Nighthawk is an unusual comic: it’s about a Batman-esque superhero from an alternate reality trying to clean up the streets of Chicago. But it’s also about the reality of violence, especially racial violence and police brutality, and about how violence can consume a person if they let it, all written by a black writer for a black character. It’s been hailed as one of the best books Marvel has put out today. Unfortunately, it’s also been cancelled.
Walker explained that even though the first issue started out with strong sales, it quickly dropped after that and eventually sales were so bad that Marvel had to cancel it.
Walker doesn’t blame Marvel or even the retailers or readers for not buying the book, pointing out how even some of the best reviewed books are the least selling.
Generally, retailers have to choose which comics to order larger quantities of and often, they choose books that they know will sell, since they can’t sell back unsold copies to the publisher. An unknown book like Nighthawk or other low selling books like Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur generally don’t get ordered that much and, therefore, don’t sell well.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, however, is one of the few Marvel books that is sold through Scholastic and at Scholastic Book Fairs, however, so they receive additional orders for trade paperbacks through them. Nighthawk, with it’s very violent characters and adult story, won’t be sold through them, so it makes more sense for it to be cancelled due to the market (even though the first trade paperback has yet to come out), even if the book itself is great.
However, the characters in the book won’t be going away. Nighthawk is already involved with the Squadron Supreme and Walker will be writing another book for Marvel NOW called Occupy Avengers. He’s written:
What this all reminds me of is another great comic that Marvel cancelled due to low sales: Contest of Champions by Al Ewing and Paco Medina. Like Nighthawk, it featured a violent superhero (this time based on the Punisher), Outcast. However, unlike Nighthawk, Outcast found that after a while, he didn’t want to kill anybody anymore. The last issue explains it much better:
The difference in Frank and Outcast’s viewpoints is the different between a book like The Punisher and Nighthawk. It will be missed.