Lights go out on 'Power Company'

Fri, March 28th, 2003 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Jonah Weiland, Executive Producer/Publisher

[The Power Company]Historically, Kurt Busiek has been known as a Marvel guy. He shocked fans in the pages of "Thunderbolts," gave "Avengers" fans something to cheer about and helped set a new standard for mainstream graphic novels with the hit mini-series "Marvels." In 2001 he took on a new challenge, this time over at DC Comics in the pages of "Power Company." In an interview with CBR News in August of 2001 Busiek described the concept, "…it's a professional superhero team organized along the principles of a law firm. They have partners, associates, billable hours, pro bono work, support staff and more, and a big part of the book will come from the fact that the members aren't all there for the same reason. One might be out to do good and save lives, while another wants to make as much money as possible, and a third wants glory and fame, and a fourth just wants a good steady job ... the contrast and clash that comes from the heroes' different motivations will make for some pretty lively character drama." Unfortunately for fans of "Power Company" the series will be coming to an end shortly.

"It's true, I'm sorry to say. 'Power Company' is ending with #18," Busiek told fans on the Power Company Message Board.

"The book simply didn't catch on. I can't fault DC, who supported and promoted it all along, and gave us more chances than most books get. And I can't fault the art, which has been splendid right from the get-go -- Tom Grummett is one of the best, and we've had good inking and coloring the whole time.

"But not enough readers who tried it liked it enough to stick with it, it's as simple as that.

"I think we stumbled coming out of the gate -- the launch specials didn't work, and the first story was the wrong kind of story to open with. And looking back, had I known then what I know now, it'd have been a very different book all along, with much more of an emphasis on the business -- and on how the characters dealt with the job -- rather than on the action, and how the characters dealt with the villains. Much like how a show like ER is about medicine, but at heart it's more about surviving a stressful job than about who gets saved that week and how.

"In the end, we were too much of a traditional superhero book, and it was the wrong time for a book like that.

"That said, I'm delighted to have had the chance to do it, and I think we did good comics along the way. And DC gave us enough advance warning that we're able to wrap things up pretty well in #16-18, with a blowout final story that'll answer a lot of readers' questions. You'll see what happened to Dr. Cyber, you'll see what that big blue crystal thing is and what it's up to, you'll see the Haunted Tank, and a major fight to save the world. We may be going out, but we'll go out with style.

"And hopefully, this won't be the end for the characters -- there's been some talk of doing a Manhunter-JSA mini, pitting them against their common foe, the Council, and we could easily see the other Company members as well. And hey, 'X-Men' came back from cancellation. 'Teen Titans' comes back over and over again. And the Hulk was cancelled after six issues, and look at him now!

"So it's over for now. But that doesn't mean it'll be over forever."

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