New 52 News: Justice League International Canceled

Justice League International #12, bein’ funereal…

To the surprise of… well, everyone who is paying any attention at all to sales charts, DC has a seventh canceled series of its New 52 relaunch: the mid-selling, semi-popular Justice League International - a particularly baffling decision given that fully half the company’s line is selling less than it.

According to Dan Didio in the DigitalSpy article above, the reasons for the cancellation are: “It was selling okay, but we had greater expectations for that line. There’s a lot of those characters that I feel we’ve told a lot of stories with, so at this particular moment we’ll give the title a rest, and maybe give some of those characters a rest.”

Because I have nothing better to do, let’s talk about what this means a little…

So, first off: those reasons make no sense, and are clearly spin.  The first explanation makes little sense given that, again, there are a vast number of books doing worse.  They had greater expectations for all their books, and they’re making a lot more money off this one than, say, Savage Hawkman.  The second reason is even sillier, given that Batman features in roughly 30% of the company’s output in any given month – this is not a company (or an industry) that gives successful characters a ‘rest’.

To my mind, there ARE a few potential reasons that make sense.  The first is closely linked with what Didio said above: Justice League International is not terribly successful, and is somehow hurting the core Justice League franchise.  If that’s the case, bid farewell to Justice League Dark as well.  The second makes the most sense combined with that one – DC wants to spin a Justice League book out of the massively successful core title, and having a spin-off like this already in print hurts its chances, so they’re clearing the way.  Again, this bodes ill for Justice League Dark, though it’s hardly fatal.  Perhaps we’ll be getting a Justice League Unlimited title in September?

The last reason is the simplest, but not (I think) the most likely: DC got into a tiff with one or both of the creators, couldn’t find a replacement, and decided to cancel the book.

Now, even though I enjoyed Justice League International: The Signal Masters (and will probably purchase the second trade), I don’t really consider this a bad thing.  A curious business decision, perhaps, particularly given the number of titles sliding towards truly abysmal sales, but not necessarily a bad thing.  As I mentioned in my review, the core concept of the book was sound, but its indebtedness to Giffen’s iconic run was, in my own opinion, holding the book back from becoming something really worthwhile.

I know comics don’t like getting political, but given the state of the world today, the global economy, the vast political problems plaguing our country and many others like it, a book featuring superhumans working for the United Nations could look at important, real-world problems – a more epic take on the material of Ex Machina, for example.  Or, if they wanted to do a comedy, then at least imbue it with both the wit AND the intelligence of Sorkin’s The West Wing.  There are a lot of interesting directions to take this material, but Jurgens chose the path of least resistance… and the book suffered for it.  Hopefully the title and the characters will come back sometime soon, and with someone willing to take a risk and send the title in a surprising new direction.

Fare thee well, Justice League International.  For now.

- Cal C.

read/RANT

*Thanks to wwayne for pointing out the book’s cancellation!

11 Responses to New 52 News: Justice League International Canceled

  1. wwayne says:

    I agree with you that DC new deal is giving a perhaps excessive attention to the Batman world, but I love each component of the Batman family (except for Damian), so I’m liking it. And seeing Barbara back in action… it’s priceless. And I still hope they will come Gotham Central back to life: it was my favourite series, and, when DC decided to close it, it was one of my biggest pains as a comics reader. Months before the decision of closing JLI had been taken, I had read a lot of negative comments about the sales performance of this series on Comics Beat, so I can’t say that it was a totally unpredictable move. Anyway, it surprised me, since, as you wrote, there are plenty of series DC had greater expectations for, and they are going on anyway. I agree with you that DiDio explanation is ridiculous: you’re not the first blogger reproaching him, and the other criticisms were not about JLI, so maybe he could have worked better on more than an occasion. This dismissal is worrying because it means that no one’s safe: even if your favourite series is selling well, has a solid tradition and a good fan base, it can be cancelled at any moment, and DC wouldn’t even care enough to think about a plausible excuse.

    • Cal Cleary says:

      It’s not doing great (it shed half its readership in 7 months), but A LOT of New 52 books shed half their readership in 7 months – and many of them lost even more than this. Including Justice League Dark, which, as far as I’ve seen, has not been canceled yet. I personally think that leads credence to the spin-off theory – JLD is doing about as well as a book about magic can be expected to do, and they’ve just put Jeff Lemire on writing duties, so I bet they’re expecting a turnaround. JLI is a more traditional book, so I can imagine they want more traditional sales.

      I don’t think most mid-range series are in trouble, really. This seems like a special case. That said, if the Sept/Oct solicits don’t include a new Justice League spin-off, I will DEFINITELY start to get curious.

  2. xxadverbxx says:

    I’m not even quite sure what to say about this…

    • Cal Cleary says:

      Expect a spin-off, and hope for the best. Justice League Unlimited, say, rather than Justice League Elite.

  3. Booster Gold the series that i was a big fan of was pushing 28k in sales in its final issue

    http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/21030.html

    And JLI was doing around 35k in sales

    http://www.comicsbeat.com/2012/05/09/dc-comics-month-to-month-sales-march-2012/

    Both series had better sales then books that keep getting published. So i dont really understand the issue and why its put to bed.

    Though i am happy that I, Vampire, JL Dark and Demon Knights continue to exist event though their sales are HALF of what JLI was bringing in. Serious i love all 3 of these books. Im worried they will be canceled soon as well.

    • Cal C. says:

      I don’t think I, Vampire, Demon Knights or Justice League Dark are in that much danger. I’d say they’ll last at least through #20-24. I, Vamp hasn’t been losing readers too fast anymore, and a stable, low-selling book is rare for DC right now. Demon Knights is still losing them, but there are 10-12 books selling less, and unlike JLI, DK isn’t attached to an expanding franchise. JLD is, but they just got a buzzy new writer (Lemire) whose first issue debuted to solid reviews and, until Shazam! debuts, is going to be one of the highest-selling titles dealing with magic DC has.

      I think JLI was canceled purely to make room for a book to spin directly off Justice League.

    • wwayne says:

      In the first months, it seemed that New 52 sleeper hits were Animal Man, Aquaman and Swamp Thing. Now I’m reading some good reviews of I, Vampire as well (http://willismacgillis.com/?p=994), so maybe I’ll give it a try. As I will probably give a shot to the other series you mentioned, because I loved Demon when Ennis was writing him, and I appreciated all the Lemire works I read.

      • Cal C. says:

        Lemire’s run on Justice League Dark JUST started with #9. The previous run was pretty uneven, unless you really love Peter Milligan. I very much enjoy I, Vampire – it’s one of my favorites each month – and Demon Knights has been on something of a roll lately, but it had a rocky start. If you end up checking them out, you’ll have to let us know what you think!

        Animal Man is still probably the breakout star. He’s selling better than anyone thought he would, and he’s shedding readers slower than any other series DC has.

  4. […] after the VERY surprising announcement a few weeks back that Justice League International would be the first of those four cancellations, DC has finally announced what the other three books leaving us will […]

  5. needs to know says:

    i have the justice leage international issue 12 in midcondition and its the whole intier comic how much is this worth ??????

  6. riki101 says:

    so bogus. justice league is so boring but they cancel justice league international??? first they benched the majority of the females on the team including the ONLY black female hero in a dc comic (my girl Vixen) then they replace those 3 ladies with batwing (as if he could equal to the might of them). they need to stop with the bat gimmick and just have faith in their characters and get GREAT writers who actually care about the characters on the book. just having a bat in a book is not going to sale it dc. justice league dark is my favorite book dc team book and if its doing as bad as JLI, can its days be numbered? though i dont like the shift its made in its new storyline its still a very well written book and i’m just waiting for the day when Enchantress returns

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