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, November 7, 2013

Read first 20 issues of "Superior Spider-Man (2012)" - Marvel Now

I haven't been thrilled with Marvel's handling of their flagship character, Spider-Man.
Over the past few years, they've retroactively changed Peter Parker's first serious romance, the ill-fated Gwendolyn Stacy, into a bit of a harlot, by having her sleep with Norman Osborn (a.k.a. the Green Goblin) and secretly having twins through that union.  For those that aren't familiar with Gwen, her death in the early '70's at the hands of the Green Goblin is a seminal moment in comics - a complete shocker that still resonates to this day.

As if that horrible event wasn't enough, they also created a whole mystic "spider-totem" oddity, where Peter Parker wasn't the normal wallflower upon whom fate bestowed power, but the most recent of a series of mystical spider people (or somesuch).  He also started creating webbing out of his wrists, not the mechanical ones from the original stories (could have been out of his butt, so you rolls the dice, you takes your chances).

The coup-de-grace was the decision of the Marvel headless honchos to decide to remove the marriage of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson through a deal with the devil (Mephisto).  Basically, through sheer stupidity, Parker revealed his identity publicly as part of the Civil War storyline, which, predictably, had the effect of one of his villians (Kingpin in this case) taking out a hit on the family.  They tried to shoot Peter, who sensed the danger and pulled Mary Jane to the floor, and the bullet hit Aunt May, his 11,000 year old aunt. A distressed Peter and Mary Jane traded their marriage for the life of Peter's aunt (I did mention that she is a really old bat, didn't I?).  What this convoluted and uncharacteristic decision did was to remove the married Spider-Man, which many at Marvel felt was a mistake and never should have happened, without a divorce or widowing of Peter (though, really, both are preferable to making deals with Satan, I'd think).

I really stopped being interested in that character though that process.

I picked up the first 20 issues of "Superior Spider-Man".  This is the series which is an offshoot of Amazing Spider-Man #700, where a dying Dr. Octopus manages to take over Peter's body, leaving his own to die, thus making Spider-Man (powers and body) run by the brain of Dr. Octopus. A really unpleasant circumstance, but better than "Slut-Gwen", "Peter Parker - Mystic Spider", "no longer human Web Spinner" and "Hi Devil, how's it hangin'".
Ignoring the problems when Parker eventually regains his body and identity for the moment, the stories are pretty entertaining - a take with a much more arrogant Spider-Man taking his scientific mind to the task of eliminating the criminals - using spider-robots to patrol, ignoring the individual victims (sometimes) to achieve the larger picture, using lethal methods, if that seems to be the logical direction.

The problem when Peter returns, is that his alter-ego has now crossed the line to killing and maiming in non-accidental ways.  Can he actually convince the world that it was somebody else?

Oh, I know, why not make a deal with the devil?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Update on Marvel NOW titles, new and cancelled

Cancelled series (Prior to NOW Launch)
1st Issue
Age of Apocalypse #14 (April 2013)
The Amazing Spider-Man #700 (December 2012)
Avengers #34 (November 2012)
Avengers Academy #39 (November 2012)
Captain America #19 (October 2012)
Captain America & #640 (December 2012)
Deadpool #63 (October 2012)
Defenders #12 (November 2012)
Fantastic Four #611 (October 2012)
FF #23 (October 2012)
Incredible Hulk #15 (October 2012)
Invincible Iron Man #527 (October 2012)
New Avengers #34 (November 2012)
New Mutants #50 (October 2012)
Secret Avengers #37 (January 2013)
The Mighty Thor #22 (October 2012)
Uncanny X-Force #35 (December 2012)
Uncanny X-Men #20 (October 2012)
Wolverine #317 (December 2012)
X-Men #41 (February 2013)
X-Men Legacy #275 (October 2012)
Phase 0 (initial Marvel Now)
1st Issue Last Issue
A+X #1 (October 2012)
All-New X-Men #1 (November 2012)
Avengers #1 (December 2012)
Avengers Arena #1 (December 2012)
Cable and X-Force #1 (December 2012)
Captain America #1 (November 2012)
Deadpool #1 (November 2012)
FF #1 (November 2012)
End #16 (January 2014)
Fantastic Four #1 (November 2012)
End #16 (January 2014)
Fearless Defenders #1 (February 2012)
Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 (February 2013)
Indestructible Hulk #1 (November 2012)
Iron Man #1 (November 2012)
Morbius: The Living Vampire #1 (January 2013) End - #9 (Sept 2013)
New Avengers #1 (January 2013)
Nova #1 (February 2013)
Savage Wolverine #1 (January 2013)
Secret Avengers #1 (February 2013)
The Superior Spider-Man #1 (January 2013)
Thor: God of Thunder #1 (November 2012)
Thunderbolts #1 (December 2012)
Uncanny Avengers #1 (October 2012)
Uncanny X-Force #1 (January 2013)
Uncanny X-Men #1 (February 2013)
Wolverine #1 (March 2013)
X-Men Legacy #1 (November 2012)
Young Avengers #1 (January 2013)
Phase One (2013)
1st Issue Last Issue
Avengers A.I.
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up
Mighty Avengers
Amazing X-Men
Phase Two (2013-14)
1st Issue Last Issue
All-New Invaders
1st Issue
Thanos Rising #1 (April 2013)
Ultron AU #1 (April 2013)
Avengers - The Enemy Within #1 (May 2013)
X-Men: Battle of the Atom #1 (Sept 2013)
Hunger #1
Infinity #1 (August 2013)
Infinity: The Heist #1 (Sept 2013)
Superior Carnage #1 (July 2013)
What If? AVX
Other Series - Migrated to Now
1st Issue Last Issue
Avengers Assemble #9 (November 2012)
Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 (December 2012) End - #22 (June 2013)
Captain Marvel #9 (January 2013)
Daredevil #23 (February 2012)
Dark Avengers #184 (December 2012) End - #190 (May 2013)
Gambit #8 (January 2013) End - #17 (Sept 2013)
Hawkeye #6 (December 2012)
Journey into Mystery #646 (November 2012) End - #655 (August 2013)
Red She-Hulk #58 (October 2012) End - #67 (July 2013)
Scarlet Spider #13 (January 2013)
Venom #31 (February 2013) End - #42 (October 2013)
Winter Soldier End - #19 (June 2013)
Wolverine and the X-Men #19 (October 2012)
X-Factor #250 (January 2013) End - #262 (Sept 2013)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

UPDATE: DC New 52 - Updated Titles and Cancellations

I've updated the list of "New 52" titles launched and cancelled.  4 titles are scheduled to cancel in August 2013 (Demon Knights, Dial H, Threshold and Legion of Superheroes).

Launched Cancelled
Action Comics  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
All-Star Western  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Animal Man  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Aquaman  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Batgirl  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Batman and Robin Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Batman Incorporated Launched (2nd Wave - Jan 2012)  
Batman  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Batman/Superman Launched (5th Wave - April 2013)  
Batman: The Dark Knight  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Batwing  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Batwoman  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Birds of Prey  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Blackhawks  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (2nd Wave)
Blue Beetle  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (4th Wave)
Captain Atom  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (3rd Wave)
Catwoman  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Constantine Launched (4th Wave - Feb 2013)  
DC Universe Presents  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (5th Wave)
Deathstroke  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (5th Wave)
Demon Knights  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (6th Wave - Aug 2013)
Detective Comics  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Dial H Launched (2nd Wave - Jan 2012) Cancelled (6th Wave - Aug 2013)
Earth 2 Launched (2nd Wave - Jan 2012)  
Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (4th Wave)
G.I. Combat Launched (2nd Wave - Jan 2012) Cancelled (4th Wave)
Green Arrow  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Green Lantern Corps  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Green Lantern  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Green Lantern: New Guardians  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Grifter  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (4th Wave)
Hawk and Dove  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (2nd Wave)
I, Vampire  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (5th Wave)
Justice League Dark  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Justice League International  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (3rd Wave)
Justice League of America Launched (4th Wave - Feb 2013)  
Justice League of America's Vibe Launched (4th Wave - Feb 2013)  
Justice League  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Katana Launched (4th Wave - Feb 2013)  
Larfleeze Launched (5th Wave - April 2013)  
Legion Lost  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (4th Wave)
Legion of Super-Heroes  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (6th Wave - Aug 2013)
Men of War  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (2nd Wave)
Mister Terrific  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (2nd Wave)
Nightwing  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
O.M.A.C.  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (2nd Wave)
Red Hood and the Outlaws  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Red Lanterns  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Resurrection Man  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (3rd Wave)
Static Shock  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (2nd Wave)
Stormwatch  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Suicide Squad  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Superboy Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Supergirl  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Superman Unchained Launched (5th Wave - April 2013)  
Superman  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Swamp Thing  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
Sword and Sorcery Launched (3rd Wave - Aug 2012) Cancelled (5th Wave)
Talon Launched (3rd Wave - Aug 2012)  
Team 7 Launched (3rd Wave - Aug 2012) Cancelled (5th Wave)
Teen Titans  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
The Flash  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (5th Wave)
The Green Team Launched (5th Wave - April 2013)  
The Movement Launched (5th Wave - April 2013)  
The Phantom Stranger Launched (3rd Wave - Aug 2012)  
The Ravagers Launched (2nd Wave - Jan 2012) Cancelled (5th Wave)
The Savage Hawkman  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (5th Wave)
Threshold Launched (4th Wave - Feb 2013) Cancelled (6th Wave - Aug 2013)
Trinity of Sin Launched (5th Wave - April 2013)  
Voodoo  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010) Cancelled (3rd Wave)
Wonder Woman  Launched (1st Wave - Aug 2010)  
World's Finest Launched (2nd Wave - Jan 2012)  
Young Romance: A New 52 Valentine's Day Special Launched (4th Wave - Feb 2013)  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dystopian Super-Hero Futures

There have been some great dystopian super-hero (Marvel and DC) futures portrayed in the comics, feel free to name more.

  • The Dark Knight Returns (1986)" and "The Dark Knight Strikes Again (2001)" by Frank Miller is by far the cream of the crop for these events.  Miller single-handedly brought back a dying Batman franchise and turned it from the campy '60's TV show type stories back to a darker, backstreet detective.  Set in a future where Batman has been retired for 10 years, and is chatting with Commissioner Gordon who is hitting mandatory retirement at 70, Miller portrays a world where superheroes have been outlawed.  Miller also portrays a world where the media is shallow and celebrity-focused (sound familiar?).  Gotham is rife with streetcrime with gangs running the streets.  Batman doesn't sit still for long....

  • "Kingdom Come" (1996) - Alex Ross and Mark Waid and "The Kingdom (1999)" - Mark Waid, Olivetti and Zeck - great story - Superman retired to Kansas, jaded due to the more violent breed of super-heroes.  2nd generation superheroes, no villians, so they take turns fighting each other - little care for civilian damage and casualties.  Supes comes out of retirement to bring back order.

Action Comics (1938) #583
Superman (1939) #423
  • "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" - DC Comics (Superman (1939) #423 and Action Comics (1938) #583.  These two issues marked the end of "Superman" as he was known since Action Comics #1. These were the last two issues of his signature series, both of which stopped publication for several months while John Byrne's Man of Steel (1986) series re-wrote the Superman legend.  Following this mini-series, Action Comics (1986) was re-launched with a #1, as was Superman (1987).  The "original" numbering of Superman was carried on to "Adventures of Superman (1987)" starting with issue #424.  The story was very good and incorporated many of the seminal Superman writers and artists. The basic plot was that things got serious in DC's universe, Pete Ross (Superman's childhood buddy) turned up dead, second rate villains became killers and everyone wondered what would happen when Brainiac or other real super-villains came home.  It really showed the end of the Silver Age Superman, with many supporting characters making an appearance, and many dying.  "Whatever Hppened to the Man of Tomorrow?" - worth the read to find out.
"Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" - Graphic Novel
"The Man of Steel (1986)" - John Byrne re-make of Superman

  • "Old Man Logan" (2008) - Miller and McNiven shows the post-apolcalyptic world where Logan (Wolverine) is still around and the U.S. is split into zones run by local warlords.  The Hulk and his offspring also play a part.

  • "Future Imperfect (1992)" - Peter David.  In this 2-issue series, the Hulk (with Banner's intelligence at this time) is transported into the future where he meets Maestro, a Hulk which survived the apocalypse and runs the world as an older, emperor-style Hulk, driven somewhat insane by the radiation over time.

  • "Spider-Man: Reign (2006)" - Kaare Andrews - an elderly Spider-Man, lonely and delusional is brought back to show a fighting spirit to a city basically under "anti-terrorist martial law" on a permanent basis.

  • "Daredevil: The End of Days" (2012) - 8 issue series exploring the aftermath of the death of Daredevil by Bullseye.  Lotsa' red headed young males hanging around their single-female mother friends of Matt Murdock.

  • "Earth X", "Universe X", "Paradise X" - Marvel comics future universes after a kid gets the power of the cosmic cube.  Very cool art, and nice depictions of older Marvel mainstream characters and offspring of those characters.