IDW Publishing‘s next volume of their G.I. Joe saga is over before it even begins. Scarlett’s Strike Force will be cancelled after the third issue due to “low sales.” The first issue has yet to even hit the shelves, coming out in December so while some pre-order numbers are in, reorders and digital sales are not and final order cutoff for the first issue isn’t until December 5th. That’s weeks after IDW cancelled the comic. Written by Aubrey Sitterson with art by Nelson Daniel the series is set to launch this December picking up after the events of the latest IDW Hasbro Universe event “First Strike.”
Sitterson was the center of controversy recently over his remarks concerning 9/11 which empowered regressive individuals who didn’t like Sitterson’s recent run on G.I. Joe or his leftist politics to campaign for his firing. IDW Publishing didn’t fire Sitterson and he was allowed to continue to work on this new series.
However, Sitterson wasn’t allowed to promote the series in interviews due to a media blackout as a result of his remakes. Sitterson noted the blackout in a recent interview:
Outside of social media, this is actually the first promotion I’ve done for the book in more than two months. When everything went down in September, IDW told me that if I wanted to stay on the book, I couldn’t do interviews or anything to promote it, and IDW PR even shut down a podcast interview I lined up.
The cancellation of the series isn’t surprising with the last news item, beyond the news of the cancellation, was September 11th. We hadn’t even received a press release announcing the series. The series received the promotion of two Tweets from IDW. Without the name “G.I. Joe” in the title and little to no promotion, is it a surprise the series has been cancelled? The cover hasn’t even been upload the Previews website though the comic is being released in two weeks.
Sitterson’s current G.I. Joe series had found it’s estimated bottom of around 5,000-5,500 an issue with an average of 6,585 copies an issue sold, with a high of 12,968 and low of 4,548. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, which continues the classic Marvel run, averages 6,614 copies an issue over the same period and IDW as a whole averaged 8,386 copies a month during Sitterson’s recent G.I. Joe run. Looking at sales estimates, around 2/3 of IDW’s releases each month fall below their average sale number which is being inflated by a half dozen books. Sitterson also wrote last year’s Street Fighter vs G.I. Joe for IDW which averaged an estimated 9,292 copies an issue.
Though IDW hasn’t responded to our requests for comment, they did respond to a fan who wrote the publisher:
Our cancellation of the series is related solely to the book’s sales not being at a level we needed for it to continue and nothing else.
You choosing to disbelieve us does not change the facts of the sales not allowing this series to continue. Books that lose money from the first issue are not viable, especially when we would also owe licensing money to Hasbro for those losing issues. We haven’t printed the series but we do have orders for it, we know how much money each issue will lose. Everyone who did anything for any issues we will publish and any we won’t publish will be fully paid.
We kept Aubrey on the previous series and awarded him with a new series, too. Those facts run counter to the false narrative that we bowed to any pressure. We wish it had worked out. We wish enough fans who wanted the book had pre-ordered it so retailers would order it higher. And despite what anyone tries to say, we promoted the comic as we do any other. Do not let loud voices saying false things online convince you otherwise.
Sales estimates for Scarlett’s Strike Force won’t be released until January at which point we’ll follow up to see how it does compared to the rest of IDW’s releases for the month.