Do Comic Book Numbers Matter?

DC-Comics-FCBD12_TheNew52The biggest stumbling block for most people who are interested in getting into comics is the numbers.  If it’s Batman #325, shouldn’t I have read at least some of the other 324 issues?  Should you? Yes.  But do you have to? No.

Realistically you can jump into almost any story or series, especially anything from the Big 2 (Marvel and DC) at any time.  With Wikipedia, trade paperbacks, omnibuses and digital comics there really is no barrier for entry.  Most of the movies out now have done a halfway decent job of covering the hero’s origin story.  You can hit Wikipedia for any storylines or secondary characters info and you are off and running.

Marvel and DC have become obsessed with trying to get new readers and keep what dwindling numbers they have.  DC restarted their whole line in an effort to give people a new jumping on point.  The numbering over at Marvel has been a complete mess for years.

First-600x958I’ve complained about the numbering over at Marvel many times.  In the past 2 years, Wolverine went from Issue #20 to Issue #300 to celebrate Wolverine’s 300th issue, the numbering stayed in the 300’s but had Issue #310 come out before #309.

Honestly, does the numbering even really mean anything?  We have so much serialized entertainment on TV and such.  We don’t say that we watched the 27th episode of Walking Dead, so why do we the same thing with the comics?  The comics have the same kind of story arcs that you see on so many TV shows today, and then the stories are collected into a trade paperback much the same way as TV shows are collected in DVD boxsets.

Doesn’t it make more sense to release them as Batman: Court of the Owls #1-9 or Batman Series 1 #1-9.  Dark Horse recently changed their Star Wars titles to move away from ongoing stories to short 5 issues arcs.  You have 5 issues released and then that story goes away for a few months and then comes back with another 5 issues series.  Sounds an awful lot like a TV show schedule to me.

With how often Marvel and DC are putting out #1 issues now, it only makes sense that this is an idea that is coming sooner or later.

Just remember the numbers are meaningless.  If you like the characters, pick up a book, read it, and keep Wikipedia bookmarked.  Just jump in the pool at any time, the water is not nearly as deep as it may seem.

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