As they reveal the creative teams and series details behind the Marvel Legacy titles, Marvel Comics has been hard at work trying to figure out the math behind the legacy numbers for their books. Yesterday, Marvel claimed that Incredible Hulk would return to legacy numbering with #708, but later issued a correction, naming #709 as the new number.
However, in an infographic explaining their reasoning, Marvel included the 58 issues of Tales to Astonish that did not include Hulk, while at the same time neglecting to include the original six issue volume of The Incredible Hulk.
Today, Marvel has sent out infographics for The Despicable Deadpool and Invincible Iron Man. These sorts of things are always going to have a certain margin error. Do you include #0 issues, but not add a number? Do you subtract one for the #-1 issues? What about decimals? What about decimals followed by words instead of numbers, like Marvel #.1.NOW? So naturally, there's going to be something left up to interpretation.
Even so, Marvel seems to have things under control for Deadpool:
But when it comes to Iron Man, Marvel isn't making any sense. When it came to Hulk, Marvel included Tales to Astonish, even where Hulk himself wasn't in the book. But for Iron Man, Marvel leaves out Tales of Suspense, even the issues that did feature Iron Man! Why apply two different standards to these books?
As we do whenever we're confused, we went to speak with Bleeding Cool Managing Editor Mark Seifert, visiting him in his big office down at the end of the hall from the Bleeding Cool bullpen. The following is a dramatization of that encounter.
Jude Terror: Hey Mark, can I ask you a question?
Mark's head slowly rotates 180 degrees to face us as his body continues working at his six-screen supercomputer that controls Bleeding Cool's web servers.
Mark Seifert: For the last time, Jude, Bleeding Cool is not paying for you to fly to New York to do live coverage of Nick Spencer's Twitter. What are you going to camp out outside his apartment? Just read it on the internet like everyone else.
Jude: This is different, Mark. I need to know why Marvel can't figure out this legacy numbering th–
Mark snatches the infographics from Jude's hand, looks at it for exactly 32 milliseconds, and tosses them away.
Mark: Actual marvel legacy numbering goes like this — the heroes came in when the horror / monster books had already started titles, and took some of them over. But there was a distribution crunch and marvel had to go hat in hand to DC's distributor. Who was owned by DC's owners.
Jude: Uh huh.
Mark: They limited how many books marvel could put out. Marvel ended up doubling up heroes in these books. Tales of suspense eventually had an iron Man story and a captain America story. For example. When this period was over in 1968, these doubled up books split. One continued the old numbering, the other got a new number one. Captain America "starts" at 100, iron Man got a new number one. Hulk 102 and Submariner 1. Doctor Strange 169 and Nick Fury 1.
Jude: Thanks, I got it.
Mark: This is the 1968 boom. Marvel unleashed hell in this year. This is also the year of marvel captain marvel, and silver surfer solo, and, and, and. Marvel took over and hasn't looked back since.
Jude (backing away slowly): Okay man.
Mark (rifling through papers): I've got some quotes from Jim Shooter about this around here somewhere…
So maybe there's a method to this madness, but things should at least be consistent from title to title. If Marvel is gathering all the mini-series and reboots, including ones of different titles (like Tales to Astonish or Agent X) and even team-up books (like Cable and Deadpool), then they should do it across the board for all the titles.
Something still didn't add up, so it was clear we needed to call in an expert. We reached out to world-renowned Comics Numerologist and real person, Professor Thaddeus T. Puffinbottoms.
"Oh, this is simple!" Puffinbottoms explained. "There's a precise mathematical formula that can be applied to these legacy numbers that makes everything make perfect sense."
"All you have to do is add up all the volumes," Puffinbottoms continued, "and then you [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] and it all works out like this. See?"
We told Professor Puffinbottoms that our connection must have broken up, and he explained that he's currently holed up in his hotel room in Hamburg at the G20 Summit, where he's set to meet with world leaders about the dangers of super-mega-crossover event fatigue, due to the protests happening outside.
"Sorry about that," Puffinbottoms apologized. "As I was saying, once you've gotten the total of the volumes published for a character, then all you have to to is–"
Puffinbottoms was interrupted by the sounds of flashbang grenades and shouting.
"Did you get that?" Puffinbottoms asked.
We told him we didn't. Unfortunately, we lost contact with Puffinbottoms after that, but we later spotted him on CNN seated next to Melania Trump at a dinner party, so we're glad to know that he's okay, even if we still don't understand what Marvel is doing with these legacy numbers any better.