In 2004, writer Marc Andreyko introduced us to Kate Spencer, the latest in a long line of DC characters called Manhunter, in a book of the same name. The prosecutor-by-day, take-no-prisoners costumed-vigilante by night delighted Andreyko's fans and colleagues alike for twenty-five issues until low sales forced DC's hand: The book was slated for cancellation. But a tremendous upwelling of fan and critical support convinced Executive Editor Dan DiDio to grant Andreyko's baby a five-issue stay of execution. "Manhunter" returns this December with issue #26, but only time will tell if this will be the beginning of a new era for the costumed vigilante, or Kate Spencer's swan song. Andreyko took a moment to speak with CBR News about his hopes for his little comic that could.
Andreyko says the fact that "Manhunter" has been fighting an uphill battle from day one is "both frustrating and understandable. With the roadside so littered with failed books, I get why retailers were so hesitant in the beginning," Andreyko told CBR News. "What frustrates me now is that with the modicum of buzz 'Manhunter' has and the combination of great reviews and more TPB support from DC, why it is still so hard to get retailers to order a few copies."
Andreyko is eternally grateful for his fans' unwavering support. "The devotion of the fans continually humbles me. I never hoped for such a reaction and will always be grateful to the folks that wrote in and continue to try and make 'Manhunter' converts."
Andreyko is just as humbled by the outcry of support from his peers. Indeed, the list of "Manhunter" supporters is a veritable "Who's Who" in comics, with all-stars like Geoff Johns, Brad Meltzer, Brian Bendis and Mark Millar in the "Manhunter" camp. "To have people who I've admired for years actually read my book is flattering enough, but the outpouring of support from these busy folks always brings a smile to my face," Andreyko said.
With the future of the book riding on the upcoming five-issue arc, Andreyko is trying his hardest not to second-guess himself. "I am just trying to write 'Manhunter' as I always have," he said. "I am making it a little more user friendly with the tie-in to the 'Infinite Crisis' event, but I'm making sure that there are still all the subplots and supporting characters' adventures to keep long-time fans excited."
Andreyko did have one very unusual promotional idea for the relaunched series. "I suggested putting crack in the ink, but legal said 'no,'" joked the writer. "But DC is giving ['Manhunter'] a nice push." DC has commissioned covers from some of the best artists in the business, and committed to at least one more "Manhunter" TPB. And Andreyko has been "running around like a town crier. So hopefully, people will try the book just to shut me up," the writer said.
With the future of "Manhunter" so uncertain, Andreyko is trying to bring a sense of closure to the arc while still leaving the possibility open for further stories for Kate and company. "Like every arc in 'Mahunter' so far, I make sure it has a beginning, a middle and an end, but everything neatly tied up always feels forced and depressing to me," Andreyko said.
"I have some ideas about where I'd like to see the characters end up, but I have no definite endpoint in mind," Andreyko told CBR News. "I love writing these guys and would love to do the book until I run out of ideas. The problem now is making sure enough people buy the book so I can tell these stories."
Andreyko is at least comforted by the fact that Kate Spencer will live on in the DCU whether or not "Manhunter" does. "I do get a charge out of seeing Kate in other parts of the DCU," Andreyko admitted. "That is the fun of doing this book: getting to develop a new character and play with icons at the same time."
Fans of the book know that Wonder Woman showed up at Kate Spencer's law offices at the end of "Manhunter" #25 soliciting the prosecutor's services. Andreyko wouldn't go into specifics about the kind of legal aid everybody's favorite Amazon was in need of, but he promised that readers who pick up issue 26 would not be disappointed. And it's a safe bet Diana's legal troubles have something to do with the murder of one Maxwell Lord.
Of life beyond issue #30, Andreyko had this to say. "I have stories planned that would keep me busy until at least #50, but I'm not getting too far ahead of myself. Let's just get the monthly's sales up and get the word out there: Buy 'Manhunter' or see a grown man cry. Seriously."
"Manhunter" #26 hits stands on December 6th and stay tuned to CBR for more in our "Save Manhunter" series.