At C2E2, Marvel unveiled its new publishing initiative dubbed “Marvel Legacy” that promises to be a celebration and renewal of the Marvel Universe. Marvel Legacy will kick off in the fall with MARVEL LEGACY #1, an oversized 50-page one-shot written by Jason Aaron and art by Esad Ribic. Besides reuniting Aaron and Ribic who previously worked together on an acclaimed run of Thor: God of Thunder, the issue sports a 4-panel fold-out cover by Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada.

 

But perhaps most significant is that Marvel will be reverting to the original numbering of its long-running titles. No specific books were mentioned or what milestone numbering that titles would be hitting.

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“The Marvel Legacy initiative is a celebration of everything that makes Marvel the best in fiction and it’s a signifier of a new era for Marvel Comics,” says Marvel CCO, Joe Quesada.  “It’s a loving look at the heart of Marvel as we embrace our roots and move enthusiastically forward with all the Marvel characters you know and love starring in the biggest, boldest, best Marvel stories. All of which kicks off with the giant MARVEL LEGACY special.”

I’m sure there are some intrepid readers out there who have already done the breakdowns of legacy numbering for various Marvel titles. As I hypothesized, it’s very likely the Thor title will be reaching the 700th issue in time for the Thor: Ragnarok film. Of course, how Marvel will calculate these legacy numbers and decide what particular issues to count as part of a title’s legacy is anyone’s guess.

For the last few years, Marvel has had the reputation of constantly relaunching titles with new #1 issues, sometimes before an ongoing series is barely a year old. I’ve lost count of how many different ongoing titles there have been for Carol Danvers since the character took on the Captain Marvel mantle. The dominant belief is that new readers are turned off by books with high numbers. However, it seems that relaunched titles aren’t providing any easier entry points for readers either.

Nostalgia is the bread and butter of the entertainment industry and Marvel has been leaning into it even more with the promise of the return of the Marvel Value Stamp, the classic Fan Magazine FOOM, iconic Cover Corner Box Art, and more.

If you can’t help but think Marvel Legacy seems a bit similar to the DC Rebirth publishing initiative from last year, don’t worry you’re probably not the only one. Much like DC and Coca-Cola learned the hard way, you can’t shake up a classic formula too much until your core customers rebel.

22 COMMENTS

  1. The good news is that Marvel is going back to legacy numbering. The bad news is that no one who bought the legacy era titles is still buying those titles!

  2. How long until the next batch of #1’s?

    Marvel needs to ditch the politics, the gimmicks and the ‘diversity’ frenzy. Until this happens I will continue to boycott the books.

  3. Legacy numbering vs #1s every month?

    How about option C?

    Forget numbering. Do what magazines do, and put the month on the cover instead. #1 vs #573? May 2017 looks and sounds so much better. Problem solved. No muss, no fuss. You’re all welcome.

  4. I really don’t care about any of this. I don’t care about #1s OR legacy numbering. It’s just a number! What does that matter compared to the stories?

    I’m glad Marvel tried something different for the last three or so years. It’s been interesting to see how they handled these legacy characters. It wasn’t a good job every time, but I’m quite fond of Amadeus, Kamala, Robbie and Laura as new versions of Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Ghost Rider and Wolverine. I’m sure they’ll sick around, I just hope they get used well in the future.

  5. I expect Marvel will utilize legacy numbering for their main titles and continue to publish (unannounced) mini- and maxi-series that last 5-24 issues for second tier characters, events, and line extensions. For example, I forsee AVENGERS with legacy numbering and also 12-18 issue runs of SECRET AVENGERS, COSMIC AVENGERS, and DEADLY HANDS OF THE AVENGERS to shore up their bottom line.

    Steve

  6. Sam, numbers help hard core readers keep their collections in order. There are also psychological implications as I believe comic collecting appeals to people who like to organize things. For long-time readers there is also a nostalgia factor — which Marvel’s marketing dept has ignored in their unsuccessful quest for new readers. One compromise would be to use legacy numbers and a “part x of y” label on each cover for multi-part stories. By the way, Crossgen deliberately avoided this latter option because they felt “part 6 of 6” gave readers a jumping-off point. There is some merit in that thinking.

    Steve

  7. I’d be very happy to see the corner box return, although it only really works as a contrast to an action-packed cover. In these days of static figure poses on covers, a corner box also showing a figure pose might look a bit odd.

  8. Lew, perhaps Marvel could put an action shot in the corner box. That way, Marvel would still have art for Slurpee cups but readers could tell what the story is about. Everybody wins.

    Steve

  9. “But perhaps most significant is that Marvel will be reverting to the original numbering of its long-running titles.”

    In what conceivable way is that “most significant”?

  10. “Marvel needs to ditch the politics, the gimmicks and the ‘diversity’ frenzy. Until this happens I will continue to boycott the books.”

    If they lose the diversity and politics part I wills tart boycotting their books.

  11. I’m w/ya, @Emmanuel! Look, I get it, Marvel sold the off the rights to key characters in the 90’s due to “money troubles”! Fine! And I get that this carries over into the MCU! But, what about the comics? Coming to some sort agreement w/Fox, allowing one of their flagship titles from the company’s inception! Enough is enough! Let’s see Marvel return to the way they used to be, and not just with a returning to the “milestone numbering”! Please??

  12. I don’t know why Marvel are doing this. Catering to an aging core audience is always a mistake

    Look at what DC did. DCYou didn’t work, so they launched Rebirth to appeal to the hardcore old-timer fans, and now the books are selling low in less than a year. Proof hardcore fans don’t support comics aimed at them. They don’t support comics at all, in fact, not new characters, new ideas, new creators. It’s really sad these are the people who decide the direction of entire comicbook companies

  13. “Catering to an aging core audience is always a mistake. … It’s really sad these are the people who decide the direction of entire comicbook companies.”

    My solution is a label for all new comic books with superheroes “Not for sale to persons over 40.”

  14. Maybe the label could have a subtitle saying: “Your generation had its fun, now it’s time to move over and let Millennials have theirs. With stories and diverse characters that reflect the world they’re growing up in — not the world of their Gen X parents or Boomer grandparents.

    “Hey, you’re over 40. Why are you still immersed in the Marvel and DC universes? Why aren’t you reading ‘Love and Rockets’ or the IDW collections of classic comic strips? Go read the complete Caniff ‘Terry and the Pirates,’ and leave the young people and their superheroes. alone”

    Kinda long-winded, but you get the idea.

  15. HOW? Are they going to magically roll up the various AVENGERS titles and inflate the issue count to a fake count? Are they magically going to try to get their count up or past Action so that they can be the first comic to hit 1000 issues in a year and a half?

  16. Marvel’s strategy to increase sales (continual relaunches, untraditional art styles, female-oriented titles, “new” characters) clearly has failed. Do you blame them for trying to stem the bleeding by reverting to a “legacy” strategy? And yes, any company that would publish WOLVERINE number 900 (July 2010) will push the “magical” re-numbering as far as they can.

    Steve

  17. @Rich H: DC had their highest sales in 2016 than since like 2003. Rebirth has been tremendously successful for them. Not sure why you are saying sales went down.

  18. As someone who only sporadically reads Marvel books (and often from back-issue boxes or via Unlimited), legacy numbering will (eventually) I welcome legacy numbering. It makes it a lot easier to figure out what comes when after the fact.

  19. Boy, I wish I could edit the stop-starty circle-back-aroundyness of my last post. I guess you could think of the herky-jerky nature of it as a performance-art depiction of Marvel’s constant renumberings and restarts?

  20. “HOW? Are they going to magically roll up the various AVENGERS titles and inflate the issue count to a fake count? Are they magically going to try to get their count up or past Action so that they can be the first comic to hit 1000 issues in a year and a half?”

    Well, history has shown there is no real science to it, the publishers tend to make up the rules as they go, but I would imagine it would be one of two options:

    1. They only count up series that were just “Avengers” and pick up where that left off.
    2. Or, and I think this more likely, they decide what was the “main” Avengers book at any given time and use that. So maybe “New Avengers” and “All-New All-Different” Avengers would count, but “Mighty Avengers” and “Uncanny Avengers” would not.

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