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I Like Marvel’s Re-Numbering Plan

I think Marvel’s current re-numbering plan, which continues with today’s announcement that Captain America will be re-titled Captain America and Bucky with #620, while Captain America gets a new #1, is a really clever and smart idea.

I mean, let’s forget for a moment that having a book co-written by Ed Brubaker and Marc Andreyko with art by Chris Samnee while also having a book written by Ed Brubaker with art by Steve McNiven is a surplus of awesome talent on two comic books. Let’s ignore that.

Even without the news of, in effect, a new book with a cool creative team (Brubaker, Andreyko and Samnee? Wow!), I think Marvel’s numbering system makes a lot of sense.

We all know that books sell better with #1s. But at the same time, there is a significant part of fandom that hates books being re-numbered, because you lose the “history” of the original title. Marvel’s new numbering system gives you basically the best of both worlds.

You get Black Panther, Man Without Fear keeping up the numbering on Daredevil while Daredevil gets his own new title.

You get Captain America and Bucky keeping up with the numbering on Captain America while Captain America gets his own new title.

You get Loki (or whoever – I guess Tales of Asgard would be a good description, right?) keeping up the numbering on Thor while Thor gets his own new title.

Then, almost certainly, at some point in the future (likely when the new books have reached a number where they no longer make sense as sales incentives (#38? #54? #64? I have no idea), then you return them to their original titles and pick up the numbering.

Then the other character hopefully has gotten enough attention that perhaps they could get their own title. It worked with Incredible Hulk and Hercules – it could happen with Black Panther or Tales of Asgard!

It’s really a clever solution. Keeps the people who just want cool comics happy (Daredevil with Waid and Rivera? Wow! Thor with Fraction and Coipel? Wow! Cap with Brubaker and McNiven? Wow!) and it keeps the people who don’t like to see those numbers “lost” happy. Clever stuff, Marvel!!

67 Comments

I don’t see how it’s clever. I guess you can give them credit for both having, and eating, their cake, but it only works if the books are good. It doesn’t strike me as clever to resolve the numbering debate by simply doing yet ANOTHER #1 while still paying lip service to some imagined 60 year “continuity.”

Both of the Cap books sound like winners, but we’ll see. The Incredible Hercules was a lot of fun, but the Hulk was stupid. Black Panther hasn’t impressed me so far and Daredevil has been borderline unreadable since Diggle took over.

The idea of using a reboot #1 issue to sell books is becoming as big a punchline as die cut gatefold poly ached holo-covers.

Whatever Marvel wants to do, but I only collect and read ONE Captain America title. I have no interest in adding another.

I’m dropping Captain America as soon as the name change goes into effect, and only picking up the regular Captain America title with issue #1.

Characters taking over existing title numbers is an old old Marvel practice and a pain in the neck for us purists who like long unbroken complete title runs. It started when Thor took over Journey into Mystery’s number and even Captain America isn’t a pure run, Cap took over the old Tales of Suspense.
Keep the numbering & title character consistent.
Who the heck wants to pull out a Daredevil issue and be confronted with the Black Panther?

Comics numbering was sacred – start from 1 (not bloody zero or even 1.0) and carry on till all the trees were gone ——— with the same character.

I absolutely hated the switch to Volums 2 or 3 – and then back to continued numbering from Volume 1 when the big anniversaries arrived —- aaagghhh!

It might be a clever marketing tool but its tool’s tool – no one is remotely fooled by it.

It might be better to actually suspend the main title if you want to jazz the jaded comic buying public with even more products.

And while we’re at it those fracking variants – what a piece of crap! Especially the regular covered uncoloured – what’s up guys saving on the colour ink?? Complete nonesense.
Get rid of the Marketing department – let the product sell itself.

This is neither clever nor original.

DC did it 25 years ago when Byrne took over Superman. DC launched a new Superman title at “No. 1,” and the original title was renamed “Adventures of Superman.”

Who would have thought we’d see a day when “the house of ideas” was recycling quarter-century old marketing gimmicks from “the distinguished competition”?

People who care about what number is on the cover need to get over themselves. What really matters is the names of the creators attached. Who cares what number the book is?

I HATE the renumbering practice for a number of reasons.

1. It should be an honor for a creative team to take over a high numbered volume that traces its lineage back to the days of Stan and Jack. The renumbereing takes some of that uniquness and just trows it away.

2. The publishers believe that an new #1 creates a great jumping on point for these new books but fail to recognize that it also creates a great jumping OFF point for a number of other readers. I’m sorry, but I’m taking a wait and see approach on the Fantasic Four book and Marvel provided a perfect oppertunity for me to do so with the previous volume being completed.

3. Its disrectful to the creative teams and fans of characters that are deemed unworthy of getting their own number one. Why does a character like Moon Knight or Nova get a #1 every time a new book is launced but characters like Black Panther, Hercules, War Machine, Red Hulk, or Dark Wolverine have to piggyback on another titles numbering? And if these characters do eventually get a #1 down the line with these numbering games, its really like issue #12 of the run.

4. I don’t like someone trying to trick me into buying something. I’ve dropped every volume that changed characters simply because I feel like I’m being taken advantage of as a customer. Had the book started wuth #1 I probably would have give it a shot.

Cheap gimmicks do nothing but alienate fans yet no one seems to realize this.

Marvel is absurdly well run at this point. Captain America (the character) typically bores me to tears, but they’ve made a customer. Ed Brubaker’s scripts are superb and the art teams are top notch. Samnee is an amazing talent and really deserves his shot. Plus, the movie looks great.

Daredevil is in the midst of a relay race of great creative teams that rivals the run that The Flash enjoyed in the late ’80s and ’90s. Even The Punisher has been on solid creative footing for a while now.

Acrid_Gunsmoke

April 5, 2011 at 1:15 pm

You all need some cheese to go along with that WHINE!

Um. Surely what’s important is the content. Who cares what the numbering is? Or the title? It’s just a number. Or a title. What’s (hopefully) interesting is what’s inside the cover.

The reason Marvel are doing this is to try to increase the number of readers who may be interested in picking up a comic after seeing a movie. I’ve no idea how realistic this is (though I suspect not much of it happens) but I can imagine picking up a #1 is far less daunting to a new reader than a #620. We need new people to pick up comics to ensure the ones we like continue to get published. If it means a rename or a renumber it’s fine with me as long as they still publish the good stuff from the writers I like.

Ah, now this is interesting. I’m not really a fan of McNiven’s (certainly not over Butch Guice), and I thought the renumbering was a fairly soulless move on Marvel’s part, remembering that Cap was JUST renumbered not a couple of years ago. So I was going to drop, half out of protest, and half out of dwindling enthusiasm for the title.

But Chris Samnee, man… I can’t pass that up. Easily one of the top five guys drawing monthlies, I’m anxious to see how he handles the star-spangled avenger.

As for Andreyko, I have my reservations. I know posters here LOVE Andreyko’s Manhunter, but the only thing I’ve read from the guy is his backup feature in Streets of Gotham, and that was terrible. But if it’s Andreyko’s dialogue over Brubaker’s plots, then I think it will all be to the good.

Well considering this is what…Captain America volume 6(?)…methinks we protest too much. Marvel’s going to do what it’s going to do and if the books any good I’ll pick it up in trade eventually.

I’m really much more concerned with the gradual dilution of what made Brubaker’s run on Cap so good to start with. The Winter Soldier saga seemed to have a strong beginning, middle and end to it. ‘Reborn’, IMO, was not terribly inspired, and the book has seemingly drifted ever since. I don’t see how starting two titles is going to help things.

I agree that the creative teams are great on both Cap books and I’m pumped for the new Daredevil team.

However, you can still count me in the camp of the re-numbering curmudgeons. Actually, I’m not completely against it. I supported it with Wonder Woman because it acknowledge that the title should have never been reset so many times in the first place and it respects this history of the character. I support it with FF because it works within the story Hickman is telling

What I hate is how in most re-numbering / re-titling case Marvel is almost arbitrarily sacrificing history for money. Those who justify it talk about attracting new fans who see the movies this summer and want to experience the comics, but I believe most newbies would gravitate towards trades because they have more story for less money.

And let’s say we have this new customer coming into the shop. He spots Black Panther: The Man Without Fear and it intrigues him. It’s on issue 500-whatever. His logical next step is to believe this character has had his own title for a very long time, only to be told, no that used to be Daredevil’s book. Daredevil has this other book now. How weird, confusing, and insular is that?

If I’m being completely honest, the part of me that’s slightly OCD part of me that just wants to see the numbers keep climbing and to be able to easily file them in a logical manner. Maybe that’s why I’m preferring trades more and more.

But I’ll grant that, yes, Marvel’s re-titling trick is clever. It allows them to keep high numbers running so they can eventually switch back over to the old title for the “Double-Sized Anniversary Issue!” (half reprints) for the low low price of $5.99.

I just care about reading good stories. It is annoying at times because I am a giant nerd and keep a catalogue of my enitre comic collection, so I have to figure out where to do things alphabetically and where to do things by issue number…but it doesn’t really matter in the long run. I know what comics go where and which ones lead to something else.

Considering how bad the comic market is right now, doing things like this to boost sales just makes sense on a business level. The hardcore fans are going to still read SOMETHING regardless and the newbies will have relatively easy jumping on points. Seems pretty win-win for everyone, really…people just have to get over themselves. Comics have been doing this forever.

“2. The publishers believe that an new #1 creates a great jumping on point for these new books but fail to recognize that it also creates a great jumping OFF point for a number of other readers. I’m sorry, but I’m taking a wait and see approach on the Fantasic Four book and Marvel provided a perfect oppertunity for me to do so with the previous volume being completed”

So if in March they released the book that was exactly the same as FF 1, but was called Fantastic Four 589, you would have still bought it? .

“4. I don’t like someone trying to trick me into buying something. I’ve dropped every volume that changed characters simply because I feel like I’m being taken advantage of as a customer. Had the book started wuth #1 I probably would have give it a shot.”

So you didn’t buy Black Panther 513, but you would have bought BP 1, even though they would have been the exact same thing just one had 2 extra numbers and subtitle of Man without Fear? Its not like the were still calling it Daredevil and having BP as the main character. That would be tricking you. When you’re buying a book with the name Black Panther on the cover, I think you know what you’re getting into.

“Comics numbering was sacred – start from 1 (not bloody zero or even 1.0) and carry on till all the trees were gone ——— with the same character.”

When? When in the seventy-plus years history of American comics has this ever been true? Books have changed titles, features, and even genres willy-nilly since the very beginning of the Golden Age (sometimes all at once). Titles have been canceled, limbo-ed, retooled and relaunched with frequency. I can’t think of a decade where it didn’t happen, and to more than one high-profile book.

So, to quote George Carlin, where’s the sacred part?

Tom the person who cares about the quality of comics and not the number system.

April 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I like how people care more about the numbers on a book rather than the quality. Kind of sad that this what people resort to to get their complaining fix.

Eh, it worked with Iron Man right?

“Um. Surely what’s important is the content. Who cares what the numbering is? Or the title? It’s just a number. Or a title. What’s (hopefully) interesting is what’s inside the cover.”

Uhm so – how do you know from your stack of 600 comics which to order to read them??

“I can’t think of a decade where it didn’t happen, and to more than one high-profile book. ”
Lets think about this – didn’t the FF run straight to 416 without a number change?
Similarly all the core Marvel titles ran unbroken until the 1980′s when Marvel went bust & resorted to desparate measures.

“Uhm so – how do you know from your stack of 600 comics which to order to read them?”

The cover date? Storing them in the order you bought them? Memory?

“Lets think about this – didn’t the FF run straight to 416 without a number change?”

Yes, and during that time, dozens of other titles were canceled, relaunched, re-numbered, re-named, changed features, etc.

What book did Marvel cancel and launch a #1 the next month prior to Heroes Reborn?

It would be nice if Marvel would embrace the longevity of these characters and take pride in the work that creators have produced and fans have suppored for decades to keep the books going without fail.

I hate it personally. I don’t buy monthly comics, I read them through trades. I like to go through old trades either through the public library or buy buying a bunch of them online for cheap. These renumberings are hellish for people like me who want to catch up on years of trades at once.

For example I wanted to catch up on the X-Men starting from the middle of Morrison’s run, which is where I stopped. I look for New X-men, and I get some of Morrison’s run, but also find some trades for the retitled New Mutants Volume 2 series. Apparently they changed the name of New X-Men to X-Men Legacy and changed New Mutants to New X-Men: Academy X, then to New X-men.

Same goes for trying to catch up on the past few years of the Hulk Trying to get the trades in proper order is hellish. What comes before what?

It doesn’t seem like its that confusing when you’re the type who go to the comic shop weekly, but when you’re like me and are trying to catch up on years of stuff at once it’s horrible. Imagine when you get a decade worth of this type of renumbering to contend with?

“What book did Marvel cancel and launch a #1 the next month prior to Heroes Reborn?”

Iron Man from Tales of Suspense. Sub-Mariner from Tales to Astonish. Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD from Strange Tales. Doctor Strange to Strange Tales v.2 to Doctor Strange: Sorceror Supreme back in the ’80s. Marvel Team-Up molted into Web of Spider-Man (really the same book, minus the guest stars). Marvel Feature molted, in its final days as a Thing team-up book, into Marvel Two-in-One. My personal favorite was Adam Warlock, who went from a tryout in Marvel Premiere to The Power of Warlock, to a co-feature in Strange Tales, to Warlock (which picked up the numbering from Power of Warlock), to those Avengers and Two-In-One annuals that wrapped up the story.

And that’s just Marvel. Get into DC, it gets even more fun. Hell, they did the trick with their two biggest titles, Legion of Super-Heroes and New Teen Titans, back in the ’80s.

Of course, I’m sure plenty of goalpost-shifting will be used to reveal how none of this really “counts,” so I’ll just reiterate the main point for the folks playing at home: Numbering, titling, feature characters: None of these things are “sacred.” They are mutable as necessity or fashion dictates. There’s no moral or “respect” component to it. It’s just business.

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I just wondering how long it would take before Marvel re-numbers the series back to its original numbering (including the new series)?

YAAAWWNN.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzsnortzzzzzzzzzzzzz

You know, if you just buy the TPBs you avoid this problem all together.
Also: LOL at the people that say, “All that matters is if the content is good.” Tell that to the people that read Immortal Iron Fist, The Order, Agents of Atlas, Thor: Mighty Avenger, SWORD, Doctor Voodoo, etc, etc, etc. If you believe that, then I’ve got a brass mine that I’d like to sell to you.

@ T.

I don’t buy monthly comics, I read them through trades. I like to go through old trades either through the public library or buy buying a bunch of them online for cheap. These renumberings are hellish for people like me who want to catch up on years of trades at once.

I am basically in the same boat. There are low selling titles for which I have a Pull List, but by and large I prefer trades. My life is too busy for me to follow a “grand corporate narrative” from week-to-week anymore. I need to sit down with a story that I can read through in one night. From the look of the sales trends, we are not alone.

Joe H…what do those titles have to do with any of this? They were good and didn’t get picked up by the vast majority of readers because they starred characters that people don’t count as BIG NAMES, or they were considered as “not counting” in the overall continuity of the Marvel Universe (in the case of Thor:MA) They have nothing to do with the concept of renumbering titles…they were good while they lasted.

My question is how well does it work? Look at Ultimate Spider-man, I think the shine of the renumbering wore off fairly quickly. Does a #1 still impress comic fans? Especially ones that have see 3 other Captain America #1′s in the last 9 years? Look at the last Batman #1, even with Finch’s name it under performed. I know this is old hat, but when it’s almost once a month a ‘big’ #1 hits, won’t that kinda hurt the sales impact? In the last year or so we’ve gotten new #1s from Batman (twice), FF, Wolverine, Iron Man, X-Men, Avengers (several), Green Lantern, Flash and of course, Deadpool.

On this side of the pond people have been wondering why not ditch the running number and go with annual volumes, so that the first issue of the year is 1/2011, second 2/2011 and so on…
Or would that be too easy?

I hate re-numbering. It causes a lot of confusion when you’re buying back issues and you don’t know how the numbering system worked back then. I went a whole decade without buying any comics, and in that time, there was a lot of re-numbering. They also stopped putting the date on the cover during that time. It made it all very confusing for me.
I also don’t understand how it can help sales any after the first issue. I would think that high numbers would be more likely to attract new readers than low ones, because with a series with high numbers you know it’s good enough to have lasted.
The only time re-numbering should ever be done is when a series is cancelled and then revived years later. Even then, they don’t have to start over with #1, but at least it makes sense to do so.

I didn’t want a subscription to Black Panther, and I did have a mail subscription to Daredevil. I want to change it back to Daredevil when his new series starts, as I have not enjoyed the Black Panther stories.

I’m not outraged, but more annoyed that Marvel has made this all a bit of a challenge for me (and they stuck me with a comic I didn’t want nor would have bought).

And I don’t buy $4 titles, so my mail subscriptions allow me to continue with these series a little longer….

“Iron Man from Tales of Suspense. Sub-Mariner from Tales to Astonish. Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD from Strange Tales.”

These were all double features in anthology books and were spun off into new series. Thats not the same thing at all

“Doctor Strange to Strange Tales v.2 to Doctor Strange: Sorceror Supreme back in the ’80s”

Strange Tales also messed up the numbering for Cloak&Dagger, I’ll give you this one.

“Marvel Team-Up molted into Web of Spider-Man (really the same book, minus the guest stars).”

So a team-up book was cancelled and a single character was given another title. Again, not the same at all.

“My personal favorite was Adam Warlock, who went from a tryout in Marvel Premiere to The Power of Warlock, to a co-feature in Strange Tales, to Warlock (which picked up the numbering from Power of Warlock), to those Avengers and Two-In-One annuals that wrapped up the story.”

No arguement here.

So thats 2 or 3 legit gripes between the time that Fantastic Four #1(The vol 1 original #1) was published and Heroes Reborn. I think Marvel has already elclipsed that this year alone and its only the first week of April.

Complaining about numbering is literally the dumbest fucking thing anyone can whine about when it comes to comics. If you can’t figure out release dates and numbering, you’re an imbecile who apparently lacks common sense or can’t, I don’t know, check the internet for when whatever came out. Make everything a new #1, see if I give a shit. A new #1 of New Mutants isn’t going to make it suddenly impossible to figure out when the Sienkiewicz run was, a new Captain American #1 isn’t going to suddenly make it hard to figure out when the first Brubaker #1 came out.

New Mutants cancelled at #100 and relaunched as X-Force #1 is the first Mrvel example I can think of.

Mary Warner, you are perhaps the most sensible person in this thread and I commend you for that.

Re-numbering is an organizational nightmare for those with a lot of back issues, confusing to people who only occasionally read comics, and only results in a temporary boost to sales.

I’m approaching this entire Captain America situation with caution. Great creative teams, but I don’t really want to buy a new Cap book right now.

“Re-numbering is an organizational nightmare for those with a lot of back issues”

Put them in chronological order and stop overreacting. There. Nightmare over.

I have to say, that I was surprised to hear that Captain America was going to start with another # 1 issue so soon.
It seems like it’s only been maybe 3 or 4 years, since Brubaker started out his run and a new # 1 was introduced.
That time I bought it, but this time I won’t.
I have to always remind myself that Marvel is a business, and the only thing that matters to them is to make as much money as possible. That’s why they have so many $4 books. They don’t care about the fans of the characters. And to start out another # 1 book is to lack any ideas as far as marketing goes.

Renumbering WORKS for me. I’m not sure that I like it, but I’m more likely to buy a # 1 issue than a # 456 issue if the content is the same.

Renumbering WORKS for me. I’m not sure that I like it, but I’m more likely to buy a # 1 issue than a # 456 issue if the content is the same.

You and the vast majority of comic book buyers.

If the plan is to take advantage of the Thor and Captain America movies to pick up new readers with the new #1 issues, then it’s a really dumb idea. If you don’t deal with availability, advertising, and content, then renumbering is useless.

To use a comparision that is very fitting (if painful)… It’s like a nerd trying to get a girlfriend just by wearing cleaner, newer clothes, while still having no social skills, a severe weight problem, and frequenting only nerdy places. Renumbering is like that.

Bah, call it issue Omega-Pi divided by Infinity for all I care, I just want to see good creative teams on it.

Joe S. Walker

April 6, 2011 at 3:31 am

“On this side of the pond people have been wondering why not ditch the running number and go with annual volumes, so that the first issue of the year is 1/2011, second 2/2011 and so on…
Or would that be too easy?”

Too embarrassing, more like, when issue 3/2011 came out some time around the middle of 2012.

People who get pissed off enough about numbering to drop a book regardless of content are never going to be happy. There’s always going to be something at least that “wrong” with a book to upset them, and Marvel is smart not to let that influence their decisions. If the world were designed solely for me, I probably wouldn’t do it, but if their sales numbers say it’s working, then go nuts. I’d much rather they do something completely innocuous to the book’s cover to try to draw in readers than to turn everybody into Pouches McGiantgun like they did in the nineties. I’d even prefer it if it means my favorite books keep getting published.

Launching new #1s is definitely an issue for a collector when you have a lot of comics and have lived through this type of thing over and over. Some of us have been there, done that many many times. If we’re perceived as whiners then so be it but in the end how many of these brand new titles will retain teams or even get published past issue 20, 30 etc?

Actually used the recent Avengers relaunchings to drop all my Avengers titles. Had been loyal buyer but they gave me a jump off point and I took it.

[...] Book Resources – I Like Marvel’s Re-Numbering Plan – I generally agree with this [...]

Adam Kirby… why so angry? Your petulant whining is still whining. Does someone need a hug?

Count me in with the group that drops titles when this mess happens…

I was reading all the Avengers books but I dropped all of them when they renumbered (again)…
Been reading Daredevil since always, but I dropped that when it became Black Panther… (I will buy the new DD book b/c I will always buy DD, but I’m not happy about it)
Been reading Cap forever too… almost dropped it when they switched numbering again for Brubaker, but it’s been amazing, so I kept with it. I will drop it again when they change the title, and I will not be buying the new Cap book.

Stories and art are great, but part of the fun of comics is collecting… organizing… completing runs… filling holes… this number jumping thing takes all that away (for me), but at least it’s helping me save money!

Stories and art are great, but part of the fun of comics is collecting… organizing… completing runs… filling holes

Good call schmakt – you’ve hit the nail on the head.

Part of the thrill is knowing your holding an issue in an ongoing continious arc stretching back many decades.

For the life of me, I can’t decide if you’re serious or tongue-in-cheek with this post.

“Re-numbering is an organizational nightmare for those with a lot of back issues”

Put them in chronological order and stop overreacting. There. Nightmare over.

I tried that with my Marvel titles when Shooter held an iron grip on continuity. I put the issues in the longboxes in the order they came out. Unofficial crossovers were accounted for. The mega-story was in order from beginning (or, rather, as far back as I had yet found back issues and/or reprints for) to end (when delayed schedules and concurant publications rendered it impossible to reconcile in continuity.)

I thought, as you suggest, that a chronological order would make the most sense. But, turns out it prevented me from sharing the collection with others. And, worse, it has made it nigh impossible to replace lost issues.

When my now-ex-wife showed interest in my comic book fanism, she found Marvel way too daunting to get into. Even a #1 issue carried a wealth of back stories, all of which I had catalogued. As it was, she showed interest in Vertigo, so it was all good.

But, after my divorce, when I moved, those meticulous boxes got shuffled. And, then, a flood in my house destroyed about 1200 individual issues.

So, no, the nightmare wasn’t over. Now, I have to rely almost entirely by memory which issues went with which stories. I couldn’t possibly afford to replace them all (even at the original price of 50 – 75 cents, that would be a large amount of money. At current prices of $5 – $30 per issue, I’ve been lucky to replace ten to fifteen per year by stalking lots on ebay.)

Add to that the fact that no one else in the world lots comic books by chronology. Everyone does so by issue number. You can’t buy “1987 New Universe Titles.” You have to buy “DP7 lot” and “Justice lot.” If only I had sorted by title and issue number. Maybe I’d be looking for Action Comics x-xxx rather than “1992 Superman Titles.”

So, no, Adam, organizing back issues by chronology doesn’t end the nightmare.

Theno

I organize my comic books by where the protagonists fall, alphabetically, under the DSM-IV.

The Silent One

April 6, 2011 at 10:52 am

Brian Cronyn,

I agree with art.the.nerd, I am trying to decide if you were playing with us and set us up for a big brouhaha on this forum.

I, for one, am getting sick of the renumbering of the comics. I’m trying to decide if I’m gonna stick with Cap or not. I have all his issues from Tales of Suspense 59 to now, except for Liefeld issues. Avengers got themselves out of my regular pull at my LCS. Only get Secret Avengers, and that is a big deal because I love Avengers and only need numbers 1, 2 from 1st series to fill my collection.

If the transition makes sense, like the current FF renumbering, I’ll grudgingly buy them. Bendis’ Avengers renumbering didn’t make any sense to me,

DC is no better with the Legion of Super-Heroes mess. At least, Geoff Johns fixed it and gave us back the original, and have Levitz take over. Thats why I haven’t bought any Batbook in ages.

I’d accept it if this was the first time, but after 5-10 times, it gets old. Does the relaunch success last into the issue 30′s, or just to #5, then sales go back to what it was at the end of the previous series? I’m wondering.

The logical extension of “I’m more likely to buy a # 1 issue than a # 456 issue if the content is the same” is to make every issue #1 from now on. This will guarantee a massive and continuous sales jump for all titles.

And since were so concerned about being accessible to new readers, let’s make every issue self-contained. The stories will never build on or refer back to past stories. All characters will be introduced fresh each issue, and potentially-confusing concepts will be thoroughly explained.

Seriously, though. I’d be interested to hear peoples’ stories about the very first comic book they bought. Was it a #1 issue? Was it even a “jumping-on point” issue?

Mine was What If (vol.2) #9: What If the X-Men Died on their First Mission? Granted, What If issues were self-contained, but they also relied heavily on continuity knowledge. I didn’t know who any of the characters were, nor anything about the event the title referred to. But I was very motivated to find out. Not long after, I picked up Uncanny X-Men #268, and there I went down the rabbit hole of collecting. I could have cared less what number was on the front. It had Captain America on the front and it was drawn by Jim Lee (at least partly).

Bottom line. We all want quality comics. Some of us prefer our favorite characters’ series to be numbered in a clear, logical manner with a strong sense of history, and some of us could care less. I’m in the former category, but it doesn’t make me an idiot. Let’s not underestimate each others’ intelligence. Marvel and DC already do enough of that.

…Speaking as a person who started reading comics in the later Silver Age ( and
J
HAven”t
Read
Every
Post Here , so…) , it is forgotten by many how the old era of comics concept of ” keeping an ongoing numbering going as LONG as possible ” continued WELL into the 70s…
Just look up the issuing history of TEEM TITANS ! Or ARCHIE’S MADHOUSE , for that matter !!!!!!!!!!!

“So if in March they released the book that was exactly the same as FF 1, but was called Fantastic Four 589, you would have still bought it?”

Yes, the same was true for Wolverine and both Avengers titles. I wasn’t thrilled with any of the books and the end of the volumes seemed like a perfect place to call it quits. I’ll save money now and if I feel like like I’m missing something good I’ll get it on Ebay for pennies on the dollar. Either way, I win.

“So you didn’t buy Black Panther 513, but you would have bought BP 1, even though they would have been the exact same thing just one had 2 extra numbers and subtitle of Man without Fear? Its not like the were still calling it Daredevil and having BP as the main character. That would be tricking you. When you’re buying a book with the name Black Panther on the cover, I think you know what you’re getting into.”

When Marvel uses gimmick numbering to drive sales, it just tells me that they aren’t confident enough in the product for it to stand on its own. If the publisher is saying right off they bat that the product is lacking why should I even bother giving it a shot.

And yes, calling Black Panther the Man without Fear is tricking buyers. Thats a slogan that has only been associated with Daredevil comics and by attaching that name it gives the impression that the book is relevant to the future of Daredevil stories when it really isn’t.

in an ideal world i would number the series normally (like batman & superman did for 40+ years) and if there’s a movie or special event then put out a mini series or annual or something else you can slap the number 1 onto.

what if Dave Sim renumbered Cerebus for every different story line?
it wouldn’t be as much fun as saying “300 consecutive issues”

in the 1950′s there were untold comic books that changed their numbering/titles on a regular basis, this was due to poor sales, right?
and is it true that today comic sales remain flat, right?

too bad i don’t live in that ideal world.

…Brian…basically , yeah .
In the 50s , and the general ” before the ‘ modern ‘ era started ” era of comics in general , many comic books would change their title – and format , what they carried – sometimes extremely drastically ! Of course , ” the first format not selling ” would be the reason:-)…
There used to be a USPS rule relating to the type of mailing permit a publisher needs to get a periodical mailing rate .
To avoid having to get a new one a publisher would try to continue a title whenever possible…There’s a lot of spectacularly silly examples of this that I don’t have time to look up now , and , also , a title that had been discontinued for a while might be re-started with the old numbering . Sometimes this would be in a way that one might consider ” valid ” ( Say , Marvel turning TALES OF SUSPENSE into CAPTAIN AMERICA in the late 60s and DC turning THE FOX AND THE CROW into STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER likewise . ) , and sometimes , they weren’t !!!!!!!!! Then , I guess , if the Post Office caught them with their pants down , the publisher would have to pay for a new permit I suppose and issue a new #1 .
As I said , the original TEEN TITANS is a good pocket example of the latter ” re-starting ” approach .
Sometimes , even a liscenced property that went from one publisher to another would continue the old numbering at the new publisher . The comic-book versions of BLONDIE amd TARZAN show that tendency up nicely !

Every issue of CAP is a no. 1! Great idea, Paul!

If you’ve filed your comics alphabetically, it’s a nightmare to switch to a chronological system. And then what…you switch back after the crossovers are over? It has to be one or the other, not some combination. Take it from me, since I have a degree in Library Science.

I don’t recall jumping onto series with #1s when I was a kid. I always checked them out for several issues. My first buy might be the second or fourth or eighth issue, and that was fine.

Why not follow the rebranding of the Thor title back to Journey into Mystery, and re-title the current Cap book as Tales of Suspense.

Why not follow the rebranding of the Thor title back to Journey into Mystery, and re-title the current Cap book as Tales of Suspense.

My guess is that they have something else planned for that name. Perhaps a new series starring modern day Bucky (under whatever name he ends up using – Winter Soldier, perhaps?)?

Captain America and Bucky #1 would make sense.
Black Panther, The Man Without Fear #1 would make sense.

Yet another Captain America #1 doesn’t make sense. From the collector side.

So this is, what, the seventh Captain America #1?

…Jack:
Taking into account that the late-Sixties’ ” first modern Cap ” started with CAP #100 and that the original series was Captain America COMICS:
That could be right !!!!!!!!!

The problem is not the new # 1. The problem with Cap. is that they took the story and creators from the old numbering title and moved them to the new cap. title Witch i believe was $2.99.and if u wanted to continue with that storyline were forced to buy the new # 1 title for $3.99. And if you were collecting the old cap title for years and wanted to keep collecting you are forced to buy a story you didnt want. marvel is doing this to raise their cover prices to $3.99. Happened on the Hulk , Avengers, iron man ,wolverine, amazing spiderman,,fantastic 4, and now the x-men,. Not to mention that if you want to treat yourself to a variant cover for once ,then find out that there are like 5 other variants and a convention exclusive that are worth more than the one you just bought. Make mine D.C. better stories , better art. and still $2.99. They might be renumbering their books but they are doing it to all of them at once , they’re not changing the title names and most are staying at $2.99 with a few exceptions on first issues. And you all know that when they are done its all going back to the original numbering. Thats the way to do it and not rip off your long time readers.

The problem is not the new # 1. The problem with Cap. is that they took the story and creators from the old numbering title and moved them to the new cap. title Witch i believe was $2.99.and if u wanted to continue with that storyline were forced to buy the new # 1 title for $3.99. And if you were collecting the old cap title for years and wanted to keep collecting you are forced to buy a story you didnt want. marvel is doing this to raise their cover prices to $3.99. Happened on the Hulk , Avengers, iron man ,wolverine, amazing spiderman,,fantastic 4, and now the x-men,. Not to mention that if you want to treat yourself to a variant cover for once ,then find out that there are like 5 other variants and a convention exclusive that are worth more than the one you just bought. Make mine D.C. better stories , better art. and still $2.99. They might be renumbering their books but they are doing it to all of them at once , they’re not changing the title names and most are staying at $2.99 with a few exceptions on first issues. And you all know that when they are done its all going back to the original numbering. Thats the way to do it and not rip off your long time readers.

Captain America under the old numbering was $3.99, as well.

Thor under the old numbering was $3.99.

Not only that, but Captain America and Bucky and Journey Into Mystery are $2.99.

So you basically have no point whatsoever.

Why not call Cap & Bucky number 1 Rather than cause confusion with a new number 1 Capt America. Its all a gimmick to sell more comic number ones. I hate it.

My stance on numbering is that it’s good to preserve the original numbering only in instances where the original numbering has any meaning. With Cap, Thor, and Hulk, the old numbering is meaningless because the series’ all debuted under different titles. There was no Thor #1, it was Journey into Mystery. So saying we should keep the old numbering so we can have a Thor #700 is kind of ridiculous to me, as that isn’t REALLY the 700th issue of Thor. It was called Journey into Mystery for the first 100+ issues, and it had absolutely nothing to do with Thor for the first 82 issues. So in that case, I’d say preserving the original numbering is a useless venture, because the original numbering was meaningless anyways. Same with Hulk (which started as Tales to Astonish) and Captain America (which started as Tales of Suspense).

Actually, for Cap and Hulk it gets especially weird. Cap had a 78 issue solo series in the Golden Age (though he didn’t even appear in one of them when it briefly turned into a horror anthology), then he had 41 issues worth of solo stories in Tales of Suspense. So even though the title became Captain America with #100, that was (by my count) the 119th solo Cap comic. And Hulk had a 6 issue solo series the early 60s, then starred in 43 issues of Tales to Astonish before that title became The Hulk with issue #102. But really, that was Hulk’s 50th solo story.

Iron Man also feels like the original numbering has less meaning because the character had been featured in several years worth of solo stories (I believe 61 issues) before there was an Iron Man #1.

And even with Uncanny X-Men, the original numbering feels like a little bit of a cheat, because the book spent several years (comprising 27 issues) in reprints, which fudges the numbering. It’s difficult to call Uncanny X-Men #500 the 500th issue when it’s only the 473rd issue of new content.

On the other hand, Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Avengers, and Wolverine are titles where preserving the original numbering would have some value, as the number on the book really is indicative of something tangible.

Maybe this is all a bit nit-picky and pedantic, but anytime the question of whether something is worth preserving comes up, I think it’s important to question exactly what it is that’s being preserved.

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