There are some upsides and downsides to this story, though the situation could be more upsetting for fans. As someone who actually owns every issue of Ghost Fleet, by Donny Cates and Daniel Warren Johnson, Resurrectionists, by Fred Van Lente and Maurizio Rosenzweig, and Sundowners by Tim Seely and Jim Terry (yep, I have ALL of them), I'm a little stunned by the news that all three series will not continue their print runs. Instead, the remaining issues of each series will be available through Dark Horse Digital and then through an expedited trade edition in August for Sundowners and Resurrectionists, and in October for Ghost Fleet.
Now, the upside of this is in facing the realities of the market. Apparently these series didn't fare well enough in print sales despite there being a strong loyal following for each. In the light of that, the series could have disappeared and left fans hanging. Thankfully that's not the case–you won't be left mid-story having come along with the creative team thus far. There'll be digital options for following the stories and then the trade will make sure readers can experience the story as a whole. For those who are really into collecting complete sets of single issues, and I feel your pain, it's more of a problem.
But the creators, all of which have numerous excellent comic projects to their name, and who have received critical attention for their successes, are being circumspect about it. Something they have in common is that they created series here that are somewhat experimental and unusual, setting the tone for creator-owned comics. Ghost Fleet took us into conspiracy theories built on real-life scenarios laced with the occult, Sundowners psycho-analyzed the dark side of superheroes and the potential for value in madness, and Resurrectionists jumped us through multiple lives, civilizations, and across vast gulfs of space and time. These are some comics that seriously challenge our expectations of the medium. I hope it's not true that readers were unwilling to take a chance to read stories that weren't placed in comfortable genre categories, but with so many great comics out there right now, it's more likely that making our choices these days on a limited budget is getting more difficult.
Fred Van Lente says:
I am a huge fan of both Ghost Fleet and Sundowners and am thrilled Dark Horse is committed to continuing them in another format, along with the remainder of the Resurrectionists run. They're all great comics, and moving them to the digital space is a great opportunity to give them another chance to thrive.
Tim Seely adds:
I'm not sure why some books succeed while others don't, especially when I know Dark Horse has been making some super-cool, all-new, creator-owned material that I was proud to be part of. But I'm glad they've got the dedication and respect to ensure readers and creators get to bring their stories to a logical conclusion.
Donny Cates, who has another upcoming series at Dark Horse concludes:
Since my very first baby steps with the company, Dark Horse has been incredibly welcoming and supportive—they take wild chances on wild creators with bananas ideas (Go get The Paybacks in September!). The market can be a bear sometimes; we all know this. It's no one's fault. As a former retailer myself, I know how hard the decisions that go into taking on new books can be. But instead of cursing the darkness, we're going to shine a light. And in the case of Ghost Fleet it's going to be a shotgun-fireball ending you'll see from f#%ing space. Thanks to the tireless creative efforts of Daniel Warren Johnson, Lauren Affe, Chris Crank, our editorial heavyweights, and Dark Horse's seemingly never-ending commitment to making great comics, we will give the fans what they deserve: an awesome ending to an awesome comic.
Mike Richardson explains the situation and also Dark Horse's commitment to see the stories through, even in alternative format:
We are confident in the quality of these stories and want to ensure that readers have the opportunity to fully experience them. Dark Horse is throwing its support behind these creators and their innovative titles, and we are choosing to continue them in a series of original graphic novels. These stories deserve to be told, and to continue in a reader-friendly and accessible format. In the meantime, for those who would like to continue reading the series, we will also offer new issues of each title on our Dark Horse Digital platform.
If you've enjoyed these titles, it would be a good idea to continue to support them as a gesture toward these innovative directions in comics, even if it means changing your plans on how you were going to read them.
The release schedule for the digital issues on these series will be the same as their print releases were originally scheduled to be.