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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So I've got a couple of archive/omnibus questions for you smart folks out there.

First: Brave and the Bold. Although I see that I barely needed the Omnibus B&B, as most of the stories have been reprinted in the Neal Adams or Jim Aparo book, I've also noted that the Omnibus starts something like 10 issues after the first Archive ends. I know that at least some of those stories aren't team-ups, but has that gap been reprinted anywhere in color and decent quality before?

Second: I've also picked up the first Swamp Thing series Omnibus. I recall some people complaining about a page of one book (or something like that) missing from the earlier reprints. Does anyone know what I'm trying to remember? Does anyone know if that was fixed in the omnibus?

Third: Some of you might recall my fondness for Mike Sekowsky. Was his short run on Metal Men ever reprinted in color and decent quality?

Thanx in advance.

I can help with some of this.

Brave and Bold Archives Vol. 1 reprints B&B #50-59. Brave and Bold Bronze Age Omnibus Vol 1 begins with issue #74. If I'm reading your question right, you want to know about quality, color reprints of #60-73. And the answer is: It's a mixed bag.

#60 (Teen Titans): Teen Titans: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol 1, Teen Titans Archives Vol. 1

#61 (Starman/Black Canary): Black Canary Archives

#62 (Starman/Black Canary): Black Canary Archives

#63 (Supergirl/Wonder Woman): None

#64 (Batman/Eclipso): Showcase only

#65 (Flash/Doom Patrol): Doom Patrol Silver Age Omnibus

#66 (Metamorpho/Metal Men): Showcase only

#67 (Batman/Flash): Super DC Giant S-16

#68 (Batman/Metamorpho): Showcase only

#69 (Batman/Green Lantern): Showcase only

#70 (Batman/Hawkman): Showcase only

#71 (Batman/Green Arrow): Showcase only

#72 (Flash/Spectre): Showcase only

#73 (Aquaman/Atom): World's Finest Comics #168

I can't answer your Swamp Thing question, but I can tell you that the Grand Comics Database doesn't list any reprints for the Sekowsky run on Metal Men.

Thanx for the info. Looks like I'll be out those issues (except for Black Canary) until someone at DC decides to do something for completists. Too bad they don't do archives any longer, as that # of issues would have fit an archive nicely. I'm baffled why they didn't start the Omnibus at #60, or at least included the Batman team-ups from these issues.

Captain Comics said:

I can help with some of this.

Brave and Bold Archives Vol. 1 reprints B&B #50-59. Brave and Bold Bronze Age Omnibus Vol 1 begins with issue #74. If I'm reading your question right, you want to know about quality, color reprints of #60-73. And the answer is: It's a mixed bag.

#60 (Teen Titans): Teen Titans: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol 1, Teen Titans Archives Vol. 1

#61 (Starman/Black Canary): Black Canary Archives

#62 (Starman/Black Canary): Black Canary Archives

#63 (Supergirl/Wonder Woman): None

#64 (Batman/Eclipso): Showcase only

#65 (Flash/Doom Patrol): Doom Patrol Silver Age Omnibus

#66 (Metamorpho/Metal Men): Showcase only

#67 (Batman/Flash): Super DC Giant S-16

#68 (Batman/Metamorpho): Showcase only

#69 (Batman/Green Lantern): Showcase only

#70 (Batman/Hawkman): Showcase only

#71 (Batman/Green Arrow): Showcase only

#72 (Flash/Spectre): Showcase only

#73 (Aquaman/Atom): World's Finest Comics #168

I can't answer your Swamp Thing question, but I can tell you that the Grand Comics Database doesn't list any reprints for the Sekowsky run on Metal Men.

My guess is -- and if anybody knows for a fact, please correct me -- that DC decided to start the Omnibus where the Batman team-ups became fixed. Batman was the co-star of every issue of Brave and Bold from #74, where the Omnibus begins, to the final issue, #200. Prior to that you had some wacky shenanigans going on:

#1-49: Historical fiction

#50: Martian Manhunter/Green Arrow

#51: Aquaman/Hawkman

#52: Johnny Cloud/Sgt. Rock/Haunted Tank ("3 Battle Stars")

#53: Atom /Flash

#54: Robin/Kid Flash/Aqualad (later to be called Teen Titans)

#55: Atom/Metal Men

#56: Flash/Martian Manhunter

#57: Metamorpho

#58: Metamorpho

#59: Batman/Green Lantern

#60: Teen Titans

#61: Starman/Black Canary

#62: Starman/Black Canary

#63: Supergirl/Wonder Woman

#64: Batman/Eclipso

#65: Flash/Doom Patrol

#66: Metamorpho/Metal Men

#67: Batman/Flash

#68: Batman/Metamorpho

#69: Batman/Green Lantern

#70: Batman/Hawkman

#71: Batman/Green Arrow

#72: Flash/Spectre

#73: Aquaman/Atom

Yes, you had a number of Bat-books in there, but they weren't consistent. There were other concepts, and I think that if you're a comics fan, you're certainly interested in the Batman stories, but also interested in the non-Bat-stories because you're a comics fan. I can't believe it would cost DC a single sale if they started the B&B Omnibus with #50.

Of course, I could well be wrong.

But look at what you had before B&B #74:

Green Arrow/Martian Manhunter (issue #50); Commander Benson has painstakingly assembled all the evidence necessary from public sources to convince me that DC meant for GA/MM to be a permanent team-up, much like Superman/Batman over in World's Finest. That is worth reading.

Metamorpho debuted here, fully formed and with his creative team in place. Legionnaires here and sources elsewhere suggest that those issues were meant for Showcase, but got bumped by something else (contractually-required G.I. Joe, I think).

The Teen Titans got their start here in B&B.

Starman/Black Canary here mirrored the Dr. Fate/Hourman team-ups over in Showcase, and I'd love to know the story behind those stories. They were all done by the same creative team -- Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson, edited by Julius Schwartz -- and were surely heading for something. The same team launched The Spectre in his own book around this same time. What would have happened if those books sold well? A new JSA? A new Golden Age team-up book? I honestly don't know, but it's a fascinating moment in comics history.

Maybe I'm prejudiced by having all these original books in longboxes, and not needing a high quality collection. But I'd love for my fellow fans to read these stories and give me their impressions from their various perspectives. This was exciting material at the time, and I'm curious what today's audience would think of them.



Dennis Summers said:

Thanx for the info. Looks like I'll be out those issues (except for Black Canary) until someone at DC decides to do something for completists. Too bad they don't do archives any longer, as that # of issues would have fit an archive nicely. I'm baffled why they didn't start the Omnibus at #60, or at least included the Batman team-ups from these issues.

Captain Comics said:

I can help with some of this.

Brave and Bold Archives Vol. 1 reprints B&B #50-59. Brave and Bold Bronze Age Omnibus Vol 1 begins with issue #74. If I'm reading your question right, you want to know about quality, color reprints of #60-73. And the answer is: It's a mixed bag.

#60 (Teen Titans): Teen Titans: The Silver Age Omnibus Vol 1, Teen Titans Archives Vol. 1

#61 (Starman/Black Canary): Black Canary Archives

#62 (Starman/Black Canary): Black Canary Archives

#63 (Supergirl/Wonder Woman): None

#64 (Batman/Eclipso): Showcase only

#65 (Flash/Doom Patrol): Doom Patrol Silver Age Omnibus

#66 (Metamorpho/Metal Men): Showcase only

#67 (Batman/Flash): Super DC Giant S-16

#68 (Batman/Metamorpho): Showcase only

#69 (Batman/Green Lantern): Showcase only

#70 (Batman/Hawkman): Showcase only

#71 (Batman/Green Arrow): Showcase only

#72 (Flash/Spectre): Showcase only

#73 (Aquaman/Atom): World's Finest Comics #168

I can't answer your Swamp Thing question, but I can tell you that the Grand Comics Database doesn't list any reprints for the Sekowsky run on Metal Men.

Brave & Bold #64 was reprinted in Super Team Family #5.

Thanks, Philip!

Wacky shenanigans, indeed! It would be great to have those earlier B&B issues collected in some fashion. I bought every issue of Brave and Bold that appeared on my local spinner rack - unfortunately they were few and far between. The Black Canary / Starman team up in particular was a stand out. With all the appearances of Golden Age characters around that time it seems as if DC, or maybe just Julius Schwartz, had some plan in mind. Perhaps any further revivals were abandoned in favor of DC's Daring and Different movement that began around 1967.


Captain Comics said:

My guess is -- and if anybody knows for a fact, please correct me -- that DC decided to start the Omnibus where the Batman team-ups became fixed. Batman was the co-star of every issue of Brave and Bold from #74, where the Omnibus begins, to the final issue, #200. Prior to that you had some wacky shenanigans going on:

The Spectre revival in Showcase supposedly began as a Spectre/Doctor Mid-Nite pairing which was dropped because the Ghostly Guardian didn't need a partner (despite his later team-ups with Batman) and then there was the rumor of a Doctor Mid-Nite/ Sandman tryout as well.

Here's another thought: Did Black Canary's Brave & Bold appearances facilitate her joining the JLA in Justice League of America #75?

That is a good question, Philip, and one I don't know the answer to. I do know they needed a female member when Wonder Woman lost her powers and quit -- but why Canary? Was Hawkgirl busy washing her wings? Was Zatanna elbaliavanu? And, duh, what about Wonder Girl? Taht seems a natural!

Incidentally, Wildcat was a supporting character in at least one of the Straman/Black Canary team-ups, maybe both. And he had a back-up strip and at least one guest appearance in The Spectre. So he was meant for bigger things, too.

Of course, we all know that Black Canary was given a super-power (her "canary cry") when she joined the JLA. Without that, she was "only" a woman with martial arts skills and years of experience or what Wonder Woman was at that point in time! And Diana was still a prominent hero in the books. 

Even without her powers, could anyone see Black Canary defeating Wonder Woman?

Regarding the Swamp Thing question, according to this page a Crisis tie-in page was dropped from a 1990 reprint. This page notes a dropped clause in a hardback.

"Dropped Claus" is Santa's estranged cousin.

And that thought occurred to me as well Philip, that without the Canary cry Dinah was a step down from Diana, even without her powers. Canary becoming one of the greatest martial artists in the world was years in the future. (And I don't think that's true any more after Rebirth except, mysteriously, in the recently canceled Justice League of America title.)

I was irritated back in the day when Diana was dropped from the League, as she was at least as capable as Green Arrow, for crying out loud. And I resented her "12 labors" to re-join, which in-story was her idea but was obviously some editor's idea. This seemed to me at the time and still now that she was being treated with less respect than the male Leaguers.

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