Comic Fodder

I Wonder if Didio’s Renumbering Challenge is Lame

You have to give Marvel credit when they do things right. No matter how many times they reboot a series, they are sharp as tacks at keeping track of when an anniversary is coming up. The renumbering of series by starting over with a new #1 issue is a pain for store owners, and can often be a pain for collectors, too. Thankfully, Marvel has been renumbering like a fiend the opposite way, so we could celebrate issue 600 of Captain America, Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, and issue 500 of Daredevil, for example. Sure, you can be a little mad that they pad some of the issues with reprints, but overall we get a pretty good attempt at making the anniversary issue a special read. Then, we have Dan Didio at DC Comics.

Excuse me, that’s DC Entertainment now. DC has never displayed an aversion to renumbering for anniversaries. They haven’t had to do it as much, but still. Readers of the new Adventure Comics reboot will pick up issues 1 and 2, but look closely. There in light grey print almost as a watermark are the numbers 504 and 505, the numbering that reflects the total number of issues that title has had.

The key is that Wonder Woman is part of DC’s own trinity. They have been throwing everything at the dartboard the past few years to try and make it stick: our big three are Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Well, in that vein, let’s set aside discussions on whether renumbering should apply to the latest Green Arrow series and just take a look at the titles of the big three. For Superman, it’s at issue 691. Action Comics is at 880. Batman is at 690, and Detective is at 856. See a pattern here? Now look at Wonder Woman: the last issue was #35.

I know that tons of fans could care less about any numbering. Just as many others will see it as a mindless stunt, an attempt to artificially inflate the sales numbers. For the rest of us, it seems only fair for DC to treat Wonder Woman at least as fair as it is already doing for Adventure Comics! Why have they been making such numerous attempts to legitimize her place in the big three only to intentionally skip her anniversary and just say, “meh?” Shouldn’t the numbering of her title at least be closer to the number of times they’ve tried to reboot her lately?

Which brings us to Dear Old Didio. Knowing the wishes of the fans, he spoke out against the renumbering anyway. Note that this is an easy thing to do to please the people that already read the book, most of whom actually like it. The renumbering would not have any effect on the hordes of people who do not read it. So there is only an upside to this. Is there any rapid anti-numbering reader who would boycott the title if it was changed to reflect the 600th issue? After an online movement started, Didio has come out with his idea of a “challenge.” He will renumber the series if he receives 600 postcards.

That’s it. The fans of Jericho sent in 40,000 pounds of peanuts to network executives to convince them to give it a few more episodes. That’s 20 tons. The number of sales for last issue were almost 33,000. Didio is asking for less than two percent of the title’s reading audience to do something. He already has 55 from the fledgling start of the online movement to request this. (Will he subtract from that total if I send in a postcard asking him not to renumber?)

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. I have heard endless tales and complaints about Didio (and Quesada too, come to think of it). I try to write it off an internet grumblings or normal fanboy discontent. Then he comes out and co-opts somebody else’s movement as a way to cover the fact that he made an obvious mistake. He sets the bar incredibly low so that success is guaranteed, allowing him an easy out to avoid embarrassment. He tries to disguise it as a challenge of sorts, in a lame way to create controversy to get more publicity. Maybe he should run for political office.

His actual comments mentioned keeping the numbering of the series low to appeal to “young” readers, and hinted at female readers. Does he not know that the readership of Wonder Woman is mostly male? Does he not know that the readership is mostly past their teens? That ship has already sailed, and there is no way renumbering an issue would affect that even one iota. He’s gone from making lame excuses not to do it because he didn’t think of it first, to taking other people’s ideas and pretending they are his own so he can get some credit. Here’s an idea: why not just do what makes common sense? If renumbering was bad for sales, Marvel would have stopped doing it long ago.

Check here for a good website doing the postcard campaign. For those who do want to send in a postcard, there are some ready-made options for you already. Check out here for the picture, and here for the pdf download. The group also exists on Facebook. For websites that hurl epithets at Dan Didio, run a Google search and pick from your top 1,000 favorites.

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.