Getting into comics can seem difficult to the newcomer. Comic fans and companies have a jargon that is used all the time, even in comic book titles, that new fans may find confusing. A “Comic Code.”
Zero Issues are an issue of a comic number #0 that usually acts a stepping on point and prequel or flashback story. Unfortunately a #0 used for a number of different purposes:
- A printing of lost material.
- A promo book.
- A reprinting of previous material.
- The first issue of a series.
- A prequel or flashback story.
1. Lost Material.
In 1968 material intended for Zap #1 was stolen before the comic was printed. New material was created, but later photocopies of the missing material was released in Zap #0.
2. A Promo Book.
Comic book companies sometimes release a comic to promote a new comic book series. The books may have story pages or preview pages from the upcoming series and interviews with creative staff and sketches.
3. The Reprinting of Previous Material.
Sometimes material from a previous series is published as a zero issue to allow new readers to catch up. When Gorilla Comics failed after printing 2 issues of Empire, DC eventually published the rest of the series starting with a #0 collecting already published material and new material with #1. The 3 part The Black Beetle story “Nightshift” from Dark Horse Presents was republished as The Black Beetle #0 before The Black Beetle #1 was released.
4. The First Issue of a Series.
Rarely is used as just the first issue of a new ongoing series.
5. A Prequel or Flashback Story.
Sometimes a #0 is published in the middle of a series to indicate that the story is a stepping on point or a new origin story. The best examples of these are two Zero Month events at DC comics. The first was the month after Zero Hour, 1994’s universe altering event. Some #0 issues were the first issues of new series, some were just new directions in the existing series, some retold the character’s origins and some completely changed the history of the character, almost all fell story-wise between 2 normally numbered issues. In DC’s New 52 line of comics, all the comics had a #0 for the first anniversary of the relaunch.
This blog is meant to iron out issues and help understanding of comic book terms and ideas. However, it also uses many terms and ideas new readers may be unfamiliar with. For clarifications or corrects, comment below.