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Getting Into Comics With High Numbers


I was introduced to comics in late 1988 with a stack of Silver Age books Mom had grandpa bring for me–to my knowledge, he simply grabbed a bunch from a cabinet that he and my uncle kept them in…so there was a mix of “Batman” and “Superman” stuff, and probably other DC characters…possibly some Marvel, but they were more DC guys than Marvel.

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In spring 1989 when I learned that they STILL MADE COMICS, that one could still buy NEW COMICS, brand-new, these stories were STILL GOING ON, it was Mom that bought me my first four comics: Detective Comics #604, Adventures of Superman #453, Batman #439, and Superman (rebooted) #31. Not a #1 amidst them, and at the time absolutely no knowledge nor expectation of backtracking TO a #1. When Action Comics eventually returned to the “Superman Family,” it was still several months before I came across the title myself, and my first issue was #651.

It was Captain America #425-beginning the twelve-part Fighting Chance story–that primarily pulled me into having an interest on that title (and that after it not bothering me at all seeing a #400 on an issue tying into Operation: Galactic Storm), and it wasn’t a new creative team or a new #1 that got me into The Flash…it was simply the start of a new arc at #197 with the ongoing/continuing team that led me into several years of following the book, into Infinite Crisis and all the shenanigans with the character, series, numbering from there.

Maybe once upon a time, a #1 was special or significant…but now with ENTIRE LINES being restarted at #1 and doing so REPEATEDLY, every couple years or so such that it’s actually surprising for anything to hit #30, let alone #50 or up, it’s NOT special, and I for one have less faith in a series’ longevity now than ever before: if a book has lasted 120+ issues, that’s a 10-year run, a 10-year history or pedigree, it means that whatever they’re doing with it, it has lasted a decade or more, and isn’t just some short year-and-a-half flash-in-the-pan thing likely to disappear within a “few” months of me getting involved.

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2 Responses

  1. Excellent post!

    You and I have very similar comics histories, I got into them in 1989 as well! The high numbers never made me not want to start reading, it made me want to learn more about the characters, their stories, and what made them what they were.

    Marvel can launch a Fantastic Four #1 today, and that does not sweep 50+ years of history away… Fans, speculators, and looky-loos can buy it, and they will still be subjected to some measure of backstory.

    There is no “clean” restart… You’re not going to reboot Superman and not include Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, and the Daily Planet. Even if they claim it’s a “from the ground up” reboot… there are too many elements steeped in decades worth of history that will be included. They cannot change the past, no amount of #1’s will change that.

  2. […] picking up any issues of his actual series on any regular basis, though, until #197 (Geoff Johns, first issue of the Blitz arc) in 2003 or so, and I’ve moved forward from there. I’ve become aware of several […]

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