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In comics, the term "ongoing series" is used to describe a series which has an unknown number of future issues. This is in contrast to limited series (a series intended to end after a certain number of issues), a one shot (a comic book which is not a part of an ongoing series), a graphic novel, or a trade paperback. However, a series of graphic novels may be considered ongoing as well. The term may also informally refer to a current or incomplete limited series with a predetermined number of issues.
An ongoing series is traditionally published on a fixed schedule, typically monthly. However, many factors can cause an issue to be published late. In the past, the schedule was often maintained with the use of fill-in issues (usually by a different creative team, sometimes hurting quality), but increasingly the practice has been to simply delay publication.
When an ongoing series ceases to be published because the story has ended, it may be called "finished." If it ceases to be published because of low sales, editorial decisions, publisher bankruptcy, or other reasons, it is "cancelled." (An ending might be written for the last issues of a cancelled series, or the series may simply disappear without warning and never return).
If a series ceases to be published, but may be published again, it is called "on hiatus." Many series are placed "on hiatus" but do not return even after several years.
For series that are creator owned, the copyright holder has the option of approaching other publishers to see if they would be open to resuming the title under their imprint. For instance, Usagi Yojimbo has had four consecutive publishers.
Examples of ongoing series
- Action Comics
- Detective Comics
- The Walking Dead (now finished)
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Mickey Mouse (comic book)
- Tank Girl
Examples of finite series
Examples of finished series
Examples of cancelled series
Examples of relaunched series
- Superman (At least one relaunch in 1987 and 2011)
- The Amazing Spider-Man (Relaunched in 1999 and re-numbered to original numbering beginning with 59(500))
- Fantastic Four (relaunched in 1996 and again in 1997 as well as 2012)
- Avengers (relaunched in 1996, 1997, 2010 and 2012)
- Fallen Angel (cancelled by DC Comics, subsequently relaunched by IDW Publishing)