Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Get Off My Porch #2 - Legacy Numbering!


I keep crossing over a phrase when new comics are discussed which frankly rankles me. "Legacy Numbering" is the phrase. It apparently refers to a switch back to the standard numbering of a comic series after that numbering has been interrupted to make way for a frothy new number one issue. Some series have suffered this indignity a few times over.


I'm old enough to remember when "Legacy Numbering" was...well... just numbering. A comic book series began at number one and continued forward in a relentless march through the months and years if it was fortunate enough to garner sufficient fans to make that possible. Venerable series like Action Comics and Detective Comics and Adventure Comics have achieved large numbers which reflect a tenure on the market which speaks to the durability of their features and the company which produces them. Likewise The Fantastic Four and the The Amazing Spider-Man and many more besides.


Sadly all these series have been interrupted. New fans like new shiny things and I can understand the goal of attracting new readers, it's absolutely necessary. I just hate that numbering of comics is such a plastic matter that it can change and slip with editorial whim. Now all that said, I have to confess that being a Charlton fan it is somewhat fun to try to piece together the slipshod numbering of series which move around with an almost chaotic glee. So maybe my disgust is misplaced. Maybe.

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6 comments:

  1. The last original numbering return I got excited about was the return of Strange Tales in 1973 (Brother Voodoo). They picked right up with #169 which was also the issue where Doc Strange took over the numbering for his somewhat brief solo series run….Strange Tales, Action, Detective, Adventure (long gone now, isn’t it?), Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Journey Into Mystery/Thor, Tales To Astonish/Hulk and Tales of Suspense/Captain America – should all be untouchable for this silly Collector’s Item First Issue nonsense…

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    1. Long runs and high numbers are connection to history. Seeing the numbering of a Strange Tales picked up puts the whole shebang into a broader context. Ones come and go, but large numbers require luck and dedication and are evidence of a lot of hard work over time.

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  2. The irony of it is that this return is as much a PR event as the new #1's were. And I thought of Charlton's crazy numbering too.

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    1. True that. Sadly comics these days seems mostly about announcing what is about to happen, it's more about the hype than the actual comics.

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  3. Charlton, like many of the comics publishers, was too cheap to pay for new second-class mailing licenses, so they'd try to keep the licenses going by retitling no-longer-hot books into something trendier.
    Sometimes it worked.
    Sometimes it didn't!

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    1. It's that kind of thing which makes collecting them such a sweet exercise, it's about the history of the publishing too sometimes. In no way were these "collectibles" but merely the next installment intended to gather a meager profit in the day.

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