Unknown Soldier Confirmed to End at #25

After Air's cancellation last week, Bleeding Cool speculated that Unknown Soldier would be on the chopping block next, and today, writer Joshua Dysart confirmed it over Twitter, with the series to end at issue #25.

Dysart said:

The gig is, literally, up. Since Rich Johnson posted the news yesterday that Unknown Soldier will end with #25 I've been swamped with loving emails from readers. The outpouring of affection and praise has been amazing. Thank you. The book may not have moved "enough" of you to keep it alive, but it moved enough of you for me. Thank you. I promise the book will end in an awesome, natural way and that when read in trades, will feel like it was always meant to conclude this way. I've been preparing for this cancellation for a while and have had plenty of time to sing it out right. I actually really, really like the way the series is going to end and feel like it should end this way. Keep reading! Five more issues! For two years we executed a comic that flirted with both pulp nonsense & real-life genocidal truth. As far as I'm concerned, we won.

As Johnston speculated, and I'm inclined to agree, we might be in a position where we have to worry about Vertigo.  It's always puttered along making amazing books that didn't seem to sell that well, and for years, no one said anything.  But if the new heads of DC decide they don't want it that way anymore, then I think Vertigo could be in trouble, and all of comics would be much, much weaker for it.  Even if you don't read much Vertigo, I guarantee you that you read something by someone who came up from there.

As far as Unknown Soldier goes, the trades are still out there, and they're damn good.  Read our reviews of Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Another good soldier goes down…


  1. This is really depressing. Unknown Soldier is an amazing series that really deserved more attention than it got. It was always one of those critical but not commercial successes, and I’m very sad to see it go.

  2. God fucking damn it. Definitely one of Vertigo’s best.

  3. It’s a damn shame. Unknown Soldier is a terrific book and I will miss it.

    The art always made you feel like you where at the places yourself, such detailed and perfect depiction of the country.

  4. This is very disappointing news. Unknown Soldier is one of the most dynamic and relevant books in comics today. It’s a shame that the market doesn’t seem to be able support books this obviously great.

    As to the future of Vertigo, while I’m also inclined to be pessimistic, I’m going to remain hopeful. Losing this series will definitely be a blow to the line, but they’re still putting out a lot of great stuff. Let’s just hope other new(ish) series like The Unwritten, Sweet Tooth, and American Vampire don’t get cancelled next.

    Regardless, there’s really nothing on the market like Unknown Soldier, and I can’t see how anything is going to replace it. I, for one, will be savoring these next 6 issues.

  5. I liked Air too, and have been reading them both since issue 1.  First Young Liars, Air, and now this…Scalped and Sweet Tooth will carry the Vertigo torch for me

  6. Sheesh, I just realized that I read almost everything by Vertigo except for Air and Unknown Soldier and a couple others. I’m a Vertigo junkie, and I would be very very sad if Vertigo went bye bye.

  7. I dropped the book I think at around #12.  After some initially strong issues the book just seemed to be meandering.  Sorry to see it go though, others seemed to enjoy it a lot.   

  8. This news comes just in time for the cancellation of another Vertigo cul favorite; Air!

  9. I did some sales analysis. The next 4 vertigo titles most likely for cancellation are:

    Greek Street- Still losing readers and very low sales overall. Can’t see the trades lighting up either. This one looks like a goner.

    Demo- It’s a six issue mini so I’m going to just think it’s safe for those six issues but most likely no third volume.

    Scalped- Low sales but extremely consistent plus good trade sales. iFanboy reported a renewal until 48 and hopefully it gets another 12 (though after that it’s doubtful).

    DMZ- Sales are pretty weak. I think this is close to it’s natural endpoint though so not much to worry about.

    So basically, best case scenario, Greek Street gets cancelled and that’s it. Demo finishes, DMZ finishes, and Scalped gets extended to a round 60. 

  10. I read the first volume and loved it, always meant to pick up the second. Hopefully it goes out on a good note. 

    However, I’m much more worried about Vertigo as a whole. The comics industry will be considerably poorer without it imo.

  11. Been reading since issue 1 and can see why that’s it probably not for everyone, but have loved the entire run so far.

    Sad, but looking forward to the wrap up of the story and whatever Dysart does next. 

  12. You all suck for not buying this.

  13. Disappointing but predictable for both of these titles.  Been on Air since the beginning and Soldier since after the first trade.  I agree that Greek Street will be the next cut.

    Thankfully, Vertigo still has Sweet Tooth, American Vampire and iZombie to carry on.

  14. I love Vertigo and have for as long as I have read comics.  That being said I seriously doubt this is the end of the line.  Air was selling 5,000 copies from issue #1 and by the end I think it was down to about 12. The five people on this link aside, no one read it.  It lasted much, much longer than it should have.  It’s sales were worse than Crossing Midnight and Exterminators – both of which, if people remember, were cancelled before the DC shakeup.  As for Unknown Soldier for whatever reason it never caught on.  I didn’t read it but mostly because – and this is just a personal opinion here – it seemed a bit gimmicky and indulgent for my tastes.  The key also was that neither of these books were selling well in trades.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Greek Street and DMZ bit it next but Scalped sells well in trades and it has a big name attached to it so I would be very surprised if it wasn’t renewed.  Also – Vertigo has rolled out four new ongoings in the last year alone: Unwritten, American Vampire, Sweet Tooth, and Greek Street.  A company on its way out isn’t allowed that kind of latitude. Look, like any company Vertigo has a bottom line.  Because its attached to a major label it can get away with a much lower bottom line than other publishers in its class but its a bottom line nonetheless.  When we talk about the books that were cancelled I mean just from an ifanboy perspective Air was averaging about 20 pulls.  That’s just not sustainable for any company.  I’m not saying that down the line DC decides its just not worth it but to read the cancellation of two of its worst selling titles as the company’s death knell seems a bit premature.

  15. Oh well at least it will have good ending. Sometimes you just gotta wrap it up. It’s not always a bad thing.

    But for those of you who have not read this you are seriously missing out, it’s really rad if your into "pulp nonsense/ real-life genocidal truth" Which too many people aren’t. 

  16. Dear Everyone Who Never Tried This Book:

    I hate you all.


  17. I just hope Vertigo reprints the Unknown Soldier trade from Ennis soon

  18. When reached for comment, Wade Wilson responded “What’s Unknown Soldier”.

  19. Its really a shame but all good things come to an end i suppose. Its a great book, but what i really love about this comic is that each issue’s cover are some of the best designed book covers in the publishing industry period. yes i’m including novels and all that stuff. That being said I’m not surprised that it was cancelled. The idea of a classic DCU line being given new life in the Vertigo U was quite interesting. I guess what they say is true. No one cares much for war comics anymore.

    Vertigo will find a way to survive. Its held in very high esteem by the people at DC.

  20. As long as Scalped doesn’t get canned, I’m good.

  21. I smell something like an omnibus. Me likey.

  22. This is as depressing as the book itself… 🙁

  23. W.T.F Vertigo.

  24. You know what’s worst about this: I just bought the two trades exactly one month ago, and now this news occurs.. God this sucks.

  25. @Jackie

    What’s bad about that? 

  26. Hope they don’t continue with the cancellations, Vertigo has some of my favorite titles.

  27. Dam that sucks. I love this series, but I can see why it doesn’t sell. ( a semi- schizophrenic killing kids doesnot necessarily bring in the average reader

    I hope DC leaves the Vertigo line alone because there trades are the only ones I buy at regular price.  (DMZ, Scalped, Fables, Unwritten, Hellblazer)

  28. forgot iZombie.  that’s 5 new books in the past year.

  29. It sucks, but this isn’t the first time Vertigo has cancelled a series before it’s intended ending.  Hopefully Johnston’s worrying about the shake-up at DC/Vertigo affecting things is just that.  Only time will tell, but if they start wanting a good return on their monthlies, then things are definitely in trouble as Vertigo books have never been strong monthly, however have been strong in trades, which is what they should continue pushing.  Vertigo should most definitely not adopt DC’s policy of trying to get people to read the monthly over the other formats, especially by delaying trades.  Already it’s like 4 months wait for a trade, whereas back in the early 2000’s it was 2 months.  But that’s been going on for at least a year or so, so it’s not because of the shake-up at DC.  That being said, I’d worry about Greek Street and maybe Unwritten.  I really haven’t heard anything great about Greek, but Unwritten is awesome, and I think the first trade sold well.  DMZ is so close to its ending, it will be allowed to run its course.  As for Scalped, it does sell well in trades, so we’ll get to 48, whether it goes beyond that will depend on their monthly vs. trade sales policy at that time.  My bigger worry is that Vertigo becomes Fables and Friends.  Meaning any title that is given a chance is somehow a Fables spin-off, ie. Jack of Fables, or tied to Fables creators, ie. House of Mystery and even iZombie as the writer for that wrote the Cinderalla mini.  Nothing against people reading those books, but Vertigo shouldn’t go back to just being a horror-fantasy line.

  30. this is bad news indeed. vertigo is THE reason why i started reading comics. very disappointing

  31. I started reading DC mature readers titles like Doom Patrol and Sandman just before the Vertigo label came along.  I was in high school, was hitting a point where I was literally saying to myself I need to read something as well as superheroes and it was Vertigo that provided that next level.  It was literally the gateway to the rest of the comics world and can never be undervalued for the role it plays today.  And despite the Warners ownership they still put out challenging, unusual, original material.  I buy loads of it, probably on a par with how much mainstream DCU material I buy. I don’t want that to end, my god if Scalped were to end it would be a crime against the arts of all media. I realise the books have to sustain themselves, but this news strikes me as a real shame.  Unknown Soldier was shedding light on a forgotten African tragedy, and I can’t help feel that this is nowhere near where Dysart planned to end things.

  32. Has has Hellblazer lasted for so long? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been reading it forever since the Ennis run and will continue to read it, but what’s it doing right?

  33. Darn, this news sucks, but since I’m reading this in trades at least it’ll come to a natural conclusion.

  34. I don’t think we’ll see Vertigo go away, but the business model it follows may change.  Vertigo is an important line to the comics industry, and DC would be crazy to nix it altogether.  I think that the Vertigo Crime and OGNs they put out justify that it is a brand of comics that can have mass appeal.

  35. If I could change one thing about comics right now it’d be putting in some kind of method to pre-pay for trades. I get this, Scalped, Air, Sweet Tooth, The Unwritten, Fables, Jack, and House of Mystery all in trade. They all just work that way. And I pre-order most of them. I just cant afford to double dip all these series to subsidize them. If there was some way for the publisher to guarantee, pre-floppy, that the trades would move then perhaps the books could be spared this fate. 

    This sucks. Another fine book going the way of the dodo.  

  36. Vertigo comics aren’t suppose to sell. ‘Least not in DC/Marvel numbers. Their purpose is to help the industry by giving creators a creative outlet not held at the big two. Would Mike Carey be kicking as much ass as he does on X-Men w/out his experience on Vertigo? I think not.

    This is not good. I love UNKNOWN SOLDIER. And this makes me sad.


  37. They’re not supposed to sell? To help the industry? So Mike Carey could write for Marvel?

    What business in the known universe would use that as a model? It’d be lovely if things were altruistic, but they most certainly are not.

  38. Sad news indeed, I’ll be sure to pick up all the trades when the run concludes

  39. This is definitely sad, but that’s kinda always been the way for Vertigo. I’ve been reading Vertigo books since the inception of the line, and they’ve been a great line for comics "experiments." Not everything’s been great, and sometimes some great books never find an audience, but really… them’s the breaks. That the series existed at all in this market is something to celebrate.

    It’s a bummer that this book and Air couldn’t find a foothold, but I’m glad that a book like Fables did. I’m glad Northlanders exists. I’m glad I got three volumes of Mike Carey’s under-appreciated Crossing Midnight. I’m glad we had The Losers and got a movie out of it. I’m glad the line has escaped the shadow of the Sandman and continues to be a great launching point for some of the most original works in comics. 

  40. I think the thing to remember is that if a Vertigo title gets cancelled, it isn’t selling well in either monthlies OR trades.  If it sells well in once of those, and let’s face it, it’s the trades, as I’ve never heard of a Vertigo comic selling tons in monthlies but not very well in trades, if it does sell well in monthlies it’s usually selling well in trades too.  So the whole "people not buying monthlies are killing the titles" argument is just plain stupid.  If enough people bought the trades, the title would still be around.  See such past titles as 100 Bullets and current ones like Scalped.  Now, if DC decides to change that business model for Vertigo, and want more monthly sales to keep a title going, then I think some good Vertigo titles are in trouble.  This isn’t the first time Vertigo has cancelled a slew of books, and most cancelled books usually get the axe before issues 25.  I think The Exterminators was the one exception in recent memory.

  41. Well, either there will be one last big trade or two regular size trades to end out the series.

    I was going to drop this with the end of the current arc, but now that it’s confirmed to end, I will stay with it.

    I’ve been waiting for DC to pull the trigger on Air for a year now and I had a feeling when that happened Unknown Soldier would be next. Unless the last issues are bad, then I am happy with 25 issues of great comics.

  42. This is a great book and I am sad to see it go.  

  43. @JamesSeals–You do realize that the entire DC/Vertigo operation is owned by Warner Brothers? They would never allow one of their imprints to exist merely to "help out the industry" and not make any money. Vertigo is the prestige imprint of DC Comics and they understand their place is to make comics with literary merit, but they still have a bottom line and corporate overlords to answer to.
    Unlike the big DC lines like Detective or Superman, Vertigo titles can’t afford to have a bad run or story arc. I’m sure a few months of trending downward is enough to kill a title. I think this cancellation reinforces that.
    Without seeing any numbers, i wonder if Vertigo titles do better in trade than they do in monthlies?
  44. If the Vertigo line folds, then I will stop reading comic books altogether. 

  45. Sad to see it go. I’ve read the first two trades and they were really good. Art was a bit iffy to me, but the writing was solid.

    I really doubt just because two titles for the line are being cancelled means it’s the end of Vertigo. (Or the beginning of the end) They just never sold well. To be honest, Air was a big mess and Unknown Soldier wasn’t going to sell well because of it’s subject matter.

    Vertigo is still going to go strong because they have still great tiles like:

    American Vampire, Fables, Hellblazer, House of Mystery, iZombie, Joe the Barbarian (at least for the next 3 issues), Northlanders, Sweet Tooth, and The Unwritten. So yeah…..I think Vertigo is gonna do just fine. 

  46. Unknown Soldier is a solid, but bleak book.  Like The Un-Men before it, I enjoy it, but was neither surprised nor all that upset when it was canceled.  The Vertigo line got me back into comics in 1994, and have been the backbone of my pull list/trade list since.  It’s like the HBO of comics.  While I think this decade has been a little down compared to the 90s, Scalped and Fables are still 2 of my favorite books.  While Hellblazer is not in that lofty category, I have still read it since 1994, give or take a few issues.  I can’t imagine comics without Vertigo, the best imprint of the last 20 years.