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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Releasing on Wed Oct 17:

BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT DETECTIVE TPB VOL 2

Collects Detective Comics #583-591 and Annual 1

- This is the beginning of the run written by Alan Grant and John Wagner, with art by Norm Breyfogle.  It's a great run, hard to believe it took 30 years to get collected!  Including the Annual is a bit of a puzzler - not because it's by a different creative team (Denny O'Neil, Klaus Janson and Tony DeZuniga), but rather that it's part 1 of 3, continued into Annuals for Green Arrow and the Question, and those two issues aren't included.  I haven't read the Detective Annual in years so I don't know if it can stand alone on its own.

FLASH BY MARK WAID TPB VOL 5

Collects Flash (1987) #106-118 and Impulse # 10-11

- I don't think #106 and 107 have been reprinted before, but the rest of the issues collected here were collected in two trades released in 2000 and 2001 respectively, Dead Heat and Race Against Time.  The Flash by Mark Waid trades started in late 2016, starting with his first issue, #62, with several different artists working on the book along the way.  I'm a big fan of the run and I miss this Wally West.

DOCTOR STRANGE EPIC COLLECTION TPB VOL 1: MASTER OF THE MYSTIC ARTS

Collects Strange Tales #110-111 and 114-146, and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2

- The entire Steve Ditko and Stan Lee run in Strange Tales plus Doc's guest shot in the 2nd ASM Annual, also by Steve and Stan, natch.  Highly recommended.

Crossovers are a perennial problem for TPBs, though sometimes I find it amusing. Essential Ghost Rider has a DD crossover in which Foggy gets shot, but I've no idea who did it or why as it's only a subplot in the crossover. It feels oddly realistic to hear about something some guy did that your friends knows but you never hear how it turned out.

Fraser

John Dunbar said:

Releasing on Wed Oct 17:

BATMAN THE DARK KNIGHT DETECTIVE TPB VOL 2

Collects Detective Comics #583-591 and Annual 1

- This is the beginning of the run written by Alan Grant and John Wagner, with art by Norm Breyfogle.  It's a great run, hard to believe it took 30 years to get collected!  Including the Annual is a bit of a puzzler - not because it's by a different creative team (Denny O'Neil, Klaus Janson and Tony DeZuniga), but rather that it's part 1 of 3, continued into Annuals for Green Arrow and the Question, and those two issues aren't included.  I haven't read the Detective Annual in years so I don't know if it can stand alone on its own.

FLASH BY MARK WAID TPB VOL 5

Collects Flash (1987) #106-118 and Impulse # 10-11

- I don't think #106 and 107 have been reprinted before, but the rest of the issues collected here were collected in two trades released in 2000 and 2001 respectively, Dead Heat and Race Against Time.  The Flash by Mark Waid trades started in late 2016, starting with his first issue, #62, with several different artists working on the book along the way.  I'm a big fan of the run and I miss this Wally West.

DOCTOR STRANGE EPIC COLLECTION TPB VOL 1: MASTER OF THE MYSTIC ARTS

Collects Strange Tales #110-111 and 114-146, and Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2

- The entire Steve Ditko and Stan Lee run in Strange Tales plus Doc's guest shot in the 2nd ASM Annual, also by Steve and Stan, natch.  Highly recommended.

There’s a Dark Phoenix Omnibus out this week. Is it a reissue of the one discussed on this thread, or a new selection? Better or worse, Legionnaires?

Releasing next Wednesday, Oct 31:


Incredible Hulk Epic Collection Vol 3, collecting INCREDIBLE HULK (1968) #102-117 and ANNUAL #1, and material from TALES TO ASTONISH (1959) #97-101 and NOT BRAND ECHH #9.

Here's something interesting (well, maybe only to me) -

I believe when the Epic Collection line was announced a few years back, one of the goals was to collect material that had not been collected previously, and in a timely fashion too.  That's not to say previously collected material wouldn't be part of the line. 

Also, for some titles and characters, volumes weren't necessarily released in a chronological order - a volume five for one title might see the light of day before a volume three or four, for example.  A good example of this would be the Doctor Strange Epic Collection series.  The first release was in 2016, Volume 3, collecting Doc's headline appearance in various titles from 1969-1974.  The next one was in 2017, Volume 13, spanning 1994-1997.  Just last week, the third release was Volume 1, covering the entire Ditko era.

With the Hulk it's a little different, and I think well planned out by Marvel.  The first Incredible Hulk Epic Collection was Volume 19, released in 2015.  It collected Incredible Hulk #397-406 and Annual #18 & 19 plus some additional material.  That's not a random starting point; the Hulk Visionaries: Peter David series had 8 volumes, collecting Hulk #331-396 and Annual #16 & 17.  The next Hulk Epic Collection release was Volume 1 in 2016, collecting the first 6 issues of the Hulk's inaugural series, plus all of the Hulk's appearances after his first series was cancelled, prior to the start of his Tales to Astonish run.  The releases have gone back and forth from the 1990's to the Silver Age; so far there's been Volumes 1-3 and Volumes 19-21, with Volume 22 due out in January.  So the releases in order have been: Vol 19 - Vol 1 - Vol 20 - Vol 2 - Vol 21 - Vol 3 - Vol 22.  My mild OCD approves!

My guess is that there's enough material to produce two more Epic volumes from the 1990's, to get to the end of Incredible Hulk Volume One with issue #474.  My gut feeling is that Marvel won't do Epic Collections from when they softly rebooted many of their titles in the late 1990's and gave them new #1's, but you never know. 

DC Comics Before Superman, Major Malcom Wheeler-Nicholson's Pulp Comics by Nicky Wheeler-Nicholson

As I had asked about this book some time back I'd like to share a brief review with everyone. In short this books has brief chapters of text mixed with extended sections of comic book reprints. I suspect to many readers here, this period (1935-1938) of what was to become DC comics is relatively unknown. Largely because it remains relatively unknown to almost anyone currently alive. But it's a fascinating time when Wheeler-Nicholson was trying to invent a new form of comic book with the collaboration of other artists and writers. The word collaboration is important here, because at this time it wasn't yet the brutal cut-throat business it later became. The information and details in this book are absolutely fascinating, and in my opinion required reading for anyone interested in the history of comics. For more info you'll have to read it. That said, the quality of the text writing rarely rises above that of the old fanzines of the 60's where people were still trying to articulate the history of comics along with long descriptions of stories and heroes. Additionally, the story quality of the reprinted comics however, even compared to many golden age stories is not so good, and mostly resembles comic strips like Flash Gordon with a similar art style. They are often both overly complex and uninteresting at the same time.

In spite of all these quibbles, this is the beginning of what I hope will become more sophisticated and detailed scholarship in the future, although unfortunately it's much too late to interview anyone who actually participated.

All of this is relevant to those of you that intend on picking up the Detective Comics before Batman reprint set, as these books were largely produced by Wheeler-Nicholson.

Sounds interesting.

Thanks for the review, Mr. Summers. I found that very helpful.

Thanks, Dennis!

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