If it Aint Broke…Why Renumber it?
What’s up Nerds!
So I know that I promised you a part 2 to my Comic Con Survival Guide today, but I really had to get this off of my chest. Yesterday, news hit the web that the Marvel Comic, “The Amazing Spider-Man” would end its iconic run at issue #700. The immediate emotion that ran through me was anger. I shook my nerdy fistin the air and screamed “STAMOS!” then I stopped and just started to ask the question, WHY? Spidey is a loved character who is regularly in the media. This year saw him get a new cartoon, a rebooted Hollywood movie, and at least one video game. Hell, we just celebrated Spidey’s 50th anniversary and this is how we treat him?
The sad fact is that Spider-Man is simply the latest in this trend over the past couple of years where legendary runs of our favorite comics are ending so a new #1 can be released. Why does this happen, you ask? It seems to be a way to entice new readers, or thats at least what the companies want us to believe. The reality is that they can generate a fair amount of buzz for the final issue of the comic, especially if it goes out on a big issue like #700 and ultimately use that buzz to make more money. Then the character can be re-released into a new #1 and an even bigger buzz is created with hopes that sales will skyrocket. In general, #1’s do make some cash but generally speaking, books fall back to their regular sales after a couple months. We’ve seen this exact strategy used by publishers this past year with Uncanny X-Men, Batman, Superman, Action Comics, and Detective Comics, and every single book at DC with their “New 52” initiative. The Avengers and Fantastic Four restarted, so did Thor, Iron Man, and Cap. Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Lantern have how many volumes? I guess that my big gripe with this simply comes back to why? Why are you really doing this Marvel and DC? Do you feel old? Honestly, its fucking amazing that a serialized fictional character has lasted 50 years and has 700 issues below their belt. Why not celebrate that, why not celebrate the fact that even with all the ups and downs in peoples lives over the years, that they still found a way to buy that thing they loved to keep it going?
There is absolutely no reason why you cannot attract viewers to a book at issue #701 if you gave us one hell of a story. To a point, I will say that I kind of understand when this sort of thing happens to really define an event. Take the Avengers for example, they were disassembled by one of their own, loved characters died, and the remaining ones felt so bad about it that they stopped avenging. We went quite awhile without an Avengers book and when New Avengers came out, it really felt new! When Green Lantern Volume 2 ended it basically was setting up for Rebirth and then the awesome Green Lantern Volume 3 by Geoff Johns. It made sense to do that break because although we still had Kyle Rayner in existence, he wasn’t the focus of the book any longer. Again, I am OK when it serves the story but not when its a cheap ploy to make a few extra dollars. I think that my next favorite thing is when they (the publishers) realize “Oops….We fucked up!”” and then they renumber the comics back to their original run. Great! Just what I want, a run of books in my collection that goes from 1-337 and then jumps back to 1 for 17 issues to become issue #354 with a slightly different title. I understand that sometimes you want to go in a new creative direction with a book or character, but that does not require a new numbering system. Look at Batman Year One, it started at issue # 404 and people just got it, no new #1 necessary. I guess that I’m just sad because none of us will ever see a true run of books to 1,000 issues. Thats not to say that we’ll never see and issue #1000, but it will be based on 15 different series all being added together and then going back to an original title that the publisher once used. I can only hope that the yahoos that seem to run these companies just stop with the nonsense of making a quick buck with a new #1 with a foil cover and simply get back to giving us quality stories on a regular (that means not late!) basis. Maybe I am naive with a hope like this, but what can I say, I’m a “glass is half-way full” kinda guy.
OK Geeks, thanks for listening. It feels good to get it off the chest. You’re all my favorite readers (I say that to everybody….just kidding.) Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Comic Con Survival Guide tomorrow…