Numbering in comics is an important thing to some fans, as well as those whom sell or collect those comics. Issue numbers can help organize a timeline of a particular character’s progressive or better inform when a certain creative team started or ended its run. It is for these reasons that whenever DC or Marvel decides on a new publishing scheme, issue numbers are an important gauge of company priorities. DC’s “New 52” and “Rebirth” initiatives reset the issue numbers to 1 in order to draw in new fans, even going as far as rewriting or omitting elements of continuity regarding those characters; Marvel’s “Legacy” initiative recently shifted its books’ numbers back to whatever they should properly be numbered in a motion of fan appeasement.
Despite all of the overtures and rebranding by “the Big Two,” only one series’ issue number is truly significant, that series, “Action Comics,” is the book which began superhero comics. By following Action Comics’ issue numbers, fans could follow the history of comics. 1938’s Action Comics #1 marked the debut of Superman and April 2018 will celebrate this legacy with its 1000th issue. The most notable element of the new issue is the return of the iconic red trunks to Superman’s costume, itself an homage to the strongmen of circuses. Superman lost the trunks as part of DC’s New 52 marketing ploy in 2011.
Jim Lee, artist for the issue’s cover, cites the issue as ‘a watershed moment” in the history of media and literature and feels that depicting the “blue Boy Scout” in his iconic red trunks is the perfect tribute to the character it introduced to popular culture. Rather than serving as a traditional comic book issue, Action Comics #1000 is intended to serve as an anthology of stories written by such comics luminaries as: Brian Michael Bendis, Richard Donner, Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Marv Wolfman, Dan Jurgens, Paul Dini, Tom King, Brad Meltzer, Louise Simonson and Scott Snyder. The book will feature artwork by: Curt Swan, Olivier Coipel, José Luis García-López, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, John Cassaday, Laura Martin, Jerry Ordway and Tim Sale.
The book will also pay proper homage to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, Superman’s creators, whom DC took advantage of for decades; it was not until 1976 that the duo’s byline was returned to anything and everything involving Superman. Action Comics #1000 debuts April 18.