The following is a CBU Roundtable Discussion on a recent Bleeding Cool report by Jude Terror in which he reports that Marvel Comics is having a bit of trouble reconciling their re-numberings for their Legacy initiative that’s launching this September.
Special thanks to Bleeding Cool dot com for sparking the conversation within the CBU’s Halls of Justice.
From the article: As they reveal the creative teams and series details behind the Marvel Legacy titles, Marvel Comics has been hard at work trying to figure out the math behind the legacy numbers for their books. Yesterday, Marvel claimed that Incredible Hulk would return to legacy numbering with #708, but later issued a correction, naming #709 as the new number.
John Razumich (Howard the Duck): Sweet Christmas.
Ryan Gaumer (Iceman): Just this week I was reading a comic, and it was pretty good, then I looked at the number on front and was like, oh no, fuck that.
Stephane Trahan (Ninjak): So according to these calculations we missed Bruce Banner’s Hulk #700 SPECIAL . . . Ok guys, cancel this renumbering, lets wait for issue 750.
Ryan Gaumer: What is the goal here? Are they trying to make it easier for collectors? Does this help them or make it more difficult? Give the illusion of long-running series? Who does that fool?
This is yet another in a now long-running line of PR missteps and or blunders.
Just try to make good comics, tell people how you are trying to make them good, and then give them another reason to buy them that’s attractive.
This ain’t landing on the fucking moon.
Stephane Trahan: And stop renumbering each 12-18 months, just stick to where the numbers are and keep going.
Ryan Gaumer: I don’t even mind that. Numbers on the covers never really gave me much pause.
Oh, except the price tag, of course
Brandon Rucker (Professor X): Ryan, I’ll copy/paste what I said the other day on this topic: They’re really only doing the legacy number thing as a gimmick — just as we all suspected. They don’t really care about respecting those numbers or their legacy really. They just want to seize the opportunity to cash in on the big anniversary numbers that are coming up. But here’s the rub . . . those numbers when thrown around and invalidated so often and willy-nilly don’t mean shit. So why should folks knock down the doors of their LCS just to pay for meaningless $5.99 (or higher) anniversary issues in 2018?
I also said: Oh, and the stories are likely going to be vapid homages to classic stories from the past. #TheHouseOfIdeas
Ryan Gaumer: If the anniversary issue is good for goodness sake then it won’t matter. And that will depend on a lot more than the price.
We all know Marvel really doesnt need an excuse to put out a high dollar book, but it’s all about the payoff. If it’s a good book it’s a good book. Marvel’s problem is their books ain’t all the good on the whole. Again, the stuff I like, I still like. This is more about sales numbers and their current strategy to market the response to those low numbers, i.e. Legacy.
But if we’re just going to get reprinted trash in those 8 dollar annys, I wont be buying.
From the article: Marvel included the 58 issues of Tales to Astonish that did not include HULK, while at the same time neglecting to include the original six issue volume of The Incredible Hulk.
Brandon Rucker: You can’t make this stuff up. Tom Brevoort, the longest sitting editor there should have known that Hulk’s original 1962 “miniseries” needed to be included and he should have informed marketing about this. Mark Gruenwald is spinning in his grave right now.
John Razumich: Technically it wasn’t a miniseries. That term didn’t exist back then, and I don’t think Stan planned on cancelling Hulk until numbers (and distribution issues) made it necessary.
Brandon Rucker: I’m writing in 2017 vernacular…those 6-issues together as a volume formed what’s consider a miniseries. I think to belabor it more than that with the historical detail (which most of us should already know) and technicalities digresses the conversation into nerd territory even beyond what I would normally subject folks to in this kind of discussion.
Ryan Gaumer: And what if they ever want to go back to using the Tales to Astonish title (which I would probably buy the first issue of, at least if they released it tomorrow)?
Brandon Rucker: Yeah, bro. The numbers shouldn’t matter, and in this day and age after a decade of this kind of stuff, they hardly do. But now Marvel’s insisting that they do matter, yet an undertaking like this should not be half-assed.
Ryan Gaumer: I’m still wanting to see creative teams and something – anything – about the “new” that is promised. SDCC is a week away.
Brandon Rucker: Creative teams have been trickling out the last couple of days. A couple story details too, I believe.
From the Article: But when it comes to Iron Man, Marvel isn’t making any sense. When it came to Hulk, Marvel included Tales to Astonish, even where Hulk himself wasn’t in the book. But for Iron Man, Marvel leaves out Tales of Suspense, even the issues that did feature Iron Man! Why apply two different standards to these books?
Ryan Gaumer: Yeah, it all seems like more of the same . . . except Falcon is . . .Falcon again. But that’s not “new”, everyone knew that shit was happening as soon as Nick Spencer was off the book.
Brandon Rucker: It’s occurred to me that not only is this move about capitalizing on anniversary issues in 2018, it may also be about wanting to look more “mature” as a publishing line than DC Comics since they’re on a re-re-numbering scheme currently. Marvel is petty enough for both reasons to be true.
Daryll Benjamin (Alex Wilder): Wait. You mean Marvel is not honest or accurate when it comes to these faux numbers? I’m shocked! SHOCKED I tell ya! Again, those sucked in by this deserve what they get.
Brandon Rucker: Crazy thing is, Marvel has conditioned their consumers to a willy-nilly approach to numbers the last 6-7 years that I find it hard to believe that this re-numbering scheme means to their consumers what Marvel thinks/hopes it means to them. Hell, if this stunt isn’t the final nail in the coffin they’ve been building of late — especially if the stories are ultimately weak sauce — then I don’t know what would finally force them to truly course-correct. How far away is rock bottom at this point? Apparently, given the units they still manage to move, perhaps further than anyone can truly know.
Michael Tennant: Marvel seems more than willing to push false narratives. So numbers that do not add up are not a surprise. They simply assume their fan base will not look too hard and accept whatever they feed them as gospel. Sadly, they are often correct.
They seem to care less about putting out a quality product as long as numbers roll in. That is short sighted. Each of their promotions and relaunches have found lesser returns. Long time readers are frustrated and new readers are few and far between.
Sean McPhillimy Taylor: I come back to what I was saying the last time Marvel was discussed. I stand by this Legacy appearing to be shallow and a gimmick, much like ResurreXtion has proven to be.
As for “good” vs. “bad” stories, they are clearly telling stories people out there want to read and are enjoying. Marvel appears to have successfully widened its fan base with its diversity push – specifically its female focus – and while the LCS’s I know are all ordering much less issues of each Marvel event, the solo books and team books tend to hold steady.
Is Marvel staying #1 solely due to the sheer amount of books they publish compared to DC’s more limited amount of individual titles? Is the growth of creator owned hurting DC more than Marvel? Although it does seem that DC is who has taken the most creator owned talent off the market the past 1-2 years.
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