Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Newsarama: Savage Hawkman "On The Bubble"

Pessimism abounds across the 4 Color corner of the Internets when it comes to Hawkman, and it continues in the wake of Rob Liefeld's sudden departure from Savage Hawkman.

Newsarama has one of their patented Top 10 Lists today, this one taking a look at DC New 52 titles which have to be considered "on the bubble."  Savage Hawkman slots in at #6, with the following commentary from the 'rama crew:

Like Deathstroke and Grifter, Rob Liefeld was brought on board The Savage Hawkman -- a series that was already struggling -- in a move intended to bring more readers to the book.

Still wondering how DC thought that Rob Liefeld was going to bring readers to the book.  Let me put it this way -- I read the title because it starred Hawkman, and I was willing to give it a try because of my appreciation of the character.  Rob Liefeld did not entice me to buy the book.  Now, Rob is a guy who can sell his work, and has his fans -- but said fans, while vocal, are no longer legion.

Liefeld has departed Hawkman (and his other two DC titles), and thus far, sales have remained to be among the lower echelon of The New 52. With the future of the book post-Liefeld not entirely clear and Hawkman a main part of the new Justice League of America series, it's possible that his solo series might be one of the next New 52 ongoing titles to go.

A reasonable enough assumption, I suppose, although not one I am really down with.  Putting the character back with Geoff Johns -- who produced the most popular version of Hawkman since the Golden Age -- will serve the character well, but as part of a large ensemble which includes a clear "intended breakout character" in the Simon Baz Green Lantern, how much attention can he really get?  To me, it's the Wonder Man dilemma: I enjoy seeing Wonder Man as a member of the Avengers, but I came to really appreciate and like the character thanks to his solo title.  So while he plays well as a team, I much prefer him solo.  (This also works with Iron Man, but Shellhead is a viable solo star and has been for nearly 50 years, so that's really a fair comparison.)  

Also included on the list are the other two former Lefield books, Deathstroke and Grifter, which I won't really miss on either front.  No surprises there.  Firestorm makes the cut, which is also unsurprising, although I hope that the new direction brings in some new readers as Jurgens seems well suited to these types of characters.  And topping the list of course is GI Combat, and sadly, even I can't argue with it.  I am really enjoying the Unknown Soldier strip, but the lead feature of The War That Time Forgot by Krul and Olivetti is boring, and if a War That Time Forgot story is boring, you have a real problem.

What do you folks think?  Will Savage Hawkman survive the next round of cancellations?


Diabolu Frank said...

As usual, kind of a lightweight, undercooked list. Voodoo and Captain Atom are cancelled with sales under 12K. GI Combat is right there with them, and Grifter isn't far behind. DC has refused to cancel Blue Beetle so far, but hovering over 13K, how long can they keep up a book with no prospects on the horizon? I guess National Comics got overlooked because of its anthology one-shot format, but a "second" issue near the cancel line does not bode well. I'm hopeful Dan Jurgens will bring readers to Firestorm, which is currently doing already-cancelled Resurrection Man numbers. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. always struck me as DC's Hellboy lift, so it might as well fall by the wayside.

That brings us up to Hawkman, a book with a well liked character that hasn't had an actual writer yet and some dubious choices on art. I think this title could be saved if DC puts a little more effort into its choice for the next scripter. Left as is or given to one of the guys writing a book lower on the list spells doom. Might be a good time to call up somebody with heat from the minors, or try to woo an old school talent like Firestorm.

I'm surprised I, Vampire is still clinging to life, and DC Comics Presents keeps scraping by. Legion Lost is unnecessary, and I expect it will drop out now that it's lost a writer and crossovers to carry it. Deathstroke has actually chugged along pretty well, given the creative changes. I think that character has more of a following than previously realized which could buoy the book.

Things get really dubious at Newsarama's top 2. Stormwatch was previously mentioned as being off the bubble because of it's "strong ties" to Demon Knights, which goes unmentioned despite selling a thousand fewer copies than Batwing, DC's best selling book with a non-white lead. Agenda much?

Luke said...

Saying something from Newsarama is undercooked and lightweight seems a bit redundant, yes? /DeathsHead

Honestly, I would not be upset if any of these books were canned tomorrow save Hawkman and Firestorm, and the latter is only because with Jurgens coming on it looks like the book will capture some of the charm of the Ronnie and Jason team from Brightest Day, which is what DC should have ran with in the first place, frankly. Even GI Combat could go and I wouldn't be too upset; I like War comics but man, this one is only halfway there.

DC is tying Frankenstein to their two indy-horror darling books, Swamp Thing and Animal Man, so I don't see it going away any time soon.
National Comics will play out it's originally solicited titles and then go away until a creator pitches an idea for a one shot, and then it will return. Reading NC: Looker last night, I was struck by how it could have easily been an oversized issue of DC Comics Presents, which would have been fine with me. I liked the issue, by the way. Big shock there.

I am not sure why Legion Lost is even published, to be honest. All I see it as is another book which means that there is no slot for Outsiders. DC Comics Presents, though, I think that one will stick around because I think, like Blue Beetle, it has a champion in the upper ranks. I am thinking DiDio, mostly because he wrote an arc for it.

I also don't see Batwing being cancelled. DC is making too much Bat-money right now to contract their Bat-offerings. I mean, Talon has a book. Talon. Yet one more book which means "no Outsiders," frankly.

And I do have to question your comment of "dubious choices on art" for Hawkman. You consider Joe Bennett dubious because of his lack of name recognition, perhaps? Because his pencils is the best Hawkman has looked in a good long while.

Megara said...

I don't understand the lack of respect in the comic book world for Hawkman, he has been around almost as long as Superman and Batman, I understand why his readership is strained because of the lack of a strong solid layout for his background. I mean DC has made Aquaman credible, why not Hawkman? Cancel some of the sorrier series such as Blue Beetle. Also they should cancel Voodoo Grifter,and Stormwatch and just make a WildCats series. Also how does Animal Man deserve higher promotion than Hawkman, I mean REALLY? Nothing against Animal Man, but he doesn't have the kind of History Hawkman does. They should find a good solid well respected writer, and keep Joe Bennett as artist. That way we'll have 3 Hawk Titles a month.Savage Hawkman,Earth 2, and Justice League of America!

Diabolu Frank said...

Regarding Frankenstein, crossovers are a great validation for cancelling a title that fails to thrive after the exposure.

I haven't read Looker yet. Eternity was an alright premise with swell art.

Legion Lost was just another attempt by DC to make the Legion work, a theme dating back to its shift to direct sales only in the mid-80s. The same maneuver stalled the Titans out for a number of years (coupled with Perez's departure and Wolfman's burnout.)

Did you ever notice that "Talon" spelled backwards is "Azrael?" What will probably happen is a big shake-up in the Bat line that sees the cancellation of several lower sellers at once, followed by new launches. They make their own waves.

I love Joe Bennett like I love Jamal Igle, and they're both great, but neither of those guys have a substantial following and both are routinely dropped onto lower selling books on their way out. Anyway, I was mostly slagging on Tan, who is teh suk and can't carry a book.

Matt, I don't blame DC for Hawkman's failings. He's had some great creative teams over the years, but has consistently failed to ignite broad reader interest. I think the potential is there, but no one has ever quite managed to tap it, even after three quarters of a century.

Unknown said...

Im sorry but I really hate it when DC screws up on a title soo many times then sweeps it under the carpet and try to get us to forget about their bumblings. Tony Danile was a bad move, as was Philip Tan but we saw some hope it would get better. Rob Liefeild was a bad dream but seemed to be a little better than Tony and had a decent direction for the title. Joe Bennett is a superstar artist that can carry a title to the upper tier. DC just get a good writer for this book and leve it alone. Ya the sales is the or these decuissions but if a a book can be cultivated and given a chance to grow then it can have some success just let it grow. Dan Dido owes us at least that.

Unknown said...

Ok Grifter and Voodoo and GI Combat i can see being cut but Hawkman? DC just dropped the ball soo bad with this character its not funny. I would hope that Geoff Johns has more of a say in the direction of some characters can take him back and save him from another bad cancelled series. Tony Daniel was a poor choice and was a fast fix for a botched start and Philip Tans blochy painted stlye art was just soo bad and hurt this book But the Rob Liefield change was not all bad. The writing got better and direction as well (His covers were bad) Joe Bennett is a huge improvement and can carry this tilte to the upper tier. They just need a writer to carry the new momentum and interest in the book and move forward. This book can succeed if its trated better than a B list book.

Count Drunkula said...

Honestly, I want SAVAGE HAWKMAN to be canceled--canceled and replaced by HAWKMAN without the ostentatious and, I think, inappropriate adjective.

For me, this title was the biggest disappointment from the launch because I love the character and have been less-than-thrilled to plain outraged by how the creative and editorial teams have managed him for the first year.

I want the Nu DC to embrace an element of Old DC and retcon Hawkman yet again, to start him off with a blank slate next year.