2: Speaking of cancellations, readers are always trying to second guess what’s behind the ending of their favorite books, from sales to critical response to...any other number of factors. What does go into it – how do you look at books that are succeeding and failing, and what criteria do you hold them to?
DD: Sales is front and center, as it always is. How it sells not only as a periodical, but how it sells as a collected edition are things that that get weighed very heavily in the equation. Realistically, one of the other things we watch is trending – to see how the books works or doesn’t work. Does it hold its number, or does it steadily decline? In some of our series, we watch books tick down to a point, and do everything we can to change that pattern, but it’s the natural progression for all series.
On the lower selling ones, they’re much harder to turn around, and even if you do, the amount of change isn’t that appreciable, unfortunately. When we came back with Manhunter, we really hoped that there would be some groundswell, even to spike it slightly higher than where we left off, but truth be told, we didn’t see that. Therefore, we realized that resting it or kick-starting it again, we realized that we couldn’t make enough of a change in the sales to make it a profitable venture.
One of the books that I’m most disappointed about in that regard is a book like Blue Beetle, which we are cancelling. That’s a book that we started with very high expectations, but it lost its audience along the way. Recently, we felt that it was standing on firmer ground, and was getting a more positive response. The problem is that the firmer ground and positive response is not enough to keep the book afloat. So unfortunately, we had to cancel that series.
But with the case of both Manhunter and Blue Beetle, those characters did not go away – they will be essential to the DC Universe, and we hope at some point, we can look at them again and present them in stories where they can stand on their own. When it comes down to it, most of it is business – in the case of both Manhunter and Blue Beetle, it is solely about the sales, because these are books that are both near and dear to my heart, and we tried everything we could to keep them alive. When it comes to books like Robin, Nightwing and Birds of Prey, it’s a little different - it’s about positioning the characters for future stories.