Over the past few years there’s been a growing trend between the big two to relaunch their whole line in a desperate attempt to regain old readers and lure in new ones. Volume after volume saturating the market with number ones until the practice is now derided by the regular audience and confusing to potentially new readers.
Marvel have had more re-launches than Kylie Minogue and DC have hit the reset button so many times it’s starting to look like Katie Price’s clitoris, both are guilty of rebooting titles for no other reason than a cheap sales grab and DC have a terrible habit of launching books you instinctively know are going to fail. Captain Atom, eight issues and dead! Place your bets!
The problem though isn’t the new number one, it’s the marketing behind the new number one. After all Dark Horse have been using thing model for decades and no one bats an eyelid. The thing is though that despite the wailings of the few who just like to see big numbers get bigger at the alienation of the casual reader, a new number one is a great idea, it just needs to be marketed properly.
Accepting that floppies will be around for a while and the model I’m about to put forward would work just as well for digital, here’s the idea:
Twelve issue runs, January to December #1 to #12, numbered “#1 year 20**” (whatever the year is) collect them in a trade with a volume number the following January. Take crossovers back to the annuals and rinse and repeat until no one is arsed any more.
No one but the deeply anal care about big numbers, the last vestiges of the speculator market can go fuck themselves. This method allows a jumping on point AND a jumping off point but quality would be almost assured allowing the creative team twelve issues to do what they liked. Could be two six parters, could be twelve one parters the fact remains that twelve issues is a comfortable length without worrying about what comes next. An audience is also more likely to go a full twelve issues on something unless it’s a complete turd, almost guaranteeing a complete story.
It works in TV, another serialised entertainment format, it’s even been used in the games industry.
Branding would be easier, no more ALL NEW ALL REBIRTHED BORN AGAIN SPANKING SHINY UNIVERSE just a twelve issue run. And if you can’t figure out where it goes in the long box then you have bigger problems than a run on Captain Marvel not sitting comfortably between volumes 1 and All New.