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.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

X-Factor Numbering


As in other posts, Marvel has been making a mockery of even having issue numbers.

Cover to X-Factor #1 (1986) starring the original X-Men.
X-Factor (1986)
X-Factor was launched in 1986 with the intent of bringing back the original X-Men (Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Marvel Girl/Phoenix) in the wake of the successful new X-men (Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus etc.) and ran for 149 issues plus an oddly numbered -1 issue.

X-Factor (2006)
X-Factor (2006) launched as part of the Decimation storyline (the follow-up to Avengers:Dissassembled) where the mutant population was greatly reduced in size by the insane Scarlet Witch ("no more mutants").

X-Factor (2010)
X-Factor(2010) it the continuation of X-Men (2006) where the numbering changed from #50 to #200 to match the "older" numbering from X-Factor (1986).

X-Factor (2013) continues with the re-launch of Marvel into Marvel Now and continues from issue #250 to the last issue #252

Series Issues Total Issues Total X-Factor
X-Factor (1986) 1 to 149  149 1-149
X-Factor (2006) 1 to 50 50 150-199
X-Factor (2010) 200 to 249 50 200 -249
X-Factor (2013) 250 to 262 13 250 to 262