The Zero Issue

Growing up, every comic book started with issue one and went on from there. That was just how things were done. In the 1990’s DC Comics came up with the gimmick of a “Zero Issue” that took place before established continuity and replaced a monthly issue of their comics. It was usually a story to show what the characters were doing before the comic series started. In some cases, like with new series, it worked, while in others, say Action Comics and Detective Comics, which were well into 600 and 700 issue runs at the time, it didn’t because the “zero issue,” which you were to file BEFORE anything else in your collection, looked nothing like the original comics that came out in the late 1930s and 1940s nor had anything to do with those runs. Some independent comics houses ran with the idea of starting their comic series with zero issues instead of first issues for a while, but then the whole thing died out as we hit the early 2000’s.

DC Comics brought the idea back last year in their “New 52 relaunch” and even though there were only 11 or 12 issues of the runs of the new line, they still managed to screw it up. The main problem was that no one could decide if the comics were just the regularly scheduled monthly comic with a “zero” instead of the normal numbering scheme or if these were actual “issue zeros” that you’d insert at the start of your collection. In the in-comic solicitations they were the former, urging everyone to check out the next issue of the comic as if it were just another issue (and nothing special), even if the comic they wanted you to read should technically have been filed before your issue number one because the events took place before the start of established continuity.

I won’t even start on their gimmick of issue “one million.” I’m sure I’ve hurt your brains enough with the last two paragraphs.

So the idea, technically of a zero issue is to put in continuity events that took place before the start of the series while drumming up sales because hey, issue one’s are HUGE sellers, issue ZEROS must be even HOTTER for sales. Yeah. I don’t have sales so the second part doesn’t apply to me. The same ten people who read these are going to read them regardless of what number is on the cover. But the first part, throwing stuff into established continuity… okay. I can go with that.

Series six (formally series one or two, depending on my mood) of Amazing Incredible is getting a zero issue for that reason. Issue 05-06 established inserting things into the new continuity and issue 06-00 is going to pick up on those events and stick some more in. I really had no other place to put the events without screwing up my numbering system. Thankfully, in my case, it’s going to be a true zero issue. I haven’t written a “monthly” issue in a while and I’m in a good place to do one since I’m converting the old issues over anyway. It’s not like we get to issue six and I tell you, “Oh yeah, stop what you’re doing and jump backwards to read the new stuff I want you to read after you’ve already read all these issues…” These are new events that are leading into the changed issue one so I’m good with it.

I may do a zero issue to start the converted “The Media Elite” series when it becomes Amazing Incredible volume one. I have an idea of bookends to start each series to make it fit into an overall continuity for this mess I’ve written over the years. There’s a story that I’m telling that ties everything together and makes sense of the reboots. A zero issue for that series (and let’s face it, no one really remembers “The Media Elite” anyway), will start things off with the new continuity and then lead to the converted series.

The rest of the volumes won’t be getting issue zeros if I can help it, however. @insanity and the old Amazing Incredible volume one (now Amazing Incredible volumes four and five), are having their first issues completely rewritten anyway, I can stick five pages of the bookend story in there without anyone being the wiser. Universe and Starshine Downs? Yeah, it may be a problem. But I’ll figure it out. It’s not like anyone remembers.

The good thing now is that I’m writing again. I’m about as excited as I can get about writing. I’m sure it’ll fade (hey you know it’s going to fade), but right now I need to go with it while I have the gumption to actually produce new issues or else I’m going to be back here next year writing about the NEW plan to revise the old issues and well, nobody wants to hear about that again.

I’ve bored you enough as is. 🙂

With that. Back to work.

Jim