It’s only days since we heard about the cancellation of one of my favourite comics, Air. And now I’m told that another favourite, Unknown Soldier is for the chop, with issue 25.
This complex treatise into the politics of war from the top down and the bottom up is a gem. And sadly only about seven people are reading it, and it’s probably only preaching to the converted. Which is a shame, as it’s a fine example of comic book storytelling, from using character’s actions to illustrate complex ideas, to restricting a palette to portray varieties of Ugandan locales.
Although never a great seller, Unknown Soldier survived the danger of early culling and seemed to be in process of setting up a series of trade paperbacks for the shelf, settling in for the long run. But then the same could have been said for Air, or indeed the late lamented Exterminators.
So now of course I’m suddenly also fearful for DMZ, Northlanders, Greek Street, Sweet Tooth and Scalped. Who do I need to pray to to keep the likes of these on the books?
The appeal of Vertigo books is that, while they rarely light up the sales charts in the direct market, they provide excellent fodder for bookstores and libraries, buoyed by a receptive press. And then they’ve batted above their weight in the wide wide world, getting movie and TV deals ahead of their supposedly more mainstream superhero cousins.
Diane Nelson expressed her interest in Vertigo when she took the position of Publisher of DC Entertainment, I hoped it would be in regard to increasing that exploitation and supporting the existing model further – keeoing books like Unknown Soldier going. But on the appointment of the High Five, Dan DiDio also talked about getting involved with Vertigo, effectively demoting Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger a tad – aside from, you know, salary and title. And I was fearful.
Vertigo is the reason I kept reading comics. I’ve fallen out with it every now and then, but after a while I always get brought back by their next sparkly baubles. And there’s never been a month when I haven’t bought a number of titles since its inception. Losing one Vertigo book in a month may be unfortunate. Losing two books looks like carelessness. Please don’t take my sparkly baubles away from me, please.
Let us pray.