The absence of X-Factor from Marvel’s November solicitations has some fans wondering whether the double-sized 50th issue will be the title’s last.
For their part, writer Peter David and the publisher are doing little to ease concerns about the book’s fate.
One his blog, David confirmed there won’t be an issue of X-Factor released in November, adding, “There’s really nothing to say, except that I assume Marvel will make some official announcement.”
A Marvel spokesman had no comment this morning.
Relaunched in 2006 on the heels of a well-received Madrox miniseries, the somewhat noirish X-Factor centers on the detective agency established by Jamie Madrox and staffed primarily by characters from previous incarnations of the series (Strong Guy, Wolfsbane, Rictor and Siryn, among them).
Despite largely positive reviews and attention generated by plot developments like the recent kiss between Rictor and Shatterstar, X-Factor has had difficulty maintaining a foothold on the Diamond charts. While sales-tracker Paul O’Brien has chronicled a 47.4-percent decline over the past three years, the series has hovered in the 31,000- to 32,000-copy range for the past several months — not typically cancellation territory for Marvel.
“Sales remain a source of frustration,” David wrote on the Comic Boards forum. “I think the book reads better than ever and retailers aren’t ordering more. The book gets national publicity and retailers aren’t ordering more. If the book were to end, well, it just wouldn’t be a surprise since retailers seem to be sending the message that they’re never going to increase orders.”
But then David gets coy: “Then again, maybe it’s not ending and I’m just yanking your chains. Two weeks before Layla Miller returned, I was asked at a convention if she was coming back anytime soon. And I said to the audience, ‘Come on, you know how Marvel works. If Layla were going to return, wouldn’t the approach be to beat the drums about it for six months with a whole build up to, “The Return of Layla Miller begins … HERE!” So it seems reasonable to conclude that until you see that kind of promotional approach, that Layla won’t be back.’ Sometimes it’s not what I say; it’s what I don’t say. Or maybe it’s canceled and I just don’t want to admit to it. I’m a puzzle.”