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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Jeff of Earth-J said:

What about JLA #144? Which came first?


I guess you could make a case for that one.
That is such a weird story! The "real" origin of the JLA. Don't know if I ever saw mention of it again.

Nice, Richard, thanks for the Fireman rundown!

And Philip, I totally agree that it's a Crisis prototype. I wish I'd thought to ask Marv Wolfman about whether he was influenced by it (or even aware of the book) when I saw him at East Coast Comicon a couple weeks ago!

Sorry your review went down the memory hole, Tec!

Well, at least now he knows where to look for it.

"Don't know if I ever saw mention of it again."

Mark Waid's JLA: Year One, maybe?

The "Fire Fighters" (Fireman Farrell) issue was reprinted in 2012 in Showcase Presents: Showcase #1. The GCD tells me it was written by Arnold Drake and the art was by John Prentice. Mort Weisinger edited. John Prentice was a classy artist. He took over the art of Rip Kirby after Alex Raymond's death.

The Essential Showcase: 1956-1959 (1992) also reprints Fireman Farrell stories from Showcase #1.

You rang?

Showcase #100 (1978)
By Paul Kupperberg, Paul Levitz and Joe Staton

This is one doozy of a giant-sized anniversary issue.  The plot exists merely as a tool to bring all the various Showcase characters together in one story.  They must all unite in order to avert a disaster that threatens the Earth and the fabric of spacetime itself.  Sound familiar Crisis on Infinite Earths fans?  It should because this issue has various groups of heroes dividing into teams, heroes performing  rescue operations all over the globe, various natural disasters, and characters from all different time periods being displaced into the current timeline.  Fortunately, no one dies during this Crisis.

The team ups that generated this discussion?  There's a team featuring Aquaman, the Sea Devils and Dolphin for water rescues.  There's a space-faring team comprised of Green Lantern, Adam Strange Space Ranger and Cryll along with Flash and Atom.  Also, there's the previously mentioned Challengers/Lois/Creeper combo and another group featuring Tommy Tomorrow, Bat-Lash, and Angel O'Day.  The Teen Titans appear to be working with Hawk and Dove while the Metal Men operate on their own.

There's another moment reminiscent of Crisis when the Spectre becomes involved and attempts to single-handedly avert the disaster.  

Kupperberg and Levitz do a nice job of working all the characters into the story without letting the action get bogged down.  In fact this story is ALL ACTION from beginning to end.  Joe Staton's art looks great.  I always prefer when he inks himself as he did on this story.  There are some nice full page splashes that look beautiful and he has nice command of all the various characters.  Plot holes and inconsistencies abound but who cares when you're having this much fun!  Some of our Silver Age experts like Cap and SAF could probably spot some things that I missed but I had a great time with this.

Funniest moment: Cryll turns into a giant pink bunny in order to eat an alien plant-like life form that threatens our heroes.  

Notable: The story includes every character to be featured in an issue of Showcase.  All characters and their appearances are indexed at the end of the story.  This was helpful for a Bronze Ager like myself who is not super familiar with many Silver Age characters.  

QUOTE
Binky:This disaster is great , isn't it Tommy Tomorrow?
Tommy Tomorrow:  What could be so great about a disaster Binky?
Binky: There's no school!

GRADE B+

Detective 445 said:

IIRC, I posted a review of Showcase #100 on one of the old boards about (sigh) 10 years ago. Can't seem to find a copy on my hard drive though.

Ha! So I *have* read those Fireman Farrell stories! Thanks! 

And Tec, I wonder if those Tommy Tomorrow/Binky lines you quoted were an oblique reference to The Great Disaster, which would turn Tommy into Kamandi?

So, Showcase #100 featured every character who had headlined Showcase.

What was the deal with JLA #144? Was it every character that had a series the month before Brave and Bold #28? Not sure that covers Rex the Wonder Dog.



Randy Jackson said:

You rang?


Holy crap! Thanks Randy!



Captain Comics said:

So, Showcase #100 featured every character who had headlined Showcase.

What was the deal with JLA #144? Was it every character that had a series the month before Brave and Bold #28? Not sure that covers Rex the Wonder Dog.

From the JLA Satellite interview with Steve Englehart:

It was the "Untold Story" and I thought it would be fun to throw in everybody from the fifties, and since one of those were the Blackhawks, that was for Dick Dillin. I tried very much to be true to those characters as they had been in the fifties and write them in that style--it was supposed to have taken place in the Brave and Bold era, so it definitely was an homage to DC in the fifties--not so much Gardner Fox, but DC in the fifties.
So, Showcase #100 featured every character who had headlined Showcase.

Every character who got a series, and a few others in cameos.

The origin of the JLA story in Justice League of America #9 dates the League's formation three years earlier. The feature debuted only two years earlier. Three years earlier was before GL's introduction in Showcase. So the issue's conceit is the original Leaguers celebrated the original date but told GA and Snapper the story of their second meet-up. (Hal appears in the #144 flashback story but isn't GL yet.)

Three years before Justice League of America #9 Rex's series was still running. But Robotman and the Vigilante lost their features earlier, in 1953 and 1954 respectively. Johnny Quick made it to 1954 too.

As I was cataloging the latest DC back issue releases on Comixology, I noticed Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #232 was released this week. So if anyone wants to take a look at "The Disease That Wouldn't Die," here's your chance.

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