10 Long-Running Comics That Have Never Been Renumbered

At the end of May, DC announced that all of their DC Universe comics including <i>Action Comics</i> and <i>Detective Comics</i>, the two longest-running series in comic book history were being relaunched with new #1s in September, making all those who geek out over really high numbers on their comics very sad. <p>Shortly after that, Marvel made public their plans to end <i>Uncanny X-Men</i> the publisher's longest-running comic that had never been renumbered in October and release a new #1 in November, and in the process, made all those who geek out over really high numbers on their comics very, very sad. <p>So following that doubleshot of relaunch news, what comics are left with high numbers that haven't pushed the restart button at some point? Sure, Marvel's got some comics that are way in the 500s and 600s, like <i>Invincible Iron Man</i> and <I>Amazing Spider-Man</i>, but those have all been renumbered. (Heroes Reborn, Heroes Return, the John Byrne re-start in the '90s, so on.) Even a relatively younger title like <i>Thunderbolts</i> has a byzantine publication history, combining the original series with <i>New Thunderbolts</i> as of that book's 100th cumulative issue. <p>So Newsarama did some digging, and these are our findings. Keep in mind a couple of caveats: for the purpose of this list, we're including only widely available North American publications (so no <i>2000AD</i>), and though it obviously has always had a major comic book component, we're defining <i>Mad</i> as a magazine, not a comic book. (It's "Mad Magazine," not "Mad Comic Book," y'know?) <p>Click "start here" to see the 10 currently published comics that have released the most issues without reverting to a new #1 at any point. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>


<b>Most recent issue</b>: #208 <br><b>First published</b>: 1992 <br><b>Publisher</b>: Image Comics <p>Todd McFarlane's <i>Spawn</I> was one of the four original Image titles, and though it's inspired a myriad of spinoffs, the main series has remained a constant of the publisher. Erik Larsen's <i>Savage Dragon</i> has also never renumbered unlike <i>WildC.A.T.S.</i> and <i>Youngblood</i>, both of which got nearly annual relaunches for a while there and currently sits at a none-too-shabby issue #171. <p><b>Nearly making the cut</b>: <i>Jughead</i> (up to #207), <i>Looney Tunes</i> (#199, crazy, right?), <i>Betty</i> (#192), Bongo's <I>Simpsons Comics</i> (#179).


<b>Most recent issue</b>: #226 <br><b>First published</b>: 1993 <br><b>Publisher</b>: Archie Comics <p>Now here's a comic with staying power. Thanks to a dedicated fanbase, <i>Sonic the Hedgehog</i> has managed to stick around more than a decade after Sega's last console was discontinued. The comic is seeing a relaunch of sorts currently, with this week's issue #226 rebooting the comics nearly two-decade-long continuity. The numbering is staying the same, though, and that's all that matters in this list.


<b>Most recent issue</b>: #251 <br><b>First published</b>: 1991 <br><b>Publisher</b>: Marvel Comics <p><i>X-Men: Legacy</i> had quite the auspicious start: the first issue of the series is recognized by Guinness as the best-selling single issue comic book of all time, moving around 8.1 million units. Of course, that was by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee, back when the comic was just called "X-Men." It switched to <i>New X-Men</i> in 2001 when writer Grant Morrison came on board, then back to adjectiveless "X-Men" for a few years in 2004, before gaining the current "Legacy" suffix in February 2008.


<b>Most recent issue</b>: #253 <br><b>First published</b>: 1987 <br><b>Publisher</b>: Archie Comics <p>Here's a tricky one. <i>Betty and Veronica</i> started in 1950, and like so many other series, relaunched with a new #1. But guess what? This relaunch has lasted longer than the lifespan of most first volumes, and is good enough for No. 7 on our list. <p><b>Honorable mention</b>: Two of Archie's double digests, <i>Archie Double Digest</i> (#220) and <i>Betty and Veronica Friends Double Digest</i> (#215), would have qualified for this list, but we're sticking with the traditional comic book format.


<b>Most recent issue</b>: #280 <br><b>First published</b>: 1987 <br><b>Publisher</b>: DC/Vertigo <p>John Constantine's solo title is the highest-ranking "big two" entry on our list. When <i>Hellblazer</i> started in 1987, Vertigo didn't even exist, but the comic helped spur the imprint's creation (along with <i>Sandman</i>, <i>Swamp Thing</i>, and several other paradigm-shifting DC titles of the period). Along the way, it became a proving ground for several of the comic industry's most acclaimed writers, including Garth Ennis, Paul Jenkins, Warren Ellis, Brian Azzarello, Andy Diggle and Mike Carey.


<b>Most recent issue</b>: #309 <br><b>First published</b>: 1941 <br><b>(Current) Publisher</b>: BOOM! Studios <p>The first Disney book on our entry, but definitely not the last. Thanks to the ongoing game of hot potato that is the Disney comic book license, it's been a long road for Mickey to get to #309. The first 84 issues were published by Dell, before Gold Key picked up the baton for a long run beginning in 1962. Gold Key switched the comic to their "Whitman" banner as of 1980, then the series moved to Gladstone in the late '80s. Diamond-owned Gemstone started things up with #257 in 2003, before the comic moved to its current home of BOOM! Studios in 2009. Yet with Disney's ownership of Marvel causing properties like <i>Cars</i> and <i>The Muppet Show</i> shift from BOOM! to the House of Ideas, the Mouse's comic book history could get even more complicated real soon BOOM! has solicited no issues of <i>Mickey Mouse and Friends</i>, nor any of their other "classic" Disney comics, since June.


<b>Most recent issue</b>: #367 <br><b>First published</b>: 1940 <br><b>(Current) Publisher</b>: BOOM! Studios <p>Like his more amiable Disney colleague sitting at No. 4, Donald also took the Dell-to-Gold Key-to-Whitman-to-Gladstone-to-Gemstone-to-BOOM! route, with a similarly cloudy future. It should be noted that in the early '90s Disney published their own comics, but chose to launch new series with their own #1s for Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. But not every series. (More on that later.)


<b>Most recent issue</b>: #404 <br><b>First published</b>: 1952 <br><b>(Current) Publisher</b>: BOOM! Studios <p>You know the drill by now: Donald's uncle has not only starred in noted stories by legendary creators like Carl Barks and Don Rosa, he also has a long and winding publication history (plus the bizarre proclivity of swimming in coins). There's a couple of extra steps to get to #404, as the short-lived Disney Comics chose to maintain the established numbering when they published <i>Uncle Scrooge</i> from 1990 to 1993. The rights then returned to Gladstone.


<b>Most recent issue</b>: #622 <br><b>First published</b>: 1942 <br><b>Publisher</b>: Archie Comics (naturally) <p>There are a few Archie comics on this list, but the flagship is the one to notch the highest rank. While his pals and gals like <i>Jughead</i> and <i>Betty and Veronica</i> have gotten relaunched, <i>Archie</i> has held firm since World War II, with nearly 70 uninterrupted years of puns and double-booked date nights.


<b>Most recent issue</b>: #720 <br><b>First published</b>: 1940 <br><b>(Current) Publisher</b>: BOOM! Studios <p>The top of the list is one of the original series of the Golden Age, an anthology title featuring Disney's wide stable of characters. Like all Disney comics, it's had some major gaps in publication like four years between the Gladstone and Gemstone days but it's kept consistent numbering throughout its tumultuous journey. At six publishers and counting, it looks like a seventh may be around the corner.

10 Long-Running Comics That Have Never Been Renumbered

Date: 01 July 2011 Time: 09:39 PM ET