Is the ongoing title irrelevant?


Apr 19, 2006
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DC's New 52 and Marvel Now have both relaunched almost all of their titles recently. Marvel solicitations and promos are now very creator driven, almost as if each re-release stood on it's own, apart from previous arcs. DC did this more decisively by wiping out large aspects of their canon and starting over, more or less. It seems like the new wave of comics their debuting fit rather seamlessly into the trade and digital market formats. Also mega-events have more or less become the lynchpin that holds all these separate characters together. So if digital and trades are the wave of the future, where does that leave ongoings?

Do we really need titles whose numbers go into the hundreds?

At this point most characters have seen a fair share of number one issues, and all major characters have been relaunch multiple times, and given new titles and mini-series on a fairly regular basis.

So since movies, and TV shows, games and toys now exist in great number to hype characters, and since trades now have become such a staple of the market is the system of ongoing numbers even necessary? Can't most characters exist as a series of minis, arcs and events?
Hm, possibly. I don't know if irrelevant is the right word per say, but the numbering system definitely not important in a collector's sense anymore, I think that much is sure.
I think it's only for people who enjoy that aspect of collecting where they can look at 300 straight Batman comics all in order or whatever. I mean look at them on a shelf and enjoy owning 300 straight of the same comic or whatever.
Certainly seems like anything over one hundred issues now is a waste of space unless that is the only comic that character is featured in like Walking Dead or Sonic.
It's an interesting concept. I mean comic books are really the only thing where there's a pretty constant change over in creative teams working with the same characters within the same continuity.

I don't think ongoings are out dated, or dying. I think if you can hook someone in and have the book move and a real world pace, lasting for years and years, through many teams, then the ongoing title is needed.

I suppose thats not really true though. You could just do countless mini series that follow on from each other. That are all by different teams sharing a same continuity. Say 4 to 6 issues a story with the idea that they're beign aimed directly at the trade market.

Looking at it that way, ongoings exist purely because it's not as messy as having a million connected mini series.
I think it depends on the book.

I think with DC, they treat their books as true ongoings. Look at Detective Comics #19, DC had the perfect chance to relaunch it as Detective Comics #900, but they didn't. DC could have treated Jeff Lemire's introduction of Green Arrow with a new #1, but they aren't. They aren't just constantly relaunching their books, they're sticking to the New 52 and the numbering it has brought. A lot of creator owned books are properly treated as ongoings from Robert Kirkman's Invincible and Walking Dead, Todd McFarlane's Spawn, the Extreme Comics relaunch that picked up where the previous books left off and Eric Larsen's Savage Dragon.

It really is just Marvel that likes to **** around with the numberings. I think we can all expect Marvel to renumber their Marvel NOW books when Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Hulk, Daredevil, Uncanny X-Men, X-Men, and whatnot reach their centenary issues and then relaunch them again with new #1s.
There is something refreshing about knowing that you will get a new story or chapter of a story featuring one of your favorite characters/authors/artists most likely every single month. It's the little things in life like that that help me make it through. Plus, the revenue that publishers generate from advertisers in the individual issues helps in regard to financing the whole operation I think. Although from a sales standpoint, the numbers may not justify the price of production further into the future. But for now, I feel that they still maintain a sense of relevancy.
I would have loved a Detective Comics #1000 on my bookshelf. I have a complete run Batman from 350 to current en Tec from 400 till current. I hated the fact they rebooted.
Ongoing could be pretty relevant in virtual space. Both collectors and publishers have things backwards though.

Today, the comic is digital before being printed.

Since comics are already digital printing (basically large desktop printers) they are printing 1-1. The digital comics should all have like a Print on demand button. You read it, if you like it enough or want it for your collection you order a hard-copy.

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