10 Amazing Comic Books That Should Have Flopped

These comic books had everything against them and should have flopped but succeeded spectacularly.

Giant-size x-men Cover
Marvel Comics/Gil Kane

Creating comics is a crap shoot. No matter what anyone says, no one knows what’s going to be a success. Especially in the early days when comic books were in their infancy, the creators threw every concept they could think of against the wall to see what would stick. Sometimes they achieved greatness but more often, those characters will disappear into the mists of publishing history.

In some cases, the creators were developing a brand new genre. In others, they were creating characters that act in ways never seen before. Or updating characters for a brand new age. In each case, the potential for failure is high. Will readers embrace the book? Will the character resonate with the public and can it grow with the readers? And most importantly, is the comic fun to read?

None of these comics should have worked, but they did, and they did so spectacularly. They made characters who have endured for decades and have created and strengthened the very fabric of the comic book industry.

There was every reason for these books to crash and burn but they survived and became the pillars on which the industry is built.

10. Crisis On Infinite Earths

Giant-size x-men Cover
DC Comics

DC Comics continuity was a mess. Initially, whenever a writer wanted to tell their story, they weren’t too concerned about when it took place or if their details contradicted something that had been established before. They just wrote their story. But when readership shifted from children to adults, that wasn’t going to fly anymore.

In 1985, legendary writer Marv Wolfman had the crazy notion to have a cohesive DC Universe with a single Earth. Employing the indescribable artistic talents of George Perez, Wolfman planned to create limited series that had the daunting task of taking over 50 years of divergent, overlapping, and, in some cases, contradictory continuity and turning it into a single, linear history of the DC Universe that wouldn’t alienate both long-time creators and fans. Was such a task even possible?

It was not only possible but a rousing success. DC was admittedly unsure that the 12-part series would be a success and thus was limited in the amount of marketing it put behind it. In spite of this, Crisis was a bestselling comic. Several news organizations credit the Crisis on Infinite Earths for saving the company and call it the best comic book crossover ever. Marv Wolfman took a gamble on a risky idea and his talent turned it into what is now considered a touchstone of comics history.


John Wilson has been a comic book and pop culture fan his entire life. He has written for a number of websites on the subject over the years and is especially pleased to be at WhatCulture. John has written two comic books for Last Ember Press Studio and has recently self-published a children's book called "Blue." When not spending far too much time on the internet, John spends time with his lovely wife, Kim, their goofy dog, Tesla, and two very spoiled cats.