Marvel’s Numbering Obsession

daredevil_1_2011_coverIt’s not often I go on a rant, so it’s probably about time. The focus of said rant is Marvel Comics, who I’ve been interacting with as a consumer since the mid-1970s. I know things have changed a lot since then, I know that financially it’s harder to make a buck out of the industry, but I still think it’s possible to not treat longer-term readers with the disdain that’s currently occurring.

Specifically, I’m talking about the numbering of issues and constant re-booting of series. It’s not a recent issue by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s one that appears to be getting worse.

I’m a huge Daredevil fan – he’s the one mainstream character I’m (dismally) attempting to be a completionist with. Which means that aside from a significant number of mini-series and one-shots, there are three volumes of Daredevil starting with the 1964 Volume 1 series that ended with #380 in 1998. Volume 2 kicked off pretty much straight away and ran 119 issues until 2009. Then there was a break of more than  a year with Volume 3 kicking off in 2011 and being very successful under the stewardship of Mark Waid.

Which is why I was little taken aback by the announcement that Volume 3 is finishing with issue #36. In fact, I was more than taken aback, I was pretty immediately angry. I was initially angry at the fact that the decision is nothing more than a highly cynical move to create another ‘first issue’ opportunity, potentially under the Marvel NOW! banner. Then after calming down a bit, I realised that DD’s upcoming 50th anniversary may be the reason for the change. My calm lasted only a few minutes when I thought about that: there’s a bunch of ways to celebrate a character’s anniversary without killing a series.

So that’s where I’d love your input: does this sort of stuff annoy you, amuse you or plain doesn’t concern you at all? Sure it’s a pretty longstanding gimmick, but it seems to be getting worse by the year.

Is there anything that can be done?

Comments

  1. Personally, I was also pretty upset about this whole ‘Daredevil’ thing, especially when their plans going further are to continue the Waid era of the series with the new Daredevil ‘Infinite’ digital comic. So, the series isn’t really ending, it’s just becoming one of those annoying comics from Marvel’s new-ish digital line. Not good at all. On the subject of the constant reboots, renumbering, etc. I just don’t get it (from a fan standpoint). I understand a huge #1 on a cover might sell better to someone new to the character or even new to comics, but that’s all I can make of it. I’m rather angry about this whole “All New Marvel NOW!” bull, and am confused as to why Marvel’s pulling such a stunt. I *do* feel it’s being done without much care for the longtime fans and mostly for the $$$, and in a lot of ways (as you said) the industry needs all the money it can muster up – but to leave caring readers in the dirt, some even dropping entire lines of titles due to this? For shame, Marvel. It’s pointless and vapid and so transparent I’m surprised no one is picketing both Big 2 offices. Okay, sorry – end rant 😛

  2. I think it has more to do with Marvel trying to create more readers. A new #1 is an easy jumping on point for new readers. Or even if a series is up to #10, then someone might be inclined to go buy #1-10 as opposed to #627 where you have no idea where to start with if you’re interested in the character. This is likely the way of the future for both companies as they try to remain profitable with print comics. I’d much rather see more new #1s if it means we still get comic books. I don’t like them moving Waid’s run from the print comic over to the digital infinite though.

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