By FoxxFireArt 9 Comments
Are you tired of the erratic issue of comic re-numbering? I may have a solution for everyone.
Are you a reader who is endlessly irritated but the repeated tampering of comic numbers in the vain attempt to seem "less intimidating" by the large issue numbers? Long time fans see that as a badge of honor for a series. They feel it should be celebrated. Still, you have DC rebooting the entire universe to recreate #1s, and then you have Marvel with this superficial title changes for their reasoning behind the numbering reboot.
You can't say that the #1 reboots don't work - - to an extent. We have often heard about people who see the #1 and start reading. Though, how many you're drawing in is certainly in question? These same people often recognize that these are never real #1 issues. I honestly have to wonder why such a superficial change can sway a person when they know it's artificial.
There is then the issue of publisher backpedaling. They have this renewal, but then alter it back when some anniversary comes up. Just look at what happened to WONDER WOMAN in 2010. This series jumped from issue #44 directly to #600. How does this help anyone? The low information readers would be wondering what became of the missing 556 issues. You only stand to confuse readers more.
I think we all need to face facts. The numbering system used by publishers is broken, and it only serves to work against the reader. I stand with Corey (Undeadpool) on the topic of reader intimidation. If you are intimidated by large numbers from reading a series you know you might enjoy, then 24 might as well be 600 to these people. After you start the numbering over, you are going to be having the exact same problem in two to three years. There will be someone who doesn't want to jump in on a #14 and so on.
I understand that there are going to be readers who look at this and will say, "No change. This is the way it's always been done.". That's not an excuse for you to stay with a system that you know is working against your better interests. Just becasue something is a tradition doesn't mean you cling to it. Also, publishers are changing the numbering every few years. Aren't you more frustrated by that? Sometimes, a drastic change is needed.
I could sit here and just rant on about what's wrong and be like so many other bloggers, but that's not the purpose here. I actually have a suggestion on how we can improve this issue, and it can be found in the far East. That's right, I'm pointing to Japanese manga. Not the volumes that many of us are familiar with. I'm looking to the serialized magazines. There are monthly magazines that contain numerous individual chapters of various series. Though, these magazines don't spotlight the issue number. They put the focus on the month and year. It's a universal standard that you can always keep organized. After every year, the numbering is restarted to #1 for January. It's the year number that keeps them further organized.
Here are a few select monthly covers for various magazines. These have the year and month number shown.
Allow me to go into a bit more detail. The image below is the cover of MONTHLY SUNDAY GENE-X (SUNDAY G-X). This issue was published and sold in April 2006, but as with most magazines it uses the title of the following month. The most prominent number is the number 5 on the cover that represents the month of May. This is the SUNDAY G-X MAY 2006 issue. When the next year comes along, it will be the January issue for 2007. That's the cycle they all follow.
Now, here's the interesting tidbit. Nearly all of these magazines have the issue number printed on them among the various other publishing fine print. They're just not the focus. In the picture below, I've highlighted where you can find the issue number on the SUNDAY G-X cover above. This is the seventy-first issue. You just have to look very close to see it.
Even if you like this system. You may say that this wont work for any comic that's published more than once a month. I also have a suggestion for that. You look to the system of weekly manga magazines, such as WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP. These series are organized by issue number (representing the week), month, and day. This is the cover of the issue that was released in Japan this earlier month. As you can see, this is No. 47 for November 5th. When the first issue of next year is published, this will change to No. 1 of 2013. Every year starts off with a No. 1.
WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP - - just as the name suggests - - is published on a weekly basis. It's been doing so since 1968 with only a few scattered weeks off within a year, for national holidays; and it's never actually rebooted their numbering. In the fine print at the top left, you can see this issue is #2191.
What all these series have in common - - month or weekly - - is that when they reach a grand anniversary issues. It boldly puts "100!" or even "2000!!" on the covers. Currently, DENGEKI MAOH is celebrating the series' twentieth anniversary, and MONTHLY DRAGON AGE is on its fortieth. These series have both had "20th" and "40th" on the covers of the issues this year.
This is a number system that could make everyone happy for comics. You have a numbering that reboots every year to make things easier for new readers to not feel so intimidated, and the actual issue number can also be continued in the fine print for those who want that information.
What are your thoughts on my proposal?