Great comics whose run was too short

I don’t mean limited series. I mean books that were planned to keep going as an ongoing story, but who folded due to poor sales and were forgotten.

A couple of examples:

The Heckler. This was a deliriously absurdist comic created by Keith Giffin (who did the art and plots) and Tom and Mary Biernbaum, who handled the dialog. The Heckler was a superhero whose main power was to be annoying, set in Delta City, a place of infinite weirdness. The book was both a superhero comic book and a parody of superhero comics, one even featuring a villain who was basically a supervillain equivalent of Wile E. Coyote. Giffen drew each page in a nine-panel grid (with one exception), filling each one with puns and jokes (one villain was “The Flying Buttress,” a giant female butt that hovered in the air) and very strange characters (a favorite of mine was Mr. Dude, who sat in the corner of a diner and gave advice to various people, including the Pope). It ran only six issues.

Star Hunters. A science fiction comic that had a lot of promise, with the concept of Errol Flynn as starship captain. Created by David Micheline (script) and Don Newton and bob Layton. The comic was a promising space opera adventure, but was canceled after seven issues.

What gems do you recall?

This sounds interesting. The Micheline/Layton run on Iron Man was great, and pretty much set the tone for the title ever since, much like Miller’s Daredevil. I had no idea they’d done anything else together.

My recommendation, though, wasn’t too short: **The Question **run by Denny O’Neil and Denys Cowan. The title lasted 3 years, but wrapped up it’s arc and was losing steam. I’ve owned 1000s of comic books, but sometime in the 90s I sold everything except The Question. The only other title I considered keeping, from around the same time period, was Mike Grell’s Green Arrow run. Unfortunately, I continued reading the title after Grell left and was so disgusted that I didn’t want to keep any of them.

I’ll second The Heckler; it was more brilliant than anything they’re running these days in the “New 52.”

I can think of a couple series that were cancelled in spite of decent sales: Nightmare on Elm Street and Void Indigo, both written by Steve Gerber and cancelled because someone in the head office thought they were just too disgusting; I thought they were just disgusting enough, personally.

I would love to have seen a lot more of Ostrander and Close’s Wasteland, Baron and Reinhold’s Badger (This continued, but with a succession of worse and worse artists) and Helfer and Baker’s The Shadow (The copyright holder thought the series was at the expense of the character’s dignity, which was kind of the point). Also, any series by Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle, like Blackhawk or Crossfire.

I hesitate to call it “great,” but I have the three issues of Willingham’s Coventry that were actually published. Very creepy setup, brilliant art, took months for an issue to come out. I guess after that he gave up on drawing his own stuff and focused on writing.

Re: Star Hunters

Just bought a complete set of this on ebay a couple of days ago so it’s nice to see it mentioned here - I look forward to reading them. I also picked up D.C. Super-Stars #16 which featured the first Star Hunters story (in case you didn’t know). :slight_smile:

And I must confess to a fondness for Marvel’s The Human Fly which lasted all of 19 issues. Okay, it probably wasn’t “great” but I enjoyed it. So much so that I wrote a Marvel Zombies fanfic starring the Fly. :smiley:

This is a really tough question because editors usually ruin a comic book before they cancel it. I would like to say American Flagg but it deserved to be canceled after Howard Chaykin abandoned it. The same goes for John Berne’s She Hulk which the usually brilliant Steve Gerber managed to ruin before its cancelation.

Magnus, Robot Fighter. It had a brief but glorious run in the mid-'60s, then sort of died after Russ Manning quit illustrating it. Pity. :frowning:

I also have a soft spot for the Herbie comics that flourished at about the same time. A truly one-of-a-kind series…

Seeing Badger mentioned reminds me of Nexus. Loved the concept for that, but it went downhill once they revealed the Merk.

Fat Ninja, by Silverwolf, 1986.

Nightmare on Elm Street even outsold those months issues of the long running Savage Sword of Conan. They were not traditional comics, but oversized b&w magazines aimed at adults which is why the Conan comparison is particularly relevant, Savage Sword was published in the same format. (I’m sure you knew that but some people might not).

I have a fondness for Space Family Robinson.

Big Numbers by Alan Moore and Bill Sienkienwicz. Only two issues of a twelve-issue series were produced.

I loved Grimjack, in its various incarnations.

Can we count Matt Wagner’s Mage? I suspect we’ll never see the final series. And I liked the original Grendel, which lasted maybe two issues.

There was a Babylon 5 comic book out by DC concurrently with the run of the show, and it was considered an official part of the TV show continuity. If you read the comic, one particular plot twist was hinted at very strongly.

The comic was doomed by its terrible art, though.

There was a comic series called Scion that was a decently good fantasy/sci-fi story published by CrossGen. It was a bit cliche in parts, especially the characters (blonde-haired hero from the “good” side falls in love with the beautiful princess from the “evil” side who is secretly working to free the people her side enslaves, etc.) but it was entertaining. It ran for 43 issues before getting the axe due to CrossGen’s bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, rather than just letting it end on a cliffhanger and leave it open to being picked up elsewhere, the authors literally nuked every character in the last issue.

Agreed. Still own all the Shadow’s from this arc. Loved them, AND what they were doing to the characters. Plus it pulled me back into Baker’s work, which I had first seen on The Cowboy Wally Show.

Re Heckler

It was great. I’m reasonably sure the Dude was a still-living Elvis. IIRC The only serious character in the book was Boss Glitter, the head of the maffia. He looked like an insane clown, but acted as a serious mob boss.

RE Wasteland

I thought some of the stories were funny and strange. Then, I GOT the point- all stories in Wasteland are horror stories when viewed properly. Excellent comic.

I have a few issues of that. The protagonist, as one would guess, is a morbidly obese ninja who never speaks. It works because everybody (except perhaps for the Chairman Of The Horde) behaves completely seriously. It was magnificent!

At a later date, the title was revived- FN spoke and everything was high camp. It stunk.

Saint Sinner- Part of Marvel’s Razorline

Non spoilers- A teenager is possessed by a demon. He kills at its command. When ordered to kill his own parents, the teen finds the strength to resist and attempts to drown himself. A woman fishes him out of the river. The demon takes over, and the boy strangles her. She turns out to be an angel. Stripped of a mortal body, she possesses the boy. Possessed by an angel and a demon, Saint Sinner must find space to walk between.

The writing was great. The initial art was great. Then, they switched to an artist whose work looked unfinished at best. Still, It was a very good comic.

Hokum & Hex- Also part of Marvel’s Razorline.

Non Spoilers

An invasion is coming. The hordes of the Corpii, led by their god Felon Bale, await in another dimension. Their skin is like tank armor. They have superhuman strength. Their weapons, part science and part sorcery, make ours look like flint spears. But Godkin Straithe, has chosen a champion to defend the Earth. Trip Monroe has just found out his fiancee has left him. His career as a stand-up comic continues to go nowhere slow. Earth’s last hope is a joke.