Monday, May 15, 2017
The Crew Will Be Cancelled at #6: Some Thoughts...
It was announced over the weekend that Black Panther and the Crew will end at issue #6. What was slightly shocking was the fact that they announced it so early... what wasn't shocking was that it was cancelled.
I had mentioned on more than one occasion online that the sales for #1 were so bad, both on Diamond charts and Comixiology rankings, that this would likely be cancelled at #6. World of Wakanda sold MUCH better at #1 and was still gone by #6. The book simply sold like dog shit from the get go.
A few thoughts about this...
- This book never had a chance in the direct market from the get-go due to the racially charged themes of the book and the fact the whole team was black. You will immediately lose a large chunk of comic buyers who want no part of it without a single preview coming out (yes, white readers). You will also lose a chunk of minorities who are simply sick of social issues permeating every single book focused on people of color. It is tiring. It is like slave movies at this point. Escapism is real.
So, if the direct market is your indicator for keeping a book alive... why was this book made in the first place? Your target audience isn't the typical Wednesday warrior, and those people are going to be trade buyers.
- Marvel missed two hot times to make this book. One was when BLM and the like were actually in the news. When was the last time you saw an uproar over a killer cop? Do you really think they stopped killing? No, news stations got bored and moved on. Captain America: Sam Wilson took advatage of that (and the sales were still meh... but it was Sam Wilson so not bad).
The second "hot time" for this book was in the middle of the solo run... when World of Wakanda came out. If Black Panther and the Crew was released then, the "Coates Fans" may have moved over much more rapidly, like they did with WoW.
Instead, Marvel released this book when Black Panther ain't so lit and no one cares about killer cops. Oh... and a couple months before Bendis releases his street level book.
- The "Coates Twitter Fan" as forums often joke about are gone now (from direct market anyway). Black Panther sales are now in "normal" range and the Crew book never got off the ground. These fans either moved purely to trade waiting (which is fine) or they have moved on to whatever is cool this month. The real question is, how many of them became long term comic readers because of Coates? Time will tell but judging from The Crew and the sales of BP #13... not a ton.
- Making a murder mystery book about a brand new character was an odd choice to entice readers with. Why should we care? This book just had no "hook." The entire hook is centered on "Who is Ezrya Miller?" What if that answer is, "maybe I'll wait until you tell me who he is before I buy the book?"
- Your first cover had Misty Knight right in front. Misty has no comic buying fans.
- Your first preview had Misty and Storm. Misty and Storm have no comic buying fans.
- Only one character in the roster has any history of selling solo... Black Panther. So you put his name in front of the Crew. And then barely talked about him in interviews and he was non-existent in 2 issues of the book. Who thought that was a great idea? People are not that dumb to buy a book just because you put his name first... especially not after Black Panther: World of Wakanda.
Sadly, nothing I just said has anything to do with the quality of the book. Unfortunately, the comic business is first built on hype... quality is a distant distant second when it comes to sales. It doesn't matter how good the book its if you can't get anyone to try it. Or, in reality, create a pull list at a comic shop or buy digital the day of.