We’re Number One! …In other words, nothing special

If you've been reading my column each week, first of all, THANK YOU. Secondly, you know that I'm a big fan of trying to understand the processes by which the publishers achieve their results. Publishers, particularly the larger publishers with a larger monthly catalog, adapt to what's working at the time and milk that for all it's worth. Even if it might be self-limiting in the long run. Probably the best example of this (in a bad way) was the proliferation of crazy covers in the 90s. It wasn't enough to have a chrome cover. You had to have a colorized chrome color, with relief lettering and a 3-D hologram. Now THAT was the key to success. Until it wasn't, and the market nearly collapsed for good.

Coverbrowser.com Avengers 363 Image

In today’s market, it would be great if we can say we’ve learned our lessons. But have we? As a reader, you may not realize that the publishers continue to use gimmicks (or what they would call strategies) to maintain the sales momentum for their lines.

  • Variant Covers – It doesn’t take a lot of deep analysis to see that variant covers improve sales into the direct market. That’s worthy of a column on its own down the line, but for now just take my word that it’s a factor. 

  • Events/Crossovers – We can debate whether this is more of a natural evolution of story-telling or a gimmick until the cows come home, but no matter which side you’re on it’s impossible to argue that events and line-wide crossovers are vitally important to maintaining sales

  • Renumbering – This is the gimmick I want to spend some time on this week, mainly because it’s a newer convention. For a long time, publishers (particularly Marvel and DC) valued the long-standing nature of their key titles. There was a sense of pride and cachet in having a book last into the 300-400-500-600s. These days? Not so much, save for a few of the untouchable franchises like Action Comics, Detective Comics, Fantastic Four and Uncanny X-Men

 

The Re-Numbering Convention

Avengers 1 Heroic Age CoverIn aggregate, comic sales in the direct market are OK. But on an individual title, there is a systematic decline from the first issue onward. The vast majority of books DECLINE in sales each month. Roughly 10% or so increase for reasons ranging from a new creative team, anniversary issue, event tie-in, etc…but the rest degrade until they’re to a point where the publishers have to either cut bait, or re-launch.

Avengers Week, anyone? Sure, the Avengers titles were among Marvel’s top sellers, but you can be sure that the relaunch will goose the average book by a significant percentage. And then those books will begin their slow aggregate decline until it’s time to do another event or, you guessed it, renumber again. 

So how prevalent has re-numbering become? 

I gathered up the Diamond 300 from each of the last six months (1,802 titles b/c of two ties in the list) and then counted how many of those 1,802 issues were either:

  • #1 issues of an ongoing

  • #1 issues of a limited series

  • One-shots

Anyone care to guess how many fit this bill? NINETEEN PERCENT (19%)!

Yes, you read that right.

In the last six months, at least 19% of the comics on the stands were FIRST ISSUES. Here is some more data to chew on:

Issues                     Cumulative%

#1s or One Shots               19.0%
#1-2                                      28.0%
#1-3                                      37.1%
#1-4                                      45.3%
#1-5                                      50.9%
#1-6                                      54.7%
#1-12                                    66.1%
#1-24                                    75.9%
#1-50                                    85.8%
#1-100                                  89.7%

 

What this shows is that more than half of the comics published in the last six months (50.9%) were on their 5th or earlier issue. If you count comics that are up to Issue #12 (i.e., a year’s worth), we account for 66.1% of all published work. Once we get up to #24, we’re looking at 75.9% of the market. Think about that for a second. More than three-fourths of all comics on the stand have been running for less than 2 years (or re-numbered). As you can see, almost 90% of the market is accounted for once we expand our limit to Issue #100 or less. 

 

What It’s  Happening

There are a number of consumer behaviors that have help perpetuate the tendency for re-numbering.

  • Writing/Waiting for the Trade – As collected editions grow in importance, so too has the convention of writing for the trade. What that really means is that writers are now mainly focused on 4-, 5- and 6-issue arcs that just so happen to neatly coincide with the number of pages required to make a suitable collected edition.

  • Expanded Catalog by the Big Publishers – Marvel and DC routinely put out 70-80-90 books per month now. And that means a lot of thematic works that tie into core existing titles. So each month they try to gain incremental sales by throwing out a few one shots or minis that coincide with the major storylines in the key series.

  • The Mythological “Good Jumping On Point” – To borrow from my friend and fellow columnist Tom Katers, the “Jumping On Point” has become this massive hurdle in publishers minds that just never existed when we were first getting into the hobby. I picked up X-Men in the middle of a storyline and was so intrigued that I eventually went back and found the older issues. And that wasn’t the exception. I NEVER gave consideration to whether a book as ‘starting a new arc’ when I bought it. I just accepted that I was jumping onto a moving train and would catch up as I went along. Publishers don’t give readers enough credit today. They have convinced themselves that we need to be spoon fed new starting points or we won’t buy the books. But where the logic fails is that many readers use re-numbering conventions as great JUMPING OFF POINTS, too.

For now the tendency toward re-numbering seems to be having the desired effect. #1s get our attention. But the question is whether or not buyers will build up a tolerance as the idea that books get relaunched every so often loses its ability to excite our curiosity. I can't help but be concerned when more than 50% of the books on the shelves are numbered 1 through 5. Consumers are now trained to expect series to wrap up in short arcs, and it's a lot less significant when book that was on Issue #13 gets a new #1 than say a book that was at Issue #550 and now gets a refresh. Time will tell if this gimmick was a short term success but long-term problem like Chromium covers, or whether it's just a new status quo in an age when stories are wrapped up in arcs for greenfield consumption in the collected edition market. What do YOU think about this issue?

 


Jason is a mutant with the ability to squeeze 36 hours into every 24-hour day, which is why he was able to convince his wife he had time to join the iFanboy team on top of running his business, raising his three sons, and most importantly, co-hosting the 11 O'Clock Comics podcast with his buddies Vince B, Chris Neseman and David Price. If you are one of the twelve people on Earth who want to read about comics, the stock market and football in rapid fire succession, you can follow him onTwitter.

Comments

  1. Jason, were annuals included in your data (I’m thinking of R.E.B.E.L.S., but that might be older than six months)?  Would they count as one-shots?

  2. As always, nice piece.  What really surprised me this past month was the fact that Thunderbolts didn’t launch with a new #1.  I wonder if that title’s numbers were on par with the other Avengers themed books that relaunched with #1’s.  Considering the direction the book is taking and the emergin Heroic Age, it’s intertesting that they didn’t renumber it.

  3. Hmm, Interesting. I’ve been shopping for eighties comic books and noticed that it was easier to jump in at any point than "arc-based" stories. Like you say stories are more trade-written now so yes, "jumping on points" and "jumping off points"are a factor. If you jump in the middle of an arc well, you may like it but you will not be getting the first part of the story. It’s like getting to the movie theatre late and missing the first 15 minutes. You kind of feel left out. But in the eighties, the structure of stories seemed more single issue driven. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t know, it’s an interesting subject for sure!

    I like your #1s table. Really shows that there kind of is an overkill. I’m not an avid #1 collector personally but I know some guys who get every #1 they can get their hands on.

  4. @DAP — Annuals were counted as numbered. So in R.E.B.E.L.S. it was included in the 1/One-Shot tally.

     

  5. Sorry by these stats do not make much sense in aggregate as presented in the article.  Of course, if you include one-shots and miniseries that by definitions usually don’t last more than 6 issues, you artificially get those results.  To analyze the re-numbering phenomenon you would need to remove one-shots and miniseries from your stats.

  6. Great article, Jason. I admit, I’m on the side of the argument that enjoys the longer numbering conventions of yesteryear. It’s like your title says… there’s nothing really special about #1 issues anymore. I’m hoping that you’re right about this possibly being another "Foil Cover" craze that will eventually die down. 

  7. Great piece Jason. I am with you in the idea that publishers are spoon-feeding us to lure in new readers with yet another new #1 issue, and every time I see the phrase “jumping on point” I cringe. If a book is good then readers will track down the issues for a backstory, that was part of the fun in this hobby when I started reading comics in the 70’s. I think it’s insulting to the existing audience to re-number books to lure new readers in, why should the long standing customer be forced to accomodate marketing aimed at the new reader? Why risk alienating your existing clien in hopes of getting a new one? Part of the allure of this hobby is the long and rich tradition, and the constant renumbering just erodes that.

  8. Two points:

    1. I totally have that issue of AVENGERS.

    2. I think that the "jumping on point" is a very important factor. The companies might not give readers enough credit, but I don’t think most readers do either. Easily the most common question we get here and through email and in person is "Where can I start reading ____?" Readers these days seem obsessed with knowing everything going on with every character on every page in every comic they read. There’s no sense of discovery anymore. People don’t seem to read comic and see a side character that they find interesting and then feel inspired to find out about them, instead they view not knowing everything in a comic about every character as a failure of the creative team.We tell people all the time to just jump on books and those that listen seem to handle it pretty well when they realize it’s not that hard to figure out what’s going on. But there’s a pervasive sense that if you don’t know everything that’s going on you’ll be lost.

    Of course, comics are written totally differently now and don’t do readers who are scared to jump on any favors. I can’t count the number of times that I’ll read through an entire book and realize that no one’s names are ever said. In the 80s and early 90s every issue of a comic were written with a lot more exposition than modern readers will tolerate.

  9. @odino1 It’s easy enough to segregate them but I don’t see the point. Conventionally on the stands most people aren’t going to differentiate between a one shot, mini or ongoing. They’re going to see it’s a number one. But even if you accept that premise, the truth is many series these days start out as ongoings, and end up minis; and sometimes it happens the other way around too (e.g., G.I. Joe Cobra).

     

  10. I’m certain that FF was renumbered after Heroes Return. And then resumed original numbering during the Waid Wieringo run. And I really thought that Marvel was making huge steps to bring all of their longer running titles back to their original numbering, and that New Avengers was on it’s way towards Avengers #600. Maybe after 32 issues of the new Bendis/Romita Avengers, it will switch over? Or does New Avengers count towards that? Will New Avengers vol. 2 switch over to #100 after 36 issues? My head hurts.

  11. @Conor — You are right that expectations on the reader side are different now, too. This whole notion of things being inaccessible drives me up a wall. There are absolutely books that are inaccessible, but the vast majority aren’t if someone is willing to try. I guess you could say the same thing happens in other forms of media too now. How many people don’t jump on a show like Lost of Flash Forward or 24 at the start and therefore decide to wait for the DVD box set or until they can catch up on Hulu? Frustrating as an old timer who just LOVES the joy of jumping into something new and experiencing it, and letting the universe of these characters envelop you over time.

  12. @ActualButt — Reverse numbering is just the other side of the same coin. Daredevil 500, Hulk 600, Deadpool 900, Wonder Woman 600, etc…it’s all just trickery to make someone FEEL like the book is somehow more important. I guess I’m a bit more tolerant of the retroactive numbering because at least that gets us back to where we should’ve been in the first place. But you are certainly right to think that many of these titles will just be renumbering in some capacity once sales dwindle again.

     

  13. @Wood: I think it’s probably a result of the DVD/DVR era, I think.

  14. I think Marvel and DC are shooting themselves in the foot with all of this #1/one-shot/mini-series nonsense when it comes to the trade paperback market.  Instead of having clean trade dresses with clear numbering, think Fables or Y-The Last Man, we get a lot of trades with weird numbering and sub-titles that only add to the confusion.  
    Take for example Captain America since Brubaker started his run.  The following are the titles for the trade paperbacks in order of the issues.  (Issue numbers in parentheses.)    
    Captain America Vol. 1: Winter Soldier, Book One (1-7)
    Captain America Vol. 2: Winter Soldier, Book Two (8, 9; 11-14)
    Captain America Vol. 3: Red Menace, Book One (15 – 17 & Captain America 65th Anniversary Special)
    Captain America: Red Menace, Book Two (18-21)
    Captain America Vol. 5: Civil War (22-24 and the Winter Soldier: Winter Kills One-Shot)
    The Death of Captain America, Vol. 1: The Death of the Dream (25-30) 
    The Death of Captain America, Vol. 2: The Burden of Dreams (31-36)
    The Death of Captain America, Vol. 3: The Man Who Bought America (37 – 42)
    Captain America: The Man with No Face (43-48)
    Captain America: Road to Reborn (49-50; 600-601)
    Captain America: Reborn (Captain America: Reborn 1 – 5)
     
    How confusing is this?  I asked for “Captain America Vol. 1” for Christmas.  I received from a well-intentioned aunt “The Death of Captain America, Vol. 1” instead.  And, I had even sent her the proper link from Amazon!
     
    I think Vertigo is very smart to keep the trade dress the same on all of their books and to keep the numbering very simple.  It allows for someone like my wife, whose not “into” comics, to know where to start and which volume comes next.  Even if she was interested in Cap, she would give up well before she ever actually bought a trade.
     
    I think the same can be said for people who are new to comics who are interested in buying single issues.  If I want to read about Spider-Man, I can figure out that issue 600 comes before issue 601.  If I want to I can go backward and forward and figure out which stories came first.  With all the tie-ins today, it is almost impossible to know what the proper reading order should be, unless you buy it off the shelf on the week it comes out.  (And, sometimes, that’s not even enough.)
  15. @Connor: I think the reason people ask "Is this a good jumping on point?" is because comics are not written like they used to be.  It used to be that you could get a complete story in every issue.  Comics are now written for the trade, so writers rarely recap the action that has come before it.  There also used to be boxes on the page that would explain things, like the issue number where you could learn more about a particular plot point that happened in the past.  Don’t even get me started on how some writers, like Bendis, will put important plot points in completely different books, as if we all buy everything that they write.  I guess what I am saying is comics are confusing!  That’s why one-and-done books, like Brave and the Bold, or books that have no cross-overs, or are very self-contained, like Power Girl, are like a breath of fresh air.  I don’t have to track down a bunch of back issues to understand what is going on.  

  16. @ctrosejr: Yes, I mentioned that in my comment.

    But you’re also, an intelligent human being and you can work things out. I’ve started reading modern comics from teh middle and been able to eventually suss out who most people are and what is happening. Lots of people do it. I don’t think people give themselves enough credit.

  17. @Connor: You also said that readers today want to be spoon-fed information, or are obsessed with knowing every detail.  Why blame the readers?  I don’t feel I fall into either of those categories, but I also don’t want to jump into the middle of the story.

  18. @ctrosejr: I blame some readers because some readers are culpable. You may not be one of them, which is why I didn’t say every reader.

  19. Another fun article Wood. Thanks.

  20. @ctrosejr-Who is this "Connor" you are talking to?

    Great article, Mr. Wood. I always enjoy your number crunching and analysis. Equally entertaining are the informative discussions that they spur.

  21. Ha!  Sorry about that Conor!  

  22. @ctrosejr While you’re right that, in general, Vertigo does the best job of making it clear which trade falls where in the series, they’re not innocent in this, either. Good luck figuring out which Hellblazer trade goes before/after which.

    And, to address the point of the article, I don’t see why it’s a problem, excepting those books that are in high numbers already (Detective, Action, Batman, Amazing Spider-Man, etc.). Because they usually do it to coincide with a team change (New Avengers), or change in the overall story direction (Avengers), or after a particularly bad creative run or story where the character/team itself got destroyed (Thor), it makes sense from a business standpoint to make it a "new" series. I would prefer it if they didn’t do it for the higher numbered series, like Amazing Spider-Man, especially since the higher numbers are just as exciting as the number 1’s. Marvel in particular is making a specialty out of suddenly remembering a book’s legacy when they can get an impressive issue number out of it, as shown recently with Incredible Hulk and Thor.

    And mini-series shouldn’t count towards your statistics. I get your point about ongoings turning into minis because of cancellations, but a series that is conceived of as being only 6 issues to begin with is a different case than a relaunch of Avengers done to get the 1st issue sales boost.

  23. I also have that issue of Avengers. It’s signed by either Steve Epting or Tom Palmer, since I bought it with a bunch of other comics in a Toys R Us bundle. (I used to get most of my comics this way as well as JCPenney/Sears catalog grab-bags. I wish I could do that again…)

    A lot of indie series are ongoing minis, so I wonder what percentage of output those take up.

  24. if you look back at the history of Marvel comics you’ll see that this is the exact same strategy used in the 60s and 70s to overtake DC to become the largest comic publisher. Flood the market with #1’s of spin offs, reboots and new characters (some of which were designed to be crap and last for 10 issues or less) because they understood that newsstands and shops sold more of these #1’s than huge ongoing titles. The strategy of dominating shops/spinners/newsstands with Marvel only titles made them the mega publisher they are today. I guess there is always excitement of getting onto a new series and the publishers still adhere to this winning formula. 

    I’m just surprised that after the 90s and the complete fetishizing of #1’s and exclusive covers and all that, that comic collectors are still falling into these traps of short lived by design new series and artificial re-numberings. 

  25. While the stats including the minis are interesting, I second (third? fourth?)  the notion that what we really should be lookng at is the "on-going" series, if what you are trying to investigate is the renumbering phenomenon. There have been mini-series as long as I have been reading comics and by their nature they must be low numbers. So while it may be interesting to know if there are more mini-series than ever, that does seem to me a different marketing gimick, one designed to test out new creators and characters for a limited risk or jump on a hot fad character with limited risk of holding the bag when the fad ends.

    That 50% of all comics have low numbers doesn’t tell me much about renumbering until I know how much of that is minis. Another interesting number to give would be to look at those same numbering stats for all comics that have been running for a long time (say > 100 issues). That gets tricky to keep track of, but that would help separate re-numbering from launching new series from mini-series, each of which is a relatively different animal. Once you have that all divided up I think you will get the best feel for the present marketing/sales strategy of the big comic companies.

  26. Just my 2 cents here. It’s interesting, this little discussion regarding jumping into the middle of a story and not knowing what the hell is going on. I love the fact that Afrodisiac was so successful (thanks in large part to the Podcastverse) because that book was nothing but a collection brilliant vignettes that were implied to be part of a larger ongoing story. The "Big 2" are trying to maintain and grow their readership and they seem to approach that challenge by doing a number of things that have nothing to do with putting out satisfying and entertainging content (even though they DO actually realease a bunch of great books every month). We, as readers, are rewarding price increaes and renumbering schemes. Hopefully, we’ll also start rewarding brilliant artists, like Mr. Rugg, as well. 

     New Number 1 issues are also a sneaky way of bumping a title into that $3.99 price point. With of percieved value marketing you can push those first issues at almost any price. It is a little baffling that they continue to pull this stuff, but those books continue to sell sell sell.  

    Vote with your dollar. And enjoy your comics.                                                

  27. @Jason Wood/Ifanboy-Just wanted to say thanks for this article and these types of comic biz articles. 

    I know next to nothing about the general principles of business as a whole, and most of the time I don’t even care, but when it comes to comics, I love reading about it.  I think that being aware of this side of the comic book industry makes me (and hopefully the comics buying population) more responsible consumers.

    This week, I picked up four #1s and almost instantly decided to drop 2 of them.  Those weren’t even the gimmicky-type #1s.  It’s important to realize the awareness of the hype/marketing standpoint to avoid being sucked in to books I really know I don’t need.

     

  28. @odino1 – You don’t create false numbers by adding one-shots and first issues of limited serise. The reason there are so many one-shots now is because #1 issues sell. The existance of so many one-shots actually prove the author’s point.

    I started collecting comics in 1992, right around the time the gimmicks started exploding on the scene: the "breaking of the bat," the "death of Supman," "Hal Jordan: Parallax," X-books "Fatal Attractions" with hologram covers and the removal of Wolverine’s Adamantium at the hands of Magneto, "Zero Hour," the "collect coupons from all the Image titles this month to mail away for a copy of Image #0," or Magneto #0 from Marvel, Zero issues in general, trading card inserts. Then you could even get trading card inserts in a new #1 wit X-Force. If you wanted them all you had to buy 5 copies… just for trading cards! The formation of Image comics was almost a gimmick in itself at its inception. We had hologram covers, chromium covers, super-rare platinum covers. I have a copy of Sensational Spider-Man #1 polybagged with a cassette tape of the Ramones theme song for the 1990’s Spider-Man cartoon (although that is a great theme song).

    All that is just from the early-mid 90s! But how often did you see one-shots back then? How many Superman one-shots or even mini-series exist before Man of Steel in the mid-80s? How many Batman one-shots/minis before "The Dark Knight Returns"? Even the maxi-seroes was designated to works like Watchmen, Wanderers, and Camelot 3000, none of which were off-shoots of monthly titles. Yes, the Wanderers may have come from Legion of Super-Heroes, but it was certainly far removed enough from the Legion to hardly consider it a Legion book. 

    I don’t view returns to legacy numbering as being gimmicky, even if that is the intention. I view them as corrections to previous marketing gimmicks that disrepected the historical integrity of the characters. I can understand some renumbering. Blue Beetle for example was a title that had its shot once and was cancelled. It was rebooted much much later with a new lead character. But changing Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four to #1s is just insulting to the legacy of those characters.

    I realize it’s a business and they need to make profit, but the answer to that is better storytelling. Comics existed from the late 1930s until 1985 (Crisis on Infinite Earths) without major events that crossed over to every title they could squeeze in. They did this without reboots. In fact after a period of cancellation in the Golden Age, the Flash continued with Barry Allen in Flash #105 (not #1). X-Men after facing cancellation and becoming a reprint book, formed a new team (granted in the one-shot Giant-Sized X-Men #1), and continued from X-Men 94 onward. When Superboy shifted to feature the Legion of Super-Heroes, Superboy ended on #258 and the Legion began on #259 (after a long period of being titled "Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes" and "Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes").It is true, of course, that the Legion had afour-issue mini-series around this time, though I’m not sure I would call that a gimmick at the time. I’d say it was more of a test to see if they could sell the Legion as something other than an anthology feature.

    Now I’m not saying there is anything wrong with one-shots o rmini-series. Without anthology titles in the modern market, there is really no other way to test public interest. Referring back to that Legion mini-series, sometimes limited tryouts are necessary to test market demand. Sometimes characters are best served in minis rather than full series. Grant Morrison’s "Flex Mentallo" for example. Quite a noteworking mini-series, but would that hold the same success as a monthly? I enjoyed a Wonder Girl mini-series a few years ago, but I don’t need a Wonder Girl monthly. An occassional limited solo story is great though.

    A problem we see today is reboots and one-shots that aren’t fitting this type of mold. This Avengers reboot is a prime example. I love the Avengers ever since I started reading at Avengers Disassembled. I am not sure why this whole new set of cancellations and reboots is necessary for Marvel’s top-selling franchise. New Avengers is essentially the exact same thing as it always was. DC did the samething in the Batman books after RIP.

    Which brings us to character deaths. I won’t say much here, because it’s all been said before, but to tie it into the author’s topic of reboots, we saw an entire reboot of the entire Batman line over the "death" of a chararcter, who really was never dead. DC hit us with both the death gimmick and the reboot gimmick at the same time! Even though Detective didn’t lose its numbering its main feature was rebooted to feature for the first time in 70 years someone other than Batman. Sure it’s a Bat-family character, but 70 years of historical achievement ended for Bruce Wayne in a gimmick. I might sound a bit empassioned about that one, but me and Bruce go way back to when I was twelve-years old in 1992. If DC doesn’t have his back, I certainly do. 

    But I digress. I’ve said enough on the matter. Great article, Jason.

  29. The interesting thing for me personally is how the re-numberings are going to force me to subscribe directly to Marvel, for all of my monthly books, and only go to the store for the minis, one-shots, and near-misses that only last until issue 5 and never get collected in trade, e.g. S.W.O.R.D.

    My LCS determines my discount based on the number of monthly titles I get. When I point out the great number of one-shots, mini-series, origins books, universe guides and never-quite-made-it books that I also buy (just to try to keep up with "current continuity" as if that existed), my LCS tells me they’ll "take that into consideration". Since, by a conservative estimate of your numbers, and a quick glance through the current pile tell me that such non-monthly books account for easily HALF OF WHAT I BUY, I don’t really think my LCS counts enough of it towards my discount. They count these books as half a monthly title.

    I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to go for the 50% off for subscription, over the 15% I get for walk-in, and get about nine monthlies directly from Marvel. And the store can get me for closer to full price for all of the other ancillary stuff I can’t live without.

    As I am personally out of shelf space for all but a very select list of titles, Thank God for the Public Library and their currently exhaustive supply of recent Earth-616 continuity.

    A summary of four weeks of buying, numbers only, you can guess which titles:

    four weeks ago:

    #1/4, #1 (new ongoing), #1 (one-shot), #7/7, #26, #1 (origins), #2 (reset ongoing), #2 (vol. 2, 6-issue arcs) 

    three weeks ago:

    #11/13, #3/3, #12 (creative team switch), #1 (new ongoing), #144 (HA banner), #4/4, #20/25, #44 (last before #600, cts)

    two weeks ago:

    #3/5, #1/5, #4/4, #1 (new ongoing), #2 (new ongoing Vertigo), #9 (double-sized; continuing?)

    last week:

    #606 (a jumping-on point), #507 (jumped on at 500), #2/4, #27 (jumped on at 25), #2/4, #2 (mini-series? – not offered for sub by pub), #3 (new ongoing), #3 (vol. 2, 6-issue arcs), #11 (will jump off at 12)

    this week:

    #1/4, #3 (new ongoing), #12/13, #610 (on at 600 off at 612), #1 (#65 of re-numbered title), #3 (reset title)

    So, yes, your are correct sir, and yes they’ve got my, ahem, number. 

    P.S. The re-numbering of Wonder Woman got me to buy 44 issues. The flop back to standard numbering and the departure of Gail Simone was adequate excuse to drop the book. The change of teams on Power Girl #12 allowed me to gracefully drop the title. I got back into mainstream Marvel about four-five years ago, at Thunderbolts #100 (which had a nice cover that tied in with New Avengers #21, a nice Civil War logo and a Chaykin Capt. America, iirc).

    Formerly lapsed, still catching up,

    player1

    I was hoping someone would say something. Cheers. 😀 

  30. Postscript: I have to admit that I sometimes really enjoy the resets, as I just take a few weeks of a few select titles and set them aside to read. It’s like a reset for me, too. The Golden Age of Comics all over again. (Eleven, that is.) Jumping on and jumping off get to be learned behaviors. The market remains a moving train.

  31. @ctrosejr: I’m reading the Brubaker Captain America this summer. I was really glad that the titles also are cross-referenced to issue numbers, as the volume numbers, are, as you suggest, quite confusing. Luckily, the public library has almost all of it, as well as the omnibus editions. Glad you brought that up. I expected the 600 to happen after 50, but I hadn’t gotten that far yet. It looks so good I just may stop eating and buy both omnibus volumes in HC, then go back to 600 in single issues. They got me again!