Last week I started a series on aspects of the comic book industry that annoy me. The first was the constant killing and reviving of characters, making death virtually meaningless. The second gripe I had was that Marvel and DC have too many giant crossovers that cause you to buy comics that you don’t want to buy. The third thing that annoys is when a comic book company decides to restart the numbering for a comic.
Let me explain. Sometimes a company, let’s say Marvel for instance, will have a popular title like Captain America. Captain America will go on for a while and then Marvel will decide to end that comic at #384 or something like that. Then Marvel will restart the comic at #1.
Here is why this is annoying. Not too long ago, before he was killed, I was hearing great things about the Captain America comic. I went to my comic shop to get back issues of Captain America. I found issues labeled as being number one through twelve, purchased them and then took them home. As I began to read them I realized, these comics have nothing to do with each other.
You see, Captain America has been stopped and restarted four times for a total of five volumes. So there are actually five different Captain American series with a number one through twelve. I ended up buying issues one, four, nine, and ten from Captain American volume 2, issues two and eleven from volume 3, three, five, eight, and twelve from volume 4 and issues six and seven from volume 5. So I went to the store looking for issues one through twelve of volume five, bought twelve comics and only got two that I wanted. The worst part is I couldn’t read any of them! Not only did I not have enough of volume five to know what was going on but I didn’t have enough of volume 2, 3, or 4 to know what was going on either.
Obviously there are some cases when starting a comic, stopping it, and then re-starting it are okay. If DC Comics wants to start a Blue Beetle series in the 80’s, then it doesn’t do well, but they decide it might in 2007, then I have no problem with them restarting a comic for that purpose. My problem is with the major titles that go on forever. There is no reason to stop the numbering for Captain America, Fantastic Four, Avengers and titles like that, and then start over. The only reason they restart comics is because they want to be able to sell another #1 issue but what’s the point if all the readers are going to be so confused they’ll get lost reading your comics and quit?