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Comic Book Questions Answered – The Math Mystery of Ultimate Spider-Man #150

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Comic Book Questions Answered – where I answer whatever questions you folks might have about comic books (feel free to e-mail questions to me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com). Here is a link to an archive of all the past questions that have been answered so far.

This time around, the question comes courtesy of Adam L., who asks:

My question involves another Marvel numbering snafu. This time on Ultimate Spider-man. The first series ended with issue #133 following the Ultimatum storyline. The series was relaunched with a new #1 and then resumed original numbering on issue #16/#150. The problem is 133 + 15 = 148 which would make issue #16 the 149th issue. There was an Ultimate Spider-man Requiem but as that was a 2 issue story, including it would still throw the numbering off.

Let’s do some crazy comic book math!

The likely “real” answer is that Marvel probably just wanted to have #150 come out in a specific month, so that’s what they decided to do.

Ultimate_Spider-Man_Vol_1_150

But if you want to come up with a reasonable explanation for the missing issue, there are two good choices, one better than the other.

First off, there’s Ultimate Spider-Man Super Special #1…

usmsuperspecial

Not an Annual, so you can explain why you would count it and not BOTH Annuals (which would be too much). However, this was really a Marvel Team-Up book called Ultimate Spider-Man, so I think the better choice would be…

Ultimate Spider-Man #1/2

usmonehalf

Yes, it was a Wizard book, but it was by Bendis, Bagley and Thibert, and I think that makes the math work best.

As an aside, just to get it out there, this would come up again with Ultimate Spider-Man #200.

usm200

Ultimate Spider-Man lasted until #160. There were 28 issues of the following Miles Morales series preceding Ultimate Spider-Man #200. So how did we get from 188 issues to 199? Go to the next page if you want that bonus math…

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22 Comments

I wonder if Marvel is going to use creative math and give us Ultimates #100 as well

okay, now can you explain the Carol Danvers numbering? ISTR there was some discussion on the forum when they said issue #10 of the last volume was a special number.

This could be a whole feature unto itself. Fantastic Four #500 and the other round number issues that came out around the same time (ten years or so ago) also had some creative math if I recall correctly.

Ronnie Gardocki

January 27, 2016 at 2:10 pm

So nonsense, eh?

I wonder how the comics industry would have change if; back at the dawn of comics history, publishers had simply put the month and year on the cover instead of an issue number. Sure, the volume and issue numbers would still be in the indicia, and maybe a series would be launched with a cover blurb declaring “First issue!” But just imagine if all series were tracked by cover dates instead of numbers…

A good argument for not going back to the original numbering. I recall Marvel screwed it up with INCREDIBLE HULK #600 when they counted the “-1″ issue as part of the numbering. They didn’t count the “-1″ issues for any of the other books that reverted back to their original numbering at any point (FANTASTIC FOUR, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THOR, AVENGERS). That’s just shoddy “counting”.

@Fury: To get to issue 100, you have…

23 issues of Ms Marvel vol 1
50 issues of Ms Marvel vol 2 (73 total)
17 issues of Captain Marvel (2012-2013 vol) (90 total)
10 issues of Captain Marvel (2014-2015 vol) (100 total)

Since then, we’ve had another 10 issues, counting the Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps mini.

Interestingly, Marvel didn’t count the final two issues of Ms Marvel vol 1, which were eventually published in Marvel Super-Heroes vol 2 in the early 90s. Including those, Carol’s 100th would have been issue 8 of the 2014 series. (Also an argument for including the two Specials from Ms Marvel vol 2, but I think that case is weaker.)

Call me an old codger, but I remember when the point of putting numbers on comics was that you then knew what order to read them in. And I’ve had Erich’s thoughts myself about how much better that would have been.

I don’t know if they would have counted this or not but Marvel released a special issue that collected the first three issues about the same time that the fourth one came out. That is how I started reading the book.

I think you can find quotes online from Bendis that he decided to count #1/2 to get to #150.

I wish they would just go to a dual numbering system permanently. That way they can do a new number 1 every time they reboot, change creative teams, add a mini, etc. but we can still have the overall number continuing.

Fantastic Four was actually pretty straightforward. 416 issues of volume 1 + 13 issues of volume 2 + 70 issues of volume 3 = 499.

Just like Microsoft, Marvel can’t count.

I think you can find quotes online from Bendis that he decided to count #1/2 to get to #150.

Really? I saw him comment on the #200 numbering (but there he had suggestions that didn’t really work, like counting Sinister Six, which came out pre-#150) but not #150. But if so, that’s good to know!

Vasili Birlidis

January 28, 2016 at 9:24 pm

If I remember correctly, issue #200 showed and named all 199 other issues in the back pages.

Oh? I’ll take a look.

EDITED TO ADD AFTER I TOOK A LOOK: Yeah, as I sort of suspected, they tried to count Ultimate Six. I figured they would because Bendis mentioned it. You can’t count Ultimate Six towards the 200 since it came out before Ultimate Spider-Man #150. You can’t say it doesn’t count towards the #150 and then say it does count towards #200. That doesn’t make any sense. Same with the two Requiem issues.

There’s a cover gallery in the back of #200 that shows what issues they counted to get there (although they show them out of order) – Ultimate Spider-Man (2000) #1-133, Ultimate Six #1-7 (#134-140), Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (2009) #1-15 & 150-160 (#141-166), Ultimatum: Spider-Man Requiem #1-2 (#167-168), Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (2011) #1-28 (#169-196), Cataclysm: Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1-3 (#197-199), then #200.

What a pain in the ass. Apparently the Ultimate Six counts but they take place between USM vol1. #46 and #47 so they can be considered as Nos, 46.1 – 46.7.

:(

How about DC Comics math where Detective Comics #527 was marketed as the 500th appearance of Batman even though his 500th appearance should be in #526.
And this doesn’t include the fact that Bruce Wayne/ Batman may not have been in every issue.

@Josh:

Oh gosh, did they actually use that phrasing? Because Batman has appeared in a cubic bat-ton more comics than just that series.

Oh wait, I just looked it up. Actually it was #526 that was marketed that way, not #527. And it was only referring to his “500th appearance in Detective Comics.” So all is well in the world after all!

But I just called John “Josh,” so everybody makes mistakes.

Yeah, most magazines are done by month and year (though most never change their publishing schedule either) I miss the old numbers, but seeing what has happened I wish they had done the dates. I have no idea what the companies would do for artificial #1 sales boosts, but it’d be better for everyone else.

(And did this need a second page for 2 sentences and pictures?)

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