Big Numbers original name was "The Mandelbrot Set"
, talks of it found in books like the first book of the anthology Taboo refer to it as its infancy name of The Mandelbrot Set. Only two of the intended twelve issues were ever published. There are many rumors on why Big Numbers was left unfinished. One rumor is that Bill Sienkiewicz either was fired or quit because he could not handle the work load. One rumor is that the series is cursed and any artist working on it goes temporary insane. What is known as true is that Bill Sienkiewicz was delayed in the third issue and this delay caused mad Love Publishing to suffer financially and close down. Kevin Eastman's Tundra
tried to continue the series with art by Sienkiesicz's understudy Al Columbia
, and Paul Jenkins as editor. Columbia was reported to have finished parts of #4, but destroyed them before they could be published. This left Big Numbers in limbo. Issue #3 has never been published for commercial sale. No reasons have ever really been given for the destruction of Big Numbers #4. Eddie Campbell's How to be an artist
, the Alan Moore 50 years old Birthday book Alan Moore: Portrait of a Gentleman
and the biography The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore
all have similar retelling.
Officially in 1999 the only issue of Submedia
was published and it contained 10 pages of Bill Sienkiewicz's art from Big Numbers #3 with no lettering. Submedia remains the only official publication of any part of Big Numbers #3. Somehow a finished copy of Big Numbers #3 surfaced on ebay. This copy was in the form of xerox copies. The winner of the book had Alan Moore's permission to post the book on his Livejournal, user name glycon.
Unfortunately, glycon credited the artwork to Al Columbia, which was not the case. The script of issue #3 floats around as well, the script is said to be 1 1/4" thick.
Both issues number 1 and 2 were published as 10"x10" format. With the popularity of the first two issues of Big Numbers established, professional comic book letterer Roxanne Starr
(Who is the same Roxanne Starr
the user on comicvine) was hired on to the creator team as the letterer for Big Numbers. She only managed to letter issue three, because issue #4 was destroyed. If Big Numbers continued and lasted the 12 issues, Roxanne Starr, who was one of Tundra's staff letterers, would have re-lettered issues #1 and #2 (which were lettered originally by Bill Sienkiewicz), as well as the rest of the series.
In an interview
, Alan Moore has stated he had five scripts completed and believed to be one of his best works.
There were two that actually came out. Yeah, that was going to be a masterpiece, a magnum opus. I still think those first two issues are among some of the best comic work of that period. I mean, I got five scripts written. - Alan Moore
There is currently no new news if this series will be completed or not.
What is Big Numbers?
Big Numbers was an experimental project from Alan Moore. Moore is know for trying to push the limits of the Comic Book Medium and Big Numbers was one of the projects. Much like From Hell
was historical detective work, Lost Girls
is sophisticated pornography and Promethea
is the text book on the Occult
. Big numbers is based on the "Chaos Theory". In simple terms Chaos Theory is the "butterfly effect", every action determines another reaction and nothing is random.
By 2001, Alan Moore started to believe that Big Numbers could not be finished as a comic book. This could be why he has not approached any new artist to continue the series. Alan Moore has stated in an interview that Big Numbers could in fact be turned into a TV show and he has it all mapped out. Five episodes are stated to have been written. No new news has come from Big Numbers being turned to a TV show or ever being completed as a comic.