Prez writer Mark Russell has confirmed on Twitter that the series will be ending with a 12 page “Election Special” this fall. This is the first new information on the series fate since “Corndog-in-Chief”, a collection of its first six issues, was released earlier this year. Prez was launched as part of DC Comics’ Divergence initiative alongside comics like Starfire and Black Canary. It was announced as a twelve-issue series to be published in two parts. The second part, already plotted by Russell, will not be published even after co-publisher Dan Didio promised it would be.
Prez was written by Russell with pencils by Ben Caldwell, inks by John Lucas and Mark Morales, and colors by Jeremy Lawson. It is the story of Beth Ross, a young woman elected to the presidency after becoming an internet celebrity known as “Corndog Girl” in a farcical future landscape. The series provided satirical commentary on modern issues like drone warfare, healthcare, and financial influence in politics. Both its comedy and political observations were praised by critics and garnered a dedicated base of fans.
Its critical merits did not translate into sales for individual issues. Prez #1 sold 28,309 copies to physical outlets according to Comichron and Prez #6, the series final issue, sold 7,716 copies. Copies of the first issue were also eligible to be returned to DC Comics, but there is no record of how many may have been returned. This lack of sales likely led DC Comics to decide not to continue publishing the series and instead publish the 12-page special tied into the United States’ Presidential election this fall. Why DC Comics chose to promise the remaining six issues of Prez would be published is unclear.
This situation resembles that of The Omega Men, another Divergence launch also promised as a 12-issue series. DC Comics announced that the series would conclude at issue 8 instead, in spite of promises to the creative team and fans for a complete story. However, after an uproar caused by the announcement DC Comics relented and promised the series would be completed. The Omega Men reached its 12th issue and a collection of the entire series will be released later this month.
Both series suffered from low sales. The key difference in publication strategy is that Prez was initially announced to have a hiatus, while The Omega Men led with a full cancellation. This may have “softened the blow” for readers expecting more from Prez. When delays to the series were first announced DC Comics co-publisher Dan Didio reassured fans it would return saying, “still twelve issues. Now two 6 part miniseries.”
The other significant difference rests in the creative teams of the two books. The Omega Men writer Tom King has become a star at the publisher, signing an exclusive agreement, writing the flagship series Batman, and receiving numerous accolades for his work on Sheriff of Baghdad. Russell is still employed by DC Comics writing comics like The Flintstones.
Whatever the reason for DC Comics’ choice to cease publication of Prez, it is sure to be a disappointment to both the series’ creative team as well as its dedicated fanbase. The first volume of Prez will likely be fondly remembered, but the question of what the second half of this comic would have been will remain.
The Prez concept was originally created by Joe Simon and Jerry Grandenetti in 1973.