DC Comics this afternoon announced the May cancellations of six more series, a mix of first-, second- and third-wave New 52 titles: Deathstroke, The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man, The Ravagers, The Savage Hawkman, Sword of Sorcery and Team 7.
They follow DC Universe Presents, I, Vampire, Saucer Country and Superman Family Adventures, which end with with their April issues.
“There’s a variety of reasons for when we unfortunately have to cancel a book,” DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras told Comic Book Resources. “The main focus on this, and this is the big picture, is we try to take a look at it as, these characters will not go away. Even though, yes, Savage Hawkman is being canceled, you’ll be seeing a lot of him in Justice League of America. We have also plans for Deathstroke going forward. So even though, as I said, the monthly title is going away, the characters are still going to be very important to the ongoing storyline of the New 52.”
The end of the six titles likely comes as little surprise to those who follow either industry rumors or monthly sales figures: According to December sales estimates, all of the series were well below the traditional “line of death” (20,000 copies), with The Ravagers the highest with 16,177. copies, and The Fury of Firestorm the lowest at just 11,997. Fledgling books Sword of Sorcery and Team 7 debuted during September’s Zero Month with an estimated 26,959 copies and 31,053, respectively, but by Decembers those figures had been lopped in half.
For Deathstroke and The Savage Hawkman, the writing seemed on the wall when Rob Liefeld abruptly walked off the books in August; the latter’s imminent cancellation was reportedly even discussed late last month during a DC panel at Amazing Arizona Comic Con. ROBOT 6’s J. Caleb Mozzocco detailed what went wrong with The Savage Hawkman on Monday, noting that by its end, the book will have gone through four writing teams and two major art teams in less than two years. That sort of creator volatility has become a hallmark of many of the New 52’s second- and third-tier series.
Asked in CBR’s monthly “B&B” interview whether he thought multiple creator shifts hurt sales, Harras said, “I think it’s more of a natural process. It’s churn. If something is working really well, you say it’s coming together. If there’s other things that aren’t quite clicking the way anyone wants — writer, artist, editor, anyone — then change happens. I don’t think there’s anything especially revolutionary or radical; in comics, some books lose readership over time.”