So, as a company DC has spent the last 3 years promoting the Blue Beetle title, fighting off naysayers, hyping the surprisingly consistently good reviews of the title, and this week they announce it’s cancellation.
BLUE BEETLE #36
Written by Matthew Sturges
Art by Carlo Barberi
Cover by Rafael Albuquerque
Say goodbye to the bravest Teen Titan of them all as Blue Beetle takes on a whole space army all on his lonesome in a tale so epic it could only be called the â€œValentineâ€™s Day Dance Massacreâ€?!
FINAL ISSUE â€¢ On sale February 25 â€¢ 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
Now, as always, it’s perfectly within DC’s rights to cancel a title, for any reason at all. And when one has been a borderline seller as BB has been for the last 2 years or so, it makes even more sense. Or at least it would if the character wasn’t part of a Huge Freaking Multi-Media Promotion right now.
From the looks of things, Cartoon Network has plans for the character, potentially beyond just the “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” premiere episode. He’s been in virtually all of the show’s promotional pieces, from print to TV to web. Heck, he’s practically half the website for B:BatB, with a nice big bio-page, appearances on the downloadable wallpapers and a playable part in the online game. Hell, the character gets his own skill set and special instructional page!
A lot of this would be moot if CN had changed the character significantly from his comic book roots, like Red Tornado or Green Arrow, but he’s pretty much the same as in the comic. The costume is nearly exactly like the book, the character’s a teenage boy starstruck with Batman and not exactly sure of what’s going on around him.
I’m not a huge fan of the new Blue Beetle, but I don’t dislike Jamie Reyes either. He’s actually a pretty decent “Spider-Man meets Power Rangers” kind of character that I can easily see kids getting into. The fact that DC spent so long massaging the title’s life despite diminishing sales shows that they kind of get that as well, which makes the just announced canning of the book that much more puzzling. It just boggles the mind that, a few days after the character becomes a nationally known entity, seen by upwards of a million new pairs of eyes around the world, this is the time that DC sees fit to pull the plug on the book. How does that make any sense at all? Maybe TV exposure doesn’t automatically lead to increased monthly comic sales, but you’d think that anyone with any kind of skill at selling things could use the character’s newfound notoriety to somehow move more issues or the collected editions or something.
With DC’s sales dropping pretty much across the board, resulting in them becoming a distant second to Marvel’s #1 sales position (due partially to Marvel’s ability to parlay Iron Man’s new popularity directly into comic book sales this past summer), it’s pretty incomprehensible that nobody at the company seems to think that they can piggyback on Beetle’s media blitz. But then, if the last few years of DC’s publishing moves have taught us anything, it’s that they rarely do anything that makes sense anymore.