Thursday, January 27, 2011

Renumbering and Relaunching of Titles

Karen: I just read that Marvel will be re-launching Thor as Mighty Thor, with a new number 1 issue, while the original numbering of the title will continue as Journey into Mystery.

This constant re-numbering of books drives me up the wall! It's purely opportunistic. As a consequence, I have no idea now how many issues of Hulk or Thor or Iron Man there really are.

What's even worse is when you are trying to locate an issue and have to figure out what volume it was, or what year it was published in, because there might be 4 issues out there with the same title and number!

I'm not at all convinced that renumbering a book makes it more accessible to new readers. The idea is that a new reader would be intimidated to pick up issue 621 but not issue 1. That's a great theory, until you realize that nothing else is changing. The story in issue 1 is not an introductory origin story, but the continuation of a character that's been around for decades. How is that any more accessible?

OK, I'm done with my rant! Now I want to know how everyone else feels about this!


david_b said...

In the grand scheme, it means little.. Other than allowing some teen today to grab 'Issue One' of some long-standing hero and feel good about his collection.

Did the 'reimaging' of golden age heroes into silver age (Flash, Green Lantern, even Batman to a lesser degree) tick off the golden age readers..? Not that heroes are actually being reimaged here, but the idea is the same, sort of a 'restart' for the latest generation.

It does make it a bit more tedious when I'm looking for silver FF and Spidey to buy on eBay, but it's all fine.

We've had our childhood with comics, finding new magazines premiering and new art, let them have theirs.

Good subject for conversation! By the way, where's Karen been..?

Karen said...

Hi David -sorry if I haven't been around as much. Work has been keeping me busy, and I have a couple other writing projects at the moment, so my compadre Doug has been bearing most of the load.

I think my problem with renumbering is that it's just such a blatant effort on the parts of the publishers to make money -which is their right, of course, they are a business. But when they try to sell it as a way of easing new readers into a book, when in fact, nothing else is changing - that's just dishonest. I bet you a new reader picking up Thor #1 would be just as confused as if it was numbered 1000!


Inkstained Wretch said...

I used to buy Superman and Action Comics - even during their low periods - in part because I thought it was cool that they were direct continuations of the very golden age comics that launched the industry.

It seriously bugged me when DC relaunched Superman during the Byrne years. At least Superman continued as Adventures of Superman, but the creation of a new volume of Superman had no point other than to try to boost sales of the issue by getting people to buy a new Superman #1. It was just a really cynical business move.

Anonymous said...

For me, when I picked up Avengers #240, my 1st Avengers comic, I was hooked, not only because I would turn out to LOVE team books, but because I knew there were 239 issues that led up to my curiosity. I would spend the next several years trying to fill in the past issues, extrememly unsuccesful, but what a ride----Mile High Comics 50-cent deals, discovering my neighborhood LCS w/tons of back issues for $1-$3, just the whole rush of collecting comics.

One thing i can't stand about comics today is the Hyphenated Series----Cap:Reborn, Wolverine:The Best There Is, etc,etc....

I think these series dilute the really good stuff: if there's such a great story to tell, it should make it into the proper title. When I look at the Marvel Previews(those $1.25 things), I find myself circling the titles that i consider "REAL" MU comic books. There's not too many these days.

It's my same argument about the NBA and NHL--too many teams dilute the great players. Imagine if there were 16 NBA or NHL teams---every team would be full of the best--no turds stealing money. If Marvel went back to, say, 30 titles, the quality would (or SHOULD) be incredible.

It's all for money, like most everything.


Anonymous said...

It's made it so I don't even bother trying to track down comics after the 1980s as it's too hard to tell which #4 or #17 or whatever I actually need.

Ramiro said...

I agree with anonymous. It's nice to know there is a story behind you have to find out about. Too many number 1s seem like another unsuccessful relaunch of a series. Thor just had a number 1 like 3 years ago!
What's the point in numbering things if you are gonna have issues with the same number? For that matter just leave the date on the cover...
Or it also seems like those Hyphenated Series that last no more than 20 issues...
If the story is good just have it in the main need to have 5 wolverine books per month! But that is the readers/fans fault. Publishers would not be doing this if people wasn't buying all this garbage...

Dandy Forsdyke said...

To be honest it's hard to work out how many issues there have been of Thor anyway - and Hulk & Captain America for that matter - as the numbering was taken over from Journey Into Mystery. Thor should have been relaunched in his own eponymous title from JIM #83.

Anonymous said...

Accessible to new readers? Only so long as they don't go back and try to get some earlier issues, only to find out it's so convoluted they have no idea what to buy.
--Thelonious Nick

Doug said...

I'll tell you what it's done -- it's made the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide about a 2000-page book!!


Anonymous said...

Even in ‘our’ day that was happening, Karen.

Iron Man no#1 was in fact Iron Man no#60 (or #61 if you count the IM/Subby one-shot).

Captain America 100 was actually Captain America #41, the preceding 40 TOS being split, the 20 before being IM and the first 38 not being super hero comics or even actually Marvel Comics.

Hulk 102 was actually #49 (remember he had 6 issues in his own title, got cancelled and split TTA with GM & then Subby before taking it over).

Sub Mariner #1 was # 31 or #32.

Shang Chi carried on the numbering from Special Marvel Edition.

Doc Strange is my absolute favourite for this. First there’s 100 issues of Strange Tales which are non-super hero. Then we get the Torch from #101 , then from #110 the book becomes split between Doc Strange and the Torch. Then between The Thing, Torch & Doc Strange. Then from #135 to #168 Nick Fury splits the title with Doc Strange (so Nick Fury’s first issue #1 in 1968 is actually #33 and his second #1 in 1973 is actually #51.....but that’s if you don’t count the Howling Commandoes series which was running concurrently).
Doc Strange finally gets his own title at #169 but carries on the numbering from Strange Tales, which also (after being cancelled for a while), later picks up the same numbering while it printed various other stories, and then began re-printing Dr. Strange, so actually there is a Dr. Strange #182 and #183 AND a Strange Tales #182 and #183 STARRING Dr. Strange, which reprint earlier Strange Tales. So it went from being a split book to a double book.

Doc Strange was cancelled so suddenly that the ongoing plot was resolved in Subby & Hulk issues which then feed into Marvel Feature 1-3 and then the Defenders own comic.

Meanwhile, despite having been around for 10 years and being one of Marvel’s oldest heroes, he is picked up in Marvel Premiere (er...what?) and then finally gets his own series starting from number one. This runs til the mid 80’s. Then there’s another 19 issues of Strange Tales, starting from number one. Then Dr Strange Sorcerer Supreme starts from number one, and then there’s a whole bunch of mini-series and limited series and wot not, of course, all starting from number one.
So....I reckon that when the movie comes out, they will start Doc Strange.... from number one again, natch....except it will be number....God knows....#280 or so?


dbutler69 said...

I hate the constant renumbering. It makes thing FAR more complicated, not less so. It is also a money grab, as comic bok companies know a #1 will sell far better than a #87.

Fred W. Hill said...

Until 1968, Marvel was restricted in the number of titles it could release every month due to some very bad decisions made by its publisher, Martin Goodman, back in the '50s, which resulted in Marvel having to rely on DC's distribution system, and DC's owners made sure that while they had any say Goodman wouldn't glut the market as he had typically done in the past. Which explains in part why Marvel had so many split mags before '68. BTW, Richard's numbering scheme includes those half issue stories, but in the case of Sub-Mariner and Captain America neglects their Golden Age runs (Subby first appearance was split with the original Human Torch, among others, in Marvel Comics (the title, not the comapany!).
Trying to number all those various comics in which the top characters starred in 2 or more titles a month would be truly vexing, never mind also trying to include all the team-ups and minis.
Actually, when I was a wee kid just beginning to collect, the fact that there was only one Spider-Man title of original stories appealed to me. It meant, to me, that there was some consistancy to his stories and that the company wasn't trying to milk him for everything they could get. But then, of course, came Marvel Team-Up and then Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man and it just got worse. Not that I didn't like MTU or PP,SSM, but things began to get ever more convoluted then.

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