I decided it would be fun to look at what the longest-running unbroken title runs are.
Here are the rules I played with:
· It’s okay if a series changes name, as long as the numbering continues unbroken.
· It’s okay if there are 0 issues, -1 issues, .1 issues, 1,000,000 issues and the like mixed in as long as the title continues where it left off in the numbering with the next issue.
· If a series restarts at number 1 and then returns to the old numbering later on, the run is considered broken. The reason is twofold: I’m only looking at cases where each number in sequence actually exists. Plus, Marvel occasionally indulges in spurious logic when reverting to a larger numbering by adding in the numbering of another title which itself continues at the time (Incredible Hulk and Hulk, Fantastic Four and FF). I do note later issues in the description but don’t include them in the tally.
· Sorry, no Four Color. For the uninitiated, Four Color, which went under various names, was a “series” used by Dell to try out various series until they proved well enough to support their own series. On the surface this might sound like Showcase or similar titles, but Dell would pump out multiple titles a week using the Four Color numbering; they would also add in the number of Four Color issues when giving a particular title its own series (example: The Cisco Kid, after appearing in Four Color #292, then had his own series from #2-41). Therefore I’ve decided that Four Color was not a comic title in the truest sense.
· I’m focussing mainly on US titles because the information is easier to obtain, and due to the weekly format of most UK books, they’re best looked at separately (some American books have been weekly or bi-weekly, but almost never for a full year).
· Titles that jumped numbering don’t count (Archie Giant Series Magazine’s 632 issues sound impressive until you realize that 36-135 and 252-451 don’t exist).
Here are the 19 titles that made it to 400 in terms of consecutive issue numbers, listed by highest number reached; most titles do have gimmick issues like number 0‘s mixed in, but in the interest of time, I haven’t tried to tally those.
1. 904: Action Comics 1-600/Action Comics Weekly 601-642/Action Comics 643-904, June 1938-Oct 2011; restarted with number 1 the next month.
2. 881: Detective Comics 1-881, Mar 1937-Oct 2011; restarted with number 1 the next month.
3. 720: Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories 1-720, Oct 1940-Jun 2011; note: this title has a tendency to disappear for a few years and then return without resetting the numbering; this will likely happen again at some point.
4. 714: Superman 1-423/Adventures of Superman 424-649/Superman 650-714, Sum 1939-Oct 2011; restarted with number 1 the next month.
5. 713: Batman 1-713, Spr 1940-Oct 2011; restarted with number 1 the next month.
6. 640+: Archie Comics 1-113/Archie 114-Present, Win 1942-43-Present.
7. 544: X-Men 1-141/Uncanny X-Men 142-544, Sept 1963-Dec 2011; a new X-Men title started the next month.
8. 521: Journey into Mystery 1-125/Thor 126-502/Journey Into Mystery 503-512, Jun 1952-Jun 1998; Thor later had other series which were amalgamated into the original numbering; this renumbered series in turn reverted yet again to Journey into Mystery with the larger numbering continuing.
9. 519+: Mad 1-Present, Oct-Nov 1952-Present.
10. 512: Adventures of the Big Boy 1-512, 1956-??; note: this was a giveaway series which is hard to track; the series apparently later got renumbered, but later issues with the old numbering could conceivably still turn up.
11. 503: New Comics 1-11/New Adventure Comics 12-31/Adventure Comics 32-503, Dec 1935-Sept 1983; the series later got revived with new numbering and towards the end of its run reverted back to the old system.
12. 474: Tales to Astonish 1-101/Incredible Hulk 102-474, Jan 1959-Mar 1999; replaced by Hulk the next month; it’s complicated, but the original numbering did later return in some fashion.
13. 454: Tales of Suspense 1-99/Captain America 100-454 Jan 1959-Aug 1996; the first of a number of new Captain America series started next month; the old Captain America numbering returned for a time, which became various other Captain America-related titles after Captain America got another new #1.
14. 441: Amazing Spider-Man 1-441, Mar 1963-Nov 1998; restarted with number 1 the next month and later reverted to the old numbering before being again cancelled for a new series.
15. 422: Our Army at War 1-301/Sgt. Rock 302-422, Aug 1952-Jul 1988
16. 416: Fantastic Four 1-416, Nov 1961-Sept 1996; restarted with number 1 the next month and has twice so far reverted back to the larger numbering.
17. 411: Pep Comics 1-411, Jan 1940-Mar 1987
18. 402: Avengers 1-402, Sept 1963-Sept 1996; restarted with number 1 the next month and later reverted briefly to the old numbering before restarting with number 1 again under various incarnations.
19. 400: Special Comics 1/Hangman Comics 2-8/Black Hood Comics 9-19/Laugh Comics 20-225/Laugh 226-400, Win 1941-42-Apr 1987; a renumbered Laugh series appeared for a time; there was also a short-lived Black Hood series which ran concurrently with Laugh’s first series.
Note: Unfortunately I decided I can’t really count Uncle Scrooge because its first three issues were with the Four Color (FC) numbering, with the series proper starting with #4. If you want to count the series anyway, the details are: Uncle Scrooge FC386, FC456, FC495, 4-209/Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge 210-383/Uncle Scrooge 384-404, Mar 1952 (or Dec 1953/Feb 1954 if you skip the Four Color issues)-Jun 2011.