As revealed via the New York Times, Marvel Comics No. 1000 will be a 80-page comic book with 80 different creative teams: each issue will represent one year of the company’s history. Marvel celebrates its 80th anniversary this year, with Marvel Comics No. 1 introducing the Human Torch, Sub-Mariner and the Angel — not the X-Men hero of the same name, but an entirely different, mostly forgotten character — amongst others in late 1939.
The numbering of the issue is described by Marvel executive editor Tom Brevoort to the Times as “a symbolic thing,” which is certainly true; the 1939 Marvel Comics series ceased publication in 1957 with its 159th issue, having changed titles twice by that point, first to Marvel Mystery Comics and later to Marvel Tales. Even if it had continued to publish monthly throughout the past 80 years, it still wouldn’t have reached its 1,000th issue; it would be around No. 960 or so.
Instead, the title is likely a reference to Marvel’s competitor, DC, which found significant sales success with last year’s Action Comics No. 1000 — celebrating the 80th anniversary of Superman — and this year’s Detective Comics No. 1000, marking the 80th anniversary of Batman. In both cases, the issue numbers were “earned,” with 999 previous editions of the series, but the combination of the anniversary and the round number of the series proved a successful marketing tool for each release. The same obviously isn’t true of Marvel Comics as a series, but at this point, the idea of a 1,000th issue as a signifier for a comic book’s 80th anniversary may simply be baked into comic book readers’ minds.
Marvel Comics No. 1000 will be released this August.