WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER?1 of 12This week, Marvel's Black Knight writer Frank Tieri announced that the book would come to an end with March's #5, making it the first of Marvel's "All-New, All-Different" titles to be cancelled.
It's not unexpected - large waves of new titles often result in an early culling once the dust settles, so it's possible readers will see more titles get their pink slips in the coming weeks. Based on the Black Knight math, there are some titles at both Marvel and DC that might struggle to stay on the shelves, based solely on their sales numbers at least, though there are other factors that go into these decisions.
Here’s a look at the five lowest-selling DCU and main Marvel books in the North American direct market as of December 2015, according to Comichron.
But again to make it clear, we're not saying these are bad books, or that they don't deserve a reprieve - some of them are critically acclaimed, in fact. Just based exclusively on sales, here are the titles the Big Two publishers are probably hoping muster up some additional support soon.
CATWOMAN2 of 12Catwoman has hard a hard time landing on her feet lately - see what we did there? - with her high concept undergoing several overhauls over the last few years. Writer Frank Tieri and artist Inaki Miranda have brought Selina Kyle back to her roots as a fugitive in Gotham City.
Still, the title has been on the bubble for some time, selling only 21,661 in November, falling even further in December to 15,038, placing it at #166 on the charts.
That said, the return of Bruce Wayne to the role of Batman is sure to make waves throughout his tangential titles, and a cameo from Batgirl and Killer Croc in #49 might bring Catwoman back into the fold.
MOON GIRL & DEVIL DINOSAUR3 of 12Marvel's Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur has all the right elements for success in today's comic book zeitgeist - a kitschy premise that revives a classic concept, a lead that isn't the same old character archetype, cutesy art, and a sense of humor, but all of that hasn't seemed to translate to big sales.
Writers Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare and artist Natacha Bustos's tale of a young Inhuman who befriends a T-Rex may see a boost when the new Hulk shows up in #4, but its December issue brought in only 21,715 readers, leaving it at #125 on the December 2015 sales charts.
SECRET SIX4 of 12Secret Six returned to publication after a long absence due to what could be called fan demand, but even that demand hasn't translated into sales chart success. Perhaps the concept of villains banding together has been overshadowed by press for Suicide Squad - a title that also cribbed one of the team's most popular members in Deadshot - but a guest spot from Batgirl in this month's #11 may bring in some curious readers.
Even still, Secret Six #9 moved only 14,663 copies in December, placing it at #167 on the charts for the month - somewhat surprising for a book with "name" creators like Gail Simone and Dale Eaglesham on board.
ANGELA: QUEEN OF HEL5 of 12The character of Angela is an odd duck for Marvel, having been imported from Image Comics' Spawn after legal wrangling left her up for grabs. But she's also something of a fan favorite, and spent time traveling with the Guardians of the Galaxy before getting her own solo series.
Her new series, in which she takes on the rulership of the Norse realm of Hel, has a strong high concept from writer Marguerite Bennett who cut her teeth as Angela's co-writer on her last title, along with art from Kim Jacinto and Stephanie Hans. But the character's popularity hasn't translated to a large marketshare, despite the hype that follows her.
December's numbers show that Angela: Queen of Hel #k3 only brought in 20,958 readers, leaving her at #133 on the ranking.
If rumors that Hela - the former ruler of Hel - is the villain of Thor: Ragnarok prove true, and quickly, the new ruler of the dark realm could find herself on the receiving end of a much needed boost in sales.
JUSTICE LEAGUE 30016 of 12Justice League 3001 should be a winner for DC Comics, with fan favorite writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis and artist Scoll Kolins helming the adventures of a future version of the Justice League's biggest members, but the popularity of the creative team and the characters hasn't translated to popularity as a title.
November saw sales of only 14,659 copies for Justice League 3001 #6, with December sales dropping to 13,979, leaving it at #171 on the charts to close out 2015.
HERCULES7 of 12Marvel's Hercules has had some ups and downs in the last few years. Following a popular take by former Hulk scribes Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, he had a hard time finding his footing.
Now he's back under the pen of Dan Abnett and artist Luke Ross, and he's delving deep into the mythological side of the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately this larger than life take hasn't rendered larger than life sales, with only 20,719 readers tuning in for December's #2, leaving it at #136 on the charts.
Hercules looks to be tying in with Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch in the coming months as they all investigate the death of magic, which could possibly give it a bump if an actual crossover materializes.
HOWLING COMMANDOS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.8 of 12Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. is taking a month off in April, but as of now, it's still on the books to make a comeback in May to tie in with Avengers crossover "Standoff" - a move that sure won't hurt its standings. Still, Marvel's monstrous black-ops team isn't exactly a major hit.
Even the return of Marvel mainstay Dum Dum Dugan hasn't given Howling Commandos the oomph it needs to dominate the shelves. Despite a fun take from writer Frank Barbiere and artist Brent Schoonover, something hasn't resonated with fans.
Back in December Howling Commandos ranked #144 on the sales charts, moving only 18,002 units.
DOCTOR FATE9 of 12While there's a definite following for the characters of the JSA, Paul Levitz and Sunny Liew's new version of Doctor Fate doesn't seem to have the magic touch. Even though it thrives on ideas unique to the DCU and features Liew's friendly, engaging art, it seems like an odd man out in a line that thrives on house styles.
Back in November, Doctor Fate #6 sold only 13,090 copies, placing it at #155 on the charts. It sank even further in December, moving only 11,954 copies to rank #183 for the month.
HOWARD THE DUCK10 of 12
The previous volume of Howard The Duck debuted in the wake of the characters unexpected cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, cashing in on the boost in popularity from the blockbuster hit.
Now in its second volume under creators Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones, Howard is having some trouble finding his flippers. Perhaps the looming specter of Galactus, a fan favorite character, will give #4 a much needed leg up in sales.
Back in November , Howard the Duck did respectable numbers, placing at #28 with sales of 61,346. But December saw it drop to #76 with 33,578 issues sold - almost a 50% drop.
MIDNIGHTER11 of 12Midnighter may not be a sales giant, but its appeal is undeniable. Its brutal espionage tinged superheroics undoubtedly won over critics if not comic book buyers. But it's still not where DC would probably like it to be.
Midnighter #7 moved only 11,267 units, placing it at #191 on the chart - fairly dismal for such a well regarded title. Fortunately, it's got some possible booster shots coming up as it crosses over with Suicide Squad in February, and April sees Midnighter's former lover Apollo return to his life - something that may bring lapsed fans back in.
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