Off The Panel: Marvel’s Seasonal Releases
Renumbering is something that can be hit or miss depending on the reader. Some pass it off as a gimmick which it very well could be or they just find it hard to manage when the book they read is thrown back to #1. We all should know by now that it is just a way to improve sales, business decisions which we should all be aware of. It’s best for whoever feels the need to use them and really there isn’t anything wrong with that. The one thing that some find hard to understand is the attack on relaunches by comic fans. There is no real problem with them unless a full reboot that backtracks on previous progression. Fans just see #1 and automatically will say they will not buy it, but it’s a lot more than just what’s on the surface.
Not to long ago it was revealed that Marvel is in fact renumbering their books on purpose, with a purpose in mind. Relaunching a book with a new creative team is their way of grabbing new readers, taking a risk with the idea that different writers can bring something new to someone elses take on the characters. New styles with the new artists and stories that have less limitation because someone is now in the drivers seat with a fresh perspective of how they want to steer the character. And all of this brings in new readers. The biggest objective is making comics more accessible to everyone, and it should be more accessible.
Some people treat this as if it is the end of the world for them and they need to drop what they are reading. Collectors sometimes are probably the most upset. Funny thing about that is 90 % of most comics made now won’t be worth anything. That’s not to say all collectors of course because some are able to see that it’s not about worth. It’s about knowing where to look when they want to find something and things being in the right order. They are helping with this as well, but those who like drawn out numbering have to take backseat to those who can’t invest themselves in a book that doesn’t show a clear change in direction. Seasonal releases makes sure you know where a story starts, and where it ends.
Let’s take the announcement of James Robinson being the new writer on Fantastic Four starting in February 2014. First of all we’d have to emphasize that it’s not a reboot, nothing from Marvel NOW! to this point has been a reboot. This is a book that still stays true to what Fraction had them going through, but connects them back to the Marvel Universe. If people took the time to understand the purpose of All-New Marvel NOW!, they’d understand a majority of the concept behind it is reconnecting many of these heroes back to the Marvel Universe. They’ve all had their conflicts, spread out across space and time due to Infinity, and now is the time those such as the Fantastic Four are brought back to their normal lives so to speak.
There’s no need to feel abandoned by this. Stories also have endings and that is what Marvel is showing. I mean how does a story become stale these days? They keep going and going without end and there is no change in that character to keep that appeal it began with. This isn’t to say they are planning for every book to have an ending ahead of time, but when that book’s time is up, it’s time is up. Of course there will be exceptions like Daredevil which is being relaunched with a number one, but Waid did emphasize that they are still bringing something new with this upcoming book seeing how he will be moving to San Francisco. A big change in scenery for Murdock.
Oh and it is also worth mentioning that if we condemn Marvel for this and turn to the New 52, we should also bear in mind that majority of those vocal are the ones who condemned DC as well at the start of their reboot. Regardless of reboot or relaunch, they did so to bring something new to their heroes who were suffering from lack of direction and low sales. No one is being abandoned, just doing what is best as a business with the best of intentions in mind. I would bet money that other publishers will soon move towards the same numbering model when their heroes are more established in their worlds. It is only a matter of time and always a possibility if it means better sales.
If I wanted to read a new story, I want to see a #1 on the cover. That tells me that they are trying to do something different to keep me buying that book. I will buy a majority of those All-New Marvel NOW! titles because they all bring something new to their respective characters. That is what I want to see compared to any other book still going on in the same storyline. Even as you see #1 on the covers of these comics, there’s one thing you have to keep in mind. Unless it is a brand new book, it’s not actually a #1, overall it is a signal that says this is the new jumping point. If you want to see what we are doing with your character now that the other creative team isn’t doing then you should pick this book up. If you read into it any further than that to see conspiracy, then you missed the point.
Everyone is very quick to jump the gun and scream money grab, but they don’t know the intentions of those at the head. There is a clear miscommunication between the writers and the fans and it creates tension where they only care for the exterior of the books they read rather than its contents. Let me not even constrict this to Marvel, this goes to every publisher out there. They all try to achieve the same goal, and it’s not always some stunt to steal your cash. Anyone can cry foul and say they aren’t buying, but the alternative in this kind of case is that the books are just canceled and there is no more books like Fantastic Four. Would that be better for you? Or ironically you could achieve the same effect by just not buying it. You don’t just hurt the book, you hurt yourself in the process because it’s still your loss as well. Change with the times, or get left behind because there’s nothing you can do but adjust.
At the end of the day you can only ask yourself, what is the difference between issue #18 and #1? If your answer is just the number, then the good news is nothing is holding you back from picking that book up the next time it releases.