Once upon a time, comics reached triple digit issue numbers, and then kept on climbing! It was a common occurrence to be have comics on your pull list in triple digits, some reaching into the high five hundreds and beyond if the comic started in the early days of the medium.
These days we’re lucky if a series makes it past issue #50 before being renumbered back to #1.
Well the simple answer is that publishers see an immediate advantage to first issues; both as a jumping on point for new readers, and also because they tend to have higher sell through numbers than any other issue – this is a very broad statement, I know, but issue #1 of a new Wolverine series will likely sell more than issue #31. With Marvel Comics shifting toward more of a seasonal model in the vein of TV series and renumbering their entire line once Secret Wars concludes, which should, “[offer] accessible entry points for new readers and is respectful of long-term fans,” according to Axel Alonso.
Which is great if it really does entice new readers to comics.
But I’ll still miss the long running sequential numbers, because as a collector the long running sequential numbers n comics are a lot easier to organize when in my collection, or track down when they’re not. At the end of the day, though, catering to collectors isn’t the prime focus of publishers; it’s making money by telling great stories and selling comic books, and I understand that. I understand that new #1’s attract new readers to comics (it’s worked on me a couple of times), but renumbering comic book series too frequently can also make it easier to drop a series if it isn’t resonating with you (again, something I’ve done before).
At the end of the day, if the stories are good, it doesn’t really matter what number is on the front cover.
But I still miss issue #103.