Manhunter? I Hardly Knew Her!

Manhunter? I Hardly Knew Her!

Oct 17

The news is going around; DC Comics has re-canceled Manhunter, Marc Andreyko’s recently-resurrected comic about Kate Spencer, attorney, spectacularly bad parent and vigilante federal evidence thief. Okay, maybe the bad parent part is a bit harsh.

Surprisingly, I am not here to urge you to write letters to Bob Wayne or go to your forum of choice and construct a sentence containing the words “Dan DiDio,” “kittens,” and any conjugation of the word “kill.” I know that’s your first urge. Hell, it’s my first urge, too. But this is where that ‘raising the bar’ nonsense that Matt goes on about leads to – not using the anonymity of the Web to vent hyperbolically about a business decision that makes sense. Comics marketing gaffes aside, the book was not selling at the level it needed to be selling, especially with a notable artist like Bendis-collaborator Michael Gaydos on board.

Your anger is not going to change anything. The book had three chances to become commercially successful, and despite being one of the best books coming out of the Distinguished Competition, it never met its goal. And that’s not the fault of Marc Andreyko – Marc’s one of the best of the new crop of writers at the Big Two to break out in the past couple of years – or of the loyal fans of the book.

Kate Spencer as a character will still be around. She will exist without an ongoing to support her and that will suck for her fans, but it’s a bittersweet kind of suck. No, if we’re going to campaign for something as a fandom, let’s not be myopic and ask for the book to continue. Let’s lobby for DC to keep Marc Andreyko around. Because, let’s face it, he’s one of the better writers they have, and Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns and Gail Simone can only do so much between the three of them.

I’d love to see Andreyko take over Birds of Prey. Or Nightwing – he did write that pretty high-quality Nightwing Annual about Dick and Babs (and Khory). Or Batman and the Outsiders. Thinking outside the box, I’d like to see him try his hand at Green Lantern. Put him somewhere more visible, somewhere established, and let him find a writer-loyal following beyond the Manhunter die-hards. Encourage the success of art through the promotion of the artist.

So if you want to write a letter – and nerds love writing letters, so we encourage you to – ask DC to keep one of your favorite creators around. Tell them what Marc’s writing says that speaks to you – his rounded, intelligent female characters, his witty dialogue, or his faithful portrayal of real families are a few standouts for me – and that you hope they use his talents in their future published work.

DC Comics
1700 Broadway, 7th Fl.
New York, NY 10019-5905

2 comments

  1. Amen brotha.

    I forget if I’ve posted on this, or if I e-mailed with someone on this, or what, but I was pondering it again this morning–DC has NO bench whatsoever.

    They work Morrison, Johns, and Rucka to the absolute bone, and their second-tier team is…who, exactly? McKeever? Bedard? Maybe the occasional Frank Tieri?

    Meanwhile, Marvel continues to invest heavily in developing creative talent on the writing AND art side that can come up through the ranks and take over top-tier books. Dan Slott, Matt Fraction, Fred Van Lente, Greg Pak, and on and on and on–it’s not that Bendis isn’t still writing his ass off and Brubaker too, but there’s more depth and variety on their “roster.”

    Andreyko needs to be groomed for bigger and better things–hell, overall they need to get some kind of act together on making sure their entire publishing line isn’t built around the ongoing health and ability of two to three people. Not only is it dangerous, it’s giving them a very monotone line across the books, instead of the variety and spice Marvel has.

  2. Mike Miller

    As much as it pained me to find out that a book as good as Manhunter was getting canncelled, this is a valid point. Keeping Andreyko around is probably more important in the long run for DC. Now we’ll see if they can actually do it…

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