Getting into reading and collecting comics can seem difficult to the newcomer, especially weird numbering…
Some comic book titles don’t seem to start at #1. One of the reasons was to cheat the Post Office.
The US Post Office offers a reduced postage rate for periodicals. If you’re posting a large number of magazines, comics, newsletters, whatever, more than once a year you can get a cheaper rate. Fortunately, the comic industry liked this idea. Unfortunately, each title had to be registered, and if you introduced a new title, it would require a new registration. And what about that old title you’d already paid for a year’s worth of registration for and then cancelled the comics…
So, yeah, comic companies, instead of starting new titles at #1, would continue old numbering on a new title. An example (given here) is a 1947 EC Comic about a family, no, cowboy heroes, no, cowboy love, no, wait, strange science fiction tales:
- The Happy Houlihans (#1 – #2) -> Saddle Justice (#3 – 8) -> Saddle Romances (#9 – 11) -> Weird Science (#12 – 15).
By this time the Post Office had caught on and demanded that Weird Science get its own registration (which it did, restarting with Weird Science #5 and causing its own problems).
The most famous example is Amazing Adventures from Marvel, which became far more famous under a different name for its final issue:
- Amazing Adventures (#1 – 6) -> Amazing Adult Fantasy Comics (#7 – 14) -> Amazing Fantasy (#15).
No, Amazing Adult Fantasy isn’t what it sounds like, they just wanted to sound grown-up. However, the single issue of Amazing Fantasy is was this series remembered for: the first appearance of Spider-Man (and to reflect this connection, his new series was known as Amazing Spider-man (but restarted at #1, fortunately.)
DC examples include, their first two comics:
- New Fun (#1 – 6) -> More Fun (#7 – 8) -> More Fun Comics (#9 – 127)
- New Comics (#1 – 11) -> New Adventure Comics (#12 – 31) -> Adventure Comics (#32 – 503).
The covers of issues of New Comics may be familiar to regular readers of this blog as the pictures on my First Issue posts.