Tuesday, December 10, 2013

"Well, Sure -- I Can Tell You Why That Series Didn't Last..."

Doug:  Back in the spring we had a nifty little discussion on the idea that the limited series might have saved some short-lived ongoings -- the Claws of the Cat and the Black Goliaths of the world.  Today I want to do a little expansion or even rehash of that, but with an added flair.  We all know there were series in the Bronze Age that just couldn't get going, despite continued efforts by the Big Two to make them sellers.  I think of a certain Sorcerer Supreme, who had a few series in various vehicles.  The Kree Captain Mar-Vell also had a certain amount of stop/start in his four-color career.  You see, even if a book lasted four or five years (or in the case of Namor, even longer), it still eventually succumbed to the judgment of the spinner rack crowd and whether or not they'd part with a quarter.

Doug:  So what we want from you today is some rationale, some explanation as to why this or that character or title fizzled.  Why were some characters like the Black Widow basically a one-and-done?  Why did the Inhumans get two somewhat-long try-outs?  Black Goliath unfortunately (to me) went from being a C-lister to being a CCCCCCCC-lister, almost never to be heard from again (oh wait -- until they needed a sacrificial lamb in that debacle a few years ago).  I don't personally find anything wrong with the character.  Actually, he's been around about as long as anyone (since what, 1966 or so?).  I know I've given Marvel examples above, but that's where my wheelhouse is.  I'd certainly welcome our DC-leaning friends to jump in as well.


45 comments:

Edo Bosnar said...

Agreed about Black Goliath/Bill Foster - he's actually a great character. However, having read the entire series, I think one problem was the rather depressing stories: the poor guy got punched around and beaten by guys like Stiltman in his own title.
You also mentioned Captain Marvel. The series actually had a pretty respectable run (about 40 issues when the series was revived in the early '70s) with a few leftover stories published in Marvel Spotlight. I started reading the title just before it was cancelled, and it was pretty solid. Good space adventure-oriented stories, with really nice art by Pat Broderick. So I can't say why it got cancelled.
Same thing with Nova - if you asked me back then, I would have sneeringly said it was because Carmine Infantino replaced Sal B. as artist, but I doubt that was the reason. Again, I only started reading the book a few issues before its cancellation, and even though I wasn't liking the art, that last story arc (a space opera that concluded in Fantastic Four) was actually pretty good. (As a sidenote, I have to say that if the same art team that drew that cover you posted, Pollard and Nebres, were doing the interior art, those would have been some fine looking and well-regarded comics.)

Over at DC, I'm similarly at a loss to explain why series like Ragman or Black Lightning didn't really take off. I thought both were pretty solid series, and they were also interesting in that then "relevant" themes like poverty and urban decay served as backdrops to the stories.

I can, however, state with great confidence why Team America didn't last - and I'm a bit of an expert on the subject as I diligently followed it from start to finish (all 12 issues): gimmicky/faddish heroes - a team of pro motor bike racers with rather cliched personalities, i.e., the stoic leader, the temperamental loner, the smart-alec rich kid, etc., coupled with largely uninteresting stories and really, really mundane art (a variety of workmanlike pencilers including Luke McDonnell, Alan Kupperberg and Don Perlin, with Colletta inking throughout). The only thing I still can't figure out is why I stuck with the series to the bitter end - even back then, I recall not liking it very much.

William said...

Nova
Dazzler
Silver Surfer
Dr. Strange
Namor
Omega
Black Goliath
Claws of the Cat

A quick list off the top of my head of a few short lived titles that could have gone longer, but for some reason didn't. The reason why some comic books catch on, and some don't is actually pretty simple. It's usually bad writing, or bad art, or a combination of both. But sometimes it's just the character doesn't have legs. A few of those I mentioned above are somewhat niche characters that aren't extremely versatile, thus they don't have a lot of longevity potential. For example, Namor is a water guy, Silver Surfer is a space guy, Dr. Strange is a magic guy, and so on.

On the other, hand sometimes you have an awesome character, a great writer, and a great artist, and the book still doesn't last. A perfect example of this is Iron Fist, written by Chris Claremont, and drawn by John Byrne. I still don't understand how that book only ran for 15 issues.

(Edo, just fyi, Captain Marvel actually went on for 62 issues).

Matt Celis said...

The '80s Blue Beetle from DC started off pretty good, strong art, good stories, decent supporting cast...and then Len Wein went overboard giving every supporting character a mysterious subplot that dragged out literally for years in real time...and on top of that, stories were abruptly interrupted to fit in crossovers with DC's "Legends" event and "Millennium" event, killing whatever momentum the book had. It was like someone was trying to make readers turn away. Cancelled with #24 and that BB has never had another solo series. What a shame.

Greg said...

I've always wondered if certain series could have made it with a little more time. Iron Fist comes to mind, as William pointed out- give Claremont & Byrne more time on that one, and would it have sold better?

Like Edo, I sometimes came in on the tail end of a series that was on its way out. I bought Inhumans #12 which was the last issue of the series. That was a bummer. I really liked that issue and went back and got the first 11 issues.

I really liked where things were going in Capt. Marvel when that series ended, with the whole Titan storyline. I would have liked to see Ms. Marvel last longer. I liked Ron Lim's art in the Silver Surfer series (80's version) even if I didn't always like the storylines. Silver Surfer #25- such a great cover with Surfer blowing up some Skrull ships. I liked Nova too...

Just looking back over that list brings back a lot of good memories for me. Too bad these series didn't make it. I've always wanted a good Namor series too- the first one was pretty much before my time. I know that's a hard character to make work though.

Thinking back to the old spinner racks, there used to be so much there- I remember all that variety, the Marvel and DC stuff, Gold Keys and Charltons and all the rest.

Edo Bosnar said...

William, I realize the final tally for Mar Vell's series was 62 issues (as I noted, I had the last few in my collection). However, the title folded in 1970 and was revived a little over 2 years later with resumed numbering - that's what I meant in my comment.
By the way - and sorry to digress - but didn't you just love it when the numbering for a revived series was simply continued? The coolest example is when DC revived All Star Comics after a 25 year hiatus and started with issue #58.

Some of the series you mentioned are interesting, William. In the case of Dazzler, I wonder why it lasted as long as it did (over 40 issues).
And the case of Dr. Strange is kind of unique, and I'm not really sure that he applies to this case. After all, he was around almost continually from his first appearances in Strange Tales in the early 1960s until the mid-1990s, either in Strange Tales, Marvel Premiere or his own books.

William Preston said...

I read all of Nova, though Infantino's art was so distressing--its awful angularity, the unpleasantness of the general design--I think I only stuck with it because that's what I did with Marvel titles. I do think the art killed the book. However, the writing did the book no favors. Wolfman's run on that book was as dismaying as his stints on FF and Spidey: the work was always somehow false and forced, mired in a strange moroseness that sucked the joy from everything that had once been a pleasure. Nova didn't stand a chance.

Doug said...

I'd definitely have to agree with those who've said the art was a major factor in my dislike of the last half of Nova's run. However, I did stick with the Invaders through almost all of its tenure, and I'd say the Nova art was better. Go figure.

Can anyone comment on Spider-Woman?

Matt, your comment about DCs and their "necessity" to fit into the latest crossovers, disrupting current storylines, was very true. That sort of typifies the 80s at both major companies (and on past that, of course).

As a tangent, I've wondered about villains maintaining series, and I think we all know why those fail. But in this conversation there are two series about Dr. Doom, one about Morbius, the Joker, and the various monster books (if you choose to place them in a category alongside "bad guys"). I'm sure there are others.

Westerns faded because that genre flamed out in the early 70s. It doesn't seem to have gotten any legs since, really. War comics, too. Although The 'Nam was critically acclaimed, it never was able to reach the author's original goal. He had said at the beginning that it would be a finite series based approximately on the length of America's involvement (or some such parameter).

Good conversation brewing, kids!

Doug

Jeff B. said...

I'm a old collector, My first comic I bought was Justice League of America #81, a JLA-JSA crossover. In the 70's, the series that I thought was cool was Secret Society of Super-Villians. I'd never sen a comic printed from a villians POV. (Except for the short live Joker series from the same time period.) I loved that book and was heartbroken when it was yanked from publication.

david_b said...

Couple of points to comment on here..

1) I noticed Doc Strange's long run a few months back as well, and as much as I like him now (as nice as it was, I never quite warmed to Brunner's art..), the virtue of his run being so long is incredible, since I never saw him as being that popular in a solo title (like Thor or Wonder Woman, also close to being cancelled a few times..).

2) Doug, there's a big difference between Nova's artist change and Invaders. Invaders started/ended with the same Robbins art - You never saw a change either way. With Nova, the initial great art was changed when Infantino came on board. Despite what I read from others (and reading an occasional Star Wars mag..), I actually liked Carmine's short tenures on pre-Miller Daredevil and Howard the Duck. Once I saw his name on the splash page, I thought 'Eww', but once I read the rest of the book, Carmine actually emulated how the books were previously drawn pretty well. I didn't really notice a lot of 'signature Infantino'. I also loved his art in the final Flash years at DC.

Edo Bosnar said...

Actually, David, Robbins left Invaders somewhere in the late 20s (#28 according to the GCD - I actually started reading the title regularly with that issue), and Alan Kupperberg was the regular artist until the series folded.

MattComix said...

I think part of it is that you can have a good superhero character that doesn't necessarily lend themselves to the ongoing monthly grind or even having their own title at all.

For example, in some respects I find I actually enjoy Dr.Strange more as the go-to mystic guy of the Marvel Universe than I do as a protagonist.

Also sometimes think it can be a matter of presentation. I was never really keen on the approach used for the Justice League during the Giffen/DeMatteis/McGuire run of Justice League but if you had that same crew with basically the same approach doing a buddy book about Blue Beetle and Booster Gold I'd have been fine with it.

Anonymous said...

Great discussion.

I'd like to weigh in on open-ended vs. limited series. I think in both cases, at least at Marvel anyway, the goal was to sell more books. So which method is better suited to do that? Are you more or less likely to take an interest in a series knowing it has an endpoint? I think it would depend on who you ask. Does anyone know if the limited idea was considered in the early 70s?

I would guess that at some point that idea was floated. But, somebody probably thought it didn't fit into the whole Marvel universe building/expansion thing to create series that would have an ending. So to some extent, the grand vision of an ever-expanding line of books and characters collapsed under it's own weight - for various reasons already mentioned - inability to keep the creative team together, the nature of the main character(s), plain old bad stories, etc.

Tom

Matt Celis said...

Honestly...I buy books like Spider-Woman, Nova, Supergirl, Flash, and Adventure Comics (Dial H feature) FOR the Infantino art!

Matt Celis said...

Well...I buy books because I want my Frank Robbins and Carmine Infantino art! I don't care for the Invaders after they lost that distinctive Robbins flavor.

Doug said...

I was going to say that maybe some of the "monster" titles didn't last very long because there were B&W magazines lying outside the CCA as alternatives, but then my next thought was:

1) even those were short-lived, and
2) that wouldn't explain why both Conan and Savage Sword of Conan had very long runs concurrently.

Nevermind...

Doug

Doug said...

Matt, Robbins certainly was the Invaders, I'll say that.

For me, the "best looking" issue was #5, which was the first chapter in the Liberty Legion 4-parter. Rich Buckler was on the pencils for that one.

Kupperberg was more "conventional", but not as solid as say, a Sal Buscema would have been.

Doug

david_b said...

Ooops, apologies all on Robbins duration on Invaders (thanks Edo). I was under the incorrect assumption he was there from start to finish.

Well then, how 'bout the Champions.., with Byrne coming in at the end..? Even with art improvements, a low-selling series doesn't necessarily gain readership sales.

MarVell's art and writing stayed pretty solid through it's final issues, but IMHO, no one could replace Starlin as writer/artist.

Al Milgrom..? Sorry, could never handle his art on anything.

Doug said...

Actually, I'm going to break my usual character here and say that Milgrom did a pretty darned good art job on the Guardians of the Galaxy series that ran in Marvel Presents.

And, isn't that a team concept that should have been able to last longer than the 9-10 issues that it endured? Starlin with those guys? Indeed!

Doug

Karen said...

Well, I wrote a whole article in Back Issue about why the Champions failed, and I don't want to beat that into the ground here. But I think even with Byrne coming on board and doing a great job, it was just too late to save the book. Don't forget, even Byrne's run was not complete -Bob Hall jumped back in for a couple of issues, and on the final one, we had Byrne inking George Tuska! The book lacked consistency in both its creative team and its publishing schedule.

The two characters who have always puzzled me the most are Sub-Mariner and Dr.Strange. Both are certainly popular and integral to the Marvel universe, and both have had long runs here and there, yet they haven't been able to maintain a consistent long-running title. I think with Namor it has to do with his personality and role as a sometimes-villain. Plus, as William mentioned, the underwater setting may also turn some off or be limiting. That might also explain some of Aquaman's struggles too.

With Dr. Strange, it seems like there could be a couple of factors at play. One, I never found him to be that compelling, as a character. The only time he really struck me as being "real" was when Englehart and Stern wrote him. the other factor is, his magic makes him omnipotent, in the sense that he is often used as a deus ex machina, and that's not very satisfying to most readers.

Greg said...

I was pretty excited in the early 90's when the Guardians of the Galaxy came back, courtesy of Jim Valentino. While most of the storylines didn't light my fire, it was nice to have those characters back front and center. Today's Guardians... I just won't go there.

I liked Dr. Strange's series, it was weird in the early days and I was fond of Stern's tenure, and thought the run after him was good too (Peter Gillis, maybe?). Was sorry to see that get canceled.

I wonder too how the nature of the distribution just didn't help some of these lesser tier titles? I liked Nova and bought an issue whenever I saw one, but thinking back I didn't see that many on the racks. I tagged along with parentals to the party store or pedaled down to 7-11. They could have displayed Nova like clockwork but many of us were kids and just went when we could. I only bought a few off the rack, it was years later when I filled in the gaps at a comic store but he was long since canceled by then...

Matt Celis said...

I like Al Milgrom fine, too. He's consistently good in the same way as Bob Brown, Irv Novick, and some others who for some reason never got to be star artists. I'd certainly take any of these journeymen over most of what I see now with artists who don't seem to have seen a human body that wasn't pumped full of steroids and implants. Or a face that wasn't scowling and squinting!

Doug said...

Matt --

Superman doesn't look like Superman anymore, does he?

Doug

Matt Celis said...

Flipside of today's topic: titles that just never seemed to get the hook regardless of how awful they were or became. I remember Alpha Flight seemed to keep going and going long after John Byrne left and the quality went downhill...more recently there was that New Warriors comic that apparently sold well enough to last a while...any other candidates?

Matt Celis said...

Geez...he used to be such a mature, paternal figure...now he's a scowling young punk with cheek implants and permanently red eyes because he needs to flash his heat vision nonstop to show what a bada$$ he is...! I guess that's edgy or something. At least we have our back issues and they'll never change. Kinda like how for me Peter Parker never graduated college.

Matt Celis said...

One upside to early cancellation: easier to get a complete run of a title you enjoy. Of course it gets old reading the same six issues over and over and wishing there was JUST ONE MORE to finish that story!

Doug said...

The hook? New Avengers. There's been no more egregious assault on my illness known as "completism" than that pile of recycling papers. To be honest, Bendis cured my completist tendencies, so maybe I should actually thank him.

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

I have to step in and defend Milgrom as well: not only was he good when working on Guardians of the Galaxy, he was also pretty good on Captain Marvel following Starlin's run. I just read those the first time recently in Essentials format. Starlin was indeed a tough, damn near impossible, act to follow, but Englehart and Milgrom really produced a solid run of stories. However, it has to be said that in both Guardians and Capt. Marvel, Milgrom's art was often helped by good inkers.

As for Matt's flipside suggestion, I have to go back to Dazzler. I dropped it after the first 5-6 issues (and I'm not really sure why I got those), but remember seeing it in spinner racks with numbering well into the 30s and thinking: "it hasn't been cancelled yet?!"

david_b said...

No worries, everyone can like Mr. Milgrom more than I.

I just remember those years I 'tried' to like WCA but just couldn't handle the art there or in the main Avengers book. His inking was fine, but couldn't handle his mundane art.

Agreeing with Matt on short runs. I was still beside myself to get the entire run ('cept ish 1 and a couple of final issues) of Howard the Duck for under $20.

That probably doesn't seem too surprising to others here, but I thought it was a good deal.

Seeing that new Joker TPB will save me some $$ on getting the original issues, although I will miss the distinctive letters column.

I've just bought three of the Shanna the She-Devil comics off eBay (only 5 issues in all) for more Gerber love, and at some point check out early Perez on Inhumans and Logans Run (with Terry Austin and Klaus Janson).

Garett said...

How about Hercules? There was the Dell comic, then the DC comic with Garcia Lopez then Simonson art...at Marvel he'd show up in Thor's comic and the Avengers and Champions, and had a couple miniseries by Bob Layton. Maybe if fans wanted mythological adventures, they'd read Thor over Herc.

I recently read the Layton miniseries again ('82 and '84, plus an '89 graphic novel), and really enjoyed the humour. There's also good action, and supporting cast with the Recorder and Skyppi the Skrull. I like Layton's art and writing, and it would've been good to see him do more.

I just discovered there's been a recent Herc series by Marvel, The Incredible Hercules, that's had good reviews. I read some, and the writing's good--more serious than the Layton series, but still with humour. It lasted 30 issues, so I'm guessing that's the longest Herc comic series so far. Seems like he should last longer, considering how Thor and Conan have had lengthy runs.

For John Buscema completists, there's a great 1959 single issue of Herc base on the movie.

Karen said...

Let me tell you, short runs are great when you're looking to write an article for a comic book magazine and know you don't have the time to read and analyze 200+ issues of a title...

Daniel Graves said...

With respect to the DC books, so many were fatalities of either the so-called implosion, or other line-wide cutbacks that I think the conversation is not quite the same. I think a lot of interesting titles just got canned wholesale.

As a kid, some of my favourites were
the Joker
Secret society of super villains
All Star
Firestorm
Batman Family

Interestingly the JSA and BAT fam got second chances in The Adventure and Detective dollar comics formats.

I suppose the JSA got another chance in All Star Squadron, which I loved, but Crisis really buggered up for poor Roy Thomas. I liked Geoff John's reinvention of JSA in the last decade.

Firestorm got a few kicks at the can, but last time I looked in on him, he wasn't the Firestorm I remember.
Father Dan

Matt Celis said...

Never read Firestorm at the time, but I go that recent TPB collection and it was pretty good. Felt like another Conway attempt to "do Spider-Man," but having him be a put-upon jock was a nice change of pace. As was having 2 separate men become 1 superhero: fusion, we get it, clever. Seems like his 2nd series lasted a good long time although I remember they changed his costume and messed with the formula and basically killed anything I liked about the character.

themiddlespaces said...

I agree with whoever said that some characters are great for cameos and supporting roles or limited series but just can't hold their own title - I would put Namor and Dr. Strange in that category.

Also, I think anything lasts more than 24 issues issues is a decent run . .. that's two years! Something that runs 50+ issues? There is nothing to complain about in my eyes. I rather something burn out and maybe return later than be driven into the ground.

Then again, I am all for comics moving from a monthly model to a quarterly or even yearly model, with higher production values and complete stories.

I also agree with Karen - short series make for great fodder for articles and blog posts - I have done Black Goliath, Black Lightning and Dan Slott's two volumes of She-Hulk (33 issues for those two) on my blog. Once I complete my Howard the Duck and Power Pack runs I plan to write about those too.

The series I really wish was longer was Devil Dinosaur.

Fred W. Hill said...

While the focus so far has been on series cancelled in the Bronze Age, as appropriate for this site, I got to thinking about Marvel's first few significant cancellations, mainly the Hulk's first series, then the Human Torch and Giant-Man series. I have the Pocketbook compilation of all six issues of the Hulk series, and, wow, what an uneven mishmash! Lee & Kirby apparently couldn't get a grasp on what to do with the Hulk as in the first couple of issues he was a short-tempered creature who only came out at night, threatening to take on the world and kill anyone who irritated him, only inadvertantly waylaying the plans of the evil commies & aliens. Then he became Rick Jones puppet and later akin to a weird combination of Mr. Fantastic & the Thing when Bruce Banner still maintained most of his own personality when transformed into the Hulk, but much more assertive and gruffer. Not quite the magic that made the FF & Spidey such successes. As for the Torch, solo or with the Thing, and Hank Pym, tiny or large, solo or with Janet, in each case the stories were too often silly and the characters boring. Ben Grimm seemed to be characterized as roughly the same age as Johnny Storm, rather than a man old enough to be his father (recalling that in the original continuity, Ben was a WWII vet and at age 16 in late 1961, Johnny would have been born the year WWII ended). Clearly by 1965, Lee realized neither of these series were doing much for Marvel's reputation and so out they went!
Then there were those cancellations of '69 & '70 of several of Marvel's '68 expansion titles, namely Dr. Strange, Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Silver Surfer & Captain Marvel, each of which had its own unique problems which eroded whatever appeal they might have initially had, especially when the price of comics went up even if just by 3 cents. We'll never know if SHIELD might have kept going much longer than it did if Steranko had kept on the title, but the mediocre stories & art that followed his wake certainly didn't help it in the marketplace, and the same goes for Capt. Marvel after Thomas & Colan abandoned the title during its initial run. But then again the same team could not save Dr. Strange -- maybe the good Doc was just a little too "out there" to cut it with most comics buyers of the late '60s even after he was changed to look more like a traditional superhero; curiously, under Englehart only a few years later, Dr. Strange seemed even more out there, but attracted enough readers to keep the relaunch going for the remainder of the '70s. With the Silver Surfer, well, the chromed alien was just too depressingly alienated to get enough seekers of 4-color escapist entertainment. They might buy an issue thinking, "oh, cool, a guy who surfs in space!" But then realized, "oh, shit, he's stuck on Earth, and all mopey and stuff, and his girlfriend's on another planet and he can't even call her. And even when he wins, he still loses. What a downer!"

Greg said...

Godzilla gave us a couple of good (?) years...

Redartz said...

Another Milgrom supporter here; aside from his Gaurdians work I also enjoyed his Spectacular Spiderman issues with Ed Hannigan.

Another facet of today's topic- how the short run series of the Bronze Age compare to the short runs today. In the 70's and early 80's , there was more appetite for experimentation in style and subject. You had Conan, the various monster titles, minority characters getting more exposure. There was Howard the Duck, Plop!, and What If?. The Joker and Dr Doom had their own titles. Englehart and Gerber were pushing the edge , as were Adams and Miller. So many books were tried, and quite a few bad short lives. Perhaps some of these experiments were simply too far-out (to use the appropriate vernacular) to rouse mainstream popularity. I think of Gerber's Omega; gripping reading but probably not reaching the casual comic buyer.

On the other hand, recent years seem to be fled with endless re-boots . Doug mentioned New Avengers ; today the number of Avengers titles is ridiculous. I wager none of these titles will match the 500-plus issue run of the original Avengers. Today there are many new series and low-numbered runs, change the creative team and start again at issue 1. The impression this gives me is cynicism, not in ovation. Not saying that today's books lack any creativity; there are definitely some good comics out there. They just don't seem as risky, somehow...

david_b said...

Fred, don't forget X-Men, they were another sales casualty of the '69 cancellation (or around that time), lapsing into reprints until catching their 2nd wind in the '70s with the new team.

Even Adams couldn't save them.

Doug said...

Anyone notice how often a heavy hitter was brought in just before a series was cancelled? Weird...

Doug

Anonymous said...

There are many reasons why a comicbook doesn't have a long run - lack of reader empathy (Claws of the Cat), inconsistent writing and art (Nova), changing tastes in popular culture (monster mags), fads dying out (MOKF), and the list goes on.


Sometimes, even the creators at Marvel and DC don't even know which series will be a hit and which will not last a few issues. I'm sure Stan Lee never realized how big Spidey would be when he first plotted that book. The creative team can try to push a series but ultimately the readers and the buying marketplace decide which ones will survive and which ones will be cancelled.


- Mike 'hey I like Al Milgrom's art' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Garett said...

Whoops--I meant to say the Charlton Hercules series, not Dell. Dell was the single issue by Buscema.

Fred W. Hill said...

Actually I thought about the X-Men, David B, but left them out as they weren't an expansion title, but were the sole full-mag superhero series created during Marvel's first wave ('61-'64) to have lasted until 1969 and then wind up cancelled. Of course, considering some of the truly dire stories & art the X-Men were burdoned with for most of the year or so prior to Adams' arrival, it's a wonder it survived as long as it did! And I wonder if although the significant improvement in the writing & art in the last several issues wasn't enough to keep the original series going, maybe it still provided just enough of a sales spike for the top brass to decide to keep it going in reprints, thus for several years becoming the only Marvel superhero series to be represented by reprints but not by new stories, and the only one in which the reprints were published in the original title (although they did something similar with Sgt. Fury, but I recall reading they included a few original stories a few times a year along with the reprints).

Matt Celis said...

Somebody said MOKF had a short run due to fads dying out? Uh, didn't Shang Chi run something like a decade without interruption That's an achievement very few characters have managed.

Chris said...

After 42 previous cooments it's difficult to say anything new.

So with apologies in case I'm repeating anything...

I believe fans want characters who are interesting, likeable and have something different about them.

Many of the series mentioned were just poor imitations of previously successful and better done characters. The problem for the publishers was that if something was radically different it probably wouldn't be successful either.

Of course to get that magic ingredident of success they needed good stories and art. A constant creative team is bound to help.

It does seem, however, that for the most part, it was pot luck whether or not it would work. So perhaps a "try-out" mini-series would have helped but wasn't that tried with books like Marvel Premiere?

Funny enough, it's just the same today but at least companies like Image are trying lots of different things. Some work (Walking Dead anyone) and some just disappear altogether.

david_b said...

Woo-Hoo...!!

Just an update, I grabbed the 5-issue original '72/73 'Shanna the She-Devil' series off eBay (3 separate auctions...)totalling under $20.

Can't wait to read 'em when they come in. Always wanted to read the initial Shanna stories with Mandrill and Nekra before their awesome storyline in DD/BW 108-112 (and MTIO 3).

Hoosier X said...

The Shanna the She-Devil series is so much fun! From that Steranko cover on #1 to Shanna's disappearing headband to Ross Andru and Vince Colletta (doing good work!) to Jakuna Singh to Ina and Biri to all the other King Hell capers. (I love that bit where she traps the rhino.)

Awesome short-run series.

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