup story published in an
issue of Detective Comics,
as an alien scientist who'd been accidentally transported to earth
by another scientist working on communications with other worlds,
but before he could figure out how to help tranport J'onn back to
his homeworld, the human scientist passed away of a heart attack.
Unable to figure out how to return to his own planet, J'onn realized
that he'd have to get used to starting a new life on earth. With his
power of being able to shape-shift, he soon took up a human guise,
posing as John Jones, a human detective (at that time, it was so
fast, the way he got the job). He also had telepathic powers as
well, and when the Justice League
of America was founded, he couldn't have found a better
place to be a part of, and that was where, while he may not have
become the biggest character in all the DCU, he certainly managed to
gain popularity as a supporting character, and succeeding writers
were able to expand upon his character and role, in the DCU and the
League, later leading to a miniseries published in 1988 starring the
alien superhero. And, while he later found ways to be able to return
to his home planet, he decided to remain on earth and continue his
career there as a superhero.
Later, tragedy struck, when his home planet was destroyed, and so,
as of today, like Superman, he is an orphan of a deceased planet,
working to right wrongs on good ol' planet earth.
In 1998, he got his own series, which was better than expected for a
series starring a "third tier" character in the DCU. And John
Ostrander and Tom Mandrake were a great choice for the
writing/drawing team. But alas, this was just one of those series
that DC simply wouldn't support to the fullest, and so, it ended up
on the intergalactic scrap pile.
It's too bad that one of DC's best supporting characters didn't get
the attention he deserved. But at least we'll always be able to
continue reading about him in books like the JLA.
Swamp Thing #20 volume 3
(DC/Vertigo): This series, which focused mainly on the daughter of
the male Swampy and Abigail Arcane, that being Tefe Holland, had
some potential to it storywise, but alas, it just didn't manage to
regenerate the same buzz with readers that came when the second
volume was in publication.
Like her mother, Tefe was drawn with mostly white colored hair, as a
touch of the bizarre, and, like her dad, she too has powers almost
similar to his, and also a similar outlook, though because she
herself is a half-human, half-plant creature, so the story takes
more or less a different viewpoint this time around. And Swampy here
was in the role of her mentor.
Unfortunately, while the writer, Brian Vaughan, may have had some
interesting ideas, it just didn't manage to recreate the same buzz
as Tefe's dad had during his second series' long run (spoken about
in the 1996
files), and was cancelled with the 20th issue.
Since then though, there's been yet another series that's come out from Vertigo, which
may give focus to both dad
and daughter. Even that hasn't been very successful, and was
cancelled about a year and a half after it was published.
Copyright Avi Green. All rights