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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Wildcat was in "Great Super hero hunt" but not the Mist issue.

I'm not surprised they tried some Earth-Two series, but I've often wondered why they went with teams.

Fraser

Captain Comics said:

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.

Even in her own book, they assume that renouncing her powers means renouncing all her combat training as well. Annoying indeed. Though if they'd written an original character who was basically the same, I'd have liked the book. It has its good points, just not Wonder Woman points.

Captain Comics said:

"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.

I'm with you there, Fraser. I'm not much of a Sekowsky fan, but even so I admit the "Diana Rigg" era of Wonder Woman was competent and even entertaining, if nothing else.

It just wasn't Wonder Woman.

As George Perez and others proved years later, you can reboot Wonder Woman successfully without dropping everything that makes her Wonder Woman. You just have to put in the work to make her unique concepts continue to be relevant as time passes. Just dropping everything Wonder about the woman and writing an entirely different character is the easy way out.

DC Timeline notes Showcase shifted to two-issue try-outs in 1957. "Challengers of the Unknown" and "Rip Hunter … Time Master" both appeared in four issues, but their third issues appeared eight months after their second, so both runs are apparently correctly seen as two two-part try-outs. So the title was dominated by two-part try-outs from #6 to #21.

The exceptions were #8 with the Flash - a survival of the earlier policy of one-issue try-outs, I think - and the three-issue Adam Strange try-out (#17-#19). It was titled "Adventures on Other Worlds" for its first two issues and became "Adam Strange" on its third, so I suppose it might be it was originally going to be two issues.

From #23 or #25 The Brave and the Bold became a try-out title too. Which isn't quite clear as #23-#24 featured the Viking Prince. The issues solo-featured him, and had a large feature-logo on the covers. The two-issue run is in line with what Showcase had been doing.

The next feature was "Suicide Squad", which ran for three issues. (The other three issues appeared two years later.) The try-out started around the time Green Lantern's started (=the next three-issue one in Showcase after Adam Strange's).

Showcase used the approach to the end of the Atom's try-out (#34-#36), with two interruptions: the second two "Rip Hunter" issues, presumably another artefact of an earlier policy; and the four-issue "Aquaman" run (#30-#33), which might represent a brief shift to a four-issue policy as "Metal "Men" ran for four issues too (#37-#40). The Brave and the Bold stuck with three issues to the end of Hawkman's second try-out (#42-#44), except for a two-issue second "Inside Earth" one in #40-#41.

Both titles then shifted to a five-issue approach for one run. The Brave and the Bold featured "Strange Sports Stories", Showcase "Tommy Tomorrow".(1) Perhaps the thinking was readers needed more time to discover features, or the editors had begun to kick against having to create new ones all the time.

At the start of the team-up period The Brave and the Bold then switched to doing team-ups, apart from "Metamorpho" in #57-#58 and "Teen Titans" in #60 (which was a sequel to the Robin/Kid Flash/Aqualad team-up in #54). Showcase went back to shorter try-outs.

At the start of The Brave and the Bold's time as a team-up title the comic was partly edited on a shared basis, like Showcase. Robert Kanighter did #52 (where he teamed up heroes from the war features), and Julie Schwartz #61-#62. Mike's Amazing World lists Murray Boltinoff as having edited #50-#51, #53-#54, but the GCD lists these issues as co-edited by Boltinoff and George Kashdan, who edited #55-#56, #59-#60 (and "Metamorpho" in between), and #63-#77. Boltinoff then took over.

The Schwartz Starman/Black Canary issues seem evidently related to the Dr Fate/Hourman issues of Showcase. I've floated the theory in the past that the Showcase issues were originally intended for The Brave and the Bold: the "Super-Team Supreme Team" name seems evidently tacked-on. But it may simply be that Schwartz was assigned those Showcase issues, and decided to use them to satisfy fan requests for more stories about the JSAers.

(1) The "Tommy Tomorrow" run was twice interrupted. "Doctor No" in #43 presumably appeared because DC needed a berth for the issue. "Sgt. Rock" appeared in #45. It's my guess the issue was a test to see if the character should get his own title, but it's possible Kanigher was assigned the issue and chose to fill it this way. It was an unusual "Sgt. Rock" story for its time as it was book-length.

This reminds me of something I meant to post earlier during the Showcase #100 discussion. To wit: Where were The Maniaks?

It’s my understanding that The Metal Men we’re whipped up almost “overnight” to fill a scheduling goof-up with Showcase #37.

The concept for Showcase #100 was to include all the characters who got their own features, but a few others were included as well, such as Dolphin (her second appearance. The two kids she rescued were Sugar and Spike, who weren't Showcase-ites.)

Firehair was one of those who did, incidentally: his feature briefly ran as a supporting feature in Tomahawk. He was one of the time-displaced people Sam Simeon collected.

Tommy Tomorrow was one who didn't, but appeared in the same sequence in his Jim Mooney-era costume. In his Showcase run he wore a different uniform.

Dave Palmer said:

It’s my understanding that The Metal Men we’re whipped up almost “overnight” to fill a scheduling goof-up with Showcase #37.

I've heard that too, and don't have a reason to doubt it. Kanigher seems to have made an effort to put together a real feature, though.

Something made me remember an unasked question. When Marvel reprints stories in which a pseudonym is used (Adam Austin for Gene Colan, etc) do they print the credits as they originally appeared or fix them?

They print the credits as they originally appeared.

If you're lucky, someone will point out who's who in the introduction (if there is one).

If you're not lucky, the reprint editor may not even know.

Case in point.

I think it was for The Creeper that Denny O'Neil used the pseudonym "Sergius O'Shaunassy." When hardcover reprint was published, whoever wrote the introduction dutifully reported they stories were written by that person, apparently not knowing it was really O'Neil.

That's just sad. I actually applied for the job as DC's reprint editor, but never heard back from them.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

They print the credits as they originally appeared.

If you're lucky, someone will point out who's who in the introduction (if there is one).

If you're not lucky, the reprint editor may not even know.

Case in point.

I think it was for The Creeper that Denny O'Neil used the pseudonym "Sergius O'Shaunassy." When hardcover reprint was published, whoever wrote the introduction dutifully reported they stories were written by that person, apparently not knowing it was really O'Neil.

...The current ACTION #1000 commemerative hardcover, when it reprints stories thaf have been reprinted before, leaves on those little boxes that DC reprints of the 70s put on previously uncredited stories : including at least one for " Jerry Segal "(or similar) :-@!

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