Here it is

I tend to agree with most of what the writer has to say. The article did give me a headache with all the times Marvel has recently started a new series then revert to the old number by including the number of the new series and old series and even some other series. I just got a headache again.

 

What are your thoughts on the constant re-numbering game? Do you think new readers prefer to start at number 1?

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That was a well-written article.  It is true that new readers prefer to start at a new number 1.  It doesn't have to be that way but it is.  It's also true for returning readers.  When I came back to comics, I picked up Grant Morrison's JLA #1, Chuck Dixon's Nightwing #1 and then a year or two later, Kurt Busiek's Avengers #1.  It's not that I couldn't have picked up Justice League America #115 or Avengers #390.  I just didn't. 

Toward the end of “Heroes Reborn” (after “Heroes Return” was announced), Marvel sent representatives around the country to interview patrons of local comics shops to get a feel for whether fans wanted a return to the affected series’ original numbering or a whole slew of “new number ones.” One such rep came to my LCS (in Missouri). He mentioned having visited stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois as well, and I assume other reps had their own sections of the country to canvass. He was speaking to a group of about six of us on a Wednesday afternoon, and every single one of us expressed the desire for Marvel to return to the titles to their original numbering. He told us that the “overwhelming majority” of customers he polled expressed a similar desire.

So was I surprised when Marvel launched a whole slew of new number ones? No, not a bit. Maybe their polling yielded different results in different areas of the country, but I think Marvel was going to do what they wanted to do in the first place. They sought poll numbers to bolster their plan, but when they didn’t get the results they wanted they ignored them.

Speaking of funky numbering, some of you may find this interesting. Many of you reading this will be aware that Timely Comics published two adventures of the “All-Winners Squad” in All-Winners #19 & 21. (Previous issues of the series had been anthologies featuring solo stories but no group team-ups.) There was no All-Winners #20, that number having been given to a teen humor comic whose title escapes me at the moment. Until recently, I thought that meant All-Winners lost its spot in the publication schedule, too, but it did not. A brief examination of the cover dates reveals: #18-JUL, #19OCT, #21-JAN, so All-Winners gave up its 20th number, but its publishing schedule was not interrupted. This publishing anomaly eventually accounted for “The Missing Case of the All-Winners Squad” in What If…? #4.

It used to bother me....a lot. But now it happens so often, and there is no longevity to any titles, it doesn't bother me at all. I find all of the constant rebooting to #1 kind of funny. I mean look at Captain America, with Marvel Now he is going to be on his 7th #1 issue since 1996 (if my math is right and you include the Cap & Falcon series). I mean really that is kind of ludicrous. That is one new, fresh series less than every 2 years. Every reboot is another chance for me to bail frankly. 

At one point in time I think new readers prefer a new #1, but that seems to have less impact than it once did. Although it does still work. Especially, is it is tied to some sort of big event, but there has been diminishing returns on it over the past several years.

This does bother me with respect to the New 52. I have been collecting for a long time & I know this will likely change in the future but I picked up Action Comics # 500 back in the day & having just passed the 900 point, I was KIND OF looking forward to getting Action Comics when it hit 1000.

I think the publishers would be better off if, instead of giving ongoing series constant new number ones, they highlighted when each major storyline was starting.  I suppose each comic would be required to have a self-contained story then though... it obviously wouldn't work.

Dark Horse has handled its titles that way to an extent, by publishing series of minis. It might be a problem that the end of each series can be a potential jumping-off point.

One of the first books I bought was Thor #326, simply because it thrilled me to grab hold of a book with such a long history.

I don't remember ever seeking #1s, except when I somehow hoped to follow new characters from the start.  With established characters it does actively bother me - it reeks of a publisher feeling insecure in admitting that its own characters have a past, which is anything but reassuring.

To a large extent, the #1 tendency is indicative of a very changed market.  Books no longer reflect an editorial vision to any significant extent, so what we have now are no longer true ongoing books but rather a sequence of limited runs with little intent of keeping a continuity with previous (or future) runs.  It may be a necessary change in a market that no longer supports the spur-of-the-moment buys of the time when you found 60c books in drugstores, but it challenges the very notion of an ongoing book.

I was KIND OF looking forward to getting Action Comics when it hit 1000.

I would guess by the time that #1000 comes around, they will find a way to combine the two or note it. Marketing likes #1s until it can sell a double-zero issue, and then they want to revert. Once a comic hits double digits, the numbers have lost any marketing help they gave, and they're ready to renumber.

It might be a problem that the end of each series can be a potential jumping-off point.

I think that should be a concern. Guys collecting a title will keep going to keep their collection complete, especially on a long run, even if it's not complete to #1. But once the series breaks into multiple short sets of new numbering (even with the same title), the run loses its power and they might quit.

One of the problems with all the new #1s is that they often aren't really new starts. They pick up all kinds of plot points and characters from before. As I remember, Spider-Man once started a new #1 in the middle of a continued story. 

A #1 should be a clear indication of a point where new readers are welcomed in, because they don't have to play catch-up. But that didn't even happen with DC's entire new universe.

So it makes some existing readers consider dropping the title, and it makes new readers leery that it's not going to really be a new start. It mostly sucks in retailers who gear up for extra sales and outsiders wanting copies to sell some day. That doesn't seem like a worthwhile trade-off.

-- MSA

 

When would this have been?

John Moret said:

I was KIND OF looking forward to getting Action Comics when it hit 1000.

I would guess by the time that #1000 comes around, they will find a way to combine the two or note it. Marketing likes #1s until it can sell a double-zero issue, and then they want to revert. Once a comic hits double digits, the numbers have lost any marketing help they gave, and they're ready to renumber.

True enough.  But that unavoidably passes the message that the publishers don't take numbering at all seriously and just want to go for the immediate grab.

It is a self-defeating strategy that harms the confidence of readers, particularly when so many "#1s" are so darned impenetrable anyway.

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Mr. Silver Age said:

I was KIND OF looking forward to getting Action Comics when it hit 1000.

I would guess by the time that #1000 comes around, they will find a way to combine the two or note it. Marketing likes #1s until it can sell a double-zero issue, and then they want to revert. Once a comic hits double digits, the numbers have lost any marketing help they gave, and they're ready to renumber.

 

Guess what? "EXCLUSIVE: 'ACTION,' 'DETECTIVE COMICS' RETURN TO ORIGINAL NUMBERI... says CBR.

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