Introduction to "Comic Book Numbering"

Comic book numbering used to be a very simple issue - each issue was incremented one number from the preceding issue in a simple natural number sequence starting at issue #1 until infinity.

Occasionally there would be some complications when a series was re-named (often when a key character in an ongoing anthology becomes popular enough for their own title), such as "The Incredible Hulk (1968)" taking over the numbering from "Tales to Astonish (1959)" or "Captain America (1968)" taking over the numbering of "Tales of Suspense (1959)".

However, DC Comics started an inadvertent trend when John Byrne re-structured the Man of Steel in the mid-1980's. All Superman comics (Action Comics and Superman) were taken offline for a few months, and a re-launch re-started Superman (1987) with a new #1, and continued the pre-existing Superman (1939) numbering with "Adventures of Superman (1987)". Superman (2006) re-merged Superman (1987) and Adventures of Superman (1987) to a single title.

Both DC and Marvel comics insisted on the occassional oddly numbered comic (0, -1 for Marvel, 1,000,000 for DC) which made continuity of numbering strange.

Marvel had a mathematical psychotic break and sold off key characters (e.g. Hulk, Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America and the Fantastic Four) to a group of artist/writers in the ill-fated "Heroes Reborn" period of about a year in the mid-1990's, each series being re-started as a new #1. This experiment lasted about a year from 1996 to 1997, where the characters were re-introduced into the "real" (616) universe of Marvel in "Heroes Return".

Marvel's marketing department, realizing that "#1" issues had extra purchase value, began randomly re-starting series to generate new #1's. Later, someone woke up and realized that they were missing the chance to capitalize on significant milestone issues (500, 600 etc.) and began to re-number the ongoing series, with mixed success. Some re-numbering was simply the inclusion of series X and series Y of the same character, with the new numbering being the sum. However, with other series, the effect was somewhat confusing (see Hulk).

This site is an attempt to make sense of the numbering issues.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Read - Hulk (2014) and Indestructible Hulk (2011)

Hulk (2014) #1

I haven't been reading much Marvel Now, as I haven't been thinking Marvel was treating their main characters very well.  Not sure what they are doing with Spider-Man - seems like they are trying to completely alienate any readers over 3 years old - keeping old storylines best left forgotten (e.g. Brand New Day, Clone Saga, Ezekiel, Goblin-Stacy...).

However, I relented and read Hulk (2014) and Indestructible Hulk (2011) - read in wrong order, but liked both.

Both series seem to have gravitated to a good version of the Hulk, having his intelligence somewhat variable, and having a better "relationship" between Banner and Hulk - "Hulk smash, Banner Build" or whatever the verbiage is.  They went a little too spacey for a while, but seem to be drawing from the history of the character in a positive way.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Finished (Comic): "All-Star Batman and Robin (2005)" - Miller and Lee - DC Comics

I read the 10-issue "All-Star Batman and Robin" series by Frank Miller (writer) and Jim Lee (artist).

The story was a gritty re-telling of the origin of Robin - his circus acrobat parents murdered in front of young Dick Grayson after a performance attended by Bruce Wayne.

The characterization of Batman drew criticism due to the quite remarkable cruelty he displayed - being very stoic and harsh to Grayson's grief, even smacking him across the face and expecting him to hunt and eat bats in the bat cave for food.

Odd behaviour aside, the story does run well, and shows a very adult re-telling, with appearances by the Joker, Batgirl and Black Canary.  As an "outside continuity" story, it's worth the read - the art, in particular, make the story worth looking through.  Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man and Superman also have cameos.

There is a fair bit of humour - the catchpharse "I'm Goddamn Batman" starts in issue #1, and seeing an early version of Superman having to run over the ocean to France to fetch a doctor is pretty amusing.

If these covers look different, that's because DC was in the "buy many copies because I made many covers" mode.


  Cover for All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder #10 (2008)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Read "Graduation Day" Mini-series - DC Comics 2003

I know, a little behind the times, but I've just read Young Justice and Teen Titans Graduation Day.  I never really liked the Teen Titans, maybe I was too old to find the teen sidekicks interesting, and wasn't reading comics much during the Young Justice years.

A very nicely put together story - the two teams fail in a mission to handle an unknown robot-lady and end up hospitalized.  Superman appears, a little wooden and non-communicative.  Turns out to be a malfunctioning robot with super-powers turned on a bunch of kids.

Not sure what I was expecting, but it turned out to be an interesting mini-series.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Great Visit of 2014 - Superman's House

The Great Visit of 2014

March 21 to 23rd, 2014 I had the opportunity to visit Cleveland to attend my daughter’s dance competition.  My son and I took the opportunity to visit the home of Superman.

The Superman story is a very interesting tale.  Jerry Siegel (the writer) and Joe Shuster (the artist) began collaborating during High School in Glenville, OH (now part of Cleveland), putting images and articles in the Glenville Torch (high school newspaper).  The submitted stories to early science fiction magazines and wrote fan letters, all with the dream to become newspaper cartoonists, which was a very lucrative and fame-creating role in the depression era.

Superman was not an immediate hit.  It took persistence to keep flogging the character, and they worked on other features in the meantime.  Comic books were in their infancy and the initial ones were re-prints of newspaper comics.

The forerunners of the current DC comics decided to try to produce a comic book with new material, and they had the Superman strips which had been submitted.  Siegel and Shuster re-vamped the daily strip to a single story, and for $160, Superman was the cover feature on Action Comics #1, cover dated June 1938.
Action Comics #1, June 1938 launched the modern super-hero comic.

Nobody predicted the success of the Superman character.  Siegel and Shuster were just happy to find a paying job.  However, as the money started to roll in, and rolled away from Siegel and Shuster, they began to have second thoughts of their “take” on the value of their creation.

Siegel, in particular, had a long series of legal battles with DC Comics over the profits related to Superman.  These cases settled several times, though the value of the character kept increasing, so before the ink was even dry on any particular agreement, it immediately seemed to be ripping off the creators.

The neighbourhood, which would likely have been a working class neighbourhood in the high school days of Siegel and Shuster is now in pretty rough shape.  May homes are borded up, some lots bare.  A few homeowners have kept up their properties, but seem to be losing the battle with time.  Siegel’s house is still present, and well maintained, and does have a family living in it, so it is not a museum.  Decorations and plaques mark the home as being special and keep the memory of what once was alive.

Street signs in the neighbourhood recognize the famous friends - Kimberley Avenue is listed as "Jerry Siegel Lane".  

My son Bennett in front of the house that Jerry Siegel lived in when creating Superman in the 1930's.  Much of the neighbourhood shows the rough times working class Cleveland has gone through, but this house is inhabited and in good shape.

A Superman Logo and a Superman "S" from the early Shuster art adorns the fence in front of the former Siegel home.

The plaque reads:
This is the house where Superman was born.

Writer Jerry Siegel (1914-1996) was a teenaged boy who lived her during the Great Depression, one of the toughest economic times for Cleveland and the country.

Jerry wasn't popular.  He was a dreamer, and he knew how to dream big.  With his best friend, artist Joe Shuster, these two boys created a bright fantasy world of spaceships, strange planets and a a city where a young man in red an blue tights could leap over tall buildings in a single bound.

They called him Superman.

They didn't just give us they world's first super hero....They gave us something to believe in.

The Superman "S" shield as depicted in early Superman works in Action Comics by artist Joe Shuster.

On the top floor you can almost imagine the creation of Superman, and can almost glimpse him in the windows.

Joe Shuster’s home is no longer present, but the location is marked with blown-up pages from Action Comics #1, the first appearance of the Man of Steel, Superman.

We made two visits to this neighbourhood – the first was shocking, as I hadn’t anticipated such a run-down neighbourhood.  However, shock aside, the second visit showed a more positive side – a team of neighbours were spring cleaning the vacant lot across the street from the Siegel home.

Some panels are missing, but this is the lot of the teen home of Joe Shuster, the artist of the Superman creation team.  These panels are from Action Comics #1, which recently sold for over $3 million.

Parkwood is the street that connects Amor (Joe Shuster Lane) amd Kimberley (Jerry Siegel Lane).  It is appropriately called "Lois Lane".

A downloaded image of the Shuster home lot when the fence was more complete.

 A plaque marking the neighbourhood of Siegel and Shuster at E105 St. and St. Clair Ave.

The plaque reads:
Home of Superman
(on front) Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Two Glenville High School students imbued with imagination and talent and passion for science fiction and comics, had dream become reality in 1932.  They created Superman, the first of the superheroes ever to see print.  The 1932 prototype was a villainous suerhero.  Superman then became the hero who has been called the Action Ace, the Man of Steel, and the Man of Tomorrow. 
(on back) Although the success of Superman spawned an entire industry, publishers and newspaper syndicates did not originally accept the creation.  Superman did not appear until 1938 when he became a lead feature on the cover of Action Comics No. 1.  As co-creators of the most famous of mythical beings, Siegal (sic) and Shuster infused popular American culture with one of the most enduring icons of the 20th century.  Superman has appeared in animated series, live-action series, major motion pictures, advertisements, and comic books, where his popularity grows with each generation of readers.

The Ohio Bicentennial Commission
The Ohio Historical Society


A very good book (which I picked up in Cleveland on this particular trip) is called "Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster--the Creators of Superman" by Brad Ricca.
Super Boys

A map can be found around Cleveland (comic book stores and elsewhere) marking milestones in the Superman creation legend.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Comic Company Crossovers


When I was a kid I saw the oversized Superman-Spider-Man comic on the shelves of the store.  I loved that story, not just Superman and Spider-Man, but Jimmy Olsen and Clark Kent meeting Peter Parker, Perry White meeting J. Jonah Jameson.

I've always carried a soft spot for the crossovers.  I later found that there were other crossovers, not just Marvel and DC.  Here is the list I've created - ordered by companies and years.  I doubt it is complete, but it probably has all the Marvel and DC crossovers.

Please let me know if there are any more.

I have included some odd titles which aren't really crossovers:

"Stan Lee's Just Imagine...." is a series where Stan Lee re-creates DC's key characters (e.g. Just Imagine Stan Lee's Batman).
The "Amalgam" comics aren't exactly crossovers, they also are re-imaginings, where a DC and Marvel character are mixed together (e.g. Batman and Wolverine, or Storm and Wonder Woman, or Superboy and Spiderman).

Title Year Companies Total Issues
Judge Dredd vs Aliens 2003 Dark Horse and 2000 AD 4
Just Imagine – Stan Lee's 2001 DC (and Marvel) 12
Batman & Judge Dredd - Judgement on Gotham 1991 DC and 2000 AD 1
Batman & Judge Dredd - Vendetta in Gotham 1993 DC and 2000 AD 1
Batman and Judge Dredd - The Ultimate Riddle 1995 DC and 2000 AD 1
Judge Dredd & Lobo - Psycho Bikers vs Mutants from Hell 1995 DC and 2000 AD 1
Batman & Judge Dredd - Die Laughing 1998 DC and 2000 AD 2
Batman and Grendel - Devil's Riddle/Devil's Masque 1993 DC and Comico 2
Batman vs Predator I 1991 DC and Dark Horse 3
Batman vs Predator II 1995 DC and Dark Horse 4
Superman - Aliens 1995 DC and Dark Horse 3
Batman and Grendel - Devil's Bones 1996 DC and Dark Horse 2
Batman vs Aliens 1997 DC and Dark Horse 2
Batman vs Predator III 1997 DC and Dark Horse 4
Batman - Hellboy - Starman 1999 DC and Dark Horse 1
Batman - Tarzan - Claws of the Cat-Woman 1999 DC and Dark Horse 4
Superman vs Terminator - Death to the Future 1999 DC and Dark Horse 4
Green Lantern vs Aliens 2000 DC and Dark Horse 4
Superman vs Predator 2000 DC and Dark Horse 3
Justice League vs Predator 2001 DC and Dark Horse 1
Superman vs. Aliens II - God War 2002 DC and Dark Horse 4
Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predator 2007 DC and Dark Horse 2
Catwoman and Vampirella 1997 DC and Harris 1
Batman - Spawn - War Devil 1994 DC and Image 1
Spawn and Batman 1994 DC and Image 1
Superman and Savage Dragon - Metropolis
Superman and Savage Dragon - Chicago
Superman vs Spiderman
DC and Image
DC and Image
DC and Marvel
Batman vs Hulk 1981 DC and Marvel 1
Superman vs Spiderman 1981 DC and Marvel 1
X-men vs New Teen Titans 1982 DC and Marvel 1
Batman – Punisher 1994 DC and Marvel 1
Punisher – Batman 1994 DC and Marvel 1
Darkseid vs Galactus 1995 DC and Marvel 1
Green Lantern – Silver Surfer 1995 DC and Marvel 1
Spiderman – Batman 1995 DC and Marvel 1
Amalgam Comics 1996 DC and Marvel 12
Batman – Captain Amieica 1996 DC and Marvel 1
DC vs Marvel 1996 DC and Marvel 1
DC vs Marvel – All Access 1996 DC and Marvel 1
Silver Surfer – Superman 1996 DC and Marvel 1
All Access Unlimited 1997 DC and Marvel 1
Amalgam Comics 1997 DC and Marvel 12
Batman – Spiderman 1997 DC and Marvel 1
Daredevil – Batman 1997 DC and Marvel 1
Hulk vs Superman 1999 DC and Marvel 1
Superman – Fantastic Four 1999 DC and Marvel 1
Batman – Daredevil 2000 DC and Marvel 1
The Darkness - Batman 1999 DC and Top Cow 1
JLA - Witchblade 2000 DC and Top Cow 1
JLA and Cyberforce 2005 DC and Top Cow 1
The Darkness and Superman 2005 DC and Top Cow 2
Planetary Batman - Night on Earth 2003 DC and Wildstorm 1
Batman and Danger Girl 2005 DC and Wildstorm 1
Witchblade - Darkchylde 2000 Image and Top Cow 1
Tomb Raider - The Darkness 2001 Image and Top Cow 1
The Darkness & Tomb Raider 2005 Image and Top Cow 1
The Darkness and Vampirella 2005 Image and Top Cow 1
Misc Witchblade issues Image and Top Cow 16
The Punisher Meets Archie 1994 Marvel and Archie 1
Shi and Daredevil - Honour thy Mother 1997 Marvel and Crusade Comics 1
Wolverine Shi - Dark Night of Judgment 2000 Marvel and Crusade Comics 1
Marvel Zombies vs Army of Darkness 2007 Marvel and Dynamite 5
Backlash and Spider-Man 1996 Marvel and Image 2
Badrock and Wolverine 1996 Marvel and Image 1
Deathblow and Wolverine 1996 Marvel and Image 2
Spider-Man and Gen 13 1996 Marvel and Image 1
Spiderman and Badrock 1997 Marvel and Image 2
Avengers and Ultraforce 1995 Marvel and Malibu 2
Nightman vs Wolverine 1995 Marvel and Malibu 1
Prime and Spiderman - What's A Hero Anyway 1995 Marvel and Malibu 1
Prime vs The Incredible Hulk 1995 Marvel and Malibu 1
Rune vs Silver Surfer 1995 Marvel and Malibu 2
Ultraforce and Spiderman 1996 Marvel and Malibu 1
Devil's Reign 1996 Marvel and Top Cow 9
Ballistic and Wolverine 1997 Marvel and Top Cow 1
Daredevil and Shi - Blind Faith 1997 Marvel and Top Cow 1
Wolverine and Witchblade 1997 Marvel and Top Cow 1
The Darkness - Hulk 2004 Marvel and Top Cow 1
Witchblade and Wolverine 2004 Marvel and Top Cow 1
The Darkness - Wolverine 2006 Marvel and Top Cow 1
Cyber Force and X-Men 2007 Marvel and Top Cow 1
Unholy Union 2007 Marvel and Top Cow 1
Witchblade and Punisher 2007 Marvel and Top Cow 1
Magdalena - Daredevil - The Devil in Longhand 2008 Marvel and Top Cow 1
Team X and Team 7 1996 Marvel and Wildstorm 1
WWIII 1997 Marvel and Wildstorm 4
Painkiller Jane vs. Darkness 1997 Top Cow and Event Comics 1
Witchblade Devi 2008 Top Cow and Virgin Comics 1