No matter what the company, right now is not the easiest time to get a foothold in the comics market. And today, one new monthly series chock full of critical acclaim has found its writer noting the harsh realities a series faces if it wants to compete in the market or even complete its planned story.
On Twitter, writer James Robinson responded to a fan of his just-launched DC Comics maxi-series “The Shade” who was excited for an upcoming issue by Jill Thompson to say that “Hopefully sales will pick up from good word of mouth and we get to Jill’s issue.” Prompted for more info, the writer said, “If sales don’t improve it may be canceled before the 12 issues are done.”
In its first two appearances, “The Shade” has earned a considerable amount of critical praise including a 4 and 1/2 Star review by CBR’s Doug Zawisa which praised artist Cully Hamner’s work as “sleek and precise, unburdened by extraneous lines. At once contemporary and retro, this is the way a book with characters like the Shade and Bobo Benetti deserves to look.” Of Robinson’s script, Zawisa said “Two issues in, this story is shaping up to be an adventure/mystery set within the cozy confines of the DC Universe as only James Robinson can write it…I am certain that anyone picking up this title for more of what they found in ‘Starman,’ however, will be quite thrilled with the yarn Robinson is dishing up. This is a fun, adventurous, unpredictable book. Thankfully we’ve got ten more to go.”
CBR News reached out to DC for comment on whether a full ten issues would continue from “The Shade,” and a spokesperson confirmed that there are currently no plans to end the series earlier than originally announced. DC has not often canceled limited series mid-run no matter the sales. The last time the publisher made a move in that regard was with their “Great Ten” series in 2010 which was truncated by one issue but completed its planned story.
Earlier this month, Robinson teamed with incoming “Shade” #4 artists Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone for an interview on CBR where he said, “To me, the thing about the Shade is that he was always very much a part of the ‘Times Past’ stories, all of which had different guest artists. He also had his own miniseries, which was also deliberately done with each of the four issues having a different artist. In this way, I’ve worked with a lot of artists on the Shade, and it’s always exciting to see all the different interpretations of the same character.”
“But basically, the whole thing is linked together, past and present, so that there is a story in the present, which concerns the Shade’s past and a family you didn’t realize that the Shade had,” the writer continued. “Each of the ‘Times Past’ issues play out that way. The first one jumps back into the 1940s, the second one is set in Paris in 1901 and the third one is in 1830s London for the Shade’s origin. Each time, you learn more about the family and more about what is going on. As I did with Darwyn’s story, I took great pains with each of the other ‘Times Past’ tales with Jill Thompson and Gene Ha, to make them stand alone, even though they’re a part of the bigger picture.”
If reader and retailer interest supports the book through its planned run, future issues will feature the work of Thompson, Ha, Javier Pulido and Frazer Irving.
Stay tuned for more on the future of “The Shade” right here on CBR.