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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Good choice! Is it all in one volume? I have it in a two-volume edition. This is one of those series where Jack Kirby just got to throw pure imagination out there, and it really paid off.

Now, having the complete Jack Kirby Kamandi in my hands, I'm wishing they would do another edition where they print the after-Kirby work, because there is a lot of book left after his departure.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Just used a birthday gift card from my mom to order the Jack Kirby's Kamandi Omnibus! I sat on this card for a couple months, but finally came to terms with the fact that, yeah, there's pretty much no time that I won't want this book.

The post-Kirby Kamandi was a poor substitute. Kirby made me believe every civilization we saw had existed before Kamandi encountered it and went on after he departed. The later writers reduced everything to monster of the week level.

Fraser

Wandering Sensei: Moderator Man said:

Good choice! Is it all in one volume? I have it in a two-volume edition. This is one of those series where Jack Kirby just got to throw pure imagination out there, and it really paid off.

Now, having the complete Jack Kirby Kamandi in my hands, I'm wishing they would do another edition where they print the after-Kirby work, because there is a lot of book left after his departure.

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Just used a birthday gift card from my mom to order the Jack Kirby's Kamandi Omnibus! I sat on this card for a couple months, but finally came to terms with the fact that, yeah, there's pretty much no time that I won't want this book.

Oh, I'm sure they weren't Kirby-level. I'm just thinking they are probably kind of fun in a historical kind of way.

Fraser Sherman said:

The post-Kirby Kamandi was a poor substitute. Kirby made me believe every civilization we saw had existed before Kamandi encountered it and went on after he departed. The later writers reduced everything to monster of the week level.

Fraser

Done!

Richard Willis said:

John (Dunbar), since you started this thread maybe you could change its title to reflect that we're not just talking about DC books?

Yep, the Omnibus is issues 1 through 40, which I think is all of the Kirby stuff. I'd love a collection of the later stuff too, as tgattt how I was introduced to Kamandi, but I've picked up most of those back issesi, regardless. (Most of the Kirbys, too, but I have to start thinking about downsizing a few things. I don't know if my original isses will go, but at least I can sell my Archives!)

...I have to re- heck the details, but Toomorrows is putting out a book of lesser-known DC Kirby - the THE DINGBATS OF DANGER STREET issue of FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL and the complete what-exists?? of these two never-published attempts to review e the romabce comic for the 70s...TRUE LIFE DIVORCES and SOUL LOVE!

For anyone partial to the Silver Age Suicide Squad, DC is apparently liquidating overstock of the 2016 Omnibus. I picked up a copy at an Ollie's today for $10.

Doctor Hmmm? said:

For anyone partial to the Silver Age Suicide Squad, DC is apparently liquidating overstock of the 2016 Omnibus. I picked up a copy at an Ollie's today for $10.

And here I paid full price (minus 20 percent) at Amazon, and really didn't like it.*smacks head*

I wasn't a big fan of Kamandi in general, but it must be said that the Kirby work was head and shoulders above anything that came after. For someone like me, who only read Kirby's Kamandi out of a sense of duty, the later stuff was unreadable.

I've been switching to Omnibus almost exclusively, replacing the Archives and trades which had served until now. I've done so now with Golden Age Wonder Woman, Sekowsky-era Wonder Woman, Perez-era Wonder Woman, Golden Age Batman, Golden Age Superman, Silver Age Flash, Silver Age Green Lantern and Bronze Age Justice League of America. (There's no reason for me to replace Silver Age JLA, which is complete as is.) I find the consistent trade dress and comprehensiveness of the Omnibuses very satisfying.

Has anyone heard anything about Silver Age omnibuses for DC's Big Three? There's nothing on the advance lists, and I find it odd. Maybe the Archives and Showcases didn't sell well.

I actually have been enjoying the Bronze Age House of Mystery we discussed earlier on this thread, and many fine folks advised I probably wouldn't like it. They were all correct that it isn't great Silver Age. But it is, for the most part, Silver Age books I've never read before, with many familiar and beloved Silver Age creators contributing, which is something.

And sometimes it's really good. Neal Adams does all the covers, at least as far as I've gone, which is about halfway. That's not nothing. Berni Wrightson and Wally Wood contribute quite a bit, and that's something. One issue in particular was nothing but Adams, Wrightson, Wood and Alex Toth (who shows up occasionally). That's really something!

Sergio Aragones contributes every issue, which would be a plus for many, I'm sure. I run hot and cold on Aragones. Some material is perfectly suited to his style and I find it marvelous -- Groo the Wanderer, MAD marginalia, some other stuff. But his straight attempts at humor, such as is found here (and the entire run of PLOP!), I find juvenile and boring. Your mileage may vary.

There's an awful lot of Jerry Grandenetti, whose work I don't care for. I will say that I saw something I didn't expect along those lines, which was a Grandenetti story inked by Wally Wood! Even Wood couldn't save it for me, though -- he didn't re-draw it, so his more realistic style just accentuated Grandenetti's complete lack of composition, anatomy and perspective.

Every time I see an artist whose work I find awful, I have to keep in mind that the artist himself sees something different -- sees that what he's doing as a virtue. Like when I saw a Mike Sekowsky story right after an Alex Toth story in some 1950s horror book, and saw the many swipes -- the light bulb went off in my head that Sekowsky saw himself drawing like Toth, and therefore it was good. That he picked up Toth's eccentricities without getting the entire package -- including Toth's nonpareil design sense -- is why Sekowsky looks so bad to me. I think, objectively, it IS bad. But obviously Sekowsky didn't see it that way -- and understanding what he thought he was doing helps me understand it, and judge it less harshly.

What was Grandenetti going for? I thought Mort Meskin for a while, but as Grandenetti gave full vent to his eccentricities in the '60s and '70s (see The Spectre or "Green Team" at DC), I'm not so sure. Maybe he saw himself as School of Toth, too, only more exaggerated. Or maybe Toth-Kirby. I dunno. It's too extreme to be accidental, but I can't figure out the antecedents.

If there were no antecedents, then it was just his own pure style -- which I find pure rubbish. So I prefer to believe that he believed he was aping something better (and, as with Sekowsky, just not doing it very well).

Other artists who inspired others to do terrible work include Will Eisner and Milt Caniff. They were one-of[-a-kind artists, like Toth, whose work cannot be replicated in bits and pieces. When other artists try, it just looks terrible. So when I see terrible art, I start running through the card file in my head. ("Toth? No. Eisner? No Caniff? Ah -- there it is.")

I'm tempted to put Dan DeCarlo in this category, too -- he was the house style at Archie, but nobody really aped him completely (or successfully, to my mind). His work was all of a piece, his trees and blue jeans and composition all creating a comprehensive world. Just copying how he drew Betty & Veronica's faces and breasts really doesn't convey the sense of world-building I got from DeCarlo. But maybe that's just me.

Wow, who knew I'd devolve into art theory in this post? Sorry, gang!

"I wasn't a big fan of Kamandi in general, but it must be said that the Kirby work was head and shoulders above anything that came after. For someone like me, who only read Kirby's Kamandi out of a sense of duty, the later stuff was unreadable. "

I didn't like Kamandi when I first read it, but over time Kirby's imagination drew me in. I appreciated it much more rereading it a few years ago. Kirby really gives me the feeling that his various civilizations pre-existed Kamandi and had their own business to deal with; they find him odd, but not odder than a lot of stuff that goes on. It made the world A.D. that much more believable.

Call me crazy but I liked the Post-Kirby "Kamandi". True it had its wacky moments but it took the series in a more mature direction with loads of new characters.

Okay, now I want to read it! I did have a couple issues, but I'd like to see it collected. I know it has some sweet Joe Kubert covers, at the very least.

Philip Portelli said:

Call me crazy but I liked the Post-Kirby "Kamandi". True it had its wacky moments but it took the series in a more mature direction with loads of new characters.

I was introduced to Kamandi with the post-Kirby stuff, so I was already sold; the first image of him I ever saw was probably drawn by Dick Ayers and inked by Alfredo Alcala -- worlds away from Kirby. Kirby's own Kamandi was a little jarring to me at first, when I bought some of the early back issues. But man, did it grow on me.  

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