Renumbering & Reboots Can’t Hide how Superhero Comics are Dying

In this sugary item at the Valdosta Daily Times, they discuss comics that were rebooted, all without objectivity, as usual:


It’s difficult keeping up with favorite comic book characters nowadays, whether a regular reader or a casual reader.


Then why not encourage everybody to buy and find time to read the more classic stuff from up to the early 2000s? Why do these mainstream papers remain fixated on the Big Two?


Seems every few years, each character gets a reboot in the mainstream comics companies of DC and Marvel.

DC is more likely to start its titles all over again than Marvel (Marvel characters carry their past history from era to era – condensing decades of comics into a consistent pattern of about 14 years between origins to now), though really the major reboots in most titles for both companies doesn’t represent a new “beginning” for the title characters as much as it reflects the beginning of a new creative team.


If they’re talking about how DC restarted continuities, this misses the boat of how, by the 2000s, it was taking a turn for the worse, and even before that, the 1990s were showing signs of collapse. Just look at the whole Green Lantern debacle of the times. It’s hard to call the piecemeal passing for “continuity” these days “consistent” when viewed in that context.


For example, there have been hundreds of issues of “Fantastic Four” since it started in the early 1960s but the current FF book is numbered at issue 3 to mark the first three issues of the title by writer Ryan North and artist Iban Coello. North and Coello took over the FF creative reins after the end of writer Dan Slott’s run (numbered as issues No. 1-46, 2018-22).

Or the Hulk’s current run of 11 issues so far by Donny Cates and Ryan Ottley. The Hulk has also been around since the 1960s and his current issue is listed as No. 11. The Cates run began after “The Immortal Hulk” concluded its run at No. 50 in 2021.

Confusing? It gets worse.


Indeed it does. Slott’s proven one of mainstream’s worst writers, Cates isn’t much better, and all they can concern themselves with is relaunches at numero uno under different volumes? Now that’s cheap. And the “Immortal” Hulk book was just a waste of paper.


Say you want Volume 4 of the Batman run you’ve been reading. You go to the book store and find multiple Batman collections marked Volume 4. Same if digital. You need to know the creative team – most importantly, the person credited as the writer – to find the right Volume 4. That is assuming the writer hasn’t been involved in multiple runs of Batman … this happens, too.

So, the best approach is to take your time seeking the next volume of a title. Look at the creative credits; know the creative credits. You may have read three volumes of the Slott FF but purchased the fourth volume of the Jonathan Hickman FF run. You may enjoy it, though it’s not what you’re looking for.


You’d be luckier not to be reading any of the above. Like I said, it’s only what was published up to the early 2000s that’s worth the purchase. Anything coming after that is just a whole catastrophe. Making matters worse, these mainstream press sources won’t give more serious focus to the independent scene, which could have stories more worth your time. Sticking with mainstream superhero fare way past its prime is very cheap.

It would be far better if many of these frequently rebooted series would just be cancelled already, since it would put an end to the terrible misuse they’ve suffered from for years now. Unfortunately, the mainstream press doesn’t see things that way.


Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1