Some Advice From One Who Knows
As you all know, my successor's solo title Azrael has been cancelled as of #18. This was not a big surprise; I've been anticipating it for quite a while now. Still, there are a number of lessons that can be learned from this.
1. Stop Making Random Heroes Legacy Characters: What I mean is that the successor should have some sort of connection to the original character. I've never met Michael Lane. I've never heard of the "Order of Purity." Where's the Order of St. Dumas? Where is the vengeful spirit of St. Dumas himself? And where is the sketchy religious technobabble?
Without these vital connections a new character might as well be... A new character. And we know that new characters with not relation to established ones usually fail.
2. Don't Launch Random Ongoing Titles: DC and Marvel both have a problem with this. They launch a bunch of titles without testing the waters and almost seem surprised when they fail. Say what you will about my series, but at least I was around before they launched it. In fact, I was bouncing around the Batbooks for years before they gave me my own title.
Instead, try going the route they originally went with Birds of Prey. Launch a few miniseries. If the first few are successful then try another one. Eventually if you find the audience then you can try an ongoing.
3. Run Superstars: What I mean is that you should launch a big series with a superstar creator or two. You can't just throw anybody on the credits line and make it sell. Take Batman and Robin. Sure, it's You-Know-Who. But Grant Morrison helped a little bit. DC seems to be learning this lesson: they're got Frazer Irving doing the art for the XOMBI relaunch.
If publishers would take these to heart, then maybe tragedies like Azrael could be avoided.