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In an announcement sent to retailers just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Marvel Entertainment cancelled existing orders for Inhuman, one of the launch titles for its “All-New Marvel NOW!” promotion, with the series’ launch now pushed out until April 2014.
Originally announced in July, Inhuman was to be the center point of new “Inhumanity” branding and storylines spinning out of the just-finished Infinity series. The brand had already launched in other series — last week saw the first “Inhumanity” release, Avengers Assemble #21, and this Wednesday sees the release of Inhumanity #1, a one-off comic teasing the Inhuman series — before the news that Inhuman itself was being postponed.
What’s notable about the Inhuman situation isn’t just the length of the delay but that Marvel officially cancelled existing orders for the first two issues of the series. It’s not uncommon for titles to ship late — this Wednesday’s Marvel releases include three such offenders — but those releases tend to happen without official cancellation and re-solicitation.
Sources inside Marvel have anonymously ascribed the delay to “a number of reasons,” with many fans blaming series artist Joe Madureira, who has a well-known reputation for lateness. Writer Matt Fraction‘s increasingly busy schedule may be partially to blame, as well; in addition to his Image Comics series Satellite Sam and Sex Criminals, he left Marvel’s Fantastic Four and FF mid-storyline this summer due to schedule concerns, and his critically acclaimed Hawkeye series for the publisher has also seen delays this year.
(It should be pointed out that, by canceling the initial Inhuman orders and re-soliciting the series for an April release, Marvel can make whatever personnel changes — or even title changes — it considers necessary without incurring any penalties from distributor Diamond for failing to deliver what was originally promised.)
This is far from the first time Marvel has cancelled a high-profile series between solicitation and publication. In 2012, the publisher spiked Thanos: Son of Titan less than a month after its initial announcement, with the series eventually appearing, significantly reworked and with an entirely different creative team, as Thanos Rising in April 2013. In 2011, Marvel cancelled Victor Von Doom less than a month before its debut; that series remains unpublished.
So far, Marvel has declined to comment on the situation .