Paul Kupperberg was the editor of two of the original Impact titles, The Fly and The Black Hood. He wrote several issues of the Crusaders and the Web. Edited portions of the Impact Annuals and was the writer of the planned Impact relaunch of Steel Sterling. He was nice enough to share his thoughts about the Impact Annuals.
Rik Offenberger: The Impact line was intended for new younger readers, all done-in-one stories. Why were the annuals interconnected?
Paul Kupperberg [PK]: By the time we got to the Impact Annuals in 1992, the line’s second year, the original concept had pretty much fallen by the wayside. The line hadn’t performed as well as hoped pretty much from the start, and it was also pretty obvious the readers who were picking up the Impact books weren’t the new, young readers the titles had ostensibly been created to attract but the same ones buying the DCU books. I suppose it made sense to chase the audience actually buying the books rather than continuing to create comics for the readers we wanted. And the audience actually buying the books were interested in DCU/MCU-style continuity and interconnectivity.
Overstreet: Why were there three different editors on the annual?
PK: That was standard procedure: We each edited the annuals attached to the monthlies we edited. I was on The Fly and the Black Hood. Common sense and scheduling also played a part, I’m sure. There were six annuals, each with 40 pages of story, plus a cover, plus editorial pages, and they all came out within a month or six weeks of each other, so a single editor handling them all would have had to produce an additional 258 pages in a month or two.
Overstreet: It seemed like the line was on some shaky ground. Did the annuals improve sales on the line?
PK: I don’t have numbers, but the fact that the Impact line was gone six months after the annuals were published would indicate they hadn’t.
Overstreet: Why do you think Impact failed to attract a large enough audience to continue, it had some of the most talented creators of their day?
PK: I think there were a couple of reasons, ranging from editorial neglect and marketing indifference, if not straight up hostility, to the fact that in the end, the Impact line was neither fish nor fowl. The line suffered from a lack of familiarity in the marketplace, and they weren’t quite all-age access, kid-friendly comics nor, with a couple of exceptions, were they edgy enough to interest older readers.