Ever since the news about Jim Starlin taking over Stormwatch broke, I've been noticing again something in the comments from people about the book. Stormwatch has a very broken fan base, some people loved Cornell and/or Milligan's issues and want the whole Shadow Lord thing to continue, others thought it was awful. Which is not unusual, different strokes and all that. The thing I've been noticing, though, is that while there are a few exceptions, the fans of the series so far tend to be people who were not very familiar with the characters going in, and people who dislike it are fans of the characters from before, and were disappointed with how the characters were handled.
Basically, the fans of the early DC Stormwatch are upset that those issues are pretty much being thrown out, while fans of the original characters are happy that they're being thrown out. (maybe something similar with Green Arrow? though that's just ignoring the earlier issues, it's not as drastic as Stormwatch shunting the characters off to another dimension and replacing them with their alts) Here's the thing, though. DC (or Marvel, in a similar situation) should be giving priority to the fans of the CHARACTERS, not fans of the writers. What they seem to be doing here is trying to win back fans of the characters who had dropped the book by addressing many of the complaints they've had, and that's what they SHOULD be doing. It's just that many of the things that needed fixing required a rather drastic change, and they needed to attract attention to let people know that things were changing, and the early issues were sacrificed to that end.
Well, I should clarify that it would be a bit different if the New Stormwatch was selling exceptionally well under the new direction, the people would have spoken and I would have to suck it up and deal with it. But it's not. It's selling 15,437 issues as of Decemberand is still dropping about a thousand readers a month. 15k is right around when DC starts axing books, so it's on it's last legs anyway, it either this last ditch effort to save it, or cancel it.
I mean, I get it. I have some favorite writers who I will follow around and read anything they write, and I think this is a great way to read the books, and it can lead you to discovering characters/books that you like which you never thought you'd give a look. In fact, I probably follow writers more than I do characters, and I don't intend to change that. And yeah, it would suck to have one of their stories just completely disregarded, I get it. But having fans follow writers is a bad thing in the long run for the publishers. Writers are temporary, characters are permanent. The creative team will ALWAYS move on, so it is in the publisher's best interests to cater to the fans of the characters, since those fans will stick around through different creative teams. But only if the characters aren't badly damaged in the process. Yes, I realize that great characters come from great stories, and a good writer can elevate characters to new levels. But that writer will STILL LEAVE eventually, what they leave behind if they did a good job is a character that fans care enough about to follow now that the writer who made them awesome is gone.
So yeah, I am a fan of Apollo, Midnighter, the Engineer, and Jack Hawksmoor who HATED how they were handled in the issues up until now, (I'm ok with new Jenny) I hated their costumes, I hated the changes to their origins, their powers, their personalities. There was almost nothing left of the characters I loved from Wildstorm, and I didn't like what we got instead. I am THRILLED that DC is taking steps towards fixing them, I just wish they'd done it sooner. If you liked the new versions, I'm sorry, but the WS versions have 10 years on them, years which were much better received, and that should take priority. If you liked Cornell and/or Milligan's issues but were not familiar with the characters from before, just go read whatever they are doing next, you'll probably like it just as much, and let me have my favorite characters back. They and their fans were there first.