DC's Omnibus line - Golden, Silver, and Bronze Age collections

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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Those stories feature another "Suicide Squad" or "Suicide Squadron" that was around during WWII. The two series were connected Post-Crisis with the WWII Squad being led by Rick Flagg's father.

Luke Blanchard said:

The Brave and the Bold stories featured Task Force X. The Star Spangled War Comics stories are "War That Time Forgot" ones with recurring characters.

Dennis Summers said:

Am I the only one that would like to see reprints of complete GA books like More Fun or Adventure with all of the second rate characters?

As Luke said, they've done some puttering about, but no big commitment. And I'd love it. But the horse has left the barn in all likelihood; you can't expect a good return on an Action Omnibus when you've already reprinted its biggest gun in the Superman omnibuses. There are a lot of second-banana and third-banana strips that will probably never be reprinted.

But, boy, wouldn't All-American Comics be an awesome choice for an omnibus? Adventure and More Fun saw the advent of a lot of important characters. Action, outside of its main star, also had Zatara and a couple of other mid-level characters. Sensation Comics had Wonder Woman and Wildcat. Alas, we'll probably never see them. They made a start with Comics Cavalcade but didn't follow through.

I guess I can live with that if they'd at least reprint the GA superhero material. All of Dr. Fate and Black Canary have been collected (in single volumes), and ditto with Justice Society and Seven Soldiers, but Flash, Hawkman, Green Lantern, Starman, Sandman and Spectre have only had partial collections. We're getting a GA Green Arrow volume pretty soon, which probably won't be comprehensive, but will be the first reprint of most of that material. There are a lot of characters with only a precious few reprints anywhere -- Atom, Dr. Mid-Nite, Shining Knight, Vigilante, Wildcat, even Aquaman. There's tons of it out there that I want to see.

I really wish DC had (and still wish they would) reprinted entire Golden Age issues instead of just certain features--certainly, an All-American Comics Archives series starring Green Lantern would have been easier to sell than volumes devoted to just the Atom or Hop Harrigan (not that we got that much Golden Age Green Lantern at that).  I've really enjoyed the various Golden Age Marvel Masterworks, but it just doesn't seem right that I've gotten to read all the appearances of Major Victory & the Defender, but still almost nothing of several members of the JSA.  And don't even get me started on other DC characters like Liberty Belle!

Where did you read Major Victory and The Defender? If I don't have those, I should get them.

I loved when Marvel was doing Masterworks on the Timely/Atlas titles that lasted into the Silver Age. They finished Tales to Astonish and Tales of Suspense, but only got about halfway through Journey into Mystery and Strange Tales before throwing in the towel, darn it! They did do two Monsters Masterworks, collecting all of Jack Kirby's Atlas monster stories. That's good, but it's not complete, and worse, we don't get Ditko!

Come on, Big Two, get with it! Not getting any younger here, you know!

The Amazing Fantasy Omnibus collected all of the stories in issues 1-15, regardless of two title changes. It even included the back up stories in #15. Lots of Ditko! I was a big fan of Amazing Adult Fantasy BPP (Before Peter Parker). I was lucky enough to buy a copy of the Omnibus at a discount.

The other thing about Golden Age comics is the artists popped up all over the place, and learning to recognise their styles, and knowing stories by them you like, helps you enjoy their work. "Liberty Belle" was drawn by Chuck Winter. He also drew "The Shining Knight" for awhile. I'm interested in seeing more of his work partly because I like his art for "The Wage-Earners".

If I understand correctly in the US works published before 1978 not yet in the public domain will enter the public domain 95 years after creation. Reckoning 1935 as the start of the Golden Age that means Golden Age material currently under copyright will start entering the public domain after 2030, unless the term of copyright is extended again.

You can count on the term of copyright being extended forever. The big corps will never allow anything in public domain again.

I don't think copyright can be extended for ever, even after the law was changed.

I wasn't clear. What I meant to say is that every time that copyright is going to come up to be expired, congress will pass a new law extending it another 20 years or so, and they will continue to do so "forever." As they have done so 2 or 3 times already.

By the way, my phone helped me misspell "forever."

Richard Willis said:

I don't think copyright can be extended for ever, even after the law was changed.

I should have mentioned that the Astonish and Suspense Masterworks continued up to the point where superheroes took over, not the entire run. But like Amazing Fantasy, they reprinted the back-up "suspense" stories that continued for a few issues after the superheroes arrived. Since I have all the superhero stories that occurred in those two titles in a couple of different formats, that means I've read those two titles in their entirety. Thanks, Marvel!

Marvel has also reprinted a couple of other short-run titles in their entirety. Menace and Beware, maybe? I'd have to go look at my bookshelf. And they've reprinted all the All-Winners Squad stories, which isn't much of a feat, since there weren't many. 

I think DC has reprinted all the Seven Soldiers of Victory stories, although I'd have to check to be sure.

And I've probably read most of the Ditko stories from the Atlas monster period in one form or another (the Ditko Archives are especially helpful). But I'd rather have the whole of books like Journey into Mystery and Strange Tales reprinted, darn it! What about the Don Heck stories? What about the Dick Ayers stories? What about those fascinating prose stories?

OK, maybe not the prose stories.

Richard Willis said:

The Amazing Fantasy Omnibus collected all of the stories in issues 1-15, regardless of two title changes. It even included the back up stories in #15. Lots of Ditko! I was a big fan of Amazing Adult Fantasy BPP (Before Peter Parker). I was lucky enough to buy a copy of the Omnibus at a discount.

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