“You should just restart with a new number 1.”
I hear that a lot. “Invincible” is my baby. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted to do with superheroes. There was a time when it was a struggling indy book. Around issue 10 or so… I thought there was a good chance that issue 13 could be the last issue. I thought it was done, that there was nothing we could do. Luckily, when numbers came in for issue 12, they went up. I decided to give it more time. Then we got nominated for an Eisner and Wizard started doing stuff on us and Paramount optioned the thing… and things really started looking up.
Orders still haven’t stopped going up. “Invincible” is doing really well, especially considering how low the initial orders used to be. But we’re not in the top 100, not even close. It’s no big deal though, we’re doing fine. The book sells well and it’s selling better every month. But it’s not setting the charts on fire.
Any time I talk to anyone about the book they always suggest starting the book over at number 1.
“That’ll get the fans interested.”
“That’ll get you new readers.”
“Amazing Spider-Man” did it.
Did that really fool you guys? I mean really? Did you really look at a new number one and think, “oh, man– now I can get in on the ground floor!” or “Wow, now I’ll know everything that’s ever happened to this character.”
What is it about that stupid number that changes anything?
If I started “Invincible” over at number one, sales would go up… maybe a little, maybe a lot but they would jump up. Why?
What would change? I might have one story-arc that would be continuity free and a good introduction to the character. Then what? Then we’re on issue five or six or whatever and we’re referencing back to events in volume one. What does that accomplish? There’s no way to set everything back to zero without hurting the story or abandoning everything that came before it.
You’ve got to do “Ultimate Spider-Man.” That worked. That was cool. That was a fresh start. That was a new number one that made sense.
A new “Invincible” number one wouldn’t make any sense. But there would be a good portion of you that would hop right on the bandwagon like that number on the cover represents some sort of significant change in the title.
It wasn’t always like that. When I started comics “Sleepwalker,” “Darkhawk,” “The Ray” and other ’90s characters were the only new number ones out there. Hell, when I started reading Spider-Man, it was with “Amazing Spider-Man” #343 (or around there). I didn’t know his origin, I didn’t know his supporting cast– I didn’t know anything. Flash Thompson was dating some white-haired chick named Felicia and I had no idea she used to be The Black Cat or what the heck was going on between her and Peter Parker. But I was just as entertained to read those stories without knowing everything.
I stuck with it… and six months later, I slowly learned everything I needed to know. Of course, there were always things that came up that I didn’t quite know about. Eddie Brock was this guy in a cell with Cletus Cassidy and I had no clue who either of them were or what that black junk was that came through the wall and helped Eddie escape… but I wanted to learn. I didn’t quit the book and wait for a new number one.
Is it an age thing? Is it that we’re all older now and we like getting a complete story? Is that it? I know I hate walking in to a movie late, but that’s a different thing. Have none of us ever started a TV show in the middle of season 3? Do we just pick up the DVDs?
Why couldn’t someone start reading with “Invincible” #24 and just keep going from there? Why does it have to be issue #1 or nothing these days? People complain about how there aren’t any new superhero books, or that books get cancelled too quickly. That’s why. If a person hears about a hot new book, but issue #4 is the only one on the shelf– they pass it up, or wait for the trade that may or may not ever happen.
So dammit, stop doing that. Its really hurting things and you’re denying yourself some fine entertainment.
Do yourself a favor and go out this week. Check out the comic shop. Buy “Runaways” #9, “Godland” #4, “Sea of Red” #5, “Noble Causes” #14, “Gravity” #4, and whatever else looks good on the shelves. Hell, make sure you get “She-Hulk” #1… that one has nothing to do with that old series you bought… none at all. I know money doesn’t grow on trees, but if you’ve got any money left over after you’re done, you could always…BUY MY BOOKS.