Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Comics numbering (and renumbering); the problem with DRM

Batwoman #0

Publishing | Don MacPherson rails against the current numbering and renumbering practices by Marvel and DC Comics: “I realize other publishers have adopted irregular numbering schemes as well, but DC and Marvel are the ones driving things in that direction. Constant relaunches with new first issues, renumbering those relaunches to exploit a big-number milestone such as a 500th issue, half issues, zero issues, issues with decimal points, Greek letters … it’s exhausting and irritating, and I’m certain it’s frustrating for people preparing price guides and collection databases. Next I’m guessing there will be a series numbered in an alien math rooted in a fictional Kryptonian base-14 numerical system.” [Eye on Comics]

Digital comics | David Brothers articulates what the problem is with DRM: “What I realized is that DRM has a lot of benefits for the publisher, but next to none for the consumer. Blizzard can track exactly who plays Diablo III and when, which is valuable for gathering demographic data, off the top of my head. ComiXology can tell publishers exactly what contexts their comics will appear in and on what devices. DRM is about control, basically, rather than being a value-add. It’s a limiting service, rather than one focused on expansion, and the people most affected by it are consumers who actually want to consume this stuff.” And it does nothing to stop piracy, either. [4thletter!]

Fandom | Mikal McCruden and Chris Gardener renewed their wedding vows Wednesday at Collectors Corner in Parkville, Maryland, in celebration of the release of Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men #51. McCruden and Gardener were legally married two years ago in Washington, D.C. [Parkville-Overlea Patch]


Creators | Maya Jaggi briefly profiles cartoonist Magdy El Shafee, “the godfather of Egyptian graphic novelists,” whose book Metro is now being released in English after being banned in his own country. [Newsweek]

Creators | Writer Jim Zubkavich and artist Erik Mona talk about their work on Dynamite Entertainment’s new line of Pathfinder comics, and how they plan to make the comics accessible to new readers who may not be familiar with the game. [ICv2]

Creators | Chef Anthony Bourdain discusses his upcoming graphic novel Get Jiro!, and his time as a “geeky comic collector” and “wannabe artist.” [Entertainment Weekly]

Creators | Darren Orf rattles off his list of the 15 best creator duos, from Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan to Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. [Paste]

Comics | Dr. Larry Larsen assures a mother that letting her child read comics won’t hurt their schoolwork. [Eagle-Tribune]

Comics | Whether or not you actually remember the summer of 1977, this array of Marvel covers is a reminder of how awesome — and varied — their line was back then. [Diversions of the Groovy Kind]



I really wish “Get Jiro” wasn’t coming out at the same time as the Tor edition of “Johnny Hiro.” You know, the first sushi chef action adventure comic, but by an actual cartoonist and not a celebrity passing through.

I hate the whole renumbering. MacPherson hits the nail right on the head. I am so pissed off at DC. I mention this to Didio at Mega Con 2012 during the DC panel when Wonder Woman got back to the numbering ONLY to be taken away in less than a later, and how that was a cheap pop and a slap in the face for those that wanted her book back to the numbering.

Plus, I mention about ACTION COMICS, SUPERMAN, BATMAN, and DETECTIVE COMICS to be set at ones again was disrespectful to the titles and the history. But DiDio, stated, “On order to make this work (new 52) we had to step away from the history and the baggage.”

The numbering GAVE those titles a character itself.

Homogeneous pap galore

June 25, 2012 at 8:36 am

Really? That’s your idea of a “varied line”?

Doesn’t look too bad to me HPG, at least by comic standards.
Tho, I see the same problem w/ a dearth of books that [I think] would appeal to women and girls.
What are you expecting? Austin, Proust, Shakespeare, Faulkner, Milne, Rey, and Agatha Christie?

Re: Marvel comics of the summer of ’77–I wasn’t alive yet back then, but I recently read Amazing Spider-man Annual #11, where he takes on the Spider Squad, written by Bill Mantlo. Quite a delightful issue, very fun read.

Brigid Alverson

June 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

@JRC You’re not wrong, but in the summer of ’77 I was reading Thor, Red Sonja, and occasionally Howard the Duck. I think the older superhero comics were, if not more appealing to women, at least less off-putting than the current crop.

Jake Earlewine

June 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Yeah, I hate the renumbering thing. WITH A PASSION. It makes filing my comics collection a big mess — hard to find an issue when I want it. It also makes it easier for online back issue sellers to screw up when I order back issues — when I order, say, issue #7, sometimes they have to pick between four different issues that are all #7. And when I choose to re-read a run of comics from the recent past, sometimes it’s impossible to tell what sequence to read them in. There’s no way to know which ones came first, unless you take the time to search for the date on the inside — which is another PITA because the date of publication is no longer on the first page — it could be anywhere.

Renumbering (starting all over) is EXTREMELY disrespectful to longtime collectors — and it’s murder for my local comic shop to file their back issues so customers can find them. When DC renumbered Action and Detective, they pissed all over their own heritage. They threw away one of the few things that separates DC from new fly-by-night comics publishers. ANYBODY can put out an issue #1. How many publishers can boast a continuous run of seven or eight hundred issues?

But as bad as the renumbering is, it’s nowhere near as bad as what DC has done on the inside of their comics. If I ever accidentally swallow poison and need to force myself to vomit, all I’ll have to do is think of Dan Didio and the nuDC.

You know, it’s rather interesting that the only two comments (at this point) taking on the renumbering topic are bashing DC to the complete exclusion of Marvel. There’s guilt enough at both publishers so why is DC getting all the hate here?

If you hate renumbering so badly, fucking organize your books in a sensible fashion–BY COVER DATES. But, DOYC knows, Roberto and Jake especially are whining enough to sound like Comic Book Guy’s long-lost brothers.

Jake, YOU may be “disrespected” by DC for its decision to renumber, but *I* am not. I’m a long-time collector but I’m also aware that I’ll never be able to afford those early issues of Action or Superman or Detective (aside from reprint collections) simply because there aren’t enough copies in existence and my finances simply don’t allow such expenses. (When a 9.0 comic sells for $2,160,000–as Action Comics #1 did late last year–a basically non-collectible *reading* copy is still going to run in the 100s of dollars price range.) Furthermore, NO company is obliged to pander to COLLECTORS and their wants.

Additionally, what you say about DiDio, I feel about the crap at Marvel. First, Bendis is given carte blanche to ruin the Avengers (and I thought that Marvel’s turning over the group to the Image guys was wretched; that is before I read Bendis’s little “Disassembled” abomination). Then, Marvel decides to let Bendis fuck over the X-books with the “no more mutants” crap (really–15 million mutants WORLDWIDE didn’t meet Marvel’s definition of “minority”? out of a world population of 6 BILLION, 15 million is definitely a minority–hell, in the USA, 15 million constitutes a “minority”). Then, Bendis sets up a “Civil War” that makes NO sense (and ultimately ends up meaningless when Captain America “returns” from the dead). A little more than a decade ago, I was picking up some 30 Marvel titles on a regular basis; now, it’s down to basically 4 books (Astonishing X-Men, X-Factor, New Mutants and the Dark Tower books–oh, speaking of “renumbering,” you might notice two of the titles I’m getting have either been renumbered or restarted in the last few years).

I’ve had NO problem with filing my comics. The current series of Action will go right behind the previous series (which, incidentally, is where I’ve filed “Action Comics Weekly”). The current Superman series is a bit tougher, but that’s because DC (back in 1987) restarted Superman with a brand-new #1, courtesy of John Byrne’s revamp and continued the PREVIOUS Superman title as “Adventures of Superman.” Then, DC cancelled “Adventures of Superman” but transferred that numbering back to “Superman.” So, how’d THAT work for your filing? But, I contend that is less problematic compared to what Marvel’s done with the main X-books. The original X-Men title was officially renamed “Uncanny X-Men” in the very early 1980s, and then, in 1991, Marvel brought in “X-Men.” Then, so that Marvel could have an all-new #1 “X-Men” book, the “X-Men” title became “X-Men: Legacy.” And then, when Marvel decided to have that stupid “schism,” “Uncanny” got axed to produce two new “X-Men” books, one cleverly titled “Wolverine and the X-Men” and the other, even MORE cleverly titled “Uncanny X-Men.”

But again, just put all the hate on DC for renumbering its books. (Oh. One last thing. How’s your filing going to handle “Dark Avengers” now that it’s replaced “Thunderbolts”–even taking that title’s numbering, despite the fact the previous “Dark Avengers” book ended with #16, skipping all the way to #175; it makes it look like someone really let their collection build a gap.)

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