So, now we know. In the wake of the creator re-shuffle at Marvel, Rick Remender confirmed on Monday via Twitter that he is leaving the Uncanny X-Force and the Secret Avengers. With his departure, the former of the two will cease publication.
With a full thirty-seven issues, it has been an enjoyable ride, combining the darker aspects of the X-Men with the potentially darker aspects of the Captain Britain mythos and serving as a springboard for the current Age Of Apocalypse ongoing series. If you have missed this series, (probably due to some hangover x-aversion from the speculator glut of the Nineties), then you have really missed a treat. It has been dark, it has been fun, and it will be sorely missed.
Fans of Secret Avengers however may be relieved that there is no confirmation of the cancellation of that title so far, but Mr Remender promises that he will depart from both titles with a bang!
However, this is hardly the only loss we have suffered this month. The second Zero Month in DC’s history included new Who’s Who profiles in their back pages, in a style that is a homage to their Eighties Fiftieth Anniversary series.
For the nerdier amongst us, this is great, except………
All of the first appearances are listed as within the last year, within the DCnU. Up to seventy-five years of history has been ignored or abandoned with a repeated sweep of the pen.
Now, it’s not like all the older comics have disappeared, nor are they to be completely ignored. After all, DC have been deliberately obtuse when they state that most (but not all) stories appearing prior to the Flashpoint event can still be considered canon. Except when they are not. (And don’t try to think about team-ups or the major events when multiple characters have been rebooted and others haven’t.)
Now for the elusive ‘new reader’, this is ideal, freeing them from the weight of history. Yet many of us are drawn by our love of comics into being continuity-cops, and we want answers to these questions. We wanted them after the Crisis On Infinite Earths, we wanted them after Zero Hour and we want them now. And just like before, we are unlikely to receive many (or any) answers.
Being such a continuity cop myself, the seeming abandonment of previous history, I find horrifying. Heck, I’m even horrified for the sake of the WildStorm stable, never mind the DC stalwarts!
However, they must be doing something right. Comichron reports that the industry has made substantial gains, with last month being the second best month of combined sales for the last sixteen years. SIXTEEN! And the best month in that period was this last May. Passion for the medium has returned in spades, DC and Marvel are neck and neck to dominate the industry, but the independents are receiving healthy market shares.
And bear in mind, this is from Diamond Comics Distributors figures, so does not include the digital market. One could almost presume that the digital market has indeed inspired a growth in physical sales. It seems counter-intuitive, but has been seen in other fields as well, comparing the average music-spend between a pirate downloader and a well-behaved consumer. Guess who buys more in most studies? The pirate!
We can all be reassured that the industry is steadily growing towards the heights of yesterday. Yet it sticks in my jaw that to do so, we appear to have abandoned much of yesteryear.
Am I just an old man, sat on my porch and yelling at the kids? I’m beginning to feel that way!
It wasn’t like this in my day!