RIP MINX – DC Comics Shuts Down Line

I saw the news on Thursday that DC Comics was shutting down the MINX line, and I honestly cursed under my breath. This new imprint of comics (only 18 months old) was DC Comics attempt at publishing digest sized comics, marketed at young females in an effort to provide comics about people and relationships and not capes and tights. I read through the excellent analysis/coverage (Tom Spurgeon and Heidi MacDonald), but felt that since I was the biggest fan of the line here at iFanboy, I should probably weigh in.

When they first announced the line, I scoffed at it. I hated the title and the idea that they were direct marketing to, what seemingly was, the smallest and hardest segment of the audience to go after. I predicted doom from the start, so this announcement really wasn’t a surprise to me. But then a funny thing happened. They started putting books out, and I read them and you know what? They were really good.

Led by The Plain Janes by Cecil Castelucci and Jim Rugg, the MINX line gave some excellent creators a platform to tell different stories in a different format. Black and white and digest sized, the MINX books were easy to carry, often read quickly but long enough to garner enjoyment out of, and I’m hard pressed to recount one title I didn’t really enjoy. Whether it was Burnout by Rebecca Donner and Inaki Miranda or the more recent New York Four from Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, the were all really great books. It didn’t matter what the imprint was or who the marketing was aimed at. Under the leadership of editor Shelly Bond, they just made good graphic novels. So, of course I’m sad to see them go.

So what happened? I have no idea, and there’s been more than enough speculation in the comics-blogosphere. But if you ask me, I’m really not surprised. DC Comics tried something, probably put it on a timetable, as corporations often do, and didn’t see the success they hoped for. Their distribution partner(s) probably played a large role, as they tried to break into Borders and Barnes and Noble and other book store outlets. What gets me though, is that I don’t think the line was a failure. Ask anyone who creates content, building an audience is tough. Sure there are times where it’s a runaway hit, and none of the MINX books were, but those times are rare. For the majority of everyone else, it’s a slow build of an audience until you reach the point where you can’t imagine life without it. Unfortunately, the corporate leash of Time-Warner/DC Comics didn’t allow for the appropriate time to grow it’s audience, which I believe given another 12 months to 16 months, would have surely happened.

So what now? What comes of the rest of the line? Well it sounds as if they’ll continue to publish the books on their year two production schedule, which is great. But where does that leave off the series, like the Janes books from Castelucci/Rugg (which were marketed poorly but that’s another post for another time) or the New York Four, which launched with a “1” on the spine indicating it’s first in a series? I don’t know the status of these creations, but I sure hope they are creator owned and can find a home with a smaller publisher who knows how to do these types of comics, like Top Shelf, Oni Press or even Image Comics.

Lastly, I don’t think the concept of young people, especially girls, reading comics should be a lost one.  I don’t think the demise of MINX proves that young women don’t want to read comics. If anything, it just shows the harsh realities of the publishing business and how hard it really is to build something special. You can’t expect X-Men or Batman level success after just 18 months. It’s just setting yourself up for failure. I hope the other publishers learn from this and someone is able to, once again, show DC Comics what they’re doing wrong.


  1. I never really read this, but one of my good friend’s (possibly ex, I’m not) boyfriends was really into comics and gave her this to read and her reaction was, and I quote, "no girl actually talks like this, at least where I’m from (New Orleans)" So it’s entirely possible that the intended audience wasn’t buying it (literally and figuratively) and people were just running out of stories to tell. Maybe it’ll show up again soon, but who knows?

  2. Those gorram morons! It’s not fair and f***ing stupid!

    Okay, now that this childish crying is out of me: It’s really sad to see this whole thing go. Me, like Ron, was sceptic in the beginning and became a fan after actually reading Plain Janes. (Isn’t that always the case with comic-book people though?) I still really like the idea, that a "big company" puts out "small company" stuff. That guarantees at least the pay-off for the creator (I suppose).

    That the marketing was crap, is out of the question and it lets met wonder, how much faith DC/Time Warner put in their in the first place. It’s just a sad and costumer-disoriented story.

    Here’s to the hope that the Janes and New York Four find a new home very, very soon!

  3. Geez who saw this coming? Seriously I didnt see this coming, a pretty good comic line gets shut down. The stories arent on the Alan Moore level, they are just stories written mostly for a women audience. But damnit those were good stories and that is coming from a guy who watches football and talk comics all day long.

    I’ve read Burnout, Waterbaby, and Janes in Love and I must say they are some really good books. They were good for anyone (even if it was marketed for women) and they had some really good art to boot. I’m sure someone like another indie publisher will give these books to shine on their own company…If not then I guess we gotta be pissed that we’ll never know where some of these stories go. Shame.

    Now excuse me I need to buy Batman #680 and ignore the better indie titles out there…..Oh wait maybe that’s the problem…

  4. This is lame news.

     I quite liked the concept–I am curious as to where else these books were being sold? Seems to me that if you want to reach this audience you have to go outside of the comic book store (obviously) and the regular bookstores…how about teen places like cafes, stores and, I dunno…jeez, where DO girls hang out? I never figured that out, which, in addition to my going to an all boy’s high school, would explain a lot about my (lack of) dating life…

     but regardless, I am unhappy to hear this news..


  5. Really frustrated by this news. I’ve picked up many of the Minx books, and was excited to see that sequels were in the works.  The cancellation is really heartbreaking.  

    Looking forward to Token, which was previewed in Janes in Love.  I’m glad to hear it’s being released.  

  6. I loved  Plain Janes and am in the middle of New York Four and loving that.  I feel like I just got started with the line and now…this is ripping my heart out.

  7. I’m supremely bummed by this.  MINX was by far my favorite innovation by either of the major companies in the last few years.  I’ve got all the MINX books and I enjoy them all.  Whenever I saw a new MINX book on the shipping list I clapped excitedly.  At least there will be a few more… small consolation.

  8. Here’s a problem, which some of you already pointed out….Are there any girls picking these books up? They are suppose to be marketed for teenage girls but quite honestly, I see more guys getting these titles then girls. Not saying guys shouldnt pick up Plain Janes or New York Four, these books are for anybody really….But the whole angle for this line was to sell to women or teenage girls, maybe that is the problem because they never reached the target audience.

    These titles should’ve been advertised a hell of a lot better as well. These are gems in an otherwise mud puddle of graphic novel releases and they get shelved where they cant be seen. Let’s see Waterbaby? Next to Walking Dead (this is at my work) Janes in Love? Next to Indiana Jones Omnibus’s. Burnout? Next to Buffy books. No wonder (at least in my shop) no one picked these up. If they are being shelved next to more famous and better sold titles, of course no one is going to pick up an indie book about 4 teenage women…

  9. Read the link Conor posted.  If this series was to succeed, it needed to do well in regular book stores.  They didn’t shelve them in the YA section.  

  10. this books were great and girls were reading them a least in my circle of friends and family ( 5 females to one guy, me) .

    everyone is sad to see these go, i do hope that everyone gets to make more comics either with the big companies or independently.


  11. Glad to hear the sequel to NY4 is still gonna get published.

  12. Looks like the next MINX book hits next week.


    This still sucks.

  13. This seems very short sighted.  As a librarian, we needed more.  More books in the line and more time to get them into people’s hands.  It was a great idea to start the line, but I can’t believe they only gave it 18 months before they pulled the plug.  I’d really like someone there to explain this and poor sales is not good enough.  If they really wanted to make this work, they had to know from the beginning that it was going to take longer than this.  I hope this isn’t the case of them giving up on the female readers because that would really be depressing.  They are out there but you can’t expect them to know about this sort of thing immediately.  Incredibly frustrating.

  14. I was just discussing this with a librarian friend, who is also a big Minx fan and learned about the line when Cecil Castelucci did a presentation at a library convention.  Her comment was that the library market should have been good for these books, but it’s possible they weren’t getting checked out (and thus, more weren’t ordered) because libraries have trouble figuring out where to shelve graphic novels in general.  With these, it’s doubly hard.  Do they go with traditional comics, with manga, with young adult fiction?  It’s a puzzle, and I imagine bookstores had a similar problem.


  15. I taught in a high school last year with a large Hispanic population, and I gave Minx books to my English Language Learners (the girls, that is) whenever my classes did some silent reading.  Guess what?  The girls loved this stuff!  For kids who want a relatable story that is complex enough to be a page turner yet has visual clues for kids learning English, this line was perfect.  I’m really sad to see it go, as I would’ve loved to build something like "The Plain Janes" into my curriculum. 

  16. @paulmontgomery, When the Minx line was first released, I remember seeing each new book (for the first few releases, at least) prominently displayed at my local B&N in/near the YA section.  But, recently, can’t remember seeing the newer Minx releases–like Confessions of a Blabbermouth or Water Baby–in any of the major bookstores, or even the local independents, at all, neither in the YA section nor the Graphic Novel section.

    Alas, I think the line’s success depended on having that one big hit early, not necessarily a huge runaway hit (like in the Twilight league) but one that would have garnered more attention from mainstream media sources.  I remember there being quite a bit of buzz surrounding "The Plain Janes" release but that it seemed to have faded with each subsequent Minx release, so much so that I guess DC and the big bookstores lost interest in the line … or at least its profitability.  At least it looks like the Minx content was more-or-less creator-owned so further sequels are still a possibility.

  17. They sold the minx books in the children’s section of the bookshop I used to frequent in Miami. I never felt like it belonged there.