Introduction to "Comic Book Numbering"

Comic book numbering used to be a very simple issue - each issue was incremented one number from the preceding issue in a simple natural number sequence starting at issue #1 until infinity.

Occasionally there would be some complications when a series was re-named (often when a key character in an ongoing anthology becomes popular enough for their own title), such as "The Incredible Hulk (1968)" taking over the numbering from "Tales to Astonish (1959)" or "Captain America (1968)" taking over the numbering of "Tales of Suspense (1959)".

However, DC Comics started an inadvertent trend when John Byrne re-structured the Man of Steel in the mid-1980's. All Superman comics (Action Comics and Superman) were taken offline for a few months, and a re-launch re-started Superman (1987) with a new #1, and continued the pre-existing Superman (1939) numbering with "Adventures of Superman (1987)". Superman (2006) re-merged Superman (1987) and Adventures of Superman (1987) to a single title.

Both DC and Marvel comics insisted on the occassional oddly numbered comic (0, -1 for Marvel, 1,000,000 for DC) which made continuity of numbering strange.

Marvel had a mathematical psychotic break and sold off key characters (e.g. Hulk, Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America and the Fantastic Four) to a group of artist/writers in the ill-fated "Heroes Reborn" period of about a year in the mid-1990's, each series being re-started as a new #1. This experiment lasted about a year from 1996 to 1997, where the characters were re-introduced into the "real" (616) universe of Marvel in "Heroes Return".

Marvel's marketing department, realizing that "#1" issues had extra purchase value, began randomly re-starting series to generate new #1's. Later, someone woke up and realized that they were missing the chance to capitalize on significant milestone issues (500, 600 etc.) and began to re-number the ongoing series, with mixed success. Some re-numbering was simply the inclusion of series X and series Y of the same character, with the new numbering being the sum. However, with other series, the effect was somewhat confusing (see Hulk).

This site is an attempt to make sense of the numbering issues.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fantastic Four #600 numbering?

I'm guessing that the Fantastic Four got to number 600 by counting 1-588 from the "original series" and then 1-11 of FF(2011) - the next issue would be #600 if you ignore the title change.

"Volumes" become odd when Marvel decides to re-number.

You could consider Fantastic Four (2004) to be Volume 1, as the numbering returns, with a similar story for Fantastic Four (2011) - it also can be considered a return to Volume 1.

Volume 2 was the ill-fated "Heroes Reborn" experiment with Volume 3 the "Heroes Return" to the 616 Universe.

Volume 3 had "double numbering" starting with issue #42 (Volume 3 - aka 471 in Volume 1 numbering), so they did acknowledge issue #500 with the 71st issue of Volume 3 (in fact, with issue #500, the "old" numbering was primary, with the Volume 3 numbering secondary - a reversal of issues #43 to #70 where the Volume 3 numbering was primary and the "old" secondary).

Volume 4 was a re-set to "old" numbering, story continued from Volume 3.

Volume 5 is the re-set to Fantastic Four, from the end of Volume 4 plus the first 11 issues of FF (2011).

The oddity is that FF (2011) still continues, and has its own #12 and onward.

UPDATE: November 22, 2012

Volume 5 ran from issue #600 to issue #611.

Volume 6, Fantastic Four (2012) starts over with a new #1, as has FF (2012).

FF (2011) is now at issue #23 in December 2012.  Look for a re-re-numbering of Fantastic Four to get to issue #700.  Adding together Fantastic Four and FF, you start 2013 with 612+12 = 624 issues, 76 away from #700 - if both FF and Fantastic Four keep publishing monthly, that would be 38 months to issue #700, or about 3 years and 2 months - putting us in about February 2016.

Total Issues
"Full FF" Numbering
Fantastic Four (1961) V1
Fantastic Four (1996) V2
Fantastic Four (1998) V3
Fantastic Four (2004) V4  
FF (2011) V1
Fantastic Four (2011) V5
Fantastic Four (2012) V6

Issues Total Issues Total FF Issues
FF (2011) 1-23 23 1-23
FF (2012) 1+ 1+ 24+

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wolverine #300

From Marvel Wiki (

Wolverine (1988)      1-189                  189 Issues
Wolverine (2003)       1-90                      90 Issues
Wolverine (2010)       1-20                       20 Issues
Total                                                    299 Issues,

Yielding Wolverine (2012) issue #300 and onward.