Let the answering of questions begin!

§ October 15th, 2018 § Filed under publishing, question time § 12 Comments

Here’s Paul, filling my comment section with this, the first question from this post I’m addressing:

“What is the current winner in the “Longest Delayed Issue” contest? Completion of a mini-series, etc. Please feel free to discourse on this title as much as you wish:”

…which he follows with a mention of the never-released follow-up to the as-yet-unfinished comics classic All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder by Frank “The Spirit” Miller and Jim “Put a Collar on Everybody” Lee.

Now, I’d meant to bring home my copy of the Überstraße comical book pricing guide for research purposes, but dumb ol’ me left it sitting on the front counter at work, so what’cha gonna do. So, I’m going to depend on online databases like the Grand Comics Database for my info here.

For the purposes of argument, let’s just consider series that did have a follow-up issue after an extended pause in publication (which would leave out something like that All Star Batman follow-up, which is more theoretical at this point anyway, not to mention technically being a separate mini-series aside from the original).

The first thing that comes to mind is of course Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk, a six part mini-series that had a three-year gap right in the middle there. That’s one of the more obnoxious examples of this sort of thing.

However, there’s an even longer gap from another Marvel title: the 1990s Ghost Rider series, which ended at #93 in 1998 even though an issue #94 had been intended to wrap up the series, sales (and orders!) just didn’t warrant the expense to publish it! Eventually, Marvel did publish #94 as an extra-sized special in 2007, 9 years later, which included a reprint of #93 as well as the heretofore unpublished #94, finally bringing closure to that run.

Then I suppose there’s the legendary underground comic Zap Comix, which published #15 of its run in 2005, and #16 (the final issue, supposedly) in 2016. I mean, this is slightly different from the other examples, in that its not a serialized story that was suddenly interrupted, keeping everyone in suspense until the shocking conclusion was released. …I mean, I suppose once you start looking into undergrounds, there may be all kinds of long publication gaps between issues like this. That’s a whole ‘nother ball of research.

Then there are circumstances like this one, where a Buck Rogers #1 was released in 1964, and then 15 years later, in 1979, when the title was revived due to the TV series, the comic continued with an issue #2. I feel for the Buck Rogers fan who picked up #2 on the stands and lamented that he just missed the first issue, surely containing a prequel to the television show.

I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Miracleman, which doesn’t quite fit the criteria I established above in that it hasn’t yet had the follow-up to its final issue in 1993, and the continuation would have had a newly numbered series anyway. But Marvel came close, coming within a couple of issues in its recent reprint series to finally getting to the promised new material. Had that come out when expected, that would have been a 23 year gap. And though it wouldn’t have had “#25” on the cover, it would have been “The Silver Age” Part 3, so maybe we can consider that the numbering system that was so cruelly interrupted. It’s all a moot point anyway, since those new Miracleman stories don’t appear to be arriving anytime soon, and frankly I’m surprised Marvel hasn’t thrown some version of Marvelman into the Avengers or whatever, and try to recoup whatever money and resources they put into acquiring the character.

Oh, and I just remembered Amazing Fantasy, which had a somewhat famous issue #15 in 1962, followed by #16, #17 and #18 in 1995. Plus, there were all those Blackest Night books that purported to be the next issue after each series’ last issue (like Atom and Hawkman, ending with #45 in 1968, getting a new one-shot event tie-in special #46 in 2010). I’m not sure I’d count these specific cases as “interrupted series runs” as clearly these next issues weren’t part of the plan when the original series were canned.

Well, that’s certainly a lot of typing. Paul, these are the best examples I can think of off the top of my head. I haven’t yet looked into the Disney conics, as I’m pretty sure here there are some lengthy publication gaps, particularly in the 1970s. Admittedly I got a bit off track near the end there, so if anyone can think of any series with lengthy publication gaps that retain their actual numbering, and clearly were meant to continue on but got horribly delayed (as opposed to my examples where a series definitely had its ending, but then had follow-up issues that continued the numbering), just let me know.

12 Responses to “Let the answering of questions begin!”

  • Andrew says:

    I remember that gap for Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk, It was so annoying because the buildup and story were interesting and then, “oh the writer’s busy” I think was the issue

  • Adam Farrar says:

    There’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero by Larry Hama, et al. Marvel cancelled the series with #155 in 1994. After IDW had the license for a while, they asked Larry to pick up where he left off and so #155 1/2 came out in 2010 and over 100 issues later, still continues on today.

  • Paul Di Filippo says:

    Spectacular and satisfying answer, Mike! I feel guilty for putting you thru all that research–but then again, we all benefited from your labors!

  • demoncat_4 says:

    i would put kevins smith daredevil target and also his batman mess wandering gyro the only batman book where batman admits he peed himself on that list since both have yet to actully have any new issues at all for been now going on about think close to years now

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Back in the 1970s, DC had a habit of reviving old titles and continuing the numbering from where it left off. It did this with AQUAMAN (six years between #56 and #57), BLACKHAWK (seven years between #243 and #244, then five and a half years between #250 and #251), CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN (two years between #77 and #78, then four years between #80 and #81), DOOM PATROL (four years between #121 and #122), INFERIOR FIVE (four years between #10 and #11), METAL MEN (two years between #41 and #42, then three years between #44 and #45), SHOWCASE (seven years between #93 and #94), and TEEN TITANS (three and a half years between #43 and #44).

    Of these, the biggest gap between issues was seen in ALL-STAR COMICS: 25 years between #57 and #58. What makes this a bit odd is that DC did not actually cancel ALL-STAR COMICS back in 1951. Rather, it changed the name to ALL-STAR WESTERN, keeping the numbering intact and finally ending with #119 in 1961.

    DC reused that title, ALL-STAR WESTERN, twice: first in 1970 (eleven issues before changing the title to WEIRD WESTERN TALES), then in 2011 (34 issues). Perhaps the latter series should have started with #12, continuing on until #45. That would allow the hope that DC would eventually use the title again, picking up with #46 and running on for twelve issues. That would do away with the anomalies in the numbering of ALL-STAR COMICS and ALL-STAR WESTERN (though, in the latter case, it would be replacing them with temporal anomalies).

  • Adam Farrar says:

    It’s not as a dramatic but there’s also Marvel’s original Warlock series. Spinning out of Marvel Premiere #1-2 was (The Power of) Warlock #1-8 which after cancellation was wrapped up in Incredible Hulk #176-178. Two years later, Strange Tales #178-181 spun off Warlock #9-15 which after cancellation was wrapped up in Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Mr. Farrar’s mention of STRANGE TALES reminds me that it had a pattern similar to what I noted above: In 1968, its title was changed to DOCTOR STRANGE with #168; then, in 1973, Marvel revived the title STRANGE TALES (featuring first Brother Voodoo, then the Golem, then Warlock, and finally Dr. Strange again)–and began the numbering with #168.

    And mentioning Warlock brings Captain Marvel to mind, so let us consider its publication schedule: It began in 1968, published monthly, except for a two-month gap between #14 and #15. Then there is a six-month gap between #19 and #20, and two years between #21 and #22, after which it maintained a regular bi-monthly schedule. I suspect that one should regard #20 and #21 not as a proper revival, but a move to maintain Marvel’s trademark on the name.

    I could have included in my original post DC SPECIAL: three and a half years between #15 (“Plastic Man”) and #16 (“Super-Heroes Battle Super-Gorillas”).

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    OK, I have what may be the longest gap between issues: the sixty years between MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #1 and #2.

    Granted, it is a backwards gap–#2 came out in 1939, and #1 in 1999.

    Hey–DC could still beat this, if it were to come out with a WHIZ COMICS #1. Maybe when the Shazam movie comes out…

  • David says:

    Yeah it’s that Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk book. That took years! Plus ended on fantastic cliffhanger. Close second was that Ultimates 2 book they finally finished with some massive 16-page fold-out splash page thing. That one was also big cliffhanger. The spirit of question implies an unfinished story. Those are the two in my collecting lifetime that take the cake.

  • Thom H. says:

    Yeah, what has been the hold up with the new Miracleman issues? Does anyone have a definitive answer about that?

  • Adam Farrar says:

    Marvel announced at/around SDCC this year that Gaiman and Buckingham had restarted work on Miracleman with new issues coming out in 2019. We’ll see…

  • Eric L says:

    The sales on Ghost Rider 93 were so awful that they didn’t even bother publishing 94? I realize it’s not my money here, but it seems like they could have just published the thing and satisfied the fans who were reading it.