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.
Thank you guys very much for all the info! It is much appreciated!
Captain, you have no idea how insanely jealous of you I am right now, I've been scouring online for a reasonable price for that book with no luck, I've also checked all my LCS's in a reasonable distance and none have any in stock. Now you've found it no problem and for a reasonable price!
Lady luck seems to be on your side (or for some reason has it out for me)
For what it's worth, and I think I might be a minority here, I preferred the original Archive editions. I picked up all the titles I was interested in as they were published, and I think that they look better on a shelf, and they're much easier to read. When I'm reading these very heavy giant thousand page omnibus books not only are they just plain difficult to hold, I'm always worried that I'll damage pages especially when I'm at the beginning or end and the book is unbalanced. I also feel like I have to devote the time to read it cover to cover, which might be my own problem ;-). And that, of course, can take a long long time.
With the Archives I preferred the dj cover design, and the color embossed hardcovers. Yes it's true that the Archives were spread out over decades, and the omnibus books can take advantage of all the earlier production work, so if I were a newer reader I'd probably be happy to get these stories much more quickly, and at a comparatively better price.
It also seems to me that whoever was curating the Archives paid more attention to other titles that DC owns or licensed, especially GA books like the Captain Marvel family, The Spirit, and my personal favorite Plastic Man. That Plastic Man set would be the absolute last books I'd part with, if I had to get rid of everything. I'm still hoping to see the Lou Fine stories like The Ray reprinted some day.
For what it's worth I absolutely despise those Simon and Kirby reprint books like The Newsboy Legion on shoddy paper and almost too dark to read (whatever the name of that series is called). If those were ever reprinted as Omnibus books I'd buy them in a heartbeat and throw away the old ones. They're better than nothing for now, but not much better.
You're not alone, Dennis -- I preferred the Archive editions myself, for many of the reasons you cited. Also, I really enjoyed the forewords, which dealt specifically with the year or so found within that specific book, and were often really informative.
The one drawback that the DC Omnibus corrects pertains to Batman and Superman, who were separated out into a Action, Batman, Detective and Superman comics. The Omnibi include all stories in chronological order, which makes not only for more comprehensive reading, but makes research easier, too. In Wonder Woman, the Omnibus editions include stories from Comics Cavalcade, which the Archive editions didn't. So there's a plus.
But the upshot is that the Omnibus is what they're giving us now, so we have little choice. Maybe I'll invest in some sort of prop to hold the book up while I'm reading. My arms aren't getting any younger!
Fortunately, Marvel seems to be pursuing a strategy of Masterworks editions, followed by an Omnibus collection, so we gut our druthers. Once again I prefer the Masterworks, although they don't include the letters pages, which the omnibi do.
And Josh. I'll keep an eye open for a deal on Golden Age Superman Archives Vol. 1, and report anything I find right here. I'm sure the other Legionnaires will as well.
Yup on the forwards and everything else you said. And I really don't get why Masterworks leaves the letter pages out, that doesn't make any sense at all.