Getting into reading and collecting 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.”
In comics volume can usually mean one of two basic things:
- A way to tell the difference between two comic series with the same (or similar) title.
- A system of numbering for collected editions.
The Same Title.
In 2011 DC cancelled Detective Comics, first published in 1937, after 883 issues (#881, with #0 and #1,000,000 included in the numbering). They relaunched it the next month with a new #1. These two separate runs are called different volumes. Detective Comics vol 1, obviously went from 1937 – 2011 and Detective Comics went from 2011 to the present. The distinction become important to identify specific issues. Detective Comics (vol 1) #27 featured the first appearance of Batman, Detective Comics (vol 2) #27 didn’t. This becomes even more important for comics which are regularly relaunched, for example, October 2014 sees the final issue of Captain America (vol 7).
Volume numbers rarely appear on the cover of the comic, but rather appear in the indicia inside the comic (if at all). Sometimes the first year of the title was published is used to indicate the various volumes (such as Detective Comics (1937) and Detective Comics (2011)) when a year is known.
When a series is collected, the collection may be given a volume number. This number is usually unrelated to the volume of the title and can sometimes even contain issues from different titles/volumes. The popular comic The Sandman which ran from 1989 – 1996 was the second comic with that title after the 1974 – 1976 title. The collected editions of The Sandman (vol 2) are called Sandman Volume 1 to Volume 4, and Volume 5 collected material published after the series finished.
It is also important to note that magazines often use “Volume” to denote a year’s worth of magazines and increment the volume number each year, especially for magazines that come out monthly or less often (magazines that come out more often may have a number of volumes each year). Most restart the issue number at 1 with each new volume, but some keep the same numbering. Comics with connections to magazines are often numbered this way.
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.