It looks like DC Comics are using the Omnibus format as their current way to collect classic material in chronological order.  In the past, there have been the Archives series (hardcover, full color), the Showcase Presents series (softcover, black and white, usually twice the page count of an Archive), and the Chronicles series (softcover, full color, smaller page count than an Archive).  In the past few years, all of these lines have been quietly shuttered, and now DC is releasing Omnibus collections in both hardcover and softcover formats.

As you would expect, the Omnibus hardcovers are huge.  Two Silver Age volumes collected the first 76 issues of JLA (along with Brave and Bold 28-30 and Mystery in Space 75), for example.  Earlier this year, DC released JLA: The Bronze Age Omnibus Volume 1, collecting JLA # 77-113.  That's almost half of the original series collected in this way, which for a fan like me is great news.  The JLA Archives had 10 volumes, collected the first 93 issues, and the first volume and last volume were released twenty-two years apart.  The first JLA Omnibus came out in 2014.

DC is also releasing these collections in trade paperbacks with a smaller page count than the hardcovers.  The great thing is that these TPBs collect more issues than the Archives did!  The material collected in the first JLA Silver Age Omnibus has all been released in 3 TPBs.

I have the first JLA Silver Age TPB, and I loved it!  I also have the first JLA Showcase Presents, but I find that without color, I just don't enjoy the stories as much as I could.  Actually, I find I enjoy most Silver Age comics more in color versus reading them in Showcase Presents and Essential Marvel.

I wonder how many of the rest of you are buying and reading these Omnibus collections, and what you think of the format.

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Mine too! And maybe a few others, besides! I doubt I was familiar with the Challengers of the Unknown at that point (although I think they had their own comic at the time, it wasn't one I was buying) -- and the Inferior Five, Tommy Tomorrow, and maybe even The Creeper were all new to me. (Not to mention characters in the periphery of the action, like Fireman Farrell* and Sugar & Spike!)

I love the conceit of only using characters that had starred in previous issues of Showcase. The absence of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman gave a lot of smaller characters a chance to shine. 

*I'm pretty sure I still haven't read any of his other appearances, or even know if there's more than one.

IIRC, these were the "groupings"

  • Flash, Green Lantern, the Atom and Adam Strange went into space where they met Space Ranger, the Phantom Stranger and the Spectre.
  • The Teen Titans, Hawk & Dove and the Metal Men were doing crowd control.
  • Rip Hunter and his crew get stuck in time!
  • Aquaman, the Sea Devils and Dolphin rescued people from drowning including Sugar & Spike!
  • Lois Lane, the Challengers of the Unknown and the Creeper took out the alien menace from one angle.
  • Angel, Bat Lash and Tommy Tomorrow from another angle.
  • And the Ape kept Anthro, the Inferior 5, Firehair, Binky and Windy & Willy at his office!

I think that might have been the first time a big crossover type story of that scope was attempted.

Both Contest of Champions and the original Crisis came later.

What about JLA #144? Which came first?

JLA #144 was cover-dated July 1977 while Showcase #100 was May 1978.

That explains why I used to get those two books mixed up: They came out within a year of each other.

It's weird but the more I think about it, Showcase #100 could be a prototype for Crisis on Infinite Earths. The gathering of heroes, problems with the space-time continuums, the splitting up into teams, the combination of science and sorcery and the Spectre was there at the end, too!

It's funny... I bought Showcase #100 (as a back issue) when I was in college, but I haven't read it yet.

That's "aquisition phase," followed (some 30+ years later) by "discussion phase"... followed by "reading phase"...? I'll have to fiqure out which box it's in and dig it out.

That's funny because I bought #100 off the racks but never saw #94-99 (New Doom Patrol and Power Girl) or #101-103 (Hawkman and O.S.S.).

I bought #94-103 at the same time; I read #94-99, but not #100-103. In the case of Hawkman, I was waiting until I completed a Hawkman collection (which I never got around to starting, actually). DC later started one (the archive series), but they never finished it. Which brings us full circle to: maybe they'll release a Silver Age Hawkman Omnibus one of these days.

IIRC, I posted a review of Showcase #100 on one of the old boards about (sigh) 10 years ago. Can't seem to find a copy on my hard drive though.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

(Not to mention characters in the periphery of the action, like Fireman Farrell* and Sugar & Spike!)

*I'm pretty sure I still haven't read any of his other appearances, or even know if there's more than one.

I used Fireman Farrell's Showcase #1(MAR56) cover appearance as one of my "A Cover a Day" "F" covers in April. I never read his stories. He had three 8-page stories in Showcase #1 in which he was a rookie fireman.

In addition to Showcase #100(MAY78), according to Wikipedia he appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7(OCT85) being interviewed by Lana Lang* and, post-Crisis, as a captain in the Metropolis Fire Department in Batman and Superman: World's Finest #4 (JUL99). Additionally, GCD has him appearing in Avengers/JLA #4(MAR2004), which Wikipedia doesn't list.

* GCD doesn't acknowledge this appearance

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