Spell On Wheels: Just To Get To You Cancelled, Becomes OGN

Word got out today through bleedingcool.com that Spell On Wheels: Just To Get To You was being cancelled by Dark Horse before the first issue even shipped. Unfortunately, for those that followed author Kate Leth on Twitter it was known nearly two weeks ago.


It appears that preorders for the new series were too low, and thus Dark Horse cancelled the series before the creators could even start promotion for the series. Leth put some of the blame on the comics marketing system, which has everything going through one distributor and doesn’t take into account online sales. It also provides no incentive for retailers to take a chance on a title.

I want to be mad for Kate Leth and Megan Levins. Having read a preview of the first issue, I loved it more each time that I read it. I believe that the system we have set up now for distribution doesn’t make it easy for new series to get noticed, or for new publishers to get a foothold.

Unfortunately, I don’t know what the solution is. Is another distributor needed to offer competition within the market? Does the system need to open up to new markets? Should there be better accounting for online sales in profitability of a series? Spell On Wheels never even got a chance to sell out it’s first issue. This is in a market where publishers can print just for the preorders and not have wasted copies lying around.

We also have no way of judging actual sales of comics, just copies ordered for shops. These numbers can get inflated by publishers with incentives for variant covers for retailers. When you go into a comic shop on a Saturday, what you see available on the stands is what was essentially over-ordered. There’s a pretty good chance that those books will be there in another week, still unsold. In a few moths, they’ll be waiting to be put in back issue boxes.

Like I said, I don’t know how to fix the problem. Right now the only way is for readers to be vigilant and pre-order new series as soon as they’re solicited. Keeping a subscription folder at your retailer puts you in position to demand that a comic be ordered. Creators have to push to their fans when a series is being solicited, because Previews is a behemoth to pour through and discover smaller titles and publishers. Of course this risks readers getting inundated by pleas from creators to order their book.

I wish I knew what the solution was, but I don’t.