Marvel exec defends controversial new publishing plan that's giving fans fits

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Dec 18, 2013, 2:54 PM EST

Anyone who reads comics has probably noticed an aggravating sea change in recent years, and according to an exec at Marvel, it won’t be changing anytime soon.

We’re of course talking about the penchant to renumber series more and more often, restarting (and restarting again) with No. 1 issues. For one thing, it can make it harder to keep up with the issues in an arc, and for another — well, it’s just not natural.

Marvel vice president of publishing Tom Brevoort made a statement in response to a fan question about that exact topic, and broke it down quite simply: The renumbering almost always results in higher sales, so they’re sure as heck not going to stop doing it now.

Here’s an excerpt from his statement:

"On this, we follow what you and your fellow readers do more than what you say. We hear complaints about renumbering every time we do it, but every time we do it it results in higher sales, which is the whole ballgame—so if it were your time and your effort, what would you do?

Also, there are a lot—a LOT—of readers who hear about one of our books being good, but who feel like they don’t know where to jump on board to try it out. They’re hesitant. The new #1 gives them a nice easy access point—which is part of why it always works…

We are in the business of selling stories. Our operating philosophy is that good, accessible stories will always sell better. But we live in the here and now, and we deal with the conditions of the marketplace in which we sell our products. And when it comes to something as irrelevant to the storytelling as the number that happens to be on the cover, we’re going to do whatever the marketplace tells us gives us the best chance to get that material into as many hands as possible.”

On the one hand, it does make some sense, because it serves as a natural entry point for new readers and a way to inject new blood into the tried-and-true medium. Plus, it improves sales. But it drives some diehard fans absolutely nuts, and you have to be careful of alienating the folks who serve as the bread and butter.

What do you think? Does the renumbering bother you, or do you like the frequent issue resets?

(Via Digital Spy)