September 4, 2012
Judging the New 52 #15: Men of War/G.I. Combat
I do admire how DC experimented with a lot of different genres when they launched the New 52. They were all still essentially superhero adventures, but they got shone through the various lenses of westerns (All-Star Western), high fantasy (Demon Knights) and horror (I, Vampire). Men of War was an admirable attempt to kickstart the war comic, something which was extraordinarily popular "back in the day", but hasn't really been a popular genre of comic book for coming on... what, 30 years? 40, even?
Men of War launched a little shy of 34,000 copies. That's not a great opening bat, when you compare it to (using the above examples) almost 40,000 for All-Star Western or 38,000 for Demon Knights. In the great multi-genre experiment of September 2011, Men of War came out pretty low all things considered. It was, in fact, the lowest debut of every New 52 title bar OMAC, and about neck-and-neck with Static Shock. (Note all three titles have since been cancelled.)
As you can see above, sales kicked off even lower than Men of War did: about 30,400 copies. Sales of the other "second wave" titles to launch in May 2012 were 96,500 (Batman Incorporated), 86,000 (Earth 2) and 62,500 (Worlds' Finest). The second issue of G.I. Combat sold about 17,100 copies. That's a stunning 42% drop in one issue. When DC readers don't like something, they really don't waste time in telling the editorial people what they think. Issue #3 saw an additional 24% drop - at three months, sales of G.I. Combat are at the same place Men of War sales were at after five. If this title survives 2012 I will eat a hat. (Not my hat, I don't think I own a hat. Not one here in Melbourne, anyway.)
I like that DC tried. They should be proud of the effort - but I also think they should stop trying now. It's getting embarrassing.