In all the hubbub these past few weeks about the Death of the Family, Throne of Atlantis, Grell Green Arrow and other collections, and then the new DC Villains Month and omnibus, there hasn't been time to recognize some significant cancellations in our midsts.
Not only did DC cancel the Legion Worlds and Starman Omnibus Vol. 3 trade paperbacks, this week they've also cancelled the first Justice League of America Chronicles collection.
Standard disclaimers apply that DC is a company and companies have to make money, and I don't necessarily expect DC to publish books that aren't going to net them a profit. Each of these cancellations is a shame, however; let's take a moment to see what we've lost.
Whither Starman?Perhaps the most startling here is the cancellation of the paperback Starman Omnibus Vol. 3. In canceling this, DC must definitely be suggesting they no longer intend to continue paperback reprints of the original Starman Omnibus hardcovers, many of which are out of print.
Once upon a time I might have expected Starman, like Sandman or Watchmen, to remain perpetually in print at DC, essentially printing money. But any number of factors -- from writer James Robinson having left comics for a while, to (wisely) the number of Starman spin-offs being few, to the entire saga's ejection from continuity with the New 52 -- seems to have dimmed the larger public's knowledge of Starman (even as the stories themselves remain a treat).
I'm reminded of a particularly daft blog post on the DC Comics site that not mis-characterized the plot of Starman, but treated it like a bygone, forgotten relic. Though the post seems silly, I fear it's probably not far from an accurate portrayal of where Starman stands now.
The problem is that readers who already bought the paperback Starman Omnibus Vols. 1 and 2 are now stuck with two paperbacks that will likely never see their companion volumes. Some part of me expects DC might still release Starman in true omnibus format (the whole series in just one or two hardcover volumes), but that still doesn't help anyone stuck with those two paperbacks.
The Pre-Order DilemmaOn one hand, I might suggest to anyone thinking of starting to collect a series, especially a paperback series with hardcover equivalents, to wait and see if all the books come out before you do so. Readers of the classic Justice League International collections faced a similar problem when DC released four hardcover volumes, then two paperback volumes, and then the series abruptly ended. At the same time, a catch-22 -- by not buying a collection series when it comes out, readers also risk that those same low sales will cause the very cancellation they're hoping to avoid.
So, I must say again, pre-order, pre-order, pre-order. More than likely what killed the Legion Worlds collection was lack of pre-orders; this collection of Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning Legion specials followed sequentially from the Legion Lost miniseries, which itself saw a hardcover release in 2011 but the paperback, too, was cancelled by DC.
Legion Worlds was one of those esoteric collections that probably wasn't going to appeal to a large audience, but that I and others had hoped to see. And I'm telling you, I think books like Green Arrow: Hunters Moon (Mike Grell) and Deadshot: Beginnings, and even Superman: Man of Steel Vol. 8, Superman: Dark Knight Over Metropolis, and Nightwing: Old Friends, are on equally shaky ground. All of these are collections of "old" (1980s) comics and none of these are very much in continuity any more. Superman, Nightwing, and Green Arrow all have name recognition, but I'm shocked frankly that DC is even releasing the Deadshot collection after having cancelled the second collected volume of John Ostrander's Suicide Squad. If you want to see these books released, they need your support.
Omnibus Rising?Justice League of America Chronicles was meant to be the start of a chronological reprint of the classic Justice League stories, in step with the Batman and Superman Chronicles books. I wonder if we can find a hint to Justice League's fate in the fact that DC has solicited a Superman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 1 which itself collects the first four(!) Superman Chronicles volumes; perhaps Justice League Chronicles will be replaced with a Justice League of America: The Silver Age omnibus.
So, disappointed Starman fans out there? Someone other than me really looking forward to that Legion Worlds collection? Let me hear from you.