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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There were 2 volumes of Seven Soldiers, not sure if that was enough to complete the run or not.

But I have to ask: can anyone tell me, other than the art sometimes, what they like about the Atlas period "suspense" or "horror" stories? I picked up a couple of the Masterworks reprints and found the stories unreadable. I'm a big fan of EC, and even though those stories were often overwritten, and similar, they're superior to the Atlas stories in every possible way. Is there something I'm missing. As a related aside, just to stretch this thread a little bit more, I am totally loving the Artist's Editions of those EC stories. The image quality is extraordinary. I'll spend my limited $ and time on reading those over the Atlas stories any day of the week.

I enjoy the '50s horror stories for a variety of reasons. Some of them are unintentionally funny. Some are interesting from a historical perspective. Some of them teach me something about the '50s, like the popularity of ventriloquist acts. Sometimes I get a kick out of seeing a fave artist in his formative years. (John Romita Sr. is almost unrecognizable.) Sometimes it's finding out that a lot of themes, figures or techniques I thought were original to the Silver Age had long gestations in the '50s.

I should also mention that the way I learned comics history was by reprints. And one era that almost never got reprinted was roughly 1945 to 1955. So there was this big, black hole in my comics knowledge. And now, in my dotage, I can finally scratch that itch!

In my case I think the Atlas suspense stories are something I enjoyed in my midteens. They are far from EC because of the Comics Code. The Ditko stories in Amazing are similar in tone to the original Twilight Zone show. You had to be there.

Back on the topic here, I've noticed that Marvel seems to be jumping on the Omnibus wagon in some cases (Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme, Shang Chi). Does anyone know how they're making decisions as to which format they choose? Unlike DC they don't seem to be phasing out the Masterworks.

Correction, there were 3 volumes of Seven Soldiers, and I'm pretty certain that was the complete run.

Dennis Summers said:

There were 2 volumes of Seven Soldiers, not sure if that was enough to complete the run or not.

But I have to ask: can anyone tell me, other than the art sometimes, what they like about the Atlas period "suspense" or "horror" stories? I picked up a couple of the Masterworks reprints and found the stories unreadable. I'm a big fan of EC, and even though those stories were often overwritten, and similar, they're superior to the Atlas stories in every possible way. Is there something I'm missing. As a related aside, just to stretch this thread a little bit more, I am totally loving the Artist's Editions of those EC stories. The image quality is extraordinary. I'll spend my limited $ and time on reading those over the Atlas stories any day of the week.

Oops, I mistyped--it's Major Liberty, not Major Victory, and he and the Defender were reprinted in the first USA Comics Masterworks collection, along with heavy hitters like Roko the Amazing & Chauncey Throttlebottom: the Vagabond!

Captain Comics said:

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!

Upcoming:

Superman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol 5 comes out Jan 24, collecting Action 86-105. Superman 34-43. and Superman stories from World's Finest #19-25.

Batman: The Golden Age TPB Vol 4 comes out Feb 14, collecting Detective #66-74, Batman #12-15, and Batman stories from World's Finest #7-9.

Batman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol 5 comes out May 30, collecting Detective #113-132, Batman #36-45, and Batman stories from World's Finest # 23-32.

Green Lantern: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol 2 comes out Mar 28, collecting Green Lantern #36-75.

Supergirl: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol 2 comes out May 16, collecting Supergirl stories from Action Comics #308-333, 335-340, 342, 344-346, 348-350, 353-354, 356-359, 361-372 and 374-376.

Legion of Super-Heroes Omnibus Vol 2 comes out June 20, collecting Adventure #329-360, and Superboy #124-125.

Doom Patrol: The Silver Age TPB Vol 1 comes out in July, collecting My Greatest Adventure #80-85 and Doom Patrol #86-95.

Flash: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol 3 comes out in July, collecting The Flash #164-199.

Justice League of America: The Silver Age Vol 4 comes out in July, collecting JLA 31-41.

Legion of Super-Heroes TPB Vol 1 comes out in August, collecting Adventure #247, 267, 282, 290, 293 and 300-310, Action #267, 276, 287 and 289, Superboy #86, 89, and 98, and Superman #147.

Supergirl: The Silver Age TPB Vol 2 comes out in August, collecting Supergirl stories from Action #285-307.

House of Secrets: The Bronze Age Omnibus comes out Feb 7, collecting House of Secrets #81-111.

Justice League of America: The Bronze Age Omnibus Vol 2 comes out Mar 14, collects JLA #114-146.

Batman;The Brave and the Bold Bronze Age Omnibus Vol 2 comes out in Sept., collecting The Brave and the Bold #110-156.

Lots of great collections there.  I'm especially excited about the LSH, JLA, and Flash collections.

Also, coming out in July is the 2nd hardcover volume of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes.  The first volume was released last June, picking up where the last LSH Archive left off in 2012.  Volume 1 collected S & the LSH #233-240 and All-New collectors' Edition C-55.  The upcoming volume collects #241-258 and also DC Comics Presents #13 and 14.  Incidentally #259 was the first issue that dropped "Superboy" from the title.

As well. the second volume of Tales of the Batman: Gerry Conway comes out in August, reprinting Batman #337-346 and 348, World's Finest #270, and Detective # 505-513.

John Dunbar said:

Supergirl: The Silver Age TPB Vol 2 comes out in August, collecting Supergirl stories from Action #285-307.

"Supergirl" appeared in Action Comics #252-#376 (1959-1969). That's not quite as many issues as it sounds, as the run included reprint giants featuring Supergirl. The feature replaced the long-running "Tommy Tomorrow" and became the sole co-feature when "Congorilla" was moved to Adventure Comics after #261.

The allocation of pages between "Superman" and "Supergirl" varied, but it was often close to even. Not occasionally it was the "Supergirl" story that was cover-featured, but one can miss this as these covers have Superman or a lookalike in the image. #307's cover is a case in point.

#285 was the issue in which Superman revealed Supergirl's existence to the world. This happened in the lead story. "Supergirl" had been leading up to this for several instalments, and the story was handled by the current "Supergirl" team of Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney; so in effect, "Supergirl" bumped "Superman" from the title for an issue. In the issue's second story the heroine had a solo adventure.

It would be good if that Superboy & the Legion hardcover went all the way up to 259; 258 is the first part of a two-parter.

Apparently the contents of Tales of the Batman: Gerry Conway vol. 1 are miscellaneous stories Conway wrote in the 1970s/early 1980s for Batman-related titles, and the start of his run on Detective Comics (Detective Comics #497-#499, #501-#504).

Vol. 2 starts at the point where he took over Batman too. He helmed the two titles for the next couple of years, but had co-writers some issues. The storylines weaved between the titles. Like other DC comics the titles also had back-up features in this period. The run was edited by Paul Levitz and Dick Giordano.

Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez drew Batman #337's instalment. Batman #338-#339, #341-#342 were the end of Irv Novick's run as one of the regular Batman artists. Conway's run was subsequently mainly drawn by Gene Colan and Don Newton.

Robin returned to Gotham in Batman #344 and resumed his partnership with Batman. They resumed living in Wayne Manor and using the original Bat-Cave in #348. (Much later the Bat-Cave under the Wayne Foundation building was used as the Outsiders' HQ.)

The post-vol. 2 issues include two belated Irv Novick instalments and another one by Garcia-Lopez. Curt Swan and Dan Jurgens drew instalments of the Killer Croc storyline that ended Conway's run.

Batman #336, incidentally, also had art by Garcia-Lopez, and was written by Bob Rozakis and Roy Thomas. The GCD lists Thomas as having contributed to the writing of the instalments from #337, #338, #340. In fact the cover of #340 implies the instalment was solely written by Thomas, but the GCD credits it to Conway and Thomas.

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