- Booster Gold
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
DC Comics released solicitations for November 2017 earlier this week. If you don't already have it in digital or floppy form, you'll soon have a third chance to see Booster's final, one-panel cameo appearance in Smallville continuity courtesy of the aptly-titled Smallville Season Eleven Volume 9: Continuity. That looks like about our only chance to see our hero in November. My question is "Why?"
Let's look at the bigger picture. Based on available numbers assembled by ComcisBeat.com and ComicChron.com, DC Universe titles have seen hard copy periodical sales fall by more than 21% over the past decade (and more than 42% since Rebirth's initial bump). Trade collections prop those numbers up slightly (adding 2% in either case), but not nearly enough to cover the full difference. Do digital sales make up that shortfall, or it simply a case that fewer people care to read DCnU titles these days? I certainly don't, and the primary reason is the continued absence of one particular character. (Hint, hint.)
DC doesn't exactly look to be taking that bad news lying down. Looking at solicitations, you'll see several new DCnU comics coming in November featuring lesser-known heroes. Black Lightning shines again in Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands. The Demon is back in The Demon:Hell on Earth. Zatanna reappears in Mystik U. Even Batman's latest (and most lazily-named) protege, The Signal, is getting some love with Batman and the Signal.
While it is a good idea to inject new characters into the publishing line up, all of those are mini-series. You'd almost think DC was afraid of commitment. (Why wouldn't they be? Even death is impermanent in the DCU.) However, the company seems equally unwilling to drop the hammer on underperforming ongoing titles to make room for new ones.
In June (the most recent month for which numbers are available) the company had 3 ongoing titles that undersold the lowest selling issue of Booster Gold volume 2 (Booster Gold #43 in 2011). New Superman and Blue Beetle had June issues very near DC's pre-Flashpoint cancellation threshold. The worst performing of the three, Cyborg, is doing worse than its pre-Rebirth numbers, and it was trending below the old threshold then! Judging by November solicitations, all of these will continue into November with no cancellation, taking up valuable opportunities for titles with a chance to spark interest in new readers.
I don't mean to suggest that returning Booster Gold to action would reverse any of those negative sales trends for the company, but I do suggest it couldn't hurt. At worst, Booster Gold can outsell Cyborg! I can name at least one reader who would be picking up more DCnU books if Booster Gold was around.
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