IDW Publishing has recently cancelled G.I. Joe: Scarlett’s Strike Force before the series even debuted on retail shelves. It’s set to hit retailers on December 27th. The cancellation means that nothing after issue #3 will be published, and whatever story threads still exist beyond that point will be left in a cliffhanger.
CBR.com reported on the cancellation (and ethically disclosed their ties to writer Aubrey Sitterson) by quoting IDW’s CCO, Chris Ryall, who explained to them that the decision to cancel the book so early was due to low retailer sales orders, saying…
“The decision to cancel the book was based solely on the low initial orders. At the time of the tweets you refer to, the last G.I. Joe series written by Aubrey was under way and it continued on with Aubrey at the helm until it reached its conclusion at issue nine, something we’d already settled on with Aubrey due to low sales.”
The tweets Ryall is referring to involved Sitterson’s social media polemics regarding 9/11 and army veterans. SJWs within the comic book industry rushed to defend Sitterson after army vets called for the writer to be fired from IDW Publishing… mostly because they felt it was hypocritical for someone to denigrate the American military servicemen while writing a comic that is a power-fantasy celebrating American military might.
Sitterson, however, believes that sales had nothing to do with it, and that it was the machinations of “Alt-Right extremists”. On December 6th, 2017 Sitterson tweeted out the following…
Alt-right extremists didn’t want a leftist writing G.I. Joe, so they demanded I be removed. IDW then canceled the book. Creators: If you think I’ll be the last person this happens to, you will be sadly mistaken. https://t.co/s6DqlUDQaJ
— aubrey sitterson (@aubreysitterson) December 6, 2017
As usual, Sitterson received lots of feedback and support from other Social Justice Warriors within the media industry. He also used it as opportunity to direct his followers to buy directly from his sales shop, since he won’t be making anything from writing for IDW.
Lots of retweets, lots of new followers. A big hearty THANK YOU to everyone for their support. If all the chatter has gotten you curious about my comics work, you can order copies DIRECTLY from me, and I’ll even personalize them for you. https://t.co/vjGYujLXT9 pic.twitter.com/qhN2IK0LuC
— aubrey sitterson (@aubreysitterson) December 7, 2017
While Sitterson is blaming hostile politics within the comic book industry for his newest rendition of G.I. Joe getting canceled, the reality is that IDW’s books already weren’t selling well with Sitterson heading up the writing for the main series. Further politicizing something like G.I. Joe just to make core fans angry by injecting highly charged and divisive sociopolitical themes into the pages likely did the publisher zero favors. That’s not to mention that the last G.I. Joe comic book only shipped 4,500 to retailers in October, 2017, according to Comichron.
For reference, the last issue of G.I. Joe had less units moved than Spongebob Comics.
IDW Publishing always trails behind the big two (i.e., Marvel, DC) but can sometimes move decent amounts of product, despite being a smaller publisher. Their Star Wars Adventures did over 23,000 in October, followed by TMNT, which moved 14,800 units.
If sales for G.I. Joe: Scarlett’s Strike Force was even worse than the October outing – which barely managed 30% of what TMNT moved – then it’s no wonder that IDW would pull the plug on Sitterson’s project. We likely won’t know exactly what the sales are like, or get an overall view of how the comic fared on the market until February, 2018.
Even still, IDW obviously wasn’t very pleased the response from retailers given that Scarlett’s Strike Force was axed after only three issues were completed.
Sitterson interjecting intersectional gender politics into G.I. Joe, attempting to make the military-themed comic more “woke”, more homoerotic, and themed more toward Social Justice Warriors, did not seem to play out well both with fans or with the publisher.
I attempted to reach out to Sitterson for comment, but he has me blocked on Twitter.