We're all accustomed to message-board speculation being presented as fact. But it's rare that the gossip is substantiated by a publisher's representative, only to be denied later. Repeatedly.
Such is the case with the fate of Marvel's Captain Britain and MI:13, which launched with some fanfare -- thanks to Secret Invasion tie-ins and a cameo by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown -- in May 2008, only to hemorrhage readers over the subsequent months.
Those flagging numbers have been the subject of much hand-wringing in a long-running thread on the CBR message board, which on Thursday evening received somber news from none other than Jim McCann, Marvel's marketing manager.
Responding to a post that criticized him for saying in a podcast that Captain Britain has performed better than Marvel had expected, McCann wrote:
... The story, the creative team, and critical reception was through the roof. Unfortunately, the audience left after Secret Invasion tie ins. That podcast was recorded before the cancellation came down & we were all hoping it would stay longer.
In this economic climate, things can change quickly. But something that will NOT change is that I will not be one to lie to you and blow smoke up your ass. Paint me like that if you like, but it's not what I am.
And guys, I am just as sorry as the rest of you that the book is cancelled. ...
That's all pretty clear, right? Well, no.
It seems that, despite low sales -- around 21,000 in December, if ICv2 is to be believed -- the series isn't canceled. Really.
The day after McCann dropped the bomb, series editor Nick Lowe and Marvel.com editor Ryan Penagos took to Twitter to walk back the announcement.
"To readers of Captain Britain, it is NOT canceled!" Lowe wrote. "We have a new kick-A arc with Dracula and Dr. Doom, an annual and such scary plans!" (The new storyline was promoted last week in an article on CBR.)
Marvel later underscored that with an official comment, promising big things for Captain Britain.
If that weren't enough, Matt Fraction, filling in for Joe Quesada in the weekly MySpace Q&A, spelled everything out:
... CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND THE MI-13 is NOT CANCELLED! There's been some crazy-pants misunderstanding or misspeaking or just general mess-up and there is BAD INFORMATION out there clogging up the interweb tubes, kids. Don't believe the antihype! CAP still flies strong and is one of my very favorite Marvel books at the moment. Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk are cranking out an absolute gem of a book and you should listen to the buzz around the thing and give it a read. Here, check out this art if you don't believe me, featuring Dr. Doom... and Dracula... ON THE MOON.
Let me say that last part again: ON! THE! MOON!
As for McCann? On Friday he tweeted: "Sorry for the confusion & pick up the book!!!!"
(Some links via Comic By Comic)