Saturday, February 19, 2011

Petition For Grievance... and Grieving

.....I've been catching up on reading other blogs and in my absence here I've forgotten to note that the current series of Doom Patrol is scheduled for cancellation after the publication of issue #22 this spring. It is one of several titles selling below expectations that will be cancelled before a far-reaching summer 'event' storyline. It's true that shortly after this series started it was drawn into the Blackest Night storyline and that it had two noticeable effects: an enormous jump in sales for those two issues (#'s 4 and 5) and the derailment of the planned storyline, requiring a few months to get back on track, during which the sales slid below where they had been before hand. That's bad news for any title, but critical to this one because it was widely promoted as being an attempt to reconcile conflicting histories and failed attempts over the past seven years to radically rewrite continuity. While the group's history has always been strange, with some periods seeming irrelevant to the events of others, for nearly forty years it was never technically in gross contradiction as it has been this past decade. In interviews, Keith Giffen seemed to view it as a professional challenge and personal mission to be able to relate the group's history both accurately and coherently while somehow also telling an interesting story in the present time. Putting all that aside to participate in a thousand-character crossover, as he was required to do, has chased short-term sales at the expense of the brand itself. The book has been back on track for almost a year now, but since few people have been reading it, they don't know that. Hopefully, once the summer event is over, the team will appear in some other vehicle, with the best-case scenario being an opportunity for Giffen to return with them in their own feature. When he started, the Doom Patrol had disambiguation problems that were probably only second to the Legion Of Super-heroes in the DC Universe. In just a year and a half he has already made enormous progress.

.....Of course, since the purpose of this blog has always been to recount that history and add the reader's perspective, the blog will continue, however far apart I have allowed the posts to come. I would also recommend that you add your voice to an existing petition at:

and follow the petition's progress at Doompedia (the link is on the left).


  1. You hit the nail on the head. Any writer taking on DP and needing to reconcile the team's continutiy should have been given at least three years to do so, regardless of sales.

    After Dan Didio's convention comments about this which were posted on Doompedia, I feel that the only way he could change his view of the team is if an intevention was staged by writers and fans similar to the one that prevented him from killing off Dick Grayson. I think it would take that level of action to make him see the light. This isn't about sales. It's about story-telling. The story leads the sales, NOT the other way around.

  2. I worked in comics retail in the 1990's and whenever DiDio speaks I get horrible flashbacks to when Marvel's stock was in the hands of people obsessed with chasing profit margins rather than profits. That is, percentages rather than whole dollar numbers. They all made their money in other areas of manufacturing (and I think perfumes) and their reasoning was that you should only put your resources into those products with the very highest return rate. For anything mass-produced (like comics), the more copies you make, the lower your per-piece production costs, therefore the higher your profits.
    The problem with trying to take that logic out of the world of building refrigerators and lawn chairs (where it works) and applying it to comics is that you get a dozen Spider-man titles a month, a dozen mutant titles a month and a dozen of everything else combined. Profitable titles were being cancelled because they weren't profitable ENOUGH. Imagine watching an episode of "Grey's Anatomy" where the characters are having their conversations against a solid white background instead of in a hospital. That's what the experience of reading Spider-man and X-Men became in the late 90's. Nothing that happened seemed to have any meaning because they would have no repercussions. And that's because there was no longer much of a world in which they could have repercussions. DiDio's whole M.O. seems to be that fantasy should have no limitations, therefore any rug someone enjoys standing on SHOULD be pulled out from under them. While most comics nerds argue endlessly over what would be appropriate ground rules, he seems ideologically opposed to there being ground rules of any kind. If someone doesn't see how that would make it discouraging for any writer trying to develop dramatic tension, I can tell you it makes it nearly impossible for any reader to care.