Feeling as though it were only yesterday when we were bombarded with a slew of #0 issues commemorating its first year, DC Comics' New 52 initiative is steadily approaching the end of its second, with the publisher more than likely to announce some celebratory marketing gimmick in the months to come. But in the scant year and a half since DC took gasoline and matches to its decades-long web of continuity, we've been witnessing a steady pattern of cancellation announcements in almost the same breath that these new titles are announced. There are numerous factors that contribute to titles such as O.M.A.C. and Mister Terrific walking the green mile from the back issue rack to the dumpster, yet the obvious one is the fact that not every character is iconic or profitable enough to merit an ongoing... not like that's stopped DC, or anything. As long as titles are canceled, they'll keep releasing comics featuring D-listers to plug up the gaping wounds left behind in their monthly release schedule - and these are the 12 properties we pray they do not do any such thing with.
At this point in time we know next to nothing about the character Goldrush, who appeared not too long ago in both Justice League #16 and #19. The only things we've learned are that she has powers supposedly like the X-Men's Colossus, operates out of Texas, wants the Flash for her hubby and is a recent divorcee. These are all odd qualities, yes, but her coming out of the blue without fanfare or a proper introduction is even stranger, if not suggesting that DC may be planning on doing something bigger with the superheroine. While it's always nice to have more strong female heroes in the DC Universe, Goldrush has the word "generic" stamped all over her. From her flat name to, likewise, her powers, there's no possible way she could hold up a monthly ongoing. It's harsh, but DC can do without yet another lukewarm Justice League spin-off series that will perform every bit as well as Vibe or Katana.
2) Wild Dog
So we're on the same page here, you've read -- or are at the very least aware of -- Punisher comics, right? Then there isn't much else worth mentioning about Wild Dog, DC's poorly executed take on Marvel's solemn vigilante with a massive chip on his shoulder. Unlike his successful skull-emblazoned counterpart, Wild Dog's wardrobe choice makes him look like the bastard lovechild of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' Casey Jones and G.I. Joe's Flint experiencing an identity crisis. And nothing else inspires criminals to piss their pants in sheer terror quite like the image of a generic cartoon dog seemingly pulled straight from the funny pages.
Of course, don't take this as our saying that DC can never launch a series about a gun-slinging antihero. It's merely that if the mood should strike them, the publisher would be better off utilizing a much more viable character like the Vigilante -- of whom "borrows" and combines elements of the Punisher and Daredevil's civilian identity, attorney Matt Murdock, into an interesting whole. But DC's editorial staff we are not, and you know as well as we do that someone will convince the decision makers that some nonexistent fanbase is rioting in the streets demanding blood and a Wild Dog reboot.
3) Jimmy Olsen
From his distinctive artistic style to crafting the cosmic mythos of both the Marvel and DC Universes, Jack Kirby has more than earned his accolade as the "King of Comics" among fans and creatives. Yet one of his greatest and unsung abilities was his being able to take any idea, no matter how out there it was conceptually, and create something you were simply unable to ignore. The man could have sold anyone on a comic book starring a talking puddle of vomit, and it would have become a masterful benchmark against which other series following it are measured. As such, no one but Kirby had the Midas touch when it came to galvanizing the floundering title Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen during the '70s; even back then the readership didn't give two shits about the moronic escapades of The Daily Planet's resident camera clod.
However, the only reason Kirby was even able to make Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen a worthwhile read was his using it as a vehicle for his "Fourth World" saga, deviating from its original intention as a showcase of Jimmy's asinine adventures. But what worked over 40 years ago wouldn't be able to hold up today as writer Brian Azzarello's Wonder Woman is already handling the modern spin on the New Gods, which doesn't leave a hypothetical Jimmy Olsen series much to work with. Which isn't to say that the writers of the original series drew from a wellspring of ideas, not when it was a continuous cycle of plots involving Jimmy gaining super powers, found guilty of murdering Superman or getting embroiled in some gorilla-centric predicament. No wonder DC gave Kirby creative carte blanche with no resistance.
4) Cave Carson
Cave Carson and his team of intrepid spelunkers, debuting in Brave and the Bold #31, never managed to gain a foothold in the readership's adoration, appearing mostly in anthology series or team-up books. And in an absolutely crushing turn of events, the cruel finger of fate saw fit to place Carson amongst a team of no-names known as the Forgotten Heroes (not so gently reaffirming that there was not a soul to be found in this world that loved him). It's not as though we'd never want to see Carson make an appearance at some point in the New 52, but due to the creative restrictions that come with a hero that mostly hangs out in caves, there isn't a lot of the diversity needed to maintain an ongoing. That's unless DC is willing to give him a modern, unexpected reboot that runs with the obvious sensual innuendo in his name - and you do know what we're talking about here...
5) Sugar and Spike
Sugar and Spike -- a long-running comic book series about a pair of toddlers going by names typically associated with pole dancers and '50s era greasers, respectively -- has been lovingly adored by quite a few industry legends for years, praising it for its wholesome and endearing storytelling and art. Nevertheless, these aren't the days when those aforementioned buzzwords equate to sales, and there isn't an audience out there demanding the adventures of two tots that drive their parents over the edge of sanity with their ceaseless and adorably destructive antics. Having said that, a latter day Sugar and Spike title would have to keep pace with current baby-related issues in order to strive for relevancy. And stories centered around lethally substandard cribs and the discovery of shards of broken glass in baby food sort of leans more toward the depressingly grim than the lighthearted.
6) Uncle Sam
In the mad dash to create an all-American comic book superhero during World War II, Quality Comics -- before being acquired by DC -- released the premiere issue of National Comics starring Uncle Sam and his kid sidekick Buddy, flouting the repercussions of unsanctioned missions and reckless child endangerment to give the Axis powers a taste of star-spangled knuckle sandwich. Eventually, Uncle Sam was worked into DC's Earth-Two, expanding on his powers being commensurate with the American people's faith in their country's ideals. This made sense in the '40s, or even during the 1984 Summer Olympics, but thanks to discrediting cultural institutions like Honey Boo Boo and the Tea Party Movement sullying the nation's domestic and global reputation, Uncle Sam would be reduced to a helpless invalid. And an opening splash of him face down in the gutter isn't the best way to start a New 52 ongoing.
We may never see this come to pass as the New 52 is already home to a re-imagined Uncle Sam, last seen appearing in the limited series The Ray and Phantom Lady/Doll Man. To his credit, it doesn't look like this Uncle Sam iteration would be done in by an Al Franken quip.