If you’re like me you’re a little perturbed by the sudden rash of cancellations of second-string Marvel titles. Just this week alone I’ve heard that X-23, Ghost Rider, Black Panther, Punisher Max, and now Daken: Dark Wolverine are getting the axe. Alpha Flight, which started as an eight-issue miniseries and then became an ongoing, has been re-designated a miniseries, so even though it’s a lateral move I count that among the body count.
Since I was curious, I checked the October 2011 sales figures to get a sense of what could be next on the chopping block. The following are the core Marvel Universe ongoing series that sold fewer than 25,000 copies in October. (I figured there was no point comparing the Ultimate books, creator-owned projects, licensed stuff, etc., since they’re often assessed by different standards.) I’ve crossed out the books that are already dead:
X-23 #15 – 24,043
- Thunderbolts #164 – 23,712
- X-Factor #226 – 23,569
- Avengers Academy #20 – 23,412
- S.H.I.E.L.D. #3 – 21,060
Ghost Rider #4 – 21,012 Alpha Flight #5 – 20,731 Daken: Dark Wolverine #15 – 19,759
- Generation Hope #12 – 18,424
Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive #524 – 18,248 Punisher Max #18 – 17,541
- Deadpool Max II #1 – 15,865
Herc #9 – 13,190
So yeah, if you’re a fan of Avengers Academy or Generation Hope, you’ve got good cause to be a little nervous.
It’s hard to imagine Thunderbolts or X-Factor ever going away, although even if they were axed I think they’d find their way back before too long. Consider that the current version of T-bolts has lapped the 1997-2003 incarnation’s 81 issues, and the modern X-Factor is well on its way to overtaking the 1991-1998 era (#71-149). Both of these properties have found their place in the Marvel pantheon–they’re now akin to titles like Defenders and New Mutants that never truly go away, as opposed to titles like Champions and Skrull Kill Krew that aren’t coming back.