The End of Uncanny (post from 2011)

Was digging through some old writings and decided to dredge up my thoughts on the (FIRST) renumbering of Uncanny X-Men from back in 2011 – post-Schism story line.  Nothing Earth-shattering here – it’s barely worth reading, mostly just me kvetching and acting like an old man (even over ten years ago!)… but, the point hopefully still remains that legacy numbering is important to a great deal of comics fans.  This was originally written/posted sometime during the Fall of 2011… and is sadly and disturbingly wildly out of date.  Never at the time of writing would I imagine in just a few short years we’d be out the other end of volume-freaking-five of Uncanny X-Men.

And remember, friends – this first renumbering was NOT a sales gimmick! Heaven’s no!

In recognition of this week’s FINAL ISSUE of Uncanny X-Men (#544) I wanted to take a little while to reflect on the passing of the series I’d collected since the late 80’s. When this was announced several months back, we were assured that this wouldn’t be a stunt, or sales trick. There would be a legitimate reason for the re-launch. In a post-Schism Marvel Universe, I’m left wondering exactly how *this* is worth re-numbering a nearly 50 year old title. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Schism. Thought it was a decent enough story… I just don’t think it required restarting the book.

I understand that re-numbering is all the rage right now in light of DC’s The New-52!… however, Uncanny X-Men (vol.2) #1 will be a direct continuation from Uncanny X-Men (vol.1) #544. No real justifiable reason for a restart. The status quo of the X-Men has changed several times throughout the past five decades, never necessitating a new #1. That said, I’d like to go through the (Uncanny) X-Men run, and point to some other instances wherein I feel a re-numbering would have fit better than Regenesis.

(Uncanny) X-Men #94 (1975) – All-New, All-Different. If we’re discussing places in X-Men history where a re-start would comfortably fit… this is it! Following the introduction of the “All-New” X-Men in Giant-Size #1, their adventures would continue in the main title, which for several years prior had only served as a reprint mag for the original X-Men’s 1960’s stories.

Uncanny X-Men #229 (1988) – Following the Fall of the Mutants cross-over, the X-Men were believed to be dead. In reality they had left to rebuild in Australia, leaving the world at large to continue believing their demise. This starts the X-Men “Outback era” which would continue for the next couple of years.

Uncanny X-Men #281 (1991) – In a time when the New Mutants became X-ForceX-Factor shuffled rosters and X-Men (vol.2) was launched, Uncanny still managed to maintain its numbering. Famous for the first real non-Claremont Uncanny issues for quite some time, these stories felt… different than anything that had come before (not necessarily for the better, but still… different).

Uncanny X-Men #322 (1995) – The Age of Apocalypse had just ended, and the already hiatus-ed X-Men titles, including Uncanny were brought back under their original numbering. A relaunch upon the title’s return would have fit.

Uncanny X-Men #337 (1996) – In the wake of Marvel’s onslaught (no pun intended) of #1 issues, with Heroes Reborn and influx of new titles (ThunderboltsAlpha Flight (v.2), Deadpool, etc.) the X-Men titles all kept chugging along at their legacy numbering.

Uncanny X-Men #381 (2000) – The “X-Men Revolution” featured the return of Chris Claremont to the X-Men after nearly a decade away. In addition, this was just around the time the first X-Men movie landed in theaters (in fact issue #384 just three months later featured the new movie logo taking the place of the traditional one for several months). A movie these days often mandates a new volume of a title, to allure and ensnare the non-existent “New Reader”.

There are a few more instances I could argue, however, these are the one’s that stand out most to me.

In closing, while I don’t like random re-numberings of comic books especially when we readers are told that there are REAL storyline justifications for it… with the way sales are going right now, I can see why it is done, and done so often. I’m not sure if this is a long-term measure, or if in six-month’s time, Uncanny will be re-re-numbered to #550. Or if in two years, Uncanny will be re-re-numbered in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the X-Men, or if we will have to wait until Uncanny would have reached #600* for a return to traditional numbering… if at all.

*It DID — for one whole issue!

The importance of numbering to me is probably quite silly I must admit. As long as the story is good, that’s all that matters, right?I enjoy collecting high-numbered titles, makes a collector feel as though they’re piecing together a puzzle. One of the things that kept me away from DC Comics in the early 1990’s was the fact that titles like Wonder WomanGreen LanternFlash and Green Arrow were still only in the double-digits. Characters created several decades prior, to me, should have high numbered, long running volumes. I was wary I’d get invested in any given DC title, only to have it re-started (which, has happened time and time again since.) 

As a collector, I enjoy filling in gaps of my collection. Picking up various old issues of Uncanny X-Men makes me feel as though I’m actually accomplishing something. I know, silly. Right now, picking up early issues of, say, the Avengers aren’t nearly as satisfying as it could be, it feels as though I’m collecting for a dead series.

Cliff Notes version of this entry – Wahhh, wahhh, don’t renumber my comics!

3 thoughts on “The End of Uncanny (post from 2011)

  • Imagine the future comics collectors who will have to figure out which issue 23 followes the correct volume’s issue 22. Going to the back issue bins no one will be able to tell if that issue 23 belongs to volune 3 or volume 16. Once again the comic companies have found a new way to kill off the hobby of collecting comics.

    • I bought a bunch of Deadpool issues a couple years ago for the wrong volume.

      I prefer the “classic” blocky X-Men logo, but at least with some of the later volumes they have different logos, so I can more or less match ’em up that way. My “missing issues” list marked volumes as “spikey logo,” “‘Uncanny’ splits ‘X-Men’ logo,” etc.

      Without even getting to the issue/problem of variants…

  • I remember the ‘joy’ as a kid when I realized that my issues of Detective Comics (#604+) meant this was the same series that Grandpa had collected (late 300s/early 400s)

    And the realization that Adventures of Superman was the same series as Grandpa’s ‘Superman’.

    Similar for other various titles.

    Thinking about it tonight AS I’m typing here, I think it’d “feel” better to alter the LOGO for a given “era” and work some sorta numbering into that, while keeping a consistent numbering in the indicia (who but folks like us even pays attention to the indicia anyway?)

    I don’t think I ever fully “bought into” the “reasoning” for the Uncanny renumbering. “Have to have ‘Wolverine and the’ on equal footing numberwise” was my basic takeaway back then. And then “Wolverine and the” went twice as long as the post-Schism Uncanny, I think? And then even had its own second volume amidst stuff.

    AT LEAST with the ’80s DC renumberings, Wonder Woman, Flash, Superman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Justice League…those made it to triple-digits. If I’m remembering correctly, GA didn’t quite make it to 150, and GL 189ish; the others made it to 220s?

    Infinite Crisis, I was more or less “ok-ish” with losing a Superman title, and them taking the original numbering back from Adventures of. Still had a consistent numbering that way, overall. And of course, Action and Detective at least “only” had the 52 “New 52” interruption out of 1,000+.

    Had a lot more thoughts, but they’re scattering, and I’ve rambled enough here as-is.


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