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Your pages are not numbered

If any comics publishers read this, hear my cry in the wilderness: we need page numbers! This is a serious problem in comics publishing. In my experience, DC is the only publisher that consistently produces books with numbered pages. Marvel books never have page numbers, not even the TPBs. I just flipped through all the Image and Dark Horse I found lying around—no page numbers. I pulled out a couple other books published outside the major American publishers—the only one I can find with page numbers is Persepolis. Thank you Marjane Satrapi! I’ve just flipped through about ten comic books and only one of them has numbered pages!

My problem here is, I’ve decided to be better about citations in my critical writing. Among other things, this means I’d like to cite page numbers of books. This, of course, is very difficult when the books have no page numbers. It’s not too bad with Marvel books, since they’re usually collected reprints of single issues and I can just count from the beginning of each issue rather than the beginning of the entire book. But I just read Couscous Express (published by the blogosphere’s favorite ‘indie’ publisher Ait/Planetlar), and I’d like to write about it, and I’d like to cite page numbers when I reference specific passages—but it has no page numbers! And there are no chapter divisions, so I’ll have to count myself from the very beginning of the book. I’ll probably get a pen and write in my own page numbers, but I shouldn’t have to do that. Comics creators and publishers, please number the pages of your books!


  1. Johnny Bacardi says:

    Amen, brother! I’ve found myself counting pages several times recently when I wanted to cite about a specific page in a comic. Don’t know why they got away from this, but it must stop now. My guess is trade collections made removing the numbers when they were in the prepress stages to time consuming. WHo knows.

    — 9 June 2004 at 7:27 pm (Permalink)

  2. Steven says:

    I suppose another reason for the lack of page numbers might be that publishers think it will mar the art. DC books sometimes page numbers stuck right on top of panels when there’s no room in the page margin, but I think that’s a small price to pay for page numbers. And I suppose it probably just doesn’t occur to some publishers that anybody might want to read their books closely enough that numbered pages would be useful. Marvel has certainly sometimes given the impression that they consider their comics either disposable entertainment or collectors’ items, not texts to be subjected to close reading.

    — 9 June 2004 at 8:59 pm (Permalink)

  3. Shawn Fumo says:

    Is this the place where I mention that I just looked through almost my whole manga collection and could only find two books without page numbers? One was Chobits 1, but numbers appeared in later volumes. The other was Berserk, which is published by Dark Horse. Dunno if later volumes get numbers or not. The first GTO digest only had a number at the beginning of each chapter, but that also changed in latter volumes.

    In comparison, I saw right away that Hellboy and Zero Girl didn’t have numbers. Sandman does, though…

    — 10 June 2004 at 4:52 am (Permalink)

  4. Nick H says:


    Berserk volumes 2 and 3 get page numbers. To an extent. Dark Horse have printed page numbers on the pages where there’s space in the margins, but many pages of Berserk take up the full page and and thus un-numbered. I’m not sure whether half-there numbers are more annoying or not than no numbers at all. Both my Hellsing and Trigun volume 1’s have page numbers, so I’m a bit surprised that Berserk 1 doesn’t have them.

    — 10 June 2004 at 6:48 pm (Permalink)

  5. H says:

    Hear hear! This especially drives me nuts when trying to write about Marvel Essential collections. The individual stories reprinted have page numbers, but the collection does not. “And on page 68, panel 4″ is a lot easier as a reference than “And in panel 4, page 4 of the 9th story in the collection”…

    — 10 June 2004 at 9:14 pm (Permalink)

  6. Mag says:

    I agree with whatever H says. He’s so smart. And funny, too.

    Bring on the numbers! Let the revolution begin!

    — 12 June 2004 at 2:14 am (Permalink)

  7. Steven says:

    Yay! More numbers for everyone!

    — 12 June 2004 at 2:17 am (Permalink)